Monthly Archives: July 2013

Hard to Swallow

I finally did it. I finally called the psychiatrist back and got my prescription filled. I’ve been on 5mg of Lexapro for four days now. It’s not going that great.

I knew starting medication was going to be difficult, but it’s much different when you’re in the middle of it than when you’re thinking about it before. You can’t really prepare yourself for it.

Now it’s 6:00 in the morning. I literally didn’t slept at all last night. I had been taking the Lexapro in the morning, but it was making me sleepy. I was so tired I would have to stop what I was doing and sit down to rest during the day. So, I tried taking it before bed. Big mistake. I’m so confused, though: is it possible that the medication would make me tired when taken in the morning, but still give me insomnia when taken at night?

I wish someone could give me all the answers, and tell me when I’ll feel better, if I’ll ever feel better, if this is the wrong drug for me, and what to do.

I think the thing that’s just so hard for me to really come to terms with, is the concept that we deliberately take these medications that make us sick, in hopes that they will ultimately make us feel better.

It’s counter-intuitive, and scary when you’re in it for the first time.

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Through the Looking Glass: An 8th Grader’s Perspective On Depression

6/14/08:

I always thought depression was simply an ADULT problem. That was who the depression medecine [sic] ADs on TV were for! Boy was I wrong. … 

Another thing, when I hear about someone who is going through it, I just want to go up to them and hug them and tell them that people DO care. Even if I can’t do that, which makes me sad.

I’ve been journaling since I was in elementary school. But the above snippet from my 8th grade diary is one of the first entries I have to look back at. I used to write, then when I would go back to read it months or years later and would rip up my old entries because I thought they were stupid and immature.

I wrote this one soon after I had recovered from my first major depressive episode. I was confused about what I’d been through, and terrified that the illness would come back. I had never felt such extreme pain and sadness before in my life, and suddenly had a huge empathy for others who were going through what I had gone through. I felt sad for them, and wanted to help them. To tell them that they weren’t alone.

And to warn the rest of the world, because no one had warned me.

At this time in my life, I was angry. I felt like my childhood had been stolen from me in one fell swoop. And in a way, it kind of was.

I have most of my journal entries from eighth grade on, and I think some of them are worth sharing. I remember that I used to be so frustrated that nobody would ask me what I thought of things. When you are growing up, you spend a lot of time thinking about your world and trying to make sense of it.

Kids should have a voice. Even if their ideas can’t be heard until five years later, by way of saved writings. A time capsule of sorts.

Paper Cranes

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Let’s Start from the Beginning

I had my first visit with a psychiatrist yesterday. I wasn’t terribly anxious about it– having been in counseling on and off for the past five years, I have plenty of practice talking about my problems, my life, my medical history. And although having to start from the beginning (“I had my first episode of major depression when I was 13, in eighth grade…”) over and over is exhausting, it can also be refreshing. Not only does it give a new set of earns to listen, but also a chance to reflect on your history and see what new connections come to mind.

But the longer you’ve been suffering, the longer, more complicated, more convoluted the story gets. For me, as of right now, my story includes chronic depression, anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal thinking, disordered eating, insomnia, and self-injury. It takes something out of the ordinary to make me feel happy. I feel “neutral” most of the time. When I’m in a major depressive episode, I feel like I just got hit by a bus. I worry a lot. I get panic attacks that make me feel like I’m drowning. The worst panic attacks happen at night, though, when I’m alone, and, having lost my sense of sight to the darkness, am consumed by thoughts of how tiny I am, how insignificant I am, how I am going to die someday, and how even if God does exist, that eternity is a long time and what if I don’t like Heaven? A lot of days I want to run away, or to die (although I don’t really want to die, just to not live the way I am at the moment). Even though I’m not, I feel fat. I might weigh myself 6 times a day, in secret, obsessively. Some nights I can’t fall asleep because my thoughts are consumed by what I ate that day, trying to decide if it was “okay” or not, and what I will do the next day to “control myself.” There are nights I can’t sleep at all, and have to watch TV to try to escape my incessant thoughts. Sometimes I hurt myself. I dig my fingernails into the skin on my back to try to get out all of the feelings that are controlling me. But then when I realize I’ve done it again, I feel guilty and weak, and am mad that I can’t stop myself. Am I crazy? Maybe. But I’m me, and all of this is part of my story, part of who I am, and I’m not embarrassed or ashamed of any of it (most of the time).

Generally, though, I’m fine. I go to college, have good friends, and a loving family. Most days my symptoms are not bad, they’re manageable, and although I’m rarely happy, I’m… doing alright. I’m doing the best I can. And I have so many good things going on in my life.

What finally made me decide to see a psychiatrist was the suicidal thinking. There’s a difference between being suicidal and suicidal thinking. I think about dying a lot. I think about wanting to run away, to leave. I think about how much suffering there is in the world, how much pain I’m in, and how much more pain I’m going to go through in the rest of my life, and wonder if there’s even a point to go on. But I know that I won’t kill myself. I feel very safe with myself, and I don’t actually want to die. I still have some hope. There are good days and loving people that make it all worth it.

But I worry that there will come a day that I’m in so much pain that I’m not thinking straight, and I won’t be able see that little bit of hope anymore. Because when you’re depressed, your thoughts aren’t your own. They might come from your own mind, but they’re not yours. You don’t have control over them. The depression hijacks your thoughts, it takes over and you don’t think the same things you would if you weren’t sick. That idea scares me. And as I get older that idea seems like more of a real possibility, more of a real threat. I’ve been struggling with depression on and off for more than five years, and I worry about some invisible pain-tolerance threshold that I might be approaching. I want to be able to live my life, and see the beauty in the world, and feel happiness the same way I used to. I don’t know if that’s possible, but if there’s something I might be able to do about it, it is definitely worth a try. I will never get back the time I have spent sick and depressed. I don’t really want to keep giving away my life to this illness.

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