I've been on three different medication changes in the last three months for depression and anxiety. It makes for quite the difficulty in balance in one's life - emotionally, mentally, and physically. If anyone had any doubt about whether or not these are serious issues, depression alone has cost me sleep (years of lost sleep) physical changes, mental stability, ability to eat food, vomiting, and uncharacteristic aggressiveness. One feels like a slave to it's affects - and really we are.
I was diagnosed with Major Depression Disorder in 1991 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I'd just finished counseling school at St. Mary's Campus of the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Mn. I couldn't find a (counseling) job to save my life. My student loans were coming due. I was working two jobs. All I could dream about was saving the world. I was on fire with the passion of doing my dream job. I was sober, and had been since June 1, 1986. I graduated in May 1991. I was on fire. I had no reason to become depressed. I had fulfilled a dream, I'd been an excellent student. I had far exceeded my own expectations of myself - with a few bobbles. I took one C because of a Professor didn't like a paper that I'd written and I refused to redo it. All else A's and B's. 3.8 GPA. It blew my mind. I had almost failed high school. The only thing that I excelled in was shorthand and band. I never really tried - I was always high. I started getting high when I was 11. I took my first drink at the ripe age of eleven. I was smoking pot in 6th grade. I was using pills addictively by age 14.
Depression hit me hard. I did not know what was happening to me, even though I was educated. It's strange like that. I utilized every tool that I knew -- I was going to AA and I almost begged people to tell me, help me but no one had any answers it seemed. I was in a relationship and it made it a living hell. I was on prozac and various other medications and did not have prescription insurance. You can imagine how that went over. The side affects are always worrisome. It's a tradeoff. You either be depressed or live with the side affects. I had eight different med changes in the beginning. It was a living nightmare. People do not even begin to understand what depression is like. It is much like your own Psyche betrays you. Your thoughts lie to you. Your brain begins to tell you things that aren't true. They aren't nice things. You have to fight not to believe them. It's a living hell.
I'm at the same turn, very grateful for my meds. I've always been one to take my medication religiously. I guess it's as simple as wanting to be happy. I have a friend who is very depressed right now. He has been for several years - he believes all of his life. I don't know that I agree with this. I remember a time when he was happy. At least he seemed to be. He has no idea how my heart goes out to him - I've tried everything I possibly can to reach him. He just won't budge. I've never known someone like him of such steel will. He will not change. Just refuses. It' such a shame. He lives with suicidal thought every day. I can't help him. I sure hope God does, soon. It's awful watching him suffer.
My last debacle has been this last three months (or so) with these last three meds. I was extremely nauseated for a month and a half and threw up several times. Despite they're best efforts to control it. The problem with that med was it made me a little manic (if there is such a thing). Oh I had lots of energy like I'd not ever had before but my spending and behavior got out of control. I did things that were completely out of character for me. Even as I write this, finding my ability to write is a sign that I'm getting better and I know now that I'm going to be okay. It's awful to feel out of control. People don't understand it and they judge it. We fear what we don't understand. It's just a normal reaction for most. One must be fairly enlightened to not be afraid of something they don't understand. Either that or they've been down a road or two themselves.
I sure hope this new med doesn't make me feel like a zombie. I hate that. I'm still in the increase process. So far so good. Man, a road or two I've been down folks. I'm just grateful to be coming out of the woods. This particular med does have a few side affects, they all do, but they aren't bad - at least I can feel. That's the one that kills me, when I can't feel normal feelings. I've been on some that have changed me so much that said friends have told me "you're not yourself!" I didn't even know. That's scary. I actually spend several years on some meds that weren't right for me. I did not know.
Depression is hard to explain. There's times when it comforts me. There's lots of times I abhor it. The thing is it's always there. It never has totally gone away for me. It' like a second skin. Overshadowing my life. Affecting my day to day. With some meds it doesn't affect me much at all and others more - but it is a constant companion. I think back now, and I think it's always been there. It just got really bad in 1991. I'm very grateful for meds - as much as they are difficult at times. I miss sleep the most. I only sleep about 3-4 hours a night most nights because of one of my meds and it's been this way for years. I've taken every sleeping pill in the book. I know that it highly affects my memory and ability to do things, but I don't know what to do about it - I have to have it. That one is surely a love hate relationship!
The truly hard part is the emotions. Some of the meds make you feel numb. It's really hard to feel connected to God when you're numb. That's why I opened this up about faith and feelings. It took me a long time to learn that and with help from Pastor Paul. I understand it now, but I won't tell you that feelings do help faith. It helps to feel hopeful. That's for sure. There is nothing like those goose pimple moments to let you know your alive. There is nothing like feelings of awe and wonder. I'm all for those. I love that. I'm beginning to feel a lot better despite lack of sleep. It feels so good to write. It's actually beginning to feel good to be alive again and that's what it's all about. Thanks be to God for getting me through this, even though it's not over yet. I've still got things to face. Yet, somehow today it feels like it might just be okay. It doesn't seems as devastating as it did yesterday. Praise God for progress.
Life sure feels like that sometimes... despite the physicality of it all, I don't know that I'd change any of it - it makes me, me. I suppose what matters in the end is progress, even if it's a step or two forward and three back. I keep getting up. We all know what Confucius says - "Fall down seven times, get up eight."