February 12, 2013

Just when you think it's safe to go back into the water . . .

Depression rears it's ugly head.

Yep - started to recognize the signs over the weekend but was in denial.  Then I decided that just to be safe I should meet with my doctor to discuss how I was feeling.  I met with him for about 30 minutes and both of us agreed that an anti-depressant was needed.  Since I had been through this before I was able to get to the doctor sooner than I had the first time around.  This means that I won't have to suffer as long as I did the first time.  Start on the meds sooner, get relief sooner.

What a bummer.  I have been weaned off an anti-depressant for about a year now and I honestly thought I would be able to manage my mental health and well being without some added help.  But, that's okay and I now understand that.  

I'm not embarrassed by this  Actually I think that we need to be more open about this just as we would be open if we were suffering from a physical illness such as arthritis and diabetes.  

I did not have this problem until I entered my 50's, which is bringing me closer to menopause.  I was diagnosed with hypo-thyroidism 3 years ago and have found that I need to have my blood checked every few months to make sure that my thyroid medicine doesn't need to be increased.  In fact my doctor told me that he wouldn't be surprised if that is part of my problem right now.  I have learned that I am my own best judge on knowing my body.

One of the first symptoms of depression for me is the inability to let things go, to take one isolated incident and make it into something grander to the point that I keep playing that incident over and over in my mind and can't stop.   I become totally obsessed - OCD.  Usually it is something that makes me afraid to the point of being paralyzed with fear - totally irrational fear.  In a few weeks this is something that I will look back on and be completely puzzled by how I could have possibly felt this way.  But for now, it is real.   While anyone else would say oh well and move on, I can't.  Normally this is not a problem, but with the sun not shining for a long time, it being cold and having to be inside more, I was already feeling a little blue.  

A perfect storm was forming.

As I go through this illness, I find that there are certain times of the day that are harder than others. The mornings are wonderful for me and it is during those times that I can't believe that I feel the way I feel later in the day.  I almost feel "normal."  It is the mid afternoon that is hard for me.  Recognizing that, I try to schedule my mall walks and working out around those times.  If I don't feel like leaving the house, I spend time sewing or crafting which is something I like to do.  I am being careful about what I eat as I don't have much of an appetite so I am making sure that I am eating lots of protein and fruits and vegetables when I do feel like eating.

When I feel overwhelmed and anxious, feel like I will never get out of this hole, I sit down and take a deep breath.  I make a phone call to a dear relative or friend just to hear a voice of encouragement.  I have been taping some really good sermons from the t.v. to listen to when I am discouraged.  I recognize the things that I need to do to help move me along.  

The medication will kick in and I will start to feel wonderful again.  It is just a matter of time.  The best part of this situation is that I have a well stocked freezer and pantry so if I don't feel like grocery shopping, I don't have to.  It pays to be prepared.   

So I am on the mend and I will be posting again.  In the midst of all of this I have been sewing and making receiving blankets for my grand baby who is due to be born in a few weeks.  I find great relaxation in sewing and with what I am going through now, this baby may end up with a lot of hand sewn items from grandma.  

I love posting on this blog and for me not to post for a while, was a sign that some of you noticed and commented on.  You are some pretty smart people!

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).


Lori Alexander said...

Can I recommend taking fish oil for you? Here is a link to the kind we take ~

You need to take a tablespoon a day in juice. It has helped a lot of people with depression. You may already be taking it but I thought I would give it a shout if you're not.

Rachel W said...

We should be able to be more open about mental illness. Yet people still believe they don't exist or it is just an excuse (or a ploy for pity - actually was accused of this). Thank you for being so open about your struggle.

Not quite two years ago, I lost one of my very best friends to suicide brought on by major (and untreated) depression. It has left some serious emotional scars on me. I also suffer from depression. Not to the extent my friend did but I know that feeling of focusing on one small event or phrase and just not being able to let it go. I also know the paralyzing fear that comes with it.

People who have never dealt with it before think I should just get past it, no big deal. In the moment, it feels like a huge deal.

I am glad you are able to get help. When depression is keeping you from living life, from doing the things you love, it is more than just "a funk". I hope the meds help, in addition to your exercise and diet (meaning eating habits as opposed to weight loss plan).

Moonwaves said...

Mental illness is difficult to deal with - well done to you for recognising you needed help and getting it (and great that you were able to actually get it, too, something that unfortunately cannot always be a given).

I notice I'm depressed when for some reason or another it occurs to me that I'm not singing at all. I do still sing when I go to choir practice but otherwise not, no singing along with the radio or anything. I'm always grateful when I notice it because then I can do something about it before it goes too far. Funnily, I also sometimes start to have nightmares where I go absolutely crazy because people have been moving my furniture around. I reckon I may need a couple more years of therapy to fully get behind what causes that one but for now I'm happy enough to recognise it as a bad sign and try to deal with it accordingly. :)

Keep looking after yourself.

lizzie said...

My son was diagnosed with depression and then was weaned off anti depressants after several years. He changed his doctor and has now been diagnosed with Bi-Polar II - this is after 12 years.
I do hope you feel better soon.........my heart goes out to you.
Long term use of fish oil can be very helpful.