Sunday, November 12, 2017

The More Things Change the More Things Stay the Same

I've been thinking for awhile that I needed to post, but I haven't had anything to say that's been worth saying. This is still probably true, but I've decided to post anyway in the spirit of transparency.


Over the past year or so, I've posted things that suggest (not so subtly) that I've been struggling. Physically, as well as emotionally. It seems like I've felt this way forever and that I can only just barely remember "The Before". Yet when I look back into some of the posts I've made here, I can't believe I've felt so.. bad.. for this long!

I have what is called "Clinical Depression" or "Major Depressive Disorder".

There, I said it. Well, I typed it. In public.

I have taken antidepressants off and on since I was a teenager. Throughout the time of this blog's existence, I had been on the same one for approximately four years. Until last Sunday, November 5th when I stopped taking it for various reasons - one, the biggest, being that it had ceased to help. (I would be happy to talk to you about which medication I was, and have been on, if you would like to email me at bombedblondchelle@gmail.com).

I am presently going through withdrawals, which causes physical as well as emotional side effects. This is what has prompted my decision to write this post. I know that there are others that live with depression, whether or not they read me, and if this post serves no further purpose at least maybe one other person can realize they don't suffer alone.

I have felt the seemingly infinite sadness, the hopelessness, the anxiety, withdrawal, frustration, physical pain, and suicidal ideation. These symptoms prompt many people to begin antidepressant therapy, and when therapy fails, these symptoms often return with a vengeance.

I have gained weight, all but stopped running, struggle to get out of bed in the morning, can't find enthusiasm for things I used to love, and can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know  this is withdrawal and will let up eventually. And even though I know this, I don't believe it. If that makes sense. I can't visualize the day that I will be "ok".

I am secretly terrified that people will look at me and know that I'm not ok. I don't want anyone to know that I'm a wreck inside, that I'm struggling. That I'm anything but calm, collected, and sane

Depression and other mental illness is a taboo topic. Nobody wants to talk about it and this means that people are often embarrassed by it, ashamed of it.

There is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of. Depression does not mean you're crazy.

It is alright to seek help, even if that help isn't pharmaceutical. Medicine, antidepressants, aren't for everyone. It is ok to call a friend, a family member, and just say "hey, I need help."

Running used to help me. Help, not fix. When I began having back problems, it slowed my running down which in turn caused weight gain, that then makes it harder to run. (I also have an eating disorder, but that's an entirely separate post.) Some days, many many days, I have zero interest in running anymore. There's almost like a black cloud physically hovering over me, a fogginess that makes it feel hard to breathe and my body feel heavy. I just can't picture myself doing the things that I used to love so much. I just.. can't.. step out the door. There is no "reason", no particular cause for my inability to open the door and step outside. It. Just. Is.

I look for things to shut my brain off, to quiet the hopelessness and unexplainable sadness. Drawing, painting sometimes help. Binge watching Netflix sometimes helps. Physical activity sometimes helps (how I miss running regularly!)

"If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward." - Martin Luther King Jr.

Coming off of the meds (much like starting them) causes a myriad of nastiness: Anxiety, depression and mood swings, dizziness and balance problems, vertigo, electric shock sensations, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, headache, loss of coordination, muscle spasms, nausea/vomiting, nightmares, tremors, insomnia, restless leg syndrome.

I.
Have.
Them.
ALL.

I want to reiterate, that if you have or have had anything like what I have talked about here: You are not alone. I promise. I'm right here. And if you have nobody else you feel like you can talk to, or even if you do have someone else to talk to, or if you find it easier to talk to a stranger, or even if you just need to talk to someone that "gets it". I'm here.

I don't want to indicate that antidepressants are negative or a bad thing, they are often literally life-savers. I am not unwilling to try something new medicinally, but I am going to wait until the dust settles from the last one I took before trying something else. I want to start at baseline.

I am not going to harm myself.

If you are feeling like you want to hurt yourself, please, please get help.

Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
Also consider these options if you're having suicidal thoughts:
  • Call your doctor or mental health professional.
  • Call a suicide hotline number — in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Use that same number and press "1" to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
  • Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
  • Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone else in your faith community.

This is not the end. You can get through this. We both can. 

**Disclaimer: While I am an experienced medical professional (RN), my expertise on the matter in this blog post is strictly personal and opinion.




1 comment:

Non-Stop Mom said...

Sending you so much love. And you know how to find me anytime. For reals.

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