You don’t look sad

And the truth is, I wasn’t and, mostly, I’m not.  screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-8-37-18-am

Historically, as far back as I could find, depression was categorized a condition rooted in sadness, and was called melancholia for a long while (for more on the history of depression – see this )

But I’m not sad.

Yes, I’m sure there has been more than one moment of sadness along the way, but for me, my day to day is a fight with motivation.

  • Will I get out of bed today?
  • Will I do the work that I’ve been contracted to do? Or make the calls/emails to try and find the next consulting job?
  • If I try to do the work, will I be able to put together cohesive thoughts that are remotely related to the task at hand?
  • Will I be able to sleep tonight so that I can try to do this tomorrow?
  • Will I reach out to those who have reached out, with so much support and love and kindess and let them know how much I appreciate it and them?

Somedays, are “good days”.

  • when I forget about depression (at least sort of).
  • When I knock out the work and feel so great about it
  • When I have an incredible day with friends or family
  • when the answers to these questions (or at least SOME of them) is YES!.

Others are not so good.

  • When the temptation to stay huddled in bed wins.
  • When I make the excuses to not meet my friends.
  • When I’m on social media too much, avoiding the “Real” aspects of my life that need attention.

This is when D is the hardest on me.

  •  When I judge myself and get frustrated and mad that I haven’t done the things I know I need to do.
  • When I feel like I can’t do them

This pisses me off.

I think it’s really important to say, that FOR ME, I’ve never gotten to a place where suicide seems like the only answer or the only way out.  I’m good at putting on a happy face but it’s never covering up for feeling that – I can’t finish this sentence because I don’t know what that must feel like.  I only feel, so (for lack of a better word) incredibly sad for those who do.

Ch ch ch changes…

“I still don’t know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
Every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I’ve never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test…”

Changes – the late, great David Bowie

It’s amazing to me how lyrics can have a different meaning at different stages in your life.  I’ve loved Bowie all my life (well at least as long as I was able to buy my own music with my allowance), and these words now have taken on an entirely new relevance to me.

I’m 2 weeks in on this roller coaster ride of changing my medications – dropping Abilify and Venlafaxine and adding Wellbutrin and upping lamotrigine.  I’ve done this before, about 6-7 years ago, I stopped Cymbalta cold-turkey and thought I was DYING for a couple of weeks.  I was more hopeful about the side effects this time around, perhaps naively so, since I am’under MD control’.

The first 5 days or so were great, no issues at all – but then as I completely stopped the meds, the fun started.  So far, the brain zaps and nausea have been the worst. (I now think I have a feeling of what morning sickness may be like – the waves of nausea in the afternoon are horrible.)

I’m still hopeful that these will be short lived – I did my research, looked at dosing and half-life information.  I’ve seen the ranges of how long Abilify can stay in the system (2 weeks to a month or more), I’ve seen the contributing factors that could impact how long these symptoms stick around (hello – BMI).  Each day I wonder, what will today bring – will the zaps get less severe? Will the nausea subside?  Right now, it is really just riding the wave.

What scares and concerns me the most is that I won’t be the same once these drugs are completely out of my system.  I’ve spent the past 2-3 months being ME again.  Wanting to be out with friends and family, having energy and desire to do things, being able to complete thoughts, focus on work and be productive again. Not having to mask what was really going on inside and being able to truthfully answer GREAT when people asked how I was doing.  Feeling ALIVE again.

I’m trying so hard NOT to create a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure on Wellbutrin (I’ve been on it before and it didn’t work on its own – please god let the combo with lamotrigine work!)  I keep reminding myself that I have a psych that I love and trust and can go to if I feel ME slipping away… I’m worried family and friends won’t understand no matter how open I try to be.

And at the same time I try to remain as positive as I possibly can be and let things happen and deal with repercussions as they come.

I keep reminding myself to just keep on keeping on(KOKO)…

One

Ready, Go!

Recently, a good friend, commented on a Face Book post that I should write a blog about my experiences with depression.  I’m not gonna lie, I’d thought of it a time or two over the years.  But I’d never thought I really had all that much to say.  And if I’m being really honest, I wasn’t sure I was ready to really “put it all out there”.  You know, stand naked with my cloak of depression for the world to see and all.

So, what has changed?

A few things.  The most significant was a suicide that has had a profound impact on me.  I didn’t know this person, but I know people who loved him and seeing them live with the aftermath of that, hurts – deeply.  Secondly, after more than a decade, I’d bitten the bullet and sought out a psychiatrist to help me with my depression, to balance the medications and help me to get to a good place.  Lastly, after some unbearable side-effects from these new medications, I’m currently living through the withdrawal symptoms while I titrate up on my new medications.  And it’s been pretty horrible. (for more background see here.)

I’m sure there are other things that have brought me here, but I’m here and standing naked (metaphorically of course) for everyone to see.  I hope that I’m able to help myself by keeping this journal of my trek. I’m not sure what I’ll write, I’m not sure who will read it, but here I go.