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Where have I been?

Where have I been the last few months? I’ve been depressed. I still am, but I’m doing better now than I was. It was bad. It started in December and peaked in February I think. Between crazy workload issues and packing and moving and selling the house and renovations and migraines and awful migraine prevention meds and Duncan dying and other stuff I just got overwhelmed and anxious and then I couldn’t sleep and I would wake up in the middle of the night and worry for hours. And you know how that goes, it’s always catastrophizing, imagining the worst things that could happen. And everything just kept getting worse with the lack of sleep and the anxiety and the exhaustion and the cumulative effects of everything.

In February I started antidepressants. Within a few weeks I noticed a pretty significant improvement. I’ve increased the dosage a couple of times since, but the depression seems to have plateaued. I’m a 12 on the depression scale, if that means anything to you (I was an 18 initially). Last week my doctor added sleeping pills to the mix, and that seems to be making a difference. I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in six months, and now I’ve had seven of them in a row. I see two benefits: 1) I’m not exhausted, and 2) I don’t lie awake for hours stressing about work.

Anyway. Depression’s a weird thing, isn’t it? I always thought I wasn’t prone to it, but I guess that’s changed. This is my third depression. I had one bout as a teenager, and this is my second middle-aged depression.

At its worst it was really bad. I got to the point where I couldn’t handle anything else, so I was literally not opening my mail or paying my bills or answering my phone. My memory was completely shot. Even writing things down so I wouldn’t forget them felt complicated. I couldn’t keep lists. Everything felt overwhelmingly hard. I could feel gravity tugging at my face – it was an actual physical sensation. I literally felt myself aging. I cried a lot – many times a day.

GC was very supportive, of course. He was there for me, he made food, he didn’t tell me to cheer up, he took care of things.

It’s actually pretty amazing that I kept working. But I had a project I was very committed to, and that project had a looming deadline. (“One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.” – Bertrand Russell.)

When I went off antidepressants several years ago, I said I would never take them again because of the difficulties I had with withdrawal symptoms. But you know what? This February I knew I needed them, and I didn’t hesitate. I wanted them. I have no regrets. I’d rather take antidepressants than feel that dying wouldn’t be the end of the world.

24 comments to Where have I been?

  • kayT

    Glad you’re back and feeling better. I loved that you said GC “didn’t tell me to cheer up”. When my depression gets really bad if someone says that to me I have to really really work at controlling the urge to kill that person. (My husband has also won the gold star by never saying that.)

    Anyway, I’ve missed you and I’m glad you’re back. Sleep is a very good thing so have a lot of it if you can!

    • Thanks Kay. The one good thing about being depressed is that it has given me insight into depression. I probably used to say all the wrong things to people who were depressed. 😉

  • Gillian

    Glad you’re getting back on track. Several things you said made a lot of sense. All the best.

  • Kelly

    Glad to hear you are doing better. Depression is difficult.

  • LisaRR

    Yes tough winter indeed! Glad you have posted – welcome back!

  • And here I thought you were just busy. 😉 You went through a helluva lot of change all at once. Anyone would have been knocked off their socks by all that. Glad you are wise enough to know what to do to get better.

  • Mo

    Hi Zoom,

    I’m glad to hear you are beginning to feel better. You’ve had a lot of changes over a very short period of time.

    Go easy on yourself as you recover and get better.

    Take care, Mo

  • Take care of yourself, ma’am. And keep on keeping on…

  • I’m so glad you were able to make the decision to give the medication a try when life became too overwhelming and I am so glad to see that things are getting better for you. GC is so smart and such a great guy. You guys are lucky to have found each other.

    And those two kids at the street fair that gave advice? What great advice! Those are the kind of kids who will rule the world one day.

    • I really hope those kids rule the world some day. And one actually does intend to be a politician. (Another plans to be a police officer, and the third is still undecided.)

  • Aggie

    I’m glad you are back and feeling better. I missed you. Thanks for writing so honestly about this. Depression IS a weird thing…

  • mudmama

    Oh I had no idea! Depression and anxiety are major chunks of my life story so I completely understand the need to just hold onto one thing as important enough to keep going… know the one thing I’ve gotten from my major depressive periods is getting over my fear of death. I don’t actively want to die anymore, but I no longer fear it….it kinda made me brave. Are you taking the same antidepressant or another one?

    • Just to clarify – that one project was the one thing that kept me going to work, not that kept me alive. 😉

      But I completely relate to depression helping you get over your fear of death. Me too. I didn’t want to die, I wasn’t suicidal, but the thought of dying didn’t bother me much.

      I’m taking a different antidepressant this time – sertreline (sp?).

  • Kathy

    All the hugs in all the world. I’m sorry that you are working through a depression and happy that you are well supported, even if, in my experience, depression is awful no matter what. People talking about depression honestly is important, i think, so that people know they are not alone and also that whatever help you need, you should get it, and not be judged.

  • Karen Batsch

    So sorry you’ve been going through all of this. Thank heavens you knew when and where to go for help. And thank heavens for Rob and his quiet loving and understanding nature. Depression is such an odd and difficult disease to deal with. Please take good care of yourself!

  • lucy

    Good to see new posts from you, and glad to hear you’re feeling better.

  • future landfill

    I’ve been blessed with just a little while under the black cloud, but it’s a pisser to have to slough your way through.

    My thoughts are with youse.