I lost my way, and I didn’t know how to talk about it—not here, not with my friends, not with anyone other than my journal and my doctor.
Every thought that entered my head felt meaningless. Depressed, I’d decided that I was a failure, worthless, stupid. The infected thoughts paralyzed me with worry and weighed me down. For much of July, it was difficult to get out of bed in the morning. It was seemingly impossible to stop ruminating.
In mid-July, I wrote this in my journal:
You wonder when you will stop worrying. Will it ever go away? That feeling that you have failed yourself? You wonder if you will ever find a partner. The thoughts repeat endlessly in your mind. You obsess. You stagnate.
It’s time to change. To realize that you’re doing the best you can—you’re doing what you know how to do. You are trying.
You have to believe that your life is meant to steady its course. You have to believe that all of this isn’t a mistake. You have to believe, as Brene Brown says in her TED Talk, that you are “worthy of love and belonging.”
I got through the depression. I came out the other side. I am back to feeling like myself. I wish I could say it’s because I went on a special diet that fixed my broken mind. I did, in fact, go on this UltraMind diet for weeks. I cut out processed foods and sugar and dairy for a while. Suddenly, I was eating like Gwyneth Patrow and I thought that the deprivation would solve my problems. And of course it didn’t hurt. I’ve kept up with no sugar and no caffeine, and I feel better for it.
But what brought be back into myself was not dietary modifications; it was a change in my medication. So often we hear about bipolar people—or most people—complaining that medication clouds their thinking and makes them feel separate from themselves somehow. While I’ve felt this way in the past on certain cocktails, right now, I’m certain that, in the same way an antibiotic helps you fight an infection and return to good health, so can an antidepressant, a mood stabilizer. This shouldn’t be news to anyone, but even today, there are prevailing messages—like what I read in that diet book—that a person can eat her way to a healthier mind. This may be true for some people. For me, I needed the medicine.