Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 19 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!

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Meds Cure as Well

If you read my last post, you might think the only things required to arrest a bout of severe depression are some sunshine, a bit of exercise, and time with good friends. In fact, for several days after I wrote that post, something didn't sit right. I thought, "This seems odd. What else is going on here?" I mean, if it was as easy as sunshine, exercise and friends, I wouldn't have depression! Of course there was more to it than that. I just conveniently forgot.

I was so pleased and relieved to be feeling better when I returned from Austin, it seems I had a brain cramp. I forgot my doctor had changed my medications 3-4 weeks ago. Hmmm... How long does it typically take for psych medication to prove itself useful? About 3-4 weeks. Apparently there was more going on than just sunshine, exercise and friends.

Around the time I went to the hospital, my doctor and I decided to increase one of my meds and add another. I already took a handful of medications, so I wasn't thrilled with the idea, but I agreed. I was desperate. Once again, my doctor was right. The changes she recommended, I believe, are definitely making a difference. I'm glad.

Well, I'm glad, and I'm not so glad. That sounds utterly ridiculous, I know. Maybe conflicted is better than not-so-glad. Let me explain. I know I'd be dead if I didn't take psych medication. I'd also be dead if I never went to the psych hospital. But I hate going to the hospital, even though when I go it helps 100% of the time. I don't hate taking medication, but I don't love having to rely on them either, even though they also help most of the time. So I'm conflicted about adding more medication to my regime.

A couple of months ago, I was having a conversation with a stranger about depression. She knew nothing about me when she stated, "Well, I don't believe in people taking meds for depression." In an attempt to educate, I responded by saying taking meds for depression is no different than taking meds for diabetes. She cavalierly retorted, "I know. I have depression. I don't need meds to help me feel better." I was polite but quickly extricated myself from the conversation. If I hadn't, I might have angrily screamed, "Well goody for you! Aren't you lucky!"

I was angered by her blanket statement condemning anti-depressant medication. In reality, maybe I was a bit jealous. If I had mild depression, I might not "believe" in taking meds, either. But I don't have mild depression. I have severe, treatment-resistant, stubborn, overbearing, evil, debilitating depression which repeatedly attempts to take my life! So, while I'm grateful the medication changes (in addition to the sunshine, exercise and friendship) fought off the evil beast, I can't help but feel a bit conflicted about increasing the pills in my already overflowing handful.

Bottom line? Conflicted or not, I'm grateful to be feeling better. I'll continue to do whatever is necessary to move forward on this path. Functioning and feeling well, regardless of how I got here, is much preferable to debilitated and feeling hopeless.

1 comment:

Katy said...

Great post. Medication certainly helps me. I wish it worked better sometimes. It was hard for me to accept the fact that I will most likely need to be on anti depressants for the rest of my life. Now that I have accepted that, I LOVE my medication. It definitely helps. I find that I MUST exercise as well to keep a handle on it. I have had a very toxic work situation that I have been working through which has made my depression hit me hard. I wasn't able to exercise, and I was sleeping too much. This was a vicious cycle this past week. My husband said it was like I was in a different world. He asked me, "Are you going to get out of this?" I was physically spilling things on myself, leaving my car light on, forgetting to turn the light on to find my clothes for work in the morning. It was affecting everything. Then I had to come home and struggle to stay away until 8:00 PM. I would try to stay awake until then. Then I would get in bed and stay in bed until 7:00 AM. I have to be at work at 8:00 AM. It was a terrible, terrible week.

I just ran a half marathon with my friend this morning, and I feel so much better. I don't understand why I can't even run 10 minutes sometimes. I tried to run during the week, and it was so difficult. I barely made it 15 minutes. I ran 15 miles last weekend, but my depression felt like it was taking me over this week.

I forced myself to think positive thoughts. I texted myself messages, "You are a rock star!" I was really trying to get out of my negative thought cycle. It was hard. Even this morning- before the run- I was telling myself I should just go back to bed. Thank goodness I didn't. My friend was counting on me, and that is why I did not get back in bed.

My husband was asking when he would get me back. I told him, "Trust me, this is absolutely no fun for me. This is not a place I want to be." You know how it is. You feel awful. Terrible thoughts go through your mind such as... "I'm worthless. I'm a terrible mom, wife, teacher. I can't do this. This is my fault." Those are many of my thoughts.

Running helps me so much. I much prefer to have the heavy legs, tired body and the thoughts such as, "How much further? What mile are we at? What time is it? What will we eat when this is done?" Those are wonderful, amazing thoughts.

So proud of you, Etta, and the work you are doing day in and day out. This is a relentless disease. I am right there with you. We have to stay persistent and be more relentless than this terrible illness- day after day, minute after minute. And when we can't be relentless ourselves, we can help each other.