A Bad Day

June 25, 2012

I don’t know if it’s the medications not being stabilized, or my ex-boyfriend getting married this summer, or half my family being unemployed, or just generally being lonely (or whatever else trigger can bring on depression), but today has been bad so far.  It was fine in the morning and then as the afternoon started, I just got more and depressed and couldn’t figure out why.  It got to the point where I was working on the computer while crying, which I used to do a lot.  I have work to do and I need to get it doe, and I used to be so depressed so much of the time that I couldn’t let a little thing like wanting to not be alive stop me or I’d never function again.  So I do as much of my work (or driving, or whatever) as I can while crying, and then when I’m crying to hard to wear my glasses any more, I go lie down and hopefully fall asleep.  That’s what happened today.

I don’t know what to do when this happen and I just wish I had some other kind of disease.  I know someone with diabetes who always posts on Facebook or Twitter when her stats are low (or high?  I don’t really know how diabetes works), and she gets encouragement and acknowledgment of how hard that is to live with.  When my friends have a bad cold or mono, or if they break a bone, they can post that on Facebook and people offer to bring soup or drive them to the doctor or walk their dog.  And I have people who would do that too.  But I can’t put this kind of stuff on Facebook.  “Can anyone bring me soup because I’m sad for no reason?” “Can someone come sit in my house because I need company but I can’t get in the car?”  “I feel worthless, can someone come visit me please?”  All of those things would help, but I can’t put them in a public forum.

I sent text messages to a couple of people, but again, there’s a lack of understanding.  These friends would come in a second if something physical happened to me.  If I needed money and they were able, they’d give it to me.  They’re good friends.  But they don’t understand why I feel so bad (neither do I) and they don’t understand that I can’t control it and that it can be SO BAD.  One is legitimately super busy and stressed and texted with me for a little bit but I don’t think she could have done much more with everything going on and I understand.  One said I was welcome to come to her house – which is 30-45 minutes away and I’m not sure I could drive to the corner store right now.  One said that I could call her if I needed, any time. I’m sure if you haven’t experienced it, you don’t know that I am not only functional enough to drive, I am not functional enough to make a phone call, and I’m barely functional enough to type. I didn’t try anyone else because I couldn’t handle it, not because I thought they’d be unhelpful, but because I started believing that I’m not worth their attention and love and care.  I’m so ashamed of being depressed.

There haven’t been that many bad days recently, although they seem to be getting more frequent.  I’ll probably be fine tomorrow, or mostly fine.  But getting through today feels like more than I can do by myself and every time I have one of these days, I get more scared that all of my days will be like this again.

The Medication Dance

June 19, 2012

As anyone with a “mood disorder” knows far too well, medications can be difficult.  I think even most doctors will agree that it’s a lot of trial and error – and when you’re talking about your mental health, “error” is not what you want.  I started on Prozac when I was 20, almost 17 years ago.  Since then, I’ve had a series of medications regiments that worked somewhat – I was so used to being depressed, that I didn’t realize I had only gone from severely depressed to mildly depressed – for the next 14 years.  Finally, after a pretty major breakdown which involved an emergency room visit and an outpatient program, I got put on a medication which actually brought me up to not being depressed – a whole new level for me.

After 3 1/2 years of being pretty stable, my doctor and I decided it was time to address the fact that one of the medications might be giving me some anxiety.  I tapered this medication down very,very slowly, and was fine, mood-wise, so I even allowed myself to think for a minute that maybe one day I could be medication-free!  (probably not going to happen).  Although I was not depressed, I started having more trouble sleeping, so we decided to re-introduce that one slowly.  Frustrating, but it made sense.

Well, even though I’m on THE EXACT SAME COMBINATION as I was a year ago, it’s not working well.  I’m anxious and I’m crying easily and feeling sad and lonely.  I suppose some of it could be external but it coincides perfectly with putting that one medication back in.  It’s known to have anxiety as a side effect, so that makes sense, except that was on it before!  And I suppose the depression could have followed from the anxiety.  Or my body chemistry could have changed.  I don’t know but it is frustrating and discouraging.  And I am really not wanting to do trial and error again.

This also freaks me out because even one day of anxiety/depression can catapult me right back into what it feels like to be in the pit of despair, not able to get out of bed and not able to see any hope in anything.  I’m not even close to that but these little pills might be all that’s standing between me and that situation and that is truly terrifying.


June 5, 2012

I had a hard day on Saturday.  I had a difficult student in the morning, which was fine (I love the difficult ones) and then a dog training session, so I was pretty exhausted by early afternoon.  The plan was to take a shower, take a nap, and go to San Francisco to have a mellow dinner with a couple of friends who I haven’t seen in a while but really like and don’t get to see often enough.  I really liked that plan and was pretty invested in it.  It felt like the right amount of alone time vs. work time vs. social plan. So when one of those friends canceled just a few hours before, I was kind of thrown for a loop in a way that I haven’t been in a while.  She said that she had dinner plans and was sorry but hoped she’d see me soon.

First I was  confused – dinner plans?  But the three of us had dinner plans! It was over text message so who knows what details got left out, but I started feeling pretty hurt.  She had just confirmed these plans the day before so why was she canceling them now?  Then I just started feeling sad, again, in a way that I haven’t in a while.  I took a nap but instead of waking up and going somewhere, I woke up and just felt aimless and lost and scared.  it felt like that old feeling that I’d get when I’d leave a social gathering or someone would leave my house and I’d realize that I was alone with myself without a purpose and it felt like I was falling into a pit – there was an actual physical feeling of falling (maybe that’s why I didn’t like roller coasters).

When I was a little kid, I would get so upset when I was bored.  Kids never like being bored, but I would get really distressed and panicked.  I don’t think the adults in my life knew what to do – why would a child be panic-stricken and terrified by boredom, and not just annoyed?  Especially a child who learned to read at 3 and had hundreds of books.  They would argue with me that I couldn’t possibly be bored – I had all these books!  And toys!  and a little brother and sister! And art supplies!  I understand their confusion now.  I’m sure I was bored sometimes, but these times when I was complaining wasn’t because of boredom.  It was because of depression.

I think that many people see depression as just sadness and miss the terror underneath it.  It’s not just sadness, it’s sadness that is a wild animal trying to kill you or that is a terrorist trying to blow you up.  All the time.  Only you don’t care because being alive and scared and sad and hopeless is so much worse than the thing just finally getting you.  I wasn’t bored; I was falling off a mountain but I never landed.  I just kept falling and falling.

This started again on Saturday.  It was pretty mild but I think that all the years when it wasn’t so mild have scarred me.  I think if I didn’t have my history and I felt like I did on Saturday, I would just say I was a little blue.  Or tired.  Or unmotivated.  Instead, I was almost paralyzed.  I kept thinking of it in terms of being bored, just like I had when I was 7 or 8, but I wasn’t bored.  I was probably experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder and I was panicking.

Fortunately, a different friend just happened to have time to meet me for a late dinner.  she is someone who knows all these things about me (and has had her own periods of depression, although not for decades like I did) but I didn’t tell her what was going on, just that I needed to get out of the house.  As soon as I did, I felt better.  Not great, but better. And it got better throughout the night. The weekend overall turned out to be an OK one.  Again, not great, but OK.  Not too long ago, I would have thought about going to the ER because I wasn’t sure I’d be safe at home.  Or started thinking about who was going to take my dog because I didn’t deserve to have anything good and I had incredible overwhelming guilt about being in charge of another living creature when I was so undeserving..  This time, I had a mediocre weekend.  Definite improvement.