Struggling with Depression

depression-13057

I am slowly waking up from a bipolar depressive episode. I raise my head up, look at the calendar and ask, “Where has all the time gone?” I may have seemed like I was present the past few months, but I’ve really just been hanging in there fighting the depression symptoms.

When I start to feel better I often find myself tempted to ruminate about the past. Oh the days when life was so much better—the times when I had friends over for dinner—oh heck just the times when I had some friends to call. How lonely life can become when you struggle with a mental illness. Especially when you struggle with depression, an illness that causes you to isolate yourself from others.

I contemplated taking a walk today, but I haven’t gotten there yet. I don’t know what I’m waiting for other than the symptoms from my latest medication to “wear off.” I think the doctor got carried away with pushing the dose of the new medication and the side effects are starting to cause me to sleep longer. I am so frustrated, it’s as if I’m constantly beating my head against the wall wondering when the wall is gonna break yet knowing that is not possible.

I want relief. Relief from the loneliness. I want involvement and yet I don’t know if I can keep my commitments. I want friends. Yet I don’t know if I have anything to talk about except my illness struggles and my past successes. Who wants to sit around hearing old tales about the past? People live in the present. They have lives. I feel like I have an existence. I try hard to stay positive and look for opportunities to “live.” But in all actuality I am struggling day by day with lingering depressive symptoms.

Depression keeps me from living to my potential. Sometimes the best I can do is get out of bed in the morning and that’s a huge accomplishment. The fact that I am trying to write is success. What I write is not inspiring or hopeful like I want it to be. I write about the struggle and the pain. I wish it could be different. All I can do is keep trying, that’s what I would tell a friend with the same challenge.

On a positive note, I do work part-time. It makes me put on my make-up and get out of the house. It’s not my ideal job, but it serves a lot of purposes. I work a few hours every week. Nothing I can’t handle even in the midst of fighting depression. I think about working more, but I don’t think I can handle it. I question my ability to handle stressful situations without triggering my illness.

So, I read and I write. Hoping that somehow I’ll get a pearl of wisdom to jump off the page into my heart. I might feel something click and maybe I’ll smile. Maybe I can relate to someone just like me and in that moment I won’t feel as bad.

 

 

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16 thoughts on “Struggling with Depression

  1. Hi Amy, getting the medication mix right is very frustrating. I have taken over 40 meds, I quit counting. At this point in life it doesn’t matter how many as much as did they work and for how long. I to tend to stay on the depressive side, getting out of bed, taking a shower are out of the question. It’s hell but hang in there on the meds. keep track of what you’ve taken and how much. The information will come in handy if you change doctors. I changed doctor’s and therapist several times before sticking my support team. I’ve been with both for 15 years. How often do you see your doctor and are they a Psychiatrist? I ask because when my med mix would stop working my doctor saw every 2-4 weeks until we agreed it’s working and I can handle the side effects. I hear you on the no friends, what to talk about, hell except for funerals I don’t think I’ve worn make-up in years. There probably isn’t much I can share with you that you haven’t hear. What I can do is share some of my tools learned over the years. Being an former Olympian you understand long term, consistent, hard training. That is one of your advantages. You have to work on your mental illness harder than that every day. On the worst days harder isn’t a huge goal, just enough of stretch to say I did this. I am a previous Sales Executive used to setting super sized goals, it took me years to understand that goals when I’m at my lowest or even highest are nothing like the past. When the black dog has moved in, brushing your teeth may be the goal. They are on a nano level when battling the dog. Stress is a trigger for me as well, I don’t deal with it better I take Xanax. I would not be alive without Xanax. I kept telling myself 30+ years ago no addictive meds. That is bullshit! There are tough decisions to make about meds. I currently take three addictive drugs but my life is a thousand % better. I spent almost three years in bed and battling the dog hard. When you have a chance to gain some of your life back, most people will choose light vs darkness. I know the answer but just in case. Do you research each drug down to FDA & prescriber information included in med box. These days you rarely get the prescriber info and what CVS gives you is a piece of wasted paper. It annoys doctor when you read and know that much about your condition or meds. What I have learned over the years reading info that did not made sense at first, prescriber info has stats from trails and can be quite helpful. You want to know yourself what all the side effects are and what category they fall in. How long it take for the med to reach it’s peak dose, how long it stays in system. All those little details can add up to information you need to know. One huge one for me was generic vs brand. Generic are made to work the same but they are not formulated the same. I have taken Wellbutrin for years. I started on generic and before long the dog was back. Started reading and found the dissolving rate are different. On a 24/time release med that makes a difference. There were hundreds if not thousands talking about it. It’s the one drug I refuse to take generic on. If you’re on meds that say XL or time released do your homework. Were you recently diagnosed? The critical piece of info I received from my therapist at the beginning. All doctors are busy so it’s important you know doctor speak. I have a chart that tracks your mood 24/7, you spend less time explaining how you feel and can get all the other questions in. I scanned it and will try to attach. If not I plan on posting. I actually met my therapist because I didn’t think my doctor understood how I was feeling. They had worked together for 13 years so she could tell me how to communicate with him and she gave me the chart. The chart was a great tool for me and more important when the dog was around. Sorry to go on, I know you want to help others, helping yourself has to come first. Your blog is great and just think of the next level when you’re feeling level. Sometimes level is a blessing, it’s not always feeling good. I know how you feel I’ve been there to long for my liking. Please if don’t listen to anything else, take care of yourself. You can’t help when in a ditch. There is no need cover it up, it’s life, your life. I offer my hand to you any time you want it. Treat yourself this weekend, a hot bath anything you can do to make yourself feel better now. 🙂

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    1. Hi Looking for the Light,
      I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate your very thoughtful comment. To answer a few of your questions…well..I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder 15 years ago. But I have suffered with severe depression since my senior year in high school (I’ll be 50 in December). The depression has gotten worse in the past 8 years. I’ve yet to find a combination of medication that works consistently well. I do see a psychiatrist on a regular basis. She’s been working with me on a medication change. I do read the prescribing information and was in the pharmaceutical business for 18 years. I pay close attention to the clinical trials, especially how many patients were in them. I’ve been on over 25 medications in 15 years and have had some success and a lot of failure. I have lived with the 60 pound weight gain and with the “zombie” effect of some drugs. Right now I’m just making sure I don’t get too high of a dose that pushed me right back into a major depressive episode. I agree I need to chart my moods daily. It would be very helpful. I also like your reminder–“you can’t help others until you help yourself.” I really appreciate your comment…it’s nice to know someone really understands!

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      1. Great, Not great but you know what I mean. I didn’t realize you’ve been battling for a long time. I’m 50 turning 51 next month. That is great news you have a pharm. background. That will help you save lots of time. Do you ever get manic or mostly on depressive side? I know the weight gain sucks so bad but I tried not to get vain about it. It doesn’t matter how big my ass is if I don’t leave the house. I use to have issues with mania and rapid cycling. It is so strange my doctor has me on mostly uppers and I haven’t been manic in forever. I wouldn’t mind a taste for about a week. I take lithium 400mg at night, you might need more I took 2 for years. Prozac 40 mg am, Dexedrine, pure speed, 30mg am,Wellbutrin 350mg XL am, brand only, usually only 3 Xanax a day, 1 about 10:30 am and 2 pm to go to sleep. I took Ambien for years but made the transition without issues. I’m all about not taking any more pills than I have to. Gag reflex so I have to take one pill at time and shove it down my throat. Nice picture. That mix gets me to level which is ok for now. I have a three year old car with less than 1K miles. My deep depression was from the stress and pain to get a diagnosis for my heart condition. I had 4 ECT treatments in Jan., for probably a total of 20ish. When I’m not getting out of bed, staring at wall all day, thinking negative, including suicidal thought, and shoving my face with food or not eating at all it’s time for ECT. I resisted for years, to scared, but what is there to be afraid of if you’re going to kill yourself. ECT works for me every time. I usually go in-house 1-2 weeks to start then switch to outpatient and my husband takes me. The key to less memory loss is unilateral vs bilateral. This last time they did unilateral and I did notice a difference. Have you ever tried ECT? If you’ve been down that long your brain needs a good kick to jump start it. I know these are very personal questions and some people don’t want to talk about ECT. You can always send me an e-mail to personal address. I also have the Vagus Nerve Stimulator but didn’t make a difference for me. Worth a try but no magic device. Magnetic Stimulation is based on a magnet and it looks like a head scratcher is getting lots of buzz, don’t think it’s approved yet but tons of trails. The only thing I seem to remember was you had to go everyday for what seemed like a long time. My memory is worse than normal due to battling another health issue. So far have not let myself get freaked out but it’s time to research and fill out paper work, may need an extra Xanax or two. I think I have Lyme and from the questionnaire I for sure have it. I don’t look forward to the horrid treatment but I would like to see the outside of my house again. Our depression sound similar, for sure the long term depression without relief. I see that smile in your photo, there will come a day when the smile will be real. I’m serious e-mail me and we can talk off line which would be much better. You have special circumstances and it’s probably best off line. My hand is here, just take when you need it. I’m happy to help anybody any way I can and we sound like depression twins. 🙂

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      1. I meant to add that I really appreciate your being honest about what’s going on with you during the hard times – that takes so much courage. You’re definitely inspiring me. You’ll be in my prayers, dear Amy.

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  2. I’m sorry for your struggles, but I share them with you. Your writing IS inspiring, as it helps other people to understand what we go through. I’m passing you a little sunshine this morning. I hope you have a great day.

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    1. Hi Timiarah,
      Thank you so much for your encouragement and understanding. It doesn’t take away the symptoms, but it helps to know someone else knows exactly how you feel. Thank you!

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  3. Amy, I would sit with you and listen you talk about your illness, struggles and past successes. I am/was depressed. I hate it. I didn’t believe in it till I found myself in it. Alone.
    And that’s why I’m writing this, to tell you that feeling alone it doesn’t mean you are alone… You are not… I’m right there with you. May not be much, but it’s something. (That’s what my readers told me many times).
    Keep writing!

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    1. Dotedon,
      Thank you for your kind comment. Ever since I posted on depression I feel like a lot of readers really supported me. I am so grateful you took the time to think of me. Thank you!

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