A Tiny Miracle

November 11, 2018

Quick, but before I forget to be grateful:

Most of my state appears to be on fire and the air quality is so bad that, even though I am 150 miles away from the closest fire, I am carrying around my HEPA air filter like it’s an oxygen tank. Every time I go outside, I get a headache so I’ve been cooped up inside like I haven’t since I had my foot surgery in July.

I had no plans today aside from a tutoring student, so I have basically interacted with no one aside from that one student and a neighbor who brought me a mask to where when I’m out.

It’s dark very early and really cold outside.

It’s a Saturday night with no plans.

All of those things are triggers for me. And they can be major major triggers.

And I’m OK. I’m not fantastic, but I’m OK. This is a tiny miracle, and I’ll take it.

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10 mg Makes the Difference

October 28, 2018

It’s astounding — and a bit scary — that 10 mg more of a certain medication can make the difference between whether I want to be alive or not.

I really don’t like that this is true.

I am getting better, though, and now need to catch up on so much. I wish depression was more acceptable, and then I could say I had been sick and that would be an acceptable excuse. But… stigma.

I think things are looking up though.


Wasting My Life

October 21, 2018

One of the worst things about depression (well, they’re all worst things) is the feeling of wasting my life. I have a great place to live, near the beach, with a lovely dog. I have friends and time to read and the freedom to do what I want in many ways. I should be happy. I want to be happy. I want to be enjoying life.

Instead, I’m just going through the motions. I’m getting up. I’m taking the medication that is supposed to make a difference in 4-6 weeks (how do I wait that long?). I’m exercising and cleaning my house and doing my work but the whole time, I’m feeling hopeless. Not like “wanting to die now” hopeless, but like “all I’m doing is going through the motions” hopeless. Or “trying to get through my life without having anyone notice that I’m falling apart” hopeless. (There’s a reason I don’t have my name on this blog).

I feel OK temporarily. Then I sit down or get ready for something and overwhelming loneliness and sorrow and just… hopelessness.

It’s hard to remember that I don’t always feel this way. Right now it feels like I’ve always felt this bad and I will always feel this bad. And I can’t stand that. So I’m trying to remember it isn’t true and that things will get better, but… it’s hard… It’s really hard.

 


Outrunning Depression

October 21, 2018

I’ve been trying to exercise a lot. I don’t actually run but I’ve been riding my bike and walking as much as I can, getting much more exercise than usual. This isn’t for weight loss or training. It’s to try to feel better.

I’m trying to exercise away depression, but it’s not working. I remember the last time I really tried this. It was in college. I had just been diagnosed and was only beginning to learn about depression. The doctor told me to exercise, so I started trying to run and take a free aerobics class offered by my college.

The difference was extraordinary. I could feel an immediate change, a lift in my mood. The problem was that, about 30 minutes after I stopped exercising, my mood dropped right back down to where it was, or below. Dramatically, and all in a moment. Apparently the endorphins really did make a difference because it was a stark difference.

Of course, that doesn’t really help. There’s no help in feeling better if it only lasts for an hour or less and drops again.

I’ve been noticing, as I’ve been dealing with the depression this time, that I’m trying out out-exercise it. I’ve been pretty sedentary and I work from home so it’s easy to not get much walking at all done. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been riding my bike every day and walking at least several miles every day. Again, it’s not a lot compared to many people, but it’s a lot for me.

But it’s the same problem as before. It helps momentarily and then I drop. And I drop hard.


Meds Update

October 19, 2018
I contacted my doctor and told him what was going on, that I feel sad a lot of the time, am crying a lot more, feel empty, can’t get out of bed, and am totally unmotivated to do things I used to like. Yes, I know, textbook depression.
He asked me if I was a danger to myself and I’m not, but sometimes I wish I were because there could be a possible out. I know that sounds morbid, and I’m not going to do anything, but sometimes life just feels like it will be too long. On the other hand, sometimes life is wonderful and feels like it won’t be long enough! But not right now.
So, he’s going to bump me up on my current medication to the maximum allowable dose. While I think this is the right thing to do, I’m not very happy about it, mostly because this means there’s nowhere to go after this. If it doesn’t work, I have to start over.
It feels so shameful also. I’d be the first reason to say there should be no shame in this, but there is. I feel ashamed of crying, of sleeping way too long, and of being this unhappy when I have a pretty good life for the Bay Area and ASTONISHINGLY good life if you look globally.
When I had my foot surgery, I could ask on social media for help. I could text friends and ask for help, ranging from walking the dog, grocery shopping, doing laundry, or even just coming to sit with me because being home-bound is rough. And they were happy to. But how do I do that with depression? I just can’t. No matter how much I try to convince myself that it’s not shameful… well, I’m a hard person to convince.
Here’s hoping the increase helps. I just don’t know the next step if they don’t.

Hard Day

October 15, 2018

Today was hard.

I felt lonely all day. My church, which used to feel like home, feels more like a place where I know some people but don’t fit in. Part of that is just that there’s not a lot of place in general for a 43-year old single woman with no children, and really not in churches.

Part of it is because there’s no one to check in on me and make sure I’m ok. Part of it is probably the season change. I emailed the doctor to ask about meds, because I’m sure that’s quite a bit of it. But no matter what the reason, it’s been hard.

I finally reached out to a friend who came over in the middle of my crying.  The helped, and we took the dog for a walk, which also helped. Now a hot bath, and bed. I have about 75 more things I was supposed to do tonight but I just can’t.

Hopefully tomorrow is better.


Medication… Again

October 11, 2018

downloadAnyone who’s struggled with depression and been helped by medication knows that it is definitely a mixed blessing. The relief can be so great–you can finally feel like yourself, the way you’re supposed to be! But the process, which is all trial and error, can be SO HARD.

I first started with medication in 1995 when I was in college. I was falling apart so often and so severely that an older woman I know finally took me aside and said, “Honey, we all get sad but this is not normal. You need to get help.” I was put on Prozac, and it helped… a little.

For the next 14 years, I tried medication after medication. They’d help for a while, like I wouldn’t cry EVERY day, just every other day. Or I wouldn’t feel like dying, I’d just feel like I couldn’t ever get out of bed. But I got through college and grad school and 9 years of a career. It wasn’t great, but I honestly didn’t think life really got better.

Then I went through a horrible breakup. It was awful. This was in 2009 and I again, just fell apart. I took myself to the emergency room where the doctor said, look you REALLY don’t want to be committed. Can you wait until next week and get into an outpatient program? Can you hang on that long? I did.

The outpatient program was… dumb. I hated it. Singing karaoke was embarassing and not therapeutic. Art therapy with crayons was not for me, as someone who comes from a family of fine artists. The groups were whiny. But the new prescription I got changed my life.

I had no idea that you could counter brain chemistry like this! All of a sudden, I felt free. I didn’t feel high or manic; I just felt… normal. And I had no idea what normal could feel like before then. It was amazing.

In the last 9 years, things have gone up and down, for sure. And now it’s time for another medication change or addition. This is probably in large part because of the national/political climate and worries that go along with it. It’s partly because I’m 43 and single and afraid that will never change. It’s partly because of major money worries (I’m not in ANY immediate danger, but those worries! They don’t go away!)

And I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to trial and error and see if this makes me sleepy or that one makes me fat or the other makes me anxious. It is such an inexact science that it is horrifically frustrating.

But I need to, because getting out of bed has become a multi-hour process. Wish me luck. I will need it.