Although my medication does well at controlling my bipolar symptoms most days, it can do little about sadness, particularly grief. When depression and sadness intersect, it is a state of indescribable misery. Wolf, or Wolfman, was my little brother. We weren’t kin, but he was as much my sibling as if he were flesh and blood. He was famously attracted to the glorified aspect of Viking culture and, when he died, I made a meme with the funeral prayer from the movie The 13th Warrior. It was fitting. He died young of a probable aortic aneurysm and at a time when I was slowly coming out of an extended depressed state. Grief, sadness, and depression made an absolute hell of my life.
Sadness is a short burst of unhappiness. It can ruin a day or more until it is shed. Depression could last for weeks or months, while chronic depression can last a lifetime, much like bipolar disorder. I am typically going for the most simplified methods of explanation, and particularly focusing on my own perspectives. Medical journals and so forth can give more accurate explanations, but this suffices for me to differentiate between them.
With age, my bipolar symptoms have gone from recurring to a constant state. The depression is what I generally focus on as it has had the most consistent impact on my life, while the hypomania has usually been for shorter durations. This does not mean the latter has been a lesser symptom affecting my existence, but I find it more attractive than the former. The sudden jolt of grief at the recollection of Wolf’s passing has not been sufficient to draw out the depression, though. It remains a normal reaction in the human experience.
Many people equate sadness and being depressed without actually making that transition. I hope they never do. The absence of happiness, joy, or any positive emotion is not an experience I wish upon another. Those who have lived with it know that you can simultaneously feel nothing yet be overwhelmed with fear, pain, self-loathing, and any number of debilitating emotions. It is difficult to explain, but some unfortunate souls can immediately nod their heads at this paradox. In spite of this, or because of it, a depressed person can crave love and hold on to it tightly in spite of the affliction. I cherish the love I give and receive, although I have had my love questioned because of self-hatred. It is a treasured light in the darkness, although it is hard to be able to accept at times that one is worthy of being loved. A lack of self-worth has led to the demise of many relationships and makes it difficult to want to enter into one for fear of inflicting myself on another, but I have not lost love for those who cared for me or still do.
It is not a slight to many to say that some people understand all this better than others. Wolf was one of those people in my life. He got it and knew how it worked. We rarely saw each other, but it was always a comfort to know that the lack of contact never diminished our love for one another. This is really what made the loss so enduring for me, losing someone who had that knowledge on such an intimate basis. That is why I treasure the fact that he had been a part of my life for so long and that I had the privilege and honor of calling him my little brother.
It may be time to write another essay for Stigma Fighters. It has been some time since I made a submission. If you have a story to share, I recommend considering doing so. It is a cathartic experience to write out and express what troubles you inside. Thank you for sharing your time with me and always remember to care for yourselves. I’ll see you again soon, my friends.