Noun. A very steep rock face or cliff, typically a tall one.
Some days I am standing at the bottom, looking up at the climb I face that day. Some days I am standing at the top waiting to take the leap of faith into some new unknown.
The Zoloft-induced elation (normalcy?) I experienced late last year has been shattered by another dark episode, as it became clear that I was experiencing much more than the exhaustion that one would expect after having your MIL in residence for two weeks. The kind of dark episode that increasing my dose by 1/3 hasn’t touched the sides of. Yay me!
I have been using some uncomfortable words to describe my state of mind lately. Mentally ill. Retarded. So tired. Incapacitated. Incapable. I have been living in a bizarre world where I can’t put together the logic to make dinner, but am quite capable of strategising marketing plans for clients. Coping mechanism perhaps?
So the precipice I stand at today is staring down my first appointment with a psychiatrist. He called me today to introduce himself and tell me when the appointment is, and it struck me when I hung up that the way I noted the details is a perfect visual representation of my state of mind and life right now. Chaotic, disorganised, absurd, childlike.
So what does one expect at a psychiatrist’s appointment? Will I find myself in One Flew Over the Cuckoos nest and not know how I got there? Fuck I hope not. I know I want a rest, but today not that badly.
What I do know is that I hope that when I take this leap of faith there will be healing, and recovery, and wellness. And I’ll get back some of that elation (normalcy? fuck you Universe that I have to fight to feel normal) that I experienced last year, and life won’t be so difficult for my family.
Five things about depression (potentially less helpful than this list).
- It can take compliments and positive statements and twist them into ugly thoughts.
- It can make an intelligent and independent person struggle to complete basic tasks.
- It can make you forget what you were talking about mid sentence.
- It is fucked.
- My GP tells me I can beat it again.
The hell and the frustration of depression can come from the contradictions.
I am bored out of my mind, but I lack the energy to do anything about it.
I’m wasting my time sitting here doing nothing, but anything I do will be shit so why bother.
I’m isolated and lonely, craving contact, but don’t feel like going out or seeing anyone.
I have so much stuff to do, so many people relying on me that I am going to do nothing because I don’t know where to start.
I need to be close to you, but if you come any closer I will literally stab you with the nearest sharp implement.
I am hopelessly sad, really fucking angry, but I am numb and unable to feel.
And the best/worst thing is only being able to even see how pointless these contradictions are when I’m well.
One of the hardest things I’ve found about being undepressed (relatively), is that when I have a bad day I really feel it. Really. Despite having suffered depressive episodes since my early teens, I’ve only recently started on anti-depressants. I wish I had’ve much, much earlier because I have glimpses, 2 or 3 days at a time, where I feel fantastic. What normal must feel like. So BZ (Before Zoloft), there were bad days and worse days and to be honest, I was just so used to feeling shit that it didn’t matter so much how bad I was feeling. Now when I have a slightly off day, it’s debilitating. I so notice the loss of focus, the worthlessness, the lethargy, the racing thoughts and the mind fog just generally.
I was doing really well until I went out and got drunk last week basically. So I’m annoyed that I feel like I’ve really set myself back. I’m trying my old tricks to get myself back on track again, like exercising, but it’s hard. It’s so easy to feel that the good stuff I was feeling is all over now, the Zoloft has stopped working, and it’s back to the old ways for me. I don’t want that. I almost feel entitled to feel good, such a new feeling for me. So different to feeling like I deserve to feel like shit.
Rationally I know, this dip has happened because the stars have aligned…
- Drinking too much
- Not sleeping enough
- Stressful family events
- Not eating well
- Not exercising
Perhaps any one of these things on their own would have been OK, but combined it’s just too much for me. Who knows. Everything on that list bar one item is within my control. I’ve stopped drinking (a post for another day), trying to eat and drink more water etc. The stressful family events I can’t do much about for now.
So each night I go to bed hoping that tomorrow I’ll feel better, one day closer back to the undepression I was almost getting used to. There I go being optimistic again.
So, I have depression. Pretty bad depression. Recurrent, has always been with me and will probably always be with me depression.
After my son was born I, probably not very surprisingly, suffered PND. It seems almost OK to tell people I had PND, because it’s a one off – something you can have and then move on from. I don’t know why admitting I have this other kind feels so hard, so shameful.
Some days admitting it is a triumph. Zoloft has toned down my perfectionism, so it’s OK to admit there’s something wrong. Even better that I’m doing something to live with it. Other days, I still worry that people will think I’m crazy, that I’m a nut case. Worries I had when I was a teenager, worries that probably kept me from looking for a diagnosis for nearly 20 years.
If you happen by, and you know me, I’m not crazy. I’m not a nutcase. I’m not embarrassed about having this illness. It’s just that I’m not brave, like the lovely Eden, who lays her soul bare on her blog every day. And has her real name up in that header. Maybe one day I’ll be that brave too.
I’m more OK than I have been in years and years and hopefully one day soon I’ll be “well”. We’ll see.