Tag Archives: dysthymia

Power Naps and 5-Minute Workouts

Saturday, I was feeling really sad.

Honestly, I’m not sure what was going on. Probably a mix of being tired, nervous for a play I was acting in that day, overwhelmed by schoolwork, and all the usual other college-related stressors.

One of my good friends asked if I was okay, and if I wanted to talk. I didn’t. I didn’t have anything that needed to be said, nothing was really wrong. When I realized that, I knew I needed to do something to shake the clouded feeling that had taken over me.

In my years of struggling with depression, I know that when you have the cloud feeling but nothing is wrong, the only way to fix it is to stop whatever it is you are doing and take a moment for yourself. You can try to power through the feeling, but it won’t go away. I promise.

Saturday, I stopped, took a 20 minute nap, then woke my body up right after with one of the videos from the 5-Minute Workout Anywhere series (click for link–they’re pretty funny).

After doing those two things, which only took a half hour of my day, I was feeling exponentially better. Good, even! Excited! Ready to continue with everything I needed to do!

Yes, doing those two things took a half hour from what I had been planning on doing. But I know the increased productivity and happiness that came from my nap and “workout” were absolutely worth that half hour.

For me, Saturday was a good reminder that taking care of yourself is worth every minute.

Easier said than done? Yes, of course. But I am going to try.

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I like to pretend…

“I guess I like to pretend I don’t have this problem.”

I’ll be studying abroad in Hungary in the fall, and was discussing logistics about it during my psychiatry check-in this morning. I was feeling really good and comfortable with the plan we were working out–we figured out how I will get my prescriptions–but then she said to me:

“Yes. But what will you do if you are all the way in Eastern Europe on your own and you become symptomatic again?”

Oh.

I have no clue how, but that concept had completely slipped my mind. I had literally given no thought to what I would do if I was abroad and wasn’t okay anymore. I guess I like to pretend I don’t have this problem.

Even with my disordered eating habits, I have been doing so much better this year than ever before in my adult life. I feel so stable, so good, so in control of myself right now. I take my meds when I wake up, I go to nutrition and counseling check-ups, exercise, write in my diary, keep my food logs– I’ve found a self-care routine that’s working.

For the first time in my adult life, I know what it feels like to not live in constant fear of my illness.

I know I am so blessed and lucky to be able to say that. I never thought I would. But my appointment today gave me the necessary reminder that I will always, always have this part of me.

I will never outgrow my mental illness.

I will never be cured of my mental illness.

My mental illness will always be a part of who I am, and something I will always carry with me– even as far away as Hungary.

I’ve already had six years to try to reconcile myself with my illness, and even so, I’m still trying not to be angry about it.

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Who is in control?

We take drugs in order to give us more control over our lives.

I think about this a lot, and wonder about it. It’s ironic, really.

My Lexapro changes who I am. It directly affects my personality and my emotions. It controls my feelings, and makes me feel stable. It takes away my suicidal feelings and my panic attacks. It allows me to live a life where I don’t spend hours crying in my room or in the middle of class for no apparent reason.

But, it also gives me more control over my own life. Since I don’t have panic attacks, suicidal attacks, random crying attacks (if you will let me call them all “attacks”–as that is how I perceive my mental illness. It is just that, an illness, and one that sneaks up from behind when you least expect it and in an instant changes how you are feeling and functioning), I can make choices about my own life. I can choose what I want to do, when I want to do it, and I don’t need to spend as much time catering to the illness.

With my meds:

I can stay up later without having to worry that I will be depressed for the next week because of it.

I can make it through exams without crying from test anxiety.

I can listen to my friends and give advice without having to worry that it will trigger me.

I now have the emotional capacity to love, and live, and do what I want to do.

The very first thing I do every morning when I wake up is take my meds. Before I even put my feet on the floor, I take my meds. Any time I am going anywhere overnight, I have to pack my meds.

They control me, but at the same time give me my freedom back. It’s confusing.

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Life Update

So, clearly I failed at this whole blogging thing. But what’s new? (; I am an ideas person, and I think of all these great/cool/helpful/super awesome things I could do, then I start them, and then… nothing. Although I’m blogging now, aren’t I? So that counts for something? And my depressive journey will never actually be over; I know it is something I will be living with for the rest of my life, so I don’t have to worry about missing the opportunity, I guess.

In general, to be totally honest, things have been going really well. I am happy– truly, consistently happy– for the first time in years. The meds are working! I realize my last blog post was while I was still on 5mgs, and still trying to get over the initial sickness that often occurs when you are starting psych meds, but a lot has changed since then. My side effect sickness only lasted about 3-4 days, then went away completely. Immediately, I stopped having suicidal feelings (before I started the meds, I was feeling suicidal ~ 3 days a week! It was terrifying, and I wasn’t okay with that. Since I have started, I have only felt suicidal once. I literally never would have thought that would be a possibility for me.)

It took about a month for it to really affect my personality, so to speak, but the effects have fully set in now. It is weird in a way, but I finally feel like myself again. I feel like the girl I used to be before all this started, before 8th grade, before my first major depressive episode. I feel more outgoing, and a bit crazier in the “I want to do things and try new things” sense, and excuse my language, but I don’t give much of a s**t about what people think of me again. I feel so much more comfortable in my skin, I feel so much freer, but most importantly, I feel like my “old self,” my pre-depression self, pre-high school self that I had been missing so much.

My psychiatrist and I decided to up my dose, so now I am taking 10mg Lexapro every morning, and still have “check-up” counseling appointments. But I no longer feel like I need my appointments. They make me feel safer right now, since I am still trying to figure myself out, but I don’t spend my time counting the days down until appointments, trying to convince myself that I can hang on for “just 3 more days…”

All this being said, please don’t think I am trying to sell the idea of meds to anyone. They have worked for me. I don’t know how long they will continue to work, or what kind of biological effects they will have on my body and brain, or what the past few months would have been like for me without my meds. All I can say, and all I feel comfortable saying, is that they have helped me and they were the right choice for me at this point in my life. Everyone is different, and everyone is at a unique spot in their journey.

Sometimes I joke with my friends something to the effect of, “I won’t let anyone take my meds away from me! They’re mine!” … Except I’m only half-joking. I am terrified of what is going to happen when/if my meds stop working. But for now I am just trying to live in the moment, and soak in the good feelings.

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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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