Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 17 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Rocky Road

Life has been a bit rocky lately. My mood has been unpredictable. While I've been functioning well at work, socializing a bit, and running, well, a little less, I've also been tired, sleeping a lot, and had random attacks of utter hopelessness. I've struggled with some really low moments and low motivation over the past couple of weeks. It's been challenging.

I don't think I ever mentioned it here, but about 5 or 6 weeks ago, since I had been doing so well for so long, I asked to have one of my anti-depressants decreased. My doctor agreed. So we decreased the dose by one third. It's not that I was having any side effects, at least not that I know of, but I always want to be on the lowest dose possible. Of course, my grand hope is full remission and eventually no medication, hence this recent experiment.

I'm not so sure the rocky road I've been experiencing is entirely due to the decreased anti-depressant. I've had a lot of emotional stuff going on lately as well. But of course it makes sense to go back up on my dose and attempt to stop this slide before it really gets rolling. After consultation with my social worker and doctor, I resumed taking my previous inti-depressant dose.

Here's the thing. I feel like I failed. I know it's stupid. Taking a certain dose of a certain medication does not mean I failed. If one of my patients with high blood pressure or diabetes made lifestyle changes in an effort to decrease their medication, and it didn't pan out, I would never, ever think they failed. Many chronic, biological illnesses respond to lifestyle changes, yet still require medication to control. I know that.

I also know I, too, have a chronic, biological illness, but I still feel like I failed. And to tell you the truth, failing makes me angry. I'm so tired of being attached to this illness, and I don't know how much more I can do to fight it. I work hard to keep my life stable and drama-free. I eat well. I get plenty of sleep. I exercise. I challenge myself and set goals in order to keep moving forward. I work with people I enjoy at a very fulfilling job. I stay sober and participate in my AA community. I socialize with other healthy people. What else is there? Shouldn't all of these good habits make a difference?

Intellectually I know what I'm doing probably is making a difference. I can't imagine the power and control this illness would wield if I didn't have a healthy lifestyle. I'm certainly going to keep doing what I'm doing, and I know taking my medication is part of the whole equation. I guess I need to stop worrying about how much or how many meds I take. Perhaps I need to remember to be grateful I have meds that work instead. I'll work on that.


Mohican said...

You have to check this out:

Tina Fariss Barbour said...

Etta, you did not fail. You are a star, in my book, at doing all you can to fight depression. I don't do all the lifestyle things (yet) that would make a difference. Meds can't do it all.

I have accepted that I will need meds for the rest of my life. Like you, I am grateful that they are available. Doses don't really matter.

You are so dedicated to living in ways that support your health. You inspire me!

Matthew @ My Little Eye Surgery said...

This is not a failure by any stretch of the imagination!

Anonymous said...

I can totally relate to this post. I also tried to reduce my meds, and ended up increasing them again. And felt like a failure. It is hard to accept that I may need to be on meds for life. Love your blog. As a runner and person living with depression, I find it inspiring.

Kat Leigh said...

Certainly not failure. I would say that even just the act of trying a different approach and making those little adjustments makes it a complete success.

Eva said...

Etta: I so relate to you. "I'm so tired of being attached to this illness, and I don't know how much more I can do to fight it." says it all for me. And yet we have to keep on fighting. Somehow.

@Mohican. Thanks for the link to that blogpost. It really describes how I felt and still feel.