First off, if this is your first time visiting my particular rodeo, you should know that my rodeo has scary, crazy clowns. The sad ones, who are afraid of ruining everything. Okay, this analogy really isn't working for me - I have depression and generalized anxiety disorder. I have been taking some kind of medication or another for 12 years, and for the most part, did fine. Three years ago, even with the medication, things started becoming difficult - I simply was not responding well to the medication, my insurance dropped the therapist I had been seeing, and things kind of sucked. One of my friends dragged me to a local boot camp a little over a year ago, and I started exercising a few times a week, eating better, drinking more water, losing some weight...(oh yeah, also have been obese for 20 years.) The regular exercise really helped me straighten out my brain, and I haven't had a panic attack or a major depressive episode in over a year. It was awesome, and, while I know better than to say, "hey, I feel great, I'm dropping the meds!" (that never works, people!), I did decide it was time to lessen the dosage a bit. I am on a rather high dosage of a strong medication, and, while I am not ashamed of it, well, I don't love being on it. I told my doctor, and he told me that was great, but he was not going to cut my prescription back, as he knew I would need to increase again. Give it a few months, he said. If I was still feeling great, he would cut it back.
I have too many people in my life who are right. Last weekend, some family stuff happened (nothing traumatic, just stressful to me,) and my response was less than healthy. Loud sobbing, lots of shaking anxiety, wanting to crawl under the table and hide. You know, the way everyone should respond to stress. Could you imagine how much Congress would accomplish if they handled stress the way I do? Oh, wait...
|Yeah. No kidding. Unfortunately, I can't separate my head from my self.|
Healthy habits are difficult to maintain for the best of us, but when you have depression, you're heaping a big, sad, pile of crap on top of it. It feels like it, anyway...getting out of bed early sucks, but getting out of bed, talking to people, not huddling under a blanket in the corner, rocking, with your head in your hands...is really hard. Is, like, the hardest thing in the world. Which leads me to think that maybe reducing my meds lately was not the best idea, at least reducing my meds when my routines were thrown off. Looking back over the past few months, I realize I have been feeling a kind of low grade depression - nothing I couldn't handle, but just a general sadness, that was making it harder and harder to get myself moving, make healthy food, getting off my butt to refill my water...
Here's the big, glinty, double-edged sword, friends. When you're depressed, you don't want to get up and move. Like, something is heaped on top of you, and every move you make is like swimming through molasses in sub-zero weather. But moving is what helps fight the depression. Kind of a fun little irony there, amiright?
So, what works? How do you deal?
Honestly, I find there are only two things that really work. A friend of mine was diagnosed with bipolar disorder a few years ago. Her tendency was to withdraw, so her doctor told her to do the exact opposite of what her brain told her to do (in that case,) and I find that to be a great help when I am dealing with a depressive episode. Because, once you have pushed yourself beyond that comfort zone, it is easier to keep moving. The other thing that helps is routines. Honestly, nothing is more important when you have issues with mental illness than routines. I don't know if the disordered brain just needs the structure, or if being able to just "go through the motions" makes it easier to function with depression, but when I have routines in place, and I have been sticking to them, I feel calm and put together in a way I never can otherwise.
I realize this may sound like common sense to many of you, but some will understand where I am coming from, and those who don't have the same problems, may be able to understand the struggle a little more.
|My sister showed this to me and it is my new favorite.|
I have other things to share - yesterday I got to meet the Bloggess, which was very cool, and spend some time with my prima, but I wanted to finish this first. Please, if you suffer depression and/or anxiety, or any other mental illness, you are not alone. There are many of us, and we are here for you. Maybe we can encourage and support each other.