My own, I said, are focusing on work, housework and - I was embarrassed to admit - personal hygiene.
The answers showed that we have a lot of things in common during our bipolar depressive episodes!
I'm Depressed and I Can't DO ItSumayah: SHOWERING!!! I'm definitely not interested in getting in the shower or bath AT ALL when depressed. It's gross, really, but very common among people with depression and bipolar. Also wearing the same pj's for days or weeks on end all day and night. Other impossible jobs are washing clothes, cooking, going out of the house, etc.
Michelle: I hate showering/bathing to. I hate water, period. And sometimes I wear the same clothes for days and just sleep.
HeLena: Showering! Shaving legs! Do my hair! Cook! And going out of house!
Suzi: Get out of bed!!! Or answer the phone/door. Holding a conversation is a challenge.
Chantelle: Mine is household chores. I tend to just want to sleep and avoid the world.
Laura: I find it very hard to look after my kids when my mood is low. I can't make decisions about anything: what to eat for dinner? Where to go? What am I doing??! I completely zone out. If my partner wasn't around constantly telling me to eat and asking me what I want to eat all through the day, it would never cross my mind to eat at all. Also yes, the hygiene goes downhill - especially the hair and changing/washing clothes.
Casey: Everyday activities. Bathing, taking care of the kids, the dog, the house, eating. Some days I can't even leave the house.
Emily: My kids are hard for me to keep up with. I won't cook or clean, work is pretty unbearable. I've almost walked out on my job because I couldn't cope.
Thea: My oldest is 12, so she kinda picks up where I leave off. She helps me by reminding me to eat. My youngest is five and won't take showers by herself, so I have to do it with her. My kids are my support system.
Reza: My hair, of course.
Judith: Going out, or having anyone come to my home. I hate both. I just want to cocoon myself away.
Mona: Everything at home get neglected. Dinner isn't ready sometimes till 10pm, or it's a Ramen noodle or microwave dinner night. Dishes pile up, laundry piles up, the entire house falls apart. And I just walk by it and crawl back in bed, where I stay 99% of the day. I hate that feeling - so hopeless and lost, completely lonely and alone.
Daniel: I slack off at work and my attitude is horrendous because I get extremely agitated. Also I lose all desire to go to the gym, and with that loss comes a loss in self-confidence.
Daleen: Mine is housecleaning. I just want to do nothing when I'm depressed, most of the time I just want to sleep.
Ekla: Getting washed and dressed, trying to eat, and going to the gym.
Shirley: I find it so very hard to get out of bed and walk, everything hurts and I feel so weak. I can't leave the house and I only do the most basic of things. I just eat basic food and try not to create too much of a mess to clean up. Hygiene standards slip badly and I have no care for anything. The need for sleep is overwhelming.
Melanie: Exercising, taking walks and brushing my teeth.
Heidi: Stop and focus on anything, and just dealing with humans.
Stormy: Hygiene for sure, any kind of clean up, and cooking.
Edith: Hygiene and dressing. Don't know why. I'm usually pretty good about it.
Something good came out of this discussion, which makes me hope it will help others, too:
Kimberly: I have a 14-year-old daughter who suffers with bipolar. It's hard to understand by someone who doesn't have it. But all your responses just helped me see that her behaviors are very common of depression. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing all those hard daily moments.
Kimberly's words suggest that maybe you can make a difference with this list, too. If you need someone to understand more about your own depression, show them this list. We who struggle with bipolar depression DO have many problem behaviors in common. That doesn't mean we can't try to overcome them, but if someone is angry at you about it, I hope this will make them see that you need help and support, not anger.