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It's been quite some time since last time I had a proper depressive episode. The last one was probably before I finally found a job in April. I knew it would not last, that at some point, I will feel it once again, and today was the day. Well, technically still is.

I'm not writing this for pity, though, no. Bipolar disorder is part of me, it's my problem, and it's my responsibility to manage it the best I can to minimize impact on others. It's just that today's episode is one of those, that people usually do not consider depressive, and that's why I thought it can be a good idea to share how it feels.

Usually people consider "depression" as something just "being sad", "feeling down". That's why some also think that saying something like "cheer up", will magically cure it. It can help in some cases, depending on who says it and how, but in general - it does not, and, in fact, can make things worse. A person with actual depressive episode will start thinking "it's such a silly thing, and I am feeling down, why can't I cheer up, indeed, it be happy?". This is one of the dark thoughts patterns, which sends you down a spiral, unless you recognize it and find ways to stop it.

While feeling of sadness is often a sign that you may have a depressive episode, it's not always the case. While I am writing this post, I do not feel sad at all, but I know that I am having a depressive episode. I feel this ephemeral weight in my head. Like headache, but without the physical pain. It's like my mind is trapped in a room without doors, and the walls are closing in, trying to crush me. And that is also how a depression can feel.

This pressure makes me feel trapped, and like I am about to break. I feel suffocating (with some instances in the past, when I did try to choke myself), and I want to hit a wall over and over again, till my bones break, till my arms are a bloody mess. And in general, there is this strange desire to feel the pain, as if it would signify the struggle to get out, that I am not just "sitting there". The fear of pain and the idea, that it would not really change anything in the life, have (so far) kept me from actually doing that.

That's not all, though. There is also a level of annoyance by myself. Usually this annoyance is a sign of manic episodes, but it can happen during depressive episodes, as well. Annoyance is caused by this weird perception of the time, kind of stop-motion (video may be disturbing for some), it feels too fast and too slow at the same time, and because of it littlest of things start to fail: more mistypes, things dropping, stumbling... Essentially you start to feel as if at the onset of dementia.

Speaking of: there is also a slight change of of sound perception, with certain sounds becoming more muffled, and other more accentuated. Not to the same extent as with real dementia, but it adds to the overall atmosphere, along with degraded hand-eye coordination. These increases the feeling of being trapped, and being out of control, because you feel as if your body is betraying you.

Luckily, I do have my medication, that help level out the episodes. Quetiapine is more for reducing manic episodes, rather than depressive ones, but but reduce the maximum on one side of the chemical equation, reduces the other as well. And I also have a remedy that helps recover faster from depressive episodes: salmon. Ideally cold-smoked or graved (gravlax) one, but hot-smoked or otherwise cooked works, too. Just seems a bit less effective, probably because heat does affect the required nutrients: iron, B12, folic acid and omega-3 acids. In fact, I just ate a bowl with salmon from Sushi Panda. I didn't necessarily need it, but now I know for sure, that tomorrow when I wake up - I will feel good. Or, at least, normal.

By the way, if you're curious what a manic episode can feel like, chapter 7 from my forever unfinished book may be a nice example.