KAIT MAURO

Based in Birmingham, AL

A few paragraphs from a letter I wrote to a friend last week

Manic DepressionKait Mauro1 Comment

I haven’t been able to do my therapy homework. I’m supposed to write down all of the mean things I tell myself when I’m “in it” then write truer/kinder responses to the mean voices. And they’re so mean. I would never speak the way I do to myself in these times to another person. And even though I recognize that, it’s hard to get my demons to shut up and every time I look at the list I wrote I just start to get overwhelmed with insecurity again and can’t think of responses to the cruel sentences. Edward even offered to write his own responses to my mean things, so I have a second kind voice to listen to, but I feel like I need to write my responses before he writes his and I can’t get past myself enough to write them. They’re my demons and I need to be the first line of defense in silencing them because Edward isn’t always around and I need to do this for myself first, if that makes sense. I haven’t really shown or told many people yet but I got a new tattoo when the deeper darkness started coming back in February. Edward had been writing “It’s okay.” on my arm in sharpie when I needed it and it had been helping me so one day he wrote it in his neatest possible future-doctor handwriting and I went to a tattoo shop for the first time in a long time and had it made permanent. It didn’t heal properly though, some of the letters are faded already, which makes me incredibly sad for reasons I can’t quite articulate, so I need to go back and get it touched up now that it seems to be done healing. I hate to admit it but the tattoo doesn’t help as much as the non-permanent words did. I like having Edward’s handwriting on my arm though because in some morbid way if something happened to him I’d forever have him with me, telling me it’s okay and it’s going to be okay – almost a way to remember he was real and he loved me.

Everything makes me tear up lately. I cry for a while almost everyday. Yesterday I had a phone appointment with my psychiatrist in St Louis and I told him I thought the depression was slowly going away in bits and pieces but Edward told him he thought I was just saying that because I’d had a decent morning and people tend to report on what they’re feeling right then and not be as accurate about the big picture. Edward was right. Last night and this morning the darkness is back. I can see through it a bit but somehow still can’t see the way out.

I’ve heard that depression is living in the past and anxiety is living in the future but I’m trying to practice mindfulness and be in the present and I still feel a lot of pain right now, in the present, so I don’t know what the answer to that is. I feel on the further end of the craziest I’ve ever felt lately because I can’t even tell if I am physically ill (a mild flu maybe) or if my depression is just manifesting in a physical way and making me feel physically ill when there isn’t actually anything wrong with my body. When I’m feeling better emotionally I feel better physically and when I get down emotionally I feel more physically sick. Edward keeps telling me not to think about it and to just treat myself like I am actually sick but I can’t stop thinking about this question – is this all in my head? Edward says if you yell at a sick person for a while the stress will make them feel more sick and that’s what I’m doing to myself and why there is this correlation between the emotional and physical sickness but I don’t know. I am just so stuck on the question.

Your life always appears so poetic and beautiful to me in the snippets I see of it on my phone. You seem to be doing everything right. I know you’re human so this can’t be how your reality truly is but… I don’t know why I’m telling you this. I suppose if I weren’t such an over-sharer on the internet people might get the impression that my life was going smoothly too.

I’m really frustrated and angry, in a way, because I thought I was done with bipolar episodes. That’s why I stopped writing things for the International Bipolar Foundation. I thought my meds were solid and my brain was maturing and I just had to focus on my anxiety and some other problems now, but I was wrong. And it’s exhausting to even think that I might be dealing with these downs, I so rarely get the ups, for the rest of my life. It’s scary to not be able to trust your own brain. I think maybe you understand. It’s scary to think that your reality isn’t really reality. It’s scary to not know exactly how different what’s actually happening is from what you’re experiencing.