Back with a vengeance

I haven’t been sure what’s been happening to me. I wake up sad. I cry a lot. I sleep a lot. I don’t eat so much. I can’t write. This has been going on for a while, but we can never see when we’re “in the weeds” as my sister always reminds me. Is it depression again?

I’ve had a lot of personal upheaval in my life this past year (2018) and it seems to have escalated this past month. When I’m alone I wake up talking to myself but what I’m saying isn’t good. It’s the negative words again telling me I’m bad and useless. I’m not worthy of love and that I will always be alone.

I practice gratitude. I am fearful of saying things out loud because of spiritual lessons – “Be careful what you wish for” and “If you say it out loud it may come true.”

My state is mainly confusion. My drive to do anything is non-existent.

When I was first diagnosed with depression it took a while. My GP at that time wasn’t nice to me. The nurses couldn’t understand and gently urged me to seek help elsewhere when I went to her office crying and she told me to buck up and get myself together.

I’m not sure how I found the strength but, finally, I went to a new doctor. I was sobbing when she came into the exam room and I said “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

“You’re depressed,” she said.

“I can’t be,” I told her. “I can’t sleep or eat and am losing weight. People who are depressed sleep all the time, eat a lot and gain weight.”

“Not always, she told me. It can be the opposite.” It was my first diagnosis.

Many therapy visits with many doctors and psychologists later, I finally agreed to go on anti-depressants. I didn’t really believe that there was a problem with my brain, but I was exhausted from walking the floors every night and crying all the time. By then I had a different doctor (my current GP, as the one who diagnosed me had moved away) and she oversaw my medication and renewed my prescriptions. I managed day-to-day life but, in truth, I was still dragging and lagging, just getting through my days but sleeping again, with the aid of low-dose medication.

When Bob died I stopped sleeping and started crying again. I was grieving the loss of my husband and life mate of 30 years so it was understandable. But then it was more. Lines became blurred between grief and depression. This continued and culminated in a threat to kill myself and now my memories of yelling at people who came into my house to help followed by acquiescence when I was gently persuaded to get into an ambulance and eventually admitted to hospital. I wrote about that previously. The diagnosis was that the anti-depressants were no longer working resulting in depression. How crazy is that? New medication prescribed, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy programs, practising meditation and mindfulness and I began to feel more normal than at any other time in my life, until recently.

Despite thinking about water and a warm holiday approaching, I’m back to crying yet again, and the negative self talk. No matter how hard I try to shake it, back it comes, confusing and finally enveloping me. And here I am again, realizing that the recent anxiety, loneliness with myself and planning how to clean my house and divest of excessive ‘stuff’ is actually preparation for – Lord help me – my demise.

Now it’s the holidays and the New Year is upon us. I’m going to get through the last of this, but I need to tell myself that I will, and set up yet another visit to the doctor to convince her this medication isn’t working. Or maybe this is just my reality. It’s been a life-long battle and, to be honest, it’s wearing me down.

10 Comments

  • My dear, Suzanne. I am so sorry that you are going through this again. If you read my latest post you know that I, too, have had a most trying year. What has helped me the most has been a feeling of involvement. Toastmasters is like my church. It gives me strength, helps my focus and gives me that healthy dose of happiness. Volunteering for PWAC has been given me a great sense of accomplishment as we work on important projects that will hopefully benefit all members and the writing community at large. I urge you to find the right group or activity that will give you that sense of purpose and belonging. I promise it will help. Sending love and strength.

    Reply
    • Thank you for commenting Doreen. I know you have had a very difficult year. My heart goes out to you. You are very strong and I admire that. I’m so glad you’ve found things to help. I, too, am volunteering and I could do a lot of things, but I don’t have the energy to do anything right now. I have little concentration. I have been building strength to write this because I realized today that I’m in trouble if I don’t put it out there. Depression is beyond everyday sadness. It seeps into your life and sucks away all your energy and zest for life. You can’t find gratitude even when you say everything you’re grateful for. At it’s most harmful, depression weighs you down like bricks on your back. At least I’m able to see it now and acknowledge it. That’s the first step. Thanks again for sharing your story and what works for you. I really appreciate it.

      Reply
  • From what I understand, depression doesn’t get ‘cured’, but it can be managed. I agree with Doreen, you’ve done the right thing in reaching out to friends who care for support. Definitely go back and see a doctor for a medication adjustment and perhaps a referral for additional therapy. Help is there. Grab it and hang on tight. Life’s a wild ride.

    Reply
  • Dear Suzanne, I have no words of wisdom, and I’ll offer no platitudes because they are meaningless. I wish I were closer so I could offer you my hand to hold during this trying time. Just know that I amongst many others are sending positive thoughts and hope you find the right type of medication and life path that works for you. Much love and strength. Carmel Vivier

    Reply
  • I’m so sorry to hear what you are going through Suzanne. The only thing I can offer is renewing our connection–I miss talking with you and setting goals for our writing. If you think it would help, or want to be in touch again in another way, please let me know. I’m thinking of you! xx

    Reply
    • Thank you Lauren. There has been so much outpouring of support from this post and that has meant so much to me, yours included! I was looking for a goal-setting buddy before I knew what was going on with me. I thought doing that would help me get back to writing. Now I believe I need to work on the depression and moving away from this before I put any pressure on myself to set goals. I will do this though and I will take you up on your offer once I feel ready.

      Reply
  • I am very sorry to hear that you are going through this. I don’t think that we really truly understand depression. But I do know that eventually things do get better. It’s painful it’s sad and it’s tedious but you Suzanne are worth fighting for!
    I have been there too.
    Maybe a medication adjustment will help.
    Thank you for being strong enough and brave enough to reach out here and say what you have written❤️

    The world is better with you in it ! You are important. Please let’s
    Keep this conversation going. This is probably helping others far more than you realize. I know what helps me and when we reach out and help each other things happen …good things happen and progress is made that way!

    Reply
    • Thank you for your heartfelt words, Janette. I have an appointment with my doctor today. I hope she is able to make adjustments to the meds, or change them.

      People say it’s brave writing this. I guess it’s because I stand the chance of losing people I love by sharing my weaknesses publicly. But I learned, when Bob died, that those you think will be there for you often aren’t, and those you didn’t expect are there to catch you when you fall.

      When I wrote this I didn’t intend to make a difference, it was letting go of pain. I look happy on the outside. Many people with depression do, until they can’t do it anymore – Robin Williams, Kate Spade, Anthony Anthony Bourdain. I keep hearing the words of the song “Tears of a clown.” I understand their pain. Writing is my catharsis.

      Reply

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