When Depression Returns

For quite some time, I did really well.  I took my Cymbalta regularly and lost weight, I didn’t need the anxiety medications, and things were going great.  Then for some reason, I forgot the Cymbalta.  I felt awful, dizzy, foggy-headed.  I couldn’t figure out why.  I kept forgetting to take the medicine.  I suffered terrible withdrawal symptoms before I finally figured out what was going on.  It really didn’t take that long… maybe a week or two, but it felt like a lifetime.  

I started the Cymbalta again, at the dose I was taking a couple of weeks prior.  It proved to be too much.  The symptoms were similar to the withdrawal symptoms.   I couldn’t take that high of a dose, so I made an appointment with my doctor.  He was a new doctor for me, not the original prescriber.  When I asked him to re-start my prescription with a gradually increasing dose, he would not do it.  He wanted me to start taking St. John’s Wort, and would not budge on the issue.  

St. John’s Wort… may be a wonderful option for some people, however it never did work for me.  I had tried it in the past, and it didn’t work then.  I was hesitant about trying it again.  But I did after he assured me that there were options available for the St. John’s Wort that would not require me to take a dose multiple times a day.  I have yet to find these options.  Most available OTC forms of this herbal supplement recommend taking the supplement three times a day.  I quickly gave up on this, and decided that I was feeling okay.  I could never remember to take capsules three times daily.  I was always missing a dose, or two doses.  If I was feeling okay then maybe I didn’t even need it. 

All went well for almost two years. Well, looking back, maybe almost a year, and then the symptoms started creeping back up on me.  Slowly, I was sinking back into the place that I had worked so hard to get out of.  It’s back… full fledged attack on my happiness and my functioning.  Little hope surrounding me, seeing all the negatives and not the good, drained of energy, snapping at my dear little family…. I am, yet again, nearly at the bottom and clawing my way up the sides of this dark pit.  

I am trying different things this time around. Hopefully I can get out of this place without the medications.   I am not opposed to them, but I think there has to be a better way than being dependent on a chemical alter my body’s function.  

The plan?  

  • Exercise – this is probably the hardest one for me, so I will be starting out slowly and working my way up
  • Counseling – I found a wonderful person who I am comfortable with (have never had this in a counselor before)
  • Alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, massage, etc.
  • Searching for myself, finding things that make me happy
  • Looking for a positive (at least one, but hopefully many) each day
  • Meditation 
  • Journaling (frequently, but maybe not daily) and Blogging! (When I can, which seems to be less often these days)

Of course, this isn’t set in concrete or even discussed with a professional, but with my bi-weekly counseling I feel safe in this decision.  

Still looking for other things to help me through… but want to find something that can become a good positive habit that will last a lifetime, and that I don’t have to worry about missing a dose, withdrawing from, or paying for every month.  

So far, the meditation is free, the exercise is free, finding positives in my day is free… I will keep going to the counseling sessions as long as I can afford to.  This has been a tremendous help already. I’m not sure how often the alternative therapies will be a viable option for me, but maybe it will even be a treat occasionally.  

What are your experiences with overcoming depression? Have you found any alternatives to prescription medications? Homeopathic remedies, alternative therapies, meditations, etc.?  

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Self-Judgement stops progress…

Who better to judge me than myself? I look in the mirror and I see every flaw.  I pass judgement on the way my hair looks, the way my clothes cling to each and every bulge that mock my inner size four, the way my eyes look back at me with their newly formed lines telling me I am no longer young despite my youthful soul. 

Looking deeper into those eyes…into the depth of my spirit, searching for the inception of my soul.  A bright and honest beginning, like a bright light gleaming forward trying to knock past barrier after barrier.  Tumbling down are the walls blocking the path into adulthood. The masonry appears strong, but I am stronger. Will power like a wrecking ball hurling energy toward each barricade. 

Marriage, pregnancy, divorce, marriage…and then the biggest wall of them all.  I have made mistakes in my life, but none compare to the mistakes I have made in my second marriage.  I don’t know how to fix these mistakes, and when I sit back and try to look at them objectively it all unwinds and I judge myself harshly.  I lose sight of anyone else’s involvement and lay the blame on myself. I crush my spirit with bad names and crushing self punishment. 

I built this wall mostly by myself.  For someone who knocks down so many barriers, I was the perfect person to build one nearly impossible to break down.  Brick by brick, double thickness, reinforced with inner steel beams, the wall was erected inadvertently.  Poor choices laid upon poorer choices. What was I thinking? Turns out that I probably was not thinking at all.  

Where do I go from here? Every time I think I have chipped away at my enourmous barrier, another portion is built by my own harsh judgement, keeping me immobile, stale, sluggish. 

Now standing stagnant, poised for battle and feeling prepared to slam into the barrier, I’m unable to move. Frozen like an old Roman statue, unable to swing my sword and conquer my enemy… unable to conquer myself. 
Image credit: AllSculptures.com

A Letter to Mom

Mom, 

As I spend my days with my children, who you do not know and probably never will, I remember the good days with you.  My girls are so sweet, loving, smart, enthusiastic, full of life.  The are trusting and naive, they are curious and adventurous.  These are things I used to be, before you let me down. 

I remember when I could be care free and trusting in the world.  I also remember that somehow that changed… you changed.  I don’t understand what happened to you. Sometimes I think I might want to ask you, let you explain everything from your point of view. Other times, I know in my heart that you will just be the victim again, see how you were hurt and how you still hurt, but discount the things that I went through. 

I remember when I believed in fairy tales, the way my youngest daughter still does.  I thought that parents stayed together, that love was ever-lasting, and that your family kept you safe.  I wish I could still believe in that, and I am working hard to make sure that my girls never have to experience the way it feels to know that the one person you rely on the most has abandoned you. 

That’s how I felt, mom…abandoned. I was abandoned by you when you quit keeping me safe.  Abandoned when you quit taking care of me. Abandoned when you no longer cared that the man you brought into our home came into my room at night and touched me, mollested me, raped me.  Abandoned when you told me straight out that you didn’t want to hear about it. 

Most girls that I know look up to their mothers, want to learn things from them and be like them.  But, dearest Mom – I want nothing more than to be your opposite.  I want to take care of my children for the rest of my life.  Make sure they are safe, prevent pedophiles from being around them, give them a safe person to talk to when they need it, and let them know that if there is ever a problem, they can count on me to be on their side. 

Not a holiday goes by that doesn’t remind me of you.  The hardest ones are Mother’s Day and Christmas.  I want so badly to be able to say I spent holidays with my mom. But I cannot say that, because I don’t trust myself to be around you.  I would probably say things that would hurt you, or things that would hurt me.  But mostly, I cannot say that because I don’t trust you to be around my family.  You are incapable of making good decisions.  You only care about yourself, and cannot see that the welfare of others is something that you are responsible for when you are caring for children. There were five of us that you let down.

I do love you, I love the memories of you before you changed. I love that you brought me into this world, and now I can make sure that my children are the happiest, healthiest, safest children possible. 

I am still hurt, and I don’t know when I will get past that.  I should have been able to count on you.  I should have been able to tell you the ugliest of truths and know that you would take care of me.  

What I found out is that I have to take care of my self. And that is what I did.  I got past the abuse in many ways.  I graduated high school.  I earned an associates degree.  I had two beautiful children.  I earned a bachelors degree.  I became a leader in the field of nursing.  I earned my Masters Degree.  I have worked very hard to be successful in life and not let my demons hold me back. It was hard. So damn hard.  I almost fell captive to those demons several times, and I am afraid that I am not completely free.   

Do I owe my success to you? NO.  I take most of the credit.  And I give a lot of the credit to my sisters, too.  Without them as role models as people who can overcome abuse, I may not have ever seen the way out.  My life may have been much different. After all, in your care I got to experience not only abuse, but drug use, alcohol use, etc. 

May you find your way out, and maybe find that it is totally worth looking after some one other than yourself.  It is so rewarding to be the one that your children want to be like.  

I hope that in the years that have passed since we last spoke, you have found happiness and peace.  

I hope that one day I can forgive you, and tell you that in person. 

Until then, I hope to be the best person I can be, the best mother I can be, and that you may finally love yourself. 

Sincerely, 

Your daughter. 

Irritable, irrational, and rambling…

I work weekends, twelve hour night shifts.  I like it, but it does make it hard for me to do fun things with my family.  The weekend nights are usually when the fun stuff happens, and the work is all on the weeknights.  Homework, baths, meals… that is the time I get with my girls.  I love every minute, but when do I get to have some fun? 

This weekend I can have off, because every seventh weekend we are able to take off if we have enough accrued PTO time.  It’s Memorial Day Weekend.  I didn’t know initially that I would be able to take this weekend, but it worked.  I have the PTO time to cover it.  I could work and save my PTO time… I considered this, and it is still a possibility to pick up the shift tonight.  I picked up one shift earlier in the week, so that saved me 12 hours.  Now I just need to use 24 hours of PTO.  That’s not so bad.  

My dilemma is this:  I have asked several times if my husband wants me to go to this cookout at his friends house with him, because the invite has not been extended to me.  The answer is never a “I would love it if you go” or “It would be great to have you there” or “Yeah, you should come with us and meet all my friends”.  

We have been married now for eight years.  He started school a year ago, and has new friends, friends that I have never met but he spends a lot of time with.  He has plans to go to this cookout with my two daughters, and has not even asked to see if I wanted to go.  He says “I want you to do what you want to do” – – – what I want to do is be a part of this family, be wanted by my family.   I just want to know that you want me to be there – – – I am a little bit offended… but should I be? I don’t know.  But I am.  

So now, after a power outage that left me unable to do anything to keep myself awake last night, I am well rested for a day schedule, and will be exhausted if I do try to work tonight. 

When I ask him about it it is “you don’t have to go” or “I thought you were gonna be working”…

Is it wrong that I just want him to want me to be there?  

Am I completely irrational about this?  

Okay, rant over.  

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