Last month I wrote about how a deep depression was summed up for me in the three words I don't care. After that, I saw my psychiatrist and she decided I should increase Seroquel (quetiapine), which had worked before for me as an antidepressant, from 50 mg to 200. Although I have my worries about weight issues and blood sugar with Seroquel, I didn't hesitate to go along with this.
And then I got cellulitis again. Briefly, this is a skin infection. In my case, it appeared on my left ankle this time (last year it was the right ankle, foot and shin) and started moving upward. So it was off to the ER, where they gave me an intravenous antibiotic for an hour and sent me home with a prescription.
Last year this worked fine. This year, not so. I wound up having to be admitted to the hospital for IV antibiotics. Cellulitis can become dangerous if not treated before it escalates.
All this was pretty damn depressing, so I continued in a very low mood for several days after being released. And then, after I took the last clindamycin dose, something changed.
Maybe at that point the increased Seroquel finally kicked in, I don't know. What I do know is that I had some trash in my hand to throw away, but I hadn't put a new garbage bag into the kitchen wastebasket. "I don't care" would have me just put the trash down on the table. But that's not the words I heard - I heard, "Ah, why not?"
And I set the trash down, pulled out a fresh bag and settled it in the wastebasket. And threw the trash in.
Sounds insignificant - but it's not. I mean, I store the extra trashbags in the bottom of the wastebasket. They are just that easy to get out, peel and shake open and put in place - takes maybe 30 seconds. But it's a 30-second task that was too much effort during the deepest depression, and now my mindset was different.
From I don't care to Ah, why not? is an enormous step on the stairway up from depression. Since then I've cleaned up the bathroom, washed all the cruddy, stinky stuff in the kitchen sink and emptied the dishwasher. Doesn't sound like much, but for the first time the stairway is lit instead of being so dark I couldn't even find it.
Today I tackled - and almost finished - the enormous task of catching up on payroll and payroll taxes for my one-person corporation. It was daunting and stressing, but now it's done, except for sending one fax (my scanner is buried in papers).
Would it be possible consciously to say, maybe even out loud, "Ah, why not?" when you hear, "I don't care"? Would it help you find the staircase sooner? It's worth a try.
Facing the challenges5 Rules for Bipolar Relationships