The way I see i…

The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant. – The Eleventh Doctor

So… I’ve been on a major Doctor Who kick lately (read: I have watched six seasons in the last week. Heh… don’t judge me!)

All nerdiness aside, I thought that this was a great quote to remember. My depression/anxiety/whatever has made me somewhat of a perfectionist. When I was little that meant straightening books and pictures and making sure everything was even and balanced. That part of me has gotten much more relaxed over the years but I feel like it has transitioned into feeling the need for ME to be perfect.

This has been a major hindrance for me because I feel it has to be “all or nothing”, that I’m either “good or bad”. No inbetween. If I know that I can’t stick to a perfect schedule of exercising or relaxation techniques or writing in my journal everyday or whatever it may be that would help me feel better? If I can’t do it as much as I think I should be able to? I won’t do it at all. In my head, not trying is better than failing because I can’t handle anymore disappointment and frustration.

I am working on this however and trying to be more accepting of my limitations and trying to give myself credit for what I am able to do. Therefore taking off some of the pressure which is nice.

Do any of you share any similar feelings? What do you do about them?

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I Don’t Want to Take an Antidepressant

medium_344574172I have be trying to weigh the pros and cons of antidepressants for a few months now. They will be suggested by my parents or my therapist or some random well meaning person, and I’ll think about it. Sometimes I decided that, yes, I could look into them. Then I go to the doctor or do research on them and decide that I still don’t really want to take any.

Maybe seeing all of my thoughts in written form will help. So here are my thoughts on why I don’t want to take an antidepressant and why I might end up taking one anyway.

Past Experiences

About a year and a half ago I went on an antidepressant. Not for depression but for migraines (I was told that I have “constant chronic transitory migraines” but thats a mouthful so I usually just refer to it as a constant headache, that’s easier) which I’ve suffered from for years. (I was also dealing with depression at this point, I just didn’t know it yet). The neurologist that I went to recommended I try an SSRI. I wasn’t super thrilled to try a medication at that point either, for the most part I like to stick to things that are as natural as possible, and the potential side-effects scared me. He told me, however, that side effects with this prescription were pretty rare and any I did happen to experience would most likely be very mild.

So I tried it. My reaction?

It was a NIGHTMARE.

Both literally and figuratively. I spent six weeks completely miserable. It threw off my sleep patterns completely, I couldn’t sleep at all at night, was groggy and lethargic all the time, fell asleep at dinner a few times. I didn’t eat and lost quite a bit of weight. My life was on hold and felt like I was moving in slow motion for a month and a half. Basically my antidepressant made me depressed.

After starting the medication I started having really crazy dreams, some of which were pretty entertaining… a t-rex in a furniture store, several alien invasions, and being adopted by a family of gorillas, (whose names were Chewy, Bacca, and Anakin) were a few. I also became spiderman and fought off purple goop in one. Haha yes I sound like a nerd but they were cool (;

The downside of these awesome dreams was that I was also having nightmares. Making them worse was the fact that I had fairly recently remembered some past trauma that I was trying to process and deal with. When I then started having extremely vivid and realistic dreams about this my life kind of fell apart. Trying to distinguish what memories were real and what may not have been real were made worse when they became mixed up with my dreams that felt like memories.

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Although I, of course, stopped taking Prozac after the six weeks, the nightmares that it triggered have yet to end over a year later. Waking up in the middle of the night crying and wanting to scream was not listed as a side effect. I’m afraid of what I’ll have to live with after taking the next one.

More recently I went to my local medical doctor to ask about options when it comes to antidepressants and the first thing he said?

“You look too happy to be depressed.”

Really? Reallly?? Ugh. He then proceeded to fire off questions and tried to give me a prescription without knowing hardly anything about my circumstances or needs. I told him I didn’t want it and left.

To Take or Not to Take?

These experiences, along with worrying how an antidepressant may affect me or change my mood scares me. I am aware that it can take several tries to find the right pill that works for you. At this point, with as low as I have been lately, I see that as meaning weeks and weeks of torture trying to find it though. And in the process, if I get on one that I have adverse reactions to… it might push me over the edge and increase my already high chances of suicide.

I know that I have to do something drastic though. And while exercise, nutrition and therapy are great for mild to moderate depression, it’s not always enough for severe depression. I would like it to be, but I don’t care enough at this point to engage in anything that would be helpful. My therapy can’t help at this point because I don’t have the motivation to work with it like I need to.

I am going to make an appointment through my therapist for a Doctor she knows who is specialized in mental health this week. Hopefully I will have a better overall experience this way since I’ll have support from her and the Doctors should actually know what they’re talking about and be able to help me. I hope.

Am I crazy for not wanting to take an antidepressant? It really scares me. I don’t know if I have any other options at this point if I’m going to get through this though. If any of you reading this have any suggestions of experiences you’d like to share they’d be appreciated. Thanks!

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My Black Dog

I love this video so much… I want to show it to everyone I know so that they’d understand what depression is like. Or I would if I wasn’t too afraid to.

Lately, I feel like I have been constantly trying to explain how I feel to the people who I want to understand… but instead of them saying, “Oh, okay, I see how that could be really hard for you.” I get, “It’s not like I’m asking you to do that much, I don’t understand how that could really be that hard to do… it’s just a car ride (or a prescription or a party).” Or, “I know what you mean! Last week I couldn’t sleep at all. I was laying awake until midnight! (Yeah, no joke, someone said this to me the other day after I told them I was tired) Have you tried *insert any of the following… sleeping pill, tea, face mask, ect* it will help, trust me.” They just don’t get it.

I am running out of ideas and energy to attempt to help people see what I’m going through. Caring enough to even WANT to try sometimes is difficult. The anxiety side of me freaks out because I don’t want to lose the people I love, but depression is telling me that it doesn’t matter and isn’t worth it. And together they make me want to crawl back into bed and not have to think or do anything about it. It’s frustrating.

Do any of you relate to his video? Any suggestions on how to help people understand when I don’t know if I care that they do anymore? How do you do it?

Oh and for the record, I actually have a black lab and he is great. So I don’t want anyone thinking I have anything against black dogs! (; (:

A Trip to the Therapist

medium_9992907753I just got back from my weekly therapy session and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Usually, if I had enough energy, I would write about it in my journal and hope to make some sense of everything we talked about. But, today, I thought I would share my thoughts here instead, in case anyone else can relate. So here are some not-very-well-organized musings of my time at the psychologists.

As I said in my last post the past few weeks have been really tough for me, harder than they have been in a long time. Even so, I don’t always realize how bad things are until I hear myself describing it to my therapist and listen to her responses and questions. That’s where I got a little scared today. Usually I come out of my session with a motivational jump start… enough to keep me going and out of a major mood drop for a few days. This time though, I heard the words “major depressive episode” and “severe depression” several times. My therapist seemed concerned about me this time, making sure I wasn’t going to be by myself and trying to come up with some more intense outside resources that might help to get me feeling better.

She said that when depression gets to the point where it is affecting every part of your life, (sleep, relationships, eating, motivation, work, school ect) that it’s important to decide how long you’re going to wait before taking more drastic measures to lift you out of it. She mentioned other forms of therapy, even daily ones, and medications (which really scare me because of bad past experiences), family therapy, and a few other options that I could consider.

We talked about my cutting and how it has gotten substantially worse over the last couple weeks. She told me that I needed to make sure I was extra careful if I cut while having any suicidal thoughts. Speaking of which… those have been pretty bad lately too. Not to the point of having a plan and trying to get the resources to do it but definitely thoughts that everything and everyone would be better off without me and I wish I had never existed. Honestly, if it didn’t take so much effort and I could do it without hurting the people I love, even more than I am already? I quite possibly would have done it already. Knowing how it would destroy my family and friends, though, has kept me from acting on it so far.

I was told to make sure that if it does gets to the point where I feel unsafe and think I might go through with it to tell someone, my parents, boyfriend, best friend, or to call her. I am not living by myself anymore because of my issues which is good I guess as far as this goes. It keeps me a little safer. She told me that if I ever feel like going through with it that I have options, texting a friend, calling a suicide hotline, or checking myself into a hospital and getting assessed, and to remember that suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems.

At one point in our conversation she mentioned that if I remained in this severe of a depressive phase that a “live-in” option of some sort might be something to think about. She only mentioned this briefly but it has me really freaked out.  What does that even mean? That I get sent somewhere to live with super strict rules that I’d have to obey? I don’t know but it’s unnerving to think that it could get to a point where I would need that.

Overall this session was much more serious than usual and left me with a lot to think about. I am supposed to see how this week goes and if I’m not feeling better and decide I want to, I’ll sign a release form and she is going to contact a medical doctor that specializes in mental illness and I’m going to set up an appointment to go see her and explore ideas as to what I need to do to keep going in life. Because right now I am stuck.

Thank you so much for reading… just knowing that someone is reading and cares about what I have to say has helped me so much in the passed few days. I have a small purpose now and it feels good (:

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What Does Depression Feel Like?

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Numb. Disconnected. Not interested. Tired. Upset. Drained.

These are just a few of the words that describe how I have been feeling lately. I am in the process of coming out of an unusually bad depression spell, one that has lasted for about three weeks now. It never goes away completely of course, and I’ve struggled with depression for years. But I am hoping that starting this blog will help me to get through my ups and downs with depression and other issues. And maybe encourage some others along the way.

So…

What does depression feel like?

You may be asking this to find out if what you are experiencing is “normal”, or wanting to better understand how someone you know is feeling. Keep in mind that how each person feels when they are depressed is going to vary greatly. Everyone experiences it in their own unique way. Symptoms can fluctuate simply depending on the day and the intensity varies from mild, moderate, or severe. This, though, is an idea of  some common things that people with depression experience.

Brain Fog

Depression can make it incredibly difficult to concentrate. It feels sometimes as if your brain isn’t even there or working. If someone asks, “How are you feeling today?” you might not have an answer for them, you don’t even know how you’re feeling! Or maybe you have a vague idea but trying to find the words to describe it is nearly impossible. It’s as if you can sense all of the words floating around in your brain but you can’t catch any of them and put them to use. Making decisions not only takes way more effort than you’d like but you don’t care enough to think about it and if you did, your brain wouldn’t work enough to come up with an answer. All of this can be very frustrating.

Irritability

Back to the “How are you feeling today?” question. When you’re depressed, the smallest things, like someone asking how you are, can irritate you beyond belief! Things like hearing a fork scraping a dinner plate, or not having milk in the fridge when you really wanted cereal, or your mom saying good morning can make you want to scream , cry, or explode. Or maybe all three at once. Last week I started crying at dinner because I couldn’t stand listening to my parents chewing. Sounds stupid but it drives me crazy.

“I’m so tired”origin_10941256573

Now, I’ve never slept well, it’s always taken me a few hours of laying in bed to fall asleep, even when I was little, but depression makes this worse. During the last three weeks or so my sleep schedule has been really messed up. Not falling asleep until 5 am one night and waking up at that time the next. I can sleep for 14 hours one day and only 2 on another, despite trying everything I know to help me sleep better. You feel like no matter how much you sleep you are always tired, wake up tired, spend the day exhausted, lay awake in bed for hours tired. Depression interferes with how you sleep. Unfortunately lack of sleep also greatly contributes to the severity of your depression, so it can become an awful, vicious cycle.

Lack of Energy

In addition to sleep problems, having no energy is a major part of depression. Even small things can seem overwhelming,  getting dressed, taking a shower, conversing with someone, doing your makeup, the list goes on. Daily activities that the majority of the population do without thinking twice become a full time job for you. It’s as if you are given a certain number of energy points for each day, and because you have depression you are given significantly less than others. And every time you do anything you use one of those points. Got out of bed? 1 point gone. Washed your hair? 1 point gone. Got dressed, ate breakfast, and fed the dog? 3 points gone! And you may only have received 5 points for the whole day and have to go to back to bed!

Struggling with this can make you appear lazy to anyone watching. For example, I will wake up and then spend the entire day hiding in my room, not talking to anyone, browsing the internet, sleeping and occasionally coming out to use the bathroom. To anyone observing this I probably appear like an incredibly unmotivated teenager with no life and who doesn’t care. While this is all pretty true, I do not WANT it! If I could choose to be happy and motivated and to care, I would.  But I have absolutely no energy to do anything else. I will spend countless hours watching episodes of Doctor Who and searching pinterest haha but when I’m depressed I don’t really have an interest in it… it is simply a distraction from the “real world” because life feels too awful, overwhelming, and hard to face or think about.

Loss of Interest  

Did you once enjoy picking up your guitar and playing. Or baking? Or hanging out with friends? And now you don’t care to even touch the guitar or cook anything and you haven’t called or texted any of your friends in weeks, much less seen them? I know the feeling. Depression creeps in and pushes out any interests or hobbies you may have once had. Instead you are left with an empty feeling of not caring. You may feel numb, dead, disconnected from yourself and everyone else. This can takes its toll of relationships. Once you were the “fun friend” the person always doing things and making people laugh, now though, smiles are forced and you make excuses as to why you can’t go out with your friends. You know that you should care about doing things but you just don’t. When I’m at a low point with my depression I go from talking to my boyfriend everyday all day long to just not being able to because it takes too much effort to even text him. At some point you don’t even care about getting better because being miserable is simply easier.

medium_2166290349Feeling Worthless

Depression twists things. It affects how your brain works and views things. It reminds you of every stupid or bad thing you’ve ever done and tells you that because of that, you are a horrible person. And you wholeheartedly believe it. You hate yourself and who you are. Everything is black and white, good or bad. You become overly critical of yourself. Thoughts that everyone would be better of without you or of suicide work their way in. Life feels like too much of a struggle and doesn’t seem worth it because you can’t see it every changing or ever getting better. Depression is like a hole that digs itself deeper and deeper making it seem impossible to get out of. Logically you may even recognize that what you’re thinking isn’t really true but you can’t seem to make your brain understand that.

Changes in Eating 

Normally when I am depressed I don’t eat. Food doesn’t taste good or appeal to me and it takes too much effort to make. Lately though, this has switched, over the last few weeks I have eaten much more than usual because food was distracting from the mental pain and made me feel something for just a little while. Changes in appetite, whether it is emotional eating to fill a void, or eating less due to lack of interest, are a very common result of being depressed.

This is obviously not a complete list of everything that someone with depression feels, but it does cover the main majority of symptoms based off of my own experience and research. Hopefully this will be helpful to someone going through this or who knows someone who is. If not, writing about it is at least something that helps me.  I will be posting more positive articles on how to deal with all of these different things and what I’ve found works to make me feel better.

Thanks for reading! (:

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