Bipolar Disorder: The Depressive Side

In previous blog posts, I’ve explained what Bipolar is and how the manic side can affect you. In this post, I’ll discuss how a depressive episode can come about and affect you.

When people think about depression they generally think about someone who is a bit sad for a given reason. This is absolutely not the case.

For starters, a depressive episode can come out of nowhere. Yes, an episode can have a root cause – something that has happened in the person’s life that has brought their mood down – but they can also occur for no real reason, which in part makes them difficult to control. This depressive side of the Bipolar coin is a hell of a lot more than just feeling “sad”.

When in a depressive episode, life can feel pointless and it’s a struggle to find anything that’s worth living for – no matter what you have in life. Some days it’s difficult to get out of bed and get dressed. The pain and hurt that you feel goes right to your very core and premieres every bit of your being. You can be surrounded by people that care about you, but you will feel utterly alone in the world and like no one can possibly understand what you’re feeling. In a word, it’s hell.

As with manic episodes, depressive episodes can come out of nowhere. You can be feeling perfectly fine, and suddenly you feel like crap and can’t see a way back. This can be particularly tough if you’re coming off the back of a manic episode where everything feels great, and you can do anything in the world. Sometimes you can experience an event that will cause one of these bad episodes, but at times, you can’t figure out where it’s come from. If you do CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)  this can help you figure out what’s caused the episode but sometimes even that doesn’t help.

CBT can also sometimes help you get through these tough times, but there are times when this just doesn’t work and trying to think about what has made you feel this way just makes you worse.

These types of episodes can also last for varying lengths of time. It could be a few hours to months, and there is no telling how long it will last until it’s over. It’s not something you can rush through either; you’ll come out of the other side eventually. You need to stick it out the best you can.

When I’m feeling bad, I have to find ways to distract myself. I write, I play games or watch movies. Anything that will keep my mind off the way that I’m feeling. Everyone has different coping strategies for dealing with a depressive episode. What works for me might not work for you. It’s all about finding out what does and getting through it the best that you can.

I recently had a moderate depressive episode after we moved house. The change in location and the disruption of my routine knocked me for six, and I struggled daily with how I was feeling. I spent my time playing games and focusing on anything that wasn’t my brain imploding. This time it wasn’t as bad as previous episodes that I’ve had, and I’m pretty much out of it now, but the threat of going back down is always there.

At times Bipolar disorder is exhausting. Trying to preempt future events and what might send you one way or another is so tiring, and that alone is enough to drag you into a downward spiral, and it’s a fight to stop that from happening.

Bipolar disorder can leave you feeling alone. It can make you feel isolated and that no one understands how you’re feeling or that you’re wrong for feeling the way you do. I’m here to say that’s bullshit. You’re not alone, and some people understand. I completely feel that way, though, and that it’s hard to ask people for help, but if you read this and feel alone, know that you’re not.

I’ll leave it here for now. Have a good weekend all.

Publishing Perils and Mental Health

I self-published The Next Stage back in October. Before I did this, however, I sent it out to a few publishers that when I didn’t hear back from, I decided to go ahead with publishing it myself.

A few weeks ago I received an email from one of the publishers that I’d sent to, saying they would like to publish it.

I won’t lie; this got me a little excited as I thought I was finally getting somewhere. Unfortunately, this feeling wasn’t to last.

We looked into this publisher and found that they had published some fairly well-known books, so we thought “Great, they seem reputable.”

After reading the email more thoroughly, I found that they didn’t want to publish my book with a traditional contract, but with something they termed ‘Hybrid.’ I was still excited though as I still thought that this was going to be
something good.

However, when we started to look into what that meant, and the testimonies of others that have tried to do things this way, my good feeling evaporated and left me feeling down.

Let me explain what we found.

Basically, the hybrid contract that this publisher was offering sounded pretty much like self-publishing, only you’re not doing it, you’re paying someone else to do it for you. And for this service, they would ask for a pretty large sum of money – which I don’t have.

We started to look into what other people have said about these kinds of contracts, and the good feeling faded further.

Many people said that this company took their money and did very little for them. That they refused to do any of the marketing that they promised to do. It seemed that they reneged on all of their promises to other authors and left them with a book that was selling and a massive deficit in their finances. This just wasn’t what I wanted to hear.

I’ve only been writing for a while, and I am well aware of the perils of traditional publishing. You may get twenty refusals for every one acceptance, but having this acceptance snatched away from me so unceremoniously took a real bite out of my mental health.

There was part of me wondering what the point of even trying was. I felt like I wasn’t going to get anywhere.

Now, I know that The Next Stage is a good book. The reviews speak for themselves. But struggling with a mental health issue means that even the slightest setback, can cause significant damage to my self-esteem and my want to continue with my writing career.

I’ve now recovered from this setback – because that’s all that it was – I’m continuing with my writing, and I’m probably a few months away from my next release, but this whole thing has left a bitter taste in my mouth when it comes to sending my books to publishers.

I know that not all publishers are likely to give me the experience I had above, but I’m now warier than ever about dealing with anyone.

I hope that in the future I will feel confident enough to send things out once again, but for now, I’m just going to stick to doing things myself. It’s hard doing everything from writing to publishing and marketing yourself. But I feel a modicum of control over it now which I’m not willing to give up at the sake of my mental health.

I warn any other – not just those with mental health issues – to be wary of who you send your books to. Please make sure you research them beforehand and be sure of what you’re doing. I obviously didn’t do enough. I think I was probably having a very slight manic “this will be a good idea” moment. But at least now I have learned from the mistake and am now able to continue with my writing.