Medication

This might be more information than I'm normally willing to share with the world, at large. However, this blog has become something of a cloudy mirror of my life, reflecting parts and helping me work through the deeper bits. Besides, I think only about six people on earth know it's here, counting me!

What I'm saying, is that this is now, and always will be a safe space for me to vent, share and explore the world and my inner self.

I'm a depressive, as I've said before. I have moderate, cyclical depression; this means I go through cycles, about three a year, that are moderately bad-- say a 7 on a 1-10 scale. Not bad enough that I can't get out of bed, but bad enough that I might not sleep properly for a month, and food doesn't actually taste.

A cycle starts with insomnia. Well, that's not quite right; I'm an insomniac-- so I can never sleep. A cycle starts when I sleep even worse, or lighter-- it feels like I spend the whole night in that cat-nap, not quite sleeping state that you get when you doze off on the sofa. Zombification soon sets in, and I feel like crap. To head this off, I often take Benadryl at night-- I have allergies as it is, so this helps me breathe and sleep... or does some times anyway.

After a handful of days of not sleeping I start to hurt everywhere. You've had the flu, right? The "oh, kill me now, everything hurts, fever dreams of WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?!!!" kind of flu? Yeah, that kind of hurt. It hurts to breathe, it hurts to blink; even my hair hurts. It's like a full-body migraine on steroids!

Luckily, it only lasts a couple days before I start to go numb. At least on the outside. No more hurting body, but my brain has no settled into a deep pit of self-hatred, anxiety and despair. That's not to say I wasn't already circling the drain before hand, but the physical stuff seems to kick start the emotional and mental state.

The entire episode consists of no sleep, or very bad sleep; being a complete emotional wreck, and hating myself; a paralysing anxiety that keeps my fixated on a couple different things (which seem to vary, based on the actual episode itself, which is how we know I don't have OCD too) and an inability to focus, have any real fun or fully engage in the world around me.

Could you tell I was depressed looking at me?

Not a chance in hell!

See, I still take care of myself, physically; I eat with some regularity, try to sleep and do the wash. My clothes and self are clean. I'll even cook new recipes, and try new things; there's just no joy in it. It's mechanical, just going with the flow. Getting it over with.

I still talk, think and ponder, just not very well. My brain's compartments get overflowing with shit when I'm depressed, so I fell like I'm living in just the front of my brains-- rather than the whole thing, it's something like when you're on vacation and you're living out of a suitcase, that weirdly cramped feeling. It takes me longer to get an opinion, or form one, I mean; it takes me a little longer to do everything.

I still read, play games and watch the occasional movie-- mostly in order to stave off the malaise. When I'm depressed I want to lay on the sofa and look outside, like a cat; just watch the world go by, not really giving a fuck about it, because I have no more fucks to give.

That's really what depression is: No longer having any fucks to give about anyone, or anything...

Especially about yourself.

Let me say that again: Being depressed means I can't give a fuck about myself any more.

Pretty damned fucked up, isn't it?

Like clockwork I go into a depression in the summer, and around Thanksgiving. The third episode hovers, and is usually a short one in the spring. Autumn is my safe time, and I rarely have one then. I don't know why.

Last year I went into my episode, like normal, and made it through the holidays. Rather than the depression passing, it continued, partly due to home events with my daughter, and partly due to my own brain's fucked-upedness. Rather than getting through it, and thinking, "Whew, made it out on the other side" I've been thinking, "Damn it'd be nice to have a good sleep for once! and Will this anxiety ever end!"

I redoubled my self-care, made sure I took time for myself, made sure I was letting the little things slide, and flat-out ignoring them if I had to do so. I talked to my husband, explained where I was, and knew I had his help trudging along with this episode of never-ending depressive shit.

I told him that I thought he was a saint, putting up with my shit. And you know what he told me?
"It's not as bad as you think. You feel like it's all over, and you're acting all weird and stuff, but it's not out here."

Yep, he's a saint! He's right, though, and that's why he's got his sainthood: it's not outside, it's all inside, and that's what makes it so fucking hard some times. You can't see it, like you can see bruises or broken bones. You can't even hear it, like a heart murmur, or emphysema; but depression is there, all encompassing, sucking you in and holding you like a coma.

I finally decided that something had to give. I couldn't do it any more. I called my doctor; I did the  the grown-up thing, and at my annual "yep, you're all healthy, here's your b/c script" appointment, I told my doctor that my insomnia wasn't lessening, and that my depression wasn't going away. That something had to stop, because I couldn't live on benadryl so I could sleep. Even fostering the kittens, who have been like atomic bombs of joy couldn't get me out of the funk.

He wrote me a script for zoloft, and told me to come see him a month, so if we have to tweak it, we can. I took the first one that night, on the advice of my pharmacist (makes most people sleepy).

And damn, but it does! I take mine at nine, or nine-thirty and if I'm not in bed by 10:30 I'm sleep walking. But I've slept so well this past week and a half! And I can dream! When I take benadryl to sleep, I tend not to dream, or if I do, I don't remember them. My dreams are back to their normal, fantastical, amazingly weird selves, too, and it's been so nice!

Not to say I'm not having some adjustments to make. I do feel a little spacey during the day; and I probably shouldn't drive any where right now as I don't know if I can concentrate on the minutia of driving, properly. I'm not sleepy, just "medicine head"-- remember that from those old anti-histamine adverts? Yeah, just a little slower than I should be, but even that's coming around. The first couple days I felt really out of it, but now, I'm just a little fuzzy.

I'm also noticing a change in appetite. I'm hungry more often, but eat less. I've always been a grazer, one of those "eat a little bit, all day long" people. Now, I'm hungry about every 2 hours, but can't eat more than a half-a-handful or so. So I have been eating weirdly, but I'm eating, and that's important.

The first couple days I was pretty nauseated, and a couple times just laid down waiting for it to pass. That wasn't fun, but it went fast, thankfully. Being nauseated isn't something I'd wish on my worst enemy, something about your stomach doing flips and your body just laying there shaking is just torture. Never did sick up, though, so that's always good. It only lasted a couple days, and for that I'm very happy.

I've noticed a little lightening in my darkness; less anxiety, fewer circling thoughts, less exhaustion. See, depression is exhausting, even if you never move out of your bed; your brains are cannibalising themselves to fast and hard that your body just gives up and craves rest.

I'm not myself, fully, but I'm getting there-- faster than I expected! Knowing that this medication takes about 4-6 weeks to fully work, I didn't expect to see any difference at all for at least a month... nothing other than the bad side effects, anyway... always those, right? Imagine my surprise when I realised that I wasn't feeling weepy for not reason, and that I didn't tear up over stupid shit-- uncontrollably. I was almost elated... almost, because I don't get elated very often, and frankly, I'm not sure my brains could let me do that, right now.

So, I'm on medication, for the first time since I was diagnosed back in 2003. For the past ten years I've dealt with it myself, and with my myriad coping mechanisms, but finally, I just can't. I never said I couldn't or wouldn't take meds, I just hadn't needed them, and so I didn't use them. I know several people for whom life would end, if they didn't have their medication, and I have always held mood-meds in high esteem for the help they can give.

I was strong enough to deal with it on my own for quite awhile.
Now I'm strong enough to know I need help.
And it feels good to get it, to know I've got this line-line, this flotation device... those funny blue pills are like the most beautiful water-wings I've ever seen, helping me hold myself up until I can climb back out of this pit.

I never thought a full night of sleep would be an actual 8 hours. And I never knew it'd feel so damned good.



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