A great post from Nornoriel Lokason.
I’ve encountered some of these things from other people.
I’m disabled, and I have a bipolar 2 affective disorder, which is a chronic mental illness and means I struggle with mood swings. (A bipolar 1 disorder is what used to be called manic depression.)
I take anti-depressants and a mood stabilising medication. I can’t function without my meds. The meds doesn’t cure me; it makes the depressions less deep and last much shorter, and they prevent hypomania.
Hypomania is a milder for of mania, typical for a bipolar 2 disorder. It meant that I’d get “hyper”, and that I didn’t sleep for 4-5 nights. During this period I’d overflow with creative energy, and I began several different creative projects. However, I couldn’t concentrate on one thing for long, so I was never able to finish anything. Then I’d have a major crash and slip into a depressive episode, after having worn myself out by being very active and not sleeping.
I also see a psychiatrist once a week, and he’s very helpful. He has helped me accept that I have an illness and that it is chronic, and that it isn’t just me being “lazy” or “thinking negatively”, that I can’t just “pull myself together” and get rid of depression. He has helped me understand that a mental illness is just as valid as a physical illness.
“Whether you suffer from a mood disorder or not, you should know that they are genuine medical conditions with physical manifestations in the brain. Just because you can’t see the physical problem, it doesn’t mean that it’s not there. If you could have one of those fancy brain scans you would see it. Use this information to accept the fact that you’re ill, and you need rest and medical treatment. You’re not weak or selfish or any of the other things people may accuse you of. You’re not well. Got it? Good”
–Quote found on Depression Forums