Update

It’s been a very strange week. 

Last week, I went to my GP… got diagnosed with chronic depression, got medication, and got a month’s leave from work, at her suggestion. I’ve been feeling really odd about the whole thing. I remember feeling helpless, overwhelmed and just generally very unmotivated and guilty about all of it. 

Since, however, I haven’t really had the presence of mind to think about it, because this past week has been largely about getting through the initial haze of the medication’s side effects. They were something. I’m finally starting to feel better, but I literally spent about 5 days in a weak, nauseated, exhausted haze. I didn’t leave the house except for groceries, and even that wore me out. Yesterday I finally started feeling my energy returning. I also haven’t felt particularly more motivated or healthy, but I think the medication is starting to work in terms of the negativity that has been assaulting me every morning when I wake up since August seems to be gone. 

But so does everything else. I’m able to laugh and stuff… but I generally feel kind of emotion-less. I’m not sure if this will change… but it’s definitely affecting my creative drive (and other drives, to the dismay of certain nevertheless amazingly supportive boyfriends). What I do feel involves embarrassment and shame, as I don’t want to play the victim in all this. But you have to explain it to people, and face their “well shit, it’s not cancer” kind of looks. I feel like people think I’m a weakling, and I hate how cliched that is… because of how many times I’ve told depression sufferers not to feel that way. But it’s strange. I’m trying to get over the sensation that this was some sort of concession, like I’ve failed in some regard, even though rationally I KNOW it wasn’t necessarily my fault. 

Anyway, there’s also this strange thing where I think the same thing about life… like.. I still think humans are awful, that the world is awful… but I feel ok about it. Like, it’s not getting me down as much. I’m worried that I will become complacent in life… like I’ve been medicated to be a good little consumer robot. Who knows. Anyone who has seen THX1187 will know what I’m talking about. 

Anyway. 

I’m realizing too, that I haven’t been there for a lot of people lately, in my inner circle. I’ve been so preoccupied and overwhelmed by my own feelings and selfish emotions that I’ve been a shitty friend and family member. I’m going to try and change all that. But I have to take it day by day. I will continue trying. 

It’s weird. I don’t know if I like these feelings, or non feelings. I don’t know if this medication is worth it. I feel like part of myself has been suppressed… like my brain is literally unable to remember how I was before. And while that was largely negative… it’s an unpleasant feeling. 

Anyway, more on this later. School beckons. 

 

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Update

8 thoughts on “Update

  1. The medication is certainly a choice and you have to decide for yourself what to do about it. I, too, have suffered from lack of creativity since finding meds that actually relieve my depression. It’s still worth it to me because I think I’m a more useful person if I’m not miserable all the time.
    I once took a medication that made the sight and smell of food absoutely nauseating to me! I had to run out of a restaurant at least once! I lost a lot of weight, but didn’t take it for long.

  2. I could go on for days about the horrific cocktail of antidepressants and antipsychotics I used to take. It’s really not pleasant.

    BUT ~

    There’s no need for you to feel like you’ve been a shitty person. You’re not selfish. Everyone that gives half a shit about you should understand that depression is an ugly business. You HAVE to take care of yourself first, or you’ll never make progress.

  3. Depression is a monster. I’ve been where you are, and it sucks. Sometimes I still visit. I’m grateful that I found something that works for me (CBT rather than meds) and that helps, but I am pretty sure it will always be there, lurking. I can’t handle meds. I’ve tried SO many of them, I think pretty much ALL the non-hardcore meds pre-2010. They all seemed to mess me up more than they helped me. I hated it. The only one that didn’t really mess me up was Prozac but it gave me that “dead” feeling, like, I could still laugh and be somewhat happy and whatnot but it was like everything had a muffler on it. Kinda like you described. What it came down to was deciding which was the lesser evil – feeling dead, or the crippling mental issues. For a while, feeling dead was the lesser evil, but eventually I got to where I couldn’t take it anymore and just went without. If it helps at all, eventually you will find a way to cope and it won’t always be such a black pit. *hug*

  4. Don’t feel guilty about it, and for whoever looks at you funny, well fuck them– it’s easy for them to look down on it if they’re ignorant of it. The irony is taht more than likely, a lot of those very same people too are also depressed– they’re just denying it and finding it easier to externalise their own issues by pointing it out in others rather than dealing with it for themselves. They might be projecting an intolerance of depression on you because they fear their own mental health problems. I find that the discomforting thing about depressed people when depressed is that they force you to take a look at your life — it’s like a nihilism that renders everything we like in life to sound rather dumb or valueless. I know that when I’m depresed, I’m insufferable because I make everyone around me feel like their livves are pointless as well– any attempts to bring me out of it by force leaves everyone feeling a bit more crippled.

    I don’t know if I’ve ever been chronically depressed because I”ve never been diagnosed, and I’ve never been on meds. On that point, I can’t relate.

    I do know however that I go through periods where I just can’t function as a person. The last time I got this was just recently, after coming back to live alone. I couldn’t find a worthwile reason get out of bed. Various anxieties were so crushingly overwealming that there were days where I played videogames nonstop– I alternated between ordering food in, lying in bed sleeping or dozing, reading mangas and watching animes I didn’t care about, or grinding at video games that I wasn’t always enjoying. Perhaps these practices were my own personal method of self-medication to drown out the negative thoughts: Just to pass time, dull everything, perhaps distantly wondering if something in life might hit me in the face and change everything, because it was too difficult to do anything myself. And I was rationalising to myself that no matter what I did, what would it change? And if getting out of bed felt so onerous, you can imagine how similarly it seemed doubly pointless to leave the apartment and actually interact with people, which probably made it worse.

    I fall into dark pits like that every now and then, but I know I don’t have it as bad as some because that passes. I’m told that a certain amount of it is healthy, but the whole thing about chronic depression as opposed to… occasional? Is that it’s just always there.

    I know a lot of people who have been dianogsed with chornic depression, as well as people who haven’t been diagnosed but probably have it. These include close family members and friends, not just people I’ve met through work.

    It is not a laughing matter, nor is it the kind of thing that you want to handle alone because some may look at you funny.

    I don’t really have any advice. The other comments seem sound– take it a day at a time and exhaust all your avenues one at a time– try and be systematic with how you handle your meds. Perhaps keep a journal about things… a blog like this might help, but I mean, if you can’t trust your thought process to remember, all the more reason why it is important to write it all down maybe? I know that for me, when I was living alone in South Korea and facing some of the darkest months of my life, I used to record my own voice talking stream-of-thought style. I’d just talk to myself about anything that came to mind, and it was a worthwhile process because I felt guilty about writing depressing things. Writing was something quite important to me at the time, so I felt that I shouldn’t soil it with dark thoughts. I couldn’t care less about voice recordings though, so that worked out really well for me to sort out my thoughts and build upon those periods. I’m not saying voice recordings will work for you, but I’m just guessing that since you have certain mediums that are more important to you than others, that might be a barrier because you feel those are your primary means of expression but you can’t get anything out there because you’re worried about quality or content. Try something new to record your feelings instead, perhaps a medium that you don’t give a shit about, and ironically it might be the important way for you to map your progress?

    It could be something you learn a lot from, and someday use to teach a lot of other people as well.

    1. I just wanted to say thanks. Your comment is something that really touched me personally and well… I appreciate it more than you know. In terms of media through which to express these thoughts, writing to me is secondary… which is why I tend to vent more here than through art. Art is escapism for me so it’s usually funny-ish or more superficial, because I try to keep it fun, necessarily. I’ll keep it in mind though. I’m looking to try new things anyway, in this funk I’m in, hah.

      I’m sorry to hear, though, that those times in Korea were so incredibly tough on you, AND that you’ve had such dark times in Australia. In some sick way though, it’s nice to know someone relates. I know those “fuck everything else” days with videogames and inane activities. I’ve been playing a lot of Street Fighter 4 (yeah late on that bandwagon!), and there’s not one time I play it that I don’t think about you, oddly enough -=) haha. Ingrained forever!

      Anyway… roundabout way of saying: Thank you so much for your thoughts and encouragement on this. Honestly.

    2. I never got around to replying to this in a timely manner but shit, it really hit me like a pile of bricks, in a good way. You’re so damned wise, heh. Thanks for sharing your experience in this. I really like the idea of recording your thoughts… honestly getting them out into the vocal open, no matter to whom, really does help. Exorcism of sorts. And you’re right about media I don’t give a shit about… trouble is all the media I’m good at is exactly what you said: I AM worried about quality. It’s a tough balance. This medium might be just the thing if I can stop caring about the writing itself. Anyway. Thanks for everything, this really, really helped, as always. Wishing you well, always!

  5. mrandisg says:

    As a fellow survivor of depression and anxiety, I know exactly where you’re coming from. I’m really hoping that the medication will work out for you, but I can’t help but worry b/c your story reminds me so much of my own experience with the psychiatrist at my local mental health clinic. He and one of the counselors tried to push medication on me when I really didn’t need it. I was going to try to recap here, but it was turning into a dang blog entry, and well, this is your blog, not mine. lol

    Long story short, this guy wrote me a prescription for Prozac after JUST READING MY FILE. He interrupted me when I was trying to tell him why I was seeking help–um, they told me when I signed up that that’s what I was supposed to do when I met with the guy. Hmmm. So yeah, I ripped up that prescription. I wasn’t about to take a medication prescribed by someone who based his diagnosis solely on a piece of paper. Besides, I had a young child who needed constant supervision, so I couldn’t risk being too drowsy to take care of him. And this guy wasn’t exactly forthcoming with details of how that stuff would affect me, so I said forget it. Later on, when that counselor tried to get me to go back to the psychiatrist and start taking that prescription after ONE setback–and before that setback, she’d been talking about closing my case b/c I was doing so well–I quit. It just seemed too strange to me that one minute they were telling me I was fine, then the next they were telling me to take meds or get out. I got out.

    The way you described how fast it all happened really makes me wonder if you are in the same situation I was in back then. Did the person you talked to really listen to you when you told them your situation? Or did they basically just say “Here’s some meds, good luck”?

    I know everyone’s situation is different. It may turn out that you really do need the meds, and if so, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I still wonder occasionally if I might need it myself, b/c I still suffer from lack of energy, and I’m just now recovering from my most recent setback. However, I still feel that in my situation, meds would do more harm than good. That’s just me.

    As for the jerks who give you those “well shit, it’s not cancer” looks…fuck what they think. Our brains are wired differently. Either they get that or they don’t. What matters is YOU know your brain is wired differently, and you do what you have to do to get through the day. Me, I have to use an app on my Kindle to keep track of my housework or it doesn’t get done. A lot of people probably think that’s the most juvenile thing ever. Who needs an app to tell them it’s time to do their dishes? Me, okay? Get over it. That’s just how my brain works.

    Sheesh, this is still turning into a blog entry. Sorry for being so long-winded. I just see so many similarities between your current situation and what I’ve been through. I want so much for everything to work out for you. Wishing you the best and keeping you in my thoughts. *hugs*

  6. Ashtshen says:

    I don’t know if this is any help… but I’m not on any medication and never have been… and I think the world is shitty and people are shitty and I’m totally okay with that as long as I and the people around me try to be good. So maybe that’s just sort of baseline?

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