May was Cray

 

It just takes time to sort it all out... I'm hoping.

It just takes time to sort it all out… I’m hoping.

My month of May started in an unusual way – I was taken off the Zoloft and in what would have been that ONE week, I crashed and burned. My family was extremely worried so they took me in to be evaluated. Apparently, besides just a terrible withdrawal from the medicine I had also been misdiagnosed. This happens in mental health a lot so I wasn’t angry – just relieved to know what was finally going on. I’ve been on a new pill with its own set of issues (namely weight gain *sadface*) but if it helps to make me feel better, I’m down.

As I was starting this new journey, I learned my uncle had become gravely ill again. He was losing his battle with cancer and there wasn’t anything any of us could do about it. Even though we knew the end was coming, we thought we had more time. We didn’t. It was an important lesson for me. Don’t wait. Never wait to tell someone you love them. Never hold off loving someone because of anger or shame or jealousy even. I’m glad my uncle had made amends with the world. He was quite an amazing man and I believe we sent him off in the way he would have wanted – much laughter between the tears.

Finally, since I had a new diagnosis and a strong will to learn to cope, I went to a daily therapy class at my hospital. I was really skeptical initially. How on earth can bouncing a balloon make me happy? How can breathing make me happy? It can’t honestly. Nothing can really make us happy or unhappy. But many of the things I learned will help me weather the happy and the unhappy. I think that is all any of us really want. I’ve got a long way to go still but I’m seeking out progress instead of perfection. Yes… yes I’ll definitely accept progress.

For the record, let me say it was incredibly difficult to write this. There is a stigma on those who struggle with their mental health and I have gone back and forth about whether or not to share it. I know this could impact me adversely, but the truth is I don’t share my stories for my benefit. I try to share them in some way for you. I hope that you can glean something from my posts even if you can’t relate.

Thanks for coming back by. I’ve missed you.

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Fixing Permasad is Not an Exact Science

Joe Dir-tay

Joe Dirt had it right… he also had an awful mullet.

Earlier this month, I wrote about my decision to go on antidepressants. I was really excited to start them and overwhelmingly relieved to find that they worked (which I shared with you, here). Unfortunately, I was also beginning to experience some painful physical side effects such as joint stiffness and muscle spasms. After trying to push through the side effects hoping they would subside and having a difficult e-convo with my doctor, it was decided that I would come off of the Zoloft for a week and then we would try another  medication.

Needless to say, I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed and though it is only a temporary setback, at this moment, going through the withdrawal from the Zoloft and having to handle the stresses of motherhood and depression without assistance? Well, it sucks. It sucks in a way that I cannot even describe. I wasn’t prepared to have to deal with even MORE issues on top of the ones I already have. I wasn’t prepared to feel worse than I started off. I wasn’t prepared to have to go back to the drawing board so quickly. But — I’m not prepared to give up either.

I am going to try and stay as calm as humanly possible while climbing down from the Zoloft. I will try to remember that certain things I’m feeling aren’t my own feelings at all. I will try not to fear a repeat of these events (at least not so much so that it prevents me from starting a new regimen). I will try not to be annoyed with those who don’t understand and/or judge. I will try not to judge myself.

Anyone who has dealt with ANY brand of mental illness knows that it is not an exact science. So many conditions mimic other conditions and so many meds may or may not work or will work IN CONJUNCTION WITH… and so on and so forth. I knew this going in — but knowing doesn’t always make things easier, I suppose.

Anyway, next Monday I try a new journey to normal. For now, it’s just taking each moment as it comes.

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Oh. So This is What NOT Depressed Feels Like

 

Helloooo Zoloft

Helloooo Zoloft

So, I’ve officially been taking Zoloft for two weeks. I was highly anxious about starting the medicine. Then again, I was highly anxious without medicine so I really had nothing to lose. At any rate, I bit the bullet and the verdict is in. It works. It works, it was worth it, and I don’t think I ever want to go back.

I can’t really explain it or how it works. It’s almost as though a switch is flipped, all the negativity and hopelessness is released and all that is left is calm. I am no longer uptight or too wound up to enjoy things. I am willing (dare I say eager) to get out and about. I am regaining my confidence. I am reclaiming my joy. I’m not sure I even realized when it left — perhaps it’s been a slow leak escaping my body like a pin-pricked balloon. But whatever the issue, it is no more. I feel like a better wife and mother. I feel… normal. Holy crap, it’s amazing!

Along with this excitement comes some confusion and maybe a little fear. Seeing things in a new way, even if it is a better way, is a bit scary. I’m finding that there are feelings I had that weren’t really even my own. I am also finding that there are feelings I had that I never acknowledged. Souls, like gardens, require constant tending lest they become overgrown and choked out by things that only drain life. My soul deserves better.

I am still adjusting and ever a work in progress but I’m extremely encouraged by this latest turn in things. I’ve started the garden, I’m feeling like a person again, and Sean and I are even planning a mini weekend vacation in the near future. The days aren’t all rainbows and unicorns and they won’t be. But things aren’t falling apart. And even if they do, I WON’T… and that’s good enough for me. For now.

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Antidepressants: A Love Story

Cause cheap moscato and a discount bag of irregular truffles only fixes so much.

Cause cheap moscato and a discount bag of irregular truffles only fixes so much.

 

I began my on again, off again relationship with anti depressants my first year in college. I was about as awkward and lost as any other freshman and though I’d settled into the routine, I was often overwhelmed and so rattled by anxiety that I would just shut down and not even leave my dorm room. I had a few friends but soon they wrote me off as a slacker and our visits became few and far between. I retreated further into my own darkness as the semester drew to a close. I wasn’t even going to bother worrying about my grades because as far as classes went, I was rarely there. I remember crying while I packed for Winter Break — everyone else was packing to go home to visit and gush over their first adventures in college life. I was packing knowing I wouldn’t return — not anytime soon anyway.

 

Once the dust settled and my family and I worked to get to the bottom of things, I was placed on my first antidepressant. I knew to not expect any real changes for at least a few weeks and that there could be less than pleasant side effects. I started a low dose of Celexa and a few weeks in I was… disappointed. The small placebo effect it had had was gone and I was left in the darkness yet again. I wouldn’t know what a normal felt like for another six years.

 

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to push drugs. But I will say Prozac. Changed. My Life… for a nice long while. It was so good to wake up and go to work and not be constantly run by emotions and anxieties. It was almost like a rebirth. I was able to find the pleasure in small things. I understood enjoying time with myself and with friends. People recognized my different outlook and that made me more likeable. The only problem was my fear of stigma. I was soooo ashamed to be on antidepressants. I was working in mental health so I knew the general consensus on mental health consumers. So, with that in my pocket and a Prozac prescription waning in effectiveness I bid goodbye to my “meds.” Even now I HATE THE TERM MEDS.

 

No matter how much I hate them, the truth is I may need them. Earlier this week I discussed how I’ve been struggling with things. All sorts of worries flood my mind and interrupt my sleep. These stresses eventually manifest themselves with physical illness when I’m not careful. Worse still, my children don’t get the benefit of a whole, happy mommy. After careful talks with my doctors and family, I have decided to love my antidepressants again. I know I will struggle with feeling inadequate for needing them from time to time. And I know that I will still be angry about the remarks made about people who depend on them. But stigma and pride be damned, I want my normal and my children deserve it. In 2012, The Huffington Post reported on a study that found stay-at-home moms were more depressed than moms who went to work. In my case, the issue was present prior to my having children. I will say that the conditions for a stay-at-home allow for more time to turn in towards self and isolate so I do believe the report’s findings. This isn’t to say that being a stay -at-home mom is a bad thing or that all SAHMs are depressed. I just see how it could happen.

 

In the end, working or not, mother or not, woman or not, if you are depressed and you know it, know that you don’t have to be. You are NOT alone. In fact, according to the CDC 1 in 10 adults suffer from depression. But these are only reported cases. So many people do not seek out help because of shame or because they cannot afford to. I refuse to be one of those people any longer. There is a life and I want to experience every part of it in the clearest and fullest of ways. Some people may think that makes me weak. There are times I may even think it makes me weak. But then I’ll remember how much weaker I am without it. And everything will be okay.

 

 

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