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Photo by Michelle Lord 2018

About a week ago I decided it was time to see the doctor again.  My bad days were more frequent than my good ones.  When you deal with depression you know that means a downward slide is not far away.  I had a few clues…  I was really close to shaving my head for real.  I had really gotten one of those I don’t care attitudes, which isn’t good when you work in customer service.  At least most of my days recently have been answering emails and doing chat, so no actual speaking to customers.  That is a good thing when all you want to do is tell the customers where to go.  Not easy to keep your job when you are insulting the paying customers.  Even though, I have found that there are a lot of whiney people out there.  It is like they have this attitude of entitlement.  Oh, UPS lost my package; you need to give me discounts or money back for my inconvenience.  I mean one customer was in a complete meltdown because their tufted button storage bench was missing a button.  A button… I mean really.  I offered her a replacement, no shipping fees, etc., still not enough.  They wanted to be compensated for their inconvenience and for us ruining their new redecorated home by this one piece of furniture.  If I hear one more time, “That’s not fair,” I am going to pull my hair out.  I guess I wouldn’t need to shave my head if I started pulling out my hair.  I don’t think that would be a smart idea.

 

Due to my bad days, and generally not feeling comfortable in my own skin, I went to see my primary care doctor.  After a long discussion on the fact that no, I’m not suicidal, but my moods are really affecting my ability to work, we added a new pill to my regimen.  Not thrilled about that, as now that is the third part of my drug regimen, but I am actually starting to feel better.  This last downhill slide really caused me to question if I am going to be able to continue to work.  When you are sitting in front of your computer, answering chats, and then you sit there and think, “I don’t know if I can keep doing this,” then depression is starting to affect your lifestyle, your ability to pay bills, and even function in this world.  What is really hard though is when people ask you what your problem is.  Why are you acting like this?  What is your deal?  Get over yourself   People say this because they don’t understand how you feel, as it isn’t something that is physical.  When you have physical illness there is something to see, rash on the skin, swelled joints, braces on a joint, but mental illness can only be seen in the actions of people who suffer from it.  The problem is when people who are really depressed hit bottom to where others are starting to notice it is normally after they try to hurt themselves or are no longer functioning in society.

What people need to do is stop acting like depression just means you are a bit down.  Something people say they have to get disability or use an excuse to get out of something.  How do you explain to a person that you can’t even stand yourself?  The days when you sit staring at your computer screen knowing you need to work, but you can’t.  I do know my triggers are holidays.  I say this year I’m not going to care about Christmas and most of the family isn’t talking to me.  Oh Mother’s Day, just another commercial holiday, but when the kids barely acknowledge you, it kind of hurts.  We have never really been into holidays, but sometimes just getting together as a family somewhere helps immensely.  I can understand why suicide rates go up during the holiday season.  You see stories of these families that every year they can’t wait to get together; the TV shows where everything is wonderful, which most of it is not realistic, but that is a standard a lot of people think they need to strive for.  When your kids won’t talk to you and the rest of your relatives don’t really know who you are, kind of hard to have a Hallmark Christmas.

 

The thing about depression is it is still something people just don’t like to discuss.  I remember back when I was growing up everybody knew Aunt Suzy had a problem, but everyone ignored it, that was just the way she acted.  The truth is Aunt Suzy was actually bipolar, and really needed help, but you just didn’t talk about back then.  We really though don’t talk about it now either.  We joke about people taking their “happy pills.”  I even joke about how you better hope I’m on my “happy pills,” as me not on my pills isn’t a pleasant experience.  Most people who have contact with me probably have no idea I’m on antidepressants, as I have been able to put on a mask.  The mask of pleasant, easy-going Michelle, covering the inner me that just wants to smack someone in the face, scream out loud, or just find a dark space and hide.  I am pretty sure everyone has someone in their life that is doing a good job of hiding their depression, but there are signs if you look deep enough.  Sometimes someone actually wanting to know how you are feeling can make a big difference.

I guess my point is people need to feel more comfortable talking about mental illness.  It is real, just as real as heart disease and diabetes, but when it comes to illness of the mind it is harder to prove.  If a loved one seems down, not interested in things they used to enjoy, isn’t really communicating, maybe you need to take the time to listen to what they aren’t saying, as their actions are speaking volumes.  Until next time…

 

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I find myself in a strange situation, or I guess state of mind would be a better term for it.  I’m frustrated with life.  There isn’t just one thing I’m frustrated with, it is several small things that have become one big problem.  I can’t seem to put my finger onImage result for frustrated with life what is wrong, or when it started, but I know it has been coming on for a while.  I’m on my “happy” pills, and they are working, but for some reason not well enough.  Have you ever felt like if one more thing happens you are going to completely lose it?  Not sure what you’re going to lose, but you know it won’t be good.  I’m not one to throw or break things, as that just means I would have to find the money to replace the item, and I just am not wasteful that way.  I’m not a screamer, as throat surgery a few years back makes that painful.  I used to be a crier, but the pills have for the most part stopped that.  There are times when the waterworks would just flow, but now I sit there thinking this situation should really see me being more emotional, but I just don’t feel it.

I did read here a while back that if you take too much Tylenol (I think), that it makes you to where you just don’t care.  You’re not as empathetic as you used to be.  This is probably not a good thing as I take a combination of Tylenol and Aleve several times a day, as I am in chronic pain, and have been for years.  I have fibromyalgia, even though I don’t have a doctor who will give me that diagnosis.  Was told by one doctor that if your record shows fibro the rheumatologist will not see you, which I didn’t think was a good thing.  I mean I’ve never been to a rheumatologist, but if I ever need one, I want to make sure he will see me.  Over the years, I have had 3 car accidents where the other driver rear-ended me with 3 subsequent whiplash injuries, so my neck always hurts plus migraine headaches.  Not to mention, I have arthritis in just about every joint you can have it, so I am in pain, all the time.  Like they say, you have good days and bad days, but I don’t think that is the reason for my frustration…

Have you ever had to do something because you have to, but it takes every bit of your being to make yourself do it?  In my case it is a job, but I guess it could be anything in your life.  Seeing relatives you know don’t like you, but you know you have to make an appearance and be nice to them anyway?  I’m sure everyone has that one branch of the family you wish would fall off the tree and get thrown in the chipper machine.  Well, that might be a little extreme, maybe just picked up off the curb by the trash/brush truck.  A social or work shindig that you are “expected” to be at, even though they act like it’s not a big deal.  But, if you don’t show up you will hear about it on Monday.  Those things we do because we are adults and know that there are things we have to do that we may not like, but it is our responsibility to do it.  Not only do you have to do it, but you have to act like you are enjoying yourself, putting on that fake smile, making small talk, and thinking the whole time that you wished the smoke alarms would go off so you would have an excuse to leave.

The problem with having clinical depression is that you spend your life performing this balancing act of trying to show the world your “good self.”  The self that stays upbeat or smiles, puts on that show that everything is wonderful in the world, even though inside you just want to jump out of your own skin.  You feel like one more day of this job, or one more event or family get together, or whatever your trigger is, you are going to hit your last straw, last nerve, last whatever and then it will all come apart and it won’t be pretty.  The thing is once it gets to that point, not only do you scare yourself, you scare those around you, as they are wondering what is wrong with you.  What the heck happened for you to be acting like this, and usually they have no clue at all.  There are some whose family will call them drama queens, overly excitable, Debbie Downers, or whatever label they can come up with to explain your behavior.  Mine family just knows this is me, every once in a while I lose it, but give me time and I will be back to my old, happy self… Most people with deep depression are good actors. They put on a good front, but inside they are being held together with fraying ropes that are going to come apart any minute, that one last pull and the house of cards will collapse and they worry whether they will be able to come back from this time or is the house beyond repair.

I normally try to make my posts funny or lighthearted, but for some reason this one went to the dark side.  I know I’ve been hanging onto a job because most people would feel I would be dumb to resign, but if I don’t I’m not sure how much longer I can go before things get ugly… and that isn’t a place I really want to be.

If you are frustrated, depressed, feeling hopeless, not knowing where to turn, there are resources out there.  Find them, talk to someone, do something before you hit the abyss and can’t find your way out.  I promise my next post will be on something happier, like “the girls,” of which mine are probably to the age and size they should be called “the women,” but that just sound as good.  Till next time…

mothers-day-card-pride-mom-funny-ecard-XYLIn the early 1900s a lady called Anna Jarvis was the reason we have Mother’s Day today.  In wanting to honor her mother who worked to clean up and sanitize the make shift hospitals and such during the Civil War.  Most women stayed home and took care of kids, not volunteering to improve the health of the soldiers.  Through Anna’s efforts to honor her mom, she ended up getting the US Government to authorize the holiday so all mothers could be honored by their children for their hard work and love for their kids.  The problem was Mother’s Day ended up this very commercialized holiday that made it more about what the kids spent on the present then really honoring their mom through spending time with them.  If your kids didn’t go out and spend a bunch of money on you then you must be a bad mother, which is part of where I believe the depression comes from related to Mother’s Day.  The thing is Anna got so upset that she started petitioning, picketing, and protesting the government to stop the holiday, as it didn’t mean what it did originally, it became more of a guilt trip on kids who either were unable to or did not buy a big gift or fancy dinner for their mom.  The sad thing is Anna spent all her money on trying to stop Mother’s Day as we know it.  Her true feelings were expressed in her quote:

A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.

— Anna Jarvis.

While others profited from the day, Jarvis did not, and she spent the later years of her life with her sister Lillie whom she had taken care of for years. In 1943, she began organizing a petition to rescind Mother’s Day.  However, these efforts were halted when she was placed in the Marshall Square Sanitarium in West Chester, Pennsylvania, broke and with dementia.  People connected with the floral and greeting card industries paid the bills to keep her in the sanitarium. She ultimately died in 1948.  The committee she formed tried to stay together after her death, but finally disbanded.  Anna Jarvis never married nor did she have any children, which is a bit of irony as she was the reason for Mother’s Day and she never was a mother.

I do believe the problem with Mother’s Day is the same problem with most of the other holidays, there is this expectation of what everyone should do or expect, and when reality hits the depression sets in.  Let’s say you are a mom, but your kids are older and basically just call or such, you then wonder what you did to be such a bad mom that they didn’t feel compelled to do more for you.  You then have Christmas with the gift giving and the crap that goes with that.  Of course you have Valentine’s Day and the expectations that come from that, no big gift so the person must not really love me.  I read somewhere that the day after Valentine’s you will find the most traffic from women looking for a new guy on one of the many dating websites, including the married looking for married type.

With all this said, people need to stop having such big expectations for these commercialized holidays.  Most holidays were not started as a reason to give a bunch gifts or such, they were started to honor an event, a person, or a group of people.  Whether it be veterans, mothers, dads, and Jesus, the reason for the season needs to come first, not the expectations given to a person through the constant bombarding of commercials on TV, radio ads, or even surfing the web.  We all need to remember it isn’t the gift that is given, but the thought behind it…  Till next time….

 

Upfront I’m going to say I am not a medical professional, doctor, counselor, etc. so any advice I give pertaining to depression is only from personal experience.  I am 54 and have been fighting depression for at least 35 years.  I also have loved ones, friends, etc. who deal with different types of depression, and I know what works for me and them, but if you know someone, or even yourself, that is talking about wanting to die, dig a hole and lie in it, find a bridge and jump, or other things that make you wonder, you need to get them/you help.  It isn’t like the old days when everyone knew Aunt Sally had mental issues, but no one talked about it, while she fell deeper and deeper into her depression.  There is still a lot of misinformation about depression, and someone who has never experienced it really has no idea of what you are going through.  They can be empathetic, but until someone goes through the debilitating condition of depression, no one can truly understand.  With that said, it is that time of the year when depression really seems to hit people.  I have gotten emails from people trying to figure out if a loved one is really depressed or how can they tell.  I have friends and acquaintances who are feeling down and are on the edge of just being blue and having depression.  I do believe it is something about this time of year.  Not only is it the holidays, but it is also a new year.

Part of the problem is everything you see or hear seems to talk about how the holidays are not complete unless you are with family and having the perfect holiday get together.  The kids come in from college and aunts and uncles come in and everyone meets at grandmother’s house and it is a big happy event.  Well, very few families can live up to that picture.  Some people have lost all their loved ones, either to death, distance, or being estranged either due to the other person or themselves, so when you see those commercials or hear your coworker talk about their big family events, it really could get a person down.  Even when you have all your family able to come together that doesn’t mean everything is going to be good.  For years we were happy when we were able to get through a family event with no fights, screaming, or other assorted issues.  Someone asked me how my Christmas was and I told them everyone got along, the food was good, and I got to see the grandkids, so it was a great day.  Sometimes that is all you can ask for.

The next problem is we are entering a new year.  This makes a lot of us think about all we didn’t accomplish in 2015.  How we are getting older and time is passing faster and faster, so if we don’t get our crap together we are going to find ourselves 10 years from now in the same situation, just 10 years older with less options.  That can really get a person to fall into a funk.  Then people do that whole stupid resolution thing.  You are just setting yourself up to fail on that one.  So, you are going to get in better shape, how are you going to do it?  Writing a vague list of things you want to change or do different in the next year is basically just writing a shopping list and then not going shopping.  Until you break those resolutions down into workable goals with time deadlines and a plan to make it happen, you are just asking for failure.  You have to be careful though when you set goals, as you don’t want to set goals so easy you can get them done 15 minutes from now, but then you sure don’t want a goal so difficult you couldn’t accomplish it in a year, let alone in a month or week.  One of my goals is to lose 50 pounds before the end of the year.  Good idea, but how am I going to accomplish that?  Am I going to keep doing the same thing I’m doing now up until December 20 and think I can starve for the next couple of weeks and make my goal?  Of course not.  I need to make a lifestyle change.  Do things differently daily, weekly, and monthly.  Have a plan written down of how much I’m going to work out each week, what will I eat daily, keep a food diary, etc., so I have the ability to fulfill my goal instead of at the end of 2016 wondering where the year went and still needing to lose at least 50 pounds.

But, I will get back on track here, when it comes to depression there are so many types that it really is hard to tell if your friend or loved one is depressed, unless they are so far in that they are not even functioning anymore. One of the emails I got this past week asked about hermit mode.  The person goes into hermit mode with some people but not others.  I gave them this quick overview on depression and thought it would be good information for others.  Just about everyone at some time in their life gets the “blues.”  That is when you just don’t feel like yourself.  Some people say they are in a funk.  They just aren’t happy.  They are focused on the negative and feel bad.  This can be brought on by anything from hormonal changes, the weather, etc.  There are some parts of the country where they have such long winters, short days, and gloomy days that people go into depression.  For this type of situation, they get special lights that mimic the sunlight.  They sit under it for so long per day and they get to feeling better.  Most people who are just blue don’t need medication.  They can still function, but are just not themselves.  They probably need to talk to their doctor, but most people should not be given drugs for the blues.

We then get into clinical depression, bipolar, etc., the conditions where the person is so deep into their depression they have lost all joy in their life.  They can’t get out of bed.  They quit taking care of themselves and normally when they get to this point they need medication.  With a bipolar they are either very high or very low and not much in between.  With your clinically depressed they will go into hermit mode not wanting to talk to anyone.  If they are not deep into their depression they may be able to function enough to go to work or do activities of daily living, talking only with those they have to, trying to make people think they are okay, but once they get home they shut the door and try to hide from the world.  But, this is just a short overview of different types of depression, as there are so many types of mental illness that if you or a loved one are acting different, withdrawn, strange, etc., then it may be time to find professional help.  Don’t forget there are a lot of online sites that have questionnaires that can help you figure out if you or a loved one do have a problem.  There are also hotlines to call if you feel like you can’t take it anymore, as nothing is so bad that it warrants taking your own life.  With that said, I promise my next blog post will be more uplifting and fun…  I may even talk about “the girls.”  Until next time….

Well, I must admit I had no idea it had been so long since my last post.  I knew I needed to write new posts, but the last few months I must admit I have been battling my depression.  Every time I went to write I just couldn’t figure out what to say, so just didn’t say a thing.  It isn’t like there hasn’t been a lot of news items that upset me enough to tell my opinion on it, but when it came time to discuss the issue I just couldn’t get the words to form, so finally here we are, three months later and I am finally able to form a thought and put it on paper.  I’m not really sure what started this bout of depression; I think it became a situation where there were so many things that came up that finally it was just too much.  I do know that every year around my birthday I have issues, especially the older I get.  It seems like the older you get, the faster time flies, to the point that every birthday hits and you realize what you have not accomplished, and you have less and less time to get it done.  When you are in your 20s or 30s you can have an epiphany and decide you want to try a new career.  If it doesn’t work out, you are still young enough to start over again at least once or twice, but once you hit your 50s, you don’t really have the time keep starting over.  What really sucks is when you find yourself in a dying profession and you know you need to make a change, but you really need to think hard about what you are going to do.  More than likely if you go into a techie type profession you might end up working for someone who is younger than your own kids, which if you are like me, the first time they smart mouthed you or got snippy you would end up in jail for smacking them, which isn’t a good thing.

The other thing you have to look at is do you really want to go back to school?  Do you want to take the 3 or 4 years to get the degree and then start at bottom of the profession and work yourself up the ladder to where you finally make a good living?  If mean if you are early 50s, by the time you finish school, get in to a job, and then work through the levels of management and such, you are probably going to be in your early 60s and getting toward retirement age, if that is even an option.  I am not saying that once you get a certain age you are unable to be a productive employee, it is more of do you really want to be?  Do you really want to be the newbie at an age where you should be in management or running your own company?  I know that after working from home for 15 years the thought of going back into an office and dealing with all the politics that are normally involved, I am afraid I would hurt someone or tell them to take the job and shove it.  I used to be a wonderful employee.  I was quiet, did what I was told, and always finished what I started.  I was the one you stuck in a back office, gave a pile of work, told me what to do, and then you forgot about me, literally.  I wasn’t the one who was always up and about getting involved in gossip or such, so when it came time to go to lunch or celebrations or whatever, I ended up being left at the office wondering where everyone went.  I just put up with that and wouldn’t say anything.  I am now 20 years older and have come to the point in my life I don’t put up with a lot of crap.  I figure at this point in my life I shouldn’t have to, but then that kind of kills my ability to put up with office politics and not say anything about it.  At least I know this about myself, so it makes a difference when I start looking for an exit plan out of my current job.

The other problem with going out into the workforce again is my evil friend “depression.”  I never know when it is going to hit and hit hard.  When I get to that point I become very unproductive, sit and stare at the computer, and become someone you probably do not want to spend time with.  This isn’t conducive to fostering a good employee/employer relationship, as they like people who do their work, are someone personable, and don’t start crying because you look at them cross-eyed.  Well, I haven’t had that problem in a while as my meds help with that issue.  I know there are a lot of people who have been put on antidepressants who probably just needed to get a hobby, start exercising, or get negative people out of their lives, but there are many others who without medication wouldn’t be able to function in this world and apparently I am one of them.  There are some side effects from the medication I am not thrilled with.  I am not able to feel emotions like I used to, but sometimes that is a good thing, especially when you don’t want to cry at the drop of a hat, but sometimes you feel like you should be able to cry over something but the tears do not come.  But, I am sure those around me prefer the medicated me compared to what I used to be like.  I’m not saying I am always easy to get along with, as I do find myself getting more aggravated in situations that didn’t used to bother me, my patience leaves quickly, and going to the grocery store can become an experiment in whether I am going to get snippy with people or stay calm until I get to the car.  It can get a bit scary at times…

I’m not really sure what the point of this post is, other than for those who suffer from depression, I get it.  I know what it feels like to stare at your computer knowing you need to be working, but you can’t even get your fingers to move on the keyboard.  When a simple shopping trip turns into you trying as hard as you can to not run over someone with your shopping cart and chunk food at them, especially when the lady behind you has hit you three times with her cart because she can’t see we have a traffic jam in the aisle that isn’t clearing anytime soon.  I think you get the point.  I am to the point in my life that I have to figure out my exit plan from my current career while I still have the ability to make the change.  I must say my plan is to start writing posts on my current quest to lose weight and finally learning how to write fiction.  Till next time….

Here we are the last day of 2014.  I can’t figure out where this year went.  It seems like only yesterday I was writing the last blog post for 2013 and now here we are doing it again.  Every year WordPress sends you a report of what exactly happened on your post the past year.  The number of posts, visitors, etc.  They also show what your most popular posts were for the year.  In 2013 the most popular were my entries about the “girls,” but this year it was my posts on depression.  Talk about total opposites on the subject scale.  One of my posts on depression was written probably two years ago, but it was one of my more popular posts for this past year.  Are people more depressed?  Are their friends more depressed?  It really makes you wonder.  From the view in my world I thought the economy was getting better.  Everywhere I go there are help wanted signs and for jobs that really do pay quite well.  The huge mall near my house was extremely busy this past month, which isn’t good for me because I live on the service road of the highway that runs in front of the mall, so starting in November one of the main exits I need to get on the highway is closed because of shoppers.  The other day I had to circle around blocks of back streets just to get to the library, because cars were backed up on roads that normally never see traffic.  It was quite the mess, but apparently people were out buying for Christmas in record numbers.

I know for some people depression is an illness that affects them no matter what the circumstances.  Everyone around you cannot see why you aren’t happy, but in your world the darkness is so strong there is no escaping it.  The holidays have become bittersweet for me.  I got to spend Christmas day with my 6-year-old granddaughter and 1-month-old grandson and watching her open presents and act the fool was quite enjoyable, but while we were celebrating a close relative was having a major downswing in their depression.  Three years ago Christmas and other holidays were a very painful thing for me.  It wasn’t until the beginning of this year that I was finally able to say the heck with it when it comes to my youngest son and our situation.  It has officially been three years since I have seen him in person or had a conversation with him… I have offered, reached out, and done everything I know to do to help fix the situation, but we are now to the point that he is the one who is going to have to reach out.  I finally came to accept that you cannot make someone talk to you, love you, or even interact with you if they aren’t in the mindset or place to allow it.  I figure one of these days something will happen, hopefully nothing horrific, and he will decide he needs this side of his family, but my only hope is that we are in a place that we can accept his offer after he has so easily turned on us.

So what is coming in 2015, I have no idea.  I have my 2015 business planning workbook that I am slowing filling out so I can have a road map of what, where, and how 2015 needs to go.  My true goal is to finally be able to quit my day job and make a living through my own projects, books, etc.  I have new ventures in the works and for the first time in a long time I actually see an exit plan coming to life.  The main thing is to make sure I have a clear plan of how I need to proceed so when I am sitting here writing my last post of 2015 I’m not in the same place I am today – in a job I dislike, no clear plans, and wondering where the heck 2015 went.  That is the problem with time, it keeps marching on whether we want it to or not and there is no way to get that time back once it is gone.  You can lose money and then make it back.  You can lose friends and make new ones.  Time – once it is gone it is gone and then all you can do is sit and wonder where it went.

I hope for all of my readers out there a prosperous and fulfilling 2015.  May your plans come to fruition and your life go down the path of your choice.  Till next time…

Here in the past few weeks we have lost at least two celebrities to suicide. The main one that was a complete surprise was Robin Williams. I sat back and read the stories and watched the discussions on Facebook and other social media. I saw everything from outpouring of sympathy to those who said he had no reason to kill himself. He was a celebrity, had money, and he shouldn’t have been depressed. I was curious why a person who has money or fame shouldn’t be depressed. Anyone can become clinically depressed. I’m not talking about how someone can feel blue or down because they are having a bad day or even a bad week, but then they are able to get themselves out of it and move on. I’m talking about a debilitating condition where even getting out of bed is almost impossible. The type of depression where you sit in front of your computer knowing you need work, but can’t even get your hands on the keyboard. This type of depression needs medical attention. Just because you have money or fame or power once you are hit with this type of depression you need help.

I remember just a few years ago no one talked about mental illness. Everyone knew that Aunt Sally was depressed, but nobody talked about it. They just watched her sit in the chair and cry for hours, but instead of getting her help, they just left her alone and hoped she got out of her slump. When you are that down and deep in your depression, being left alone in your own illness only makes things worse. There is no shaking yourself off and manning up, as there is such a weight on you that you cannot even function. I remember right after my third child I went into a deep postpartum depression, but no one knew what it was. I just knew something was wrong with me, but didn’t know what. It took women killing their own children due to their postpartum psychosis for the general public to finally realize there was a problem. Depression is one of those horrible conditions where unless you have gone through it you have no idea what the person is really going through. I mean most people have no idea what it feels like to truly feel like the best thing you could do is dig a hole somewhere and just crawl in it.

I have to admit years ago I had the same mindset. I would see these rich celebrities overdose on pills, kill themselves, etc. and wonder what they had to be depressed about and then the depression hit me and I understood completely. I know and so does my family that if I do not take my “happy pills” I’m not very happy. I am not talking about just being down, I’m talking about being to the point of wanting to punch out random people, crying for no reason, and other behaviors that are completely opposite of my normal self. Once I realized that I was no fun to live with I knew it was time to go back on my medication and stay on it.

Society is much more understanding about mental illness than it used to be. There have been enough TV shows, commercials, books, etc. that have educated people on the fact that a mental illness is just as real as a physical illness and needs to be treated, but we all need to realize that celebrities are just people and are as susceptible to depression as the rest of us. When something tragic happens like Robin Williams we need to show concern as to what put him in that mindset instead of saying he was a celebrity, so he had no reason to kill himself. Depression doesn’t discriminate, it can hit anyone from any social class and if you are afraid your loved one or friend is showing the signs of depression it is time to take action. Telling them to snap out of it or get over themselves is not going to work, but suggesting they see their primary care doctor or talk to a counselor could get them the help they need before the disease takes them over and takes their life. Being depressed doesn’t mean you are crazy or just being stupid, it is a real condition that is treatable, you just need to find help before it is too late. Until next time….

Well, it was a good run while it lasted. I went almost six weeks off my happy pills, but came to the decision this week that maybe going off the antidepressants wasn’t the smartest decision I have made in a while. I am probably one of the least violent people you will meet. I can’t remember ever being in a physical fight with another woman or man. I try my best not to have road rage, but there are certain drivers who should never have been given a license, and I try not to tell people off at the store, even after their kids have run over me, the person has hit me with their shopping cart more than once, or when a certain man thought that leaving a shopping cart sort of cockeyed in the line constituted holding his place, but putting all that aside I would be considered a rather laid back person. This week I actually wanted to find someone and punch their lights out. I decided after that maybe it is time to go back on the pills. I think maybe that would be considered possibly causing harm to others, which in certain situations would get you committed on a 72-hour hold at most psychiatric institutions. I really don’t want to spend my last couple of days before I go back to work in the psych ward, not my idea of a fun vacation.

This week has been extremely stressful. It started out Monday with me getting fired via email from my job. I then spent most of Tuesday arguing with banks, trying not to tell them how stupid they are. When you don’t cuss it is very hard to find the appropriate words that convey the true meaning of how angry you are, but I really did try. I ended up being switched between three different divisions of the bank, through four different people, and finally found a lady who fixed the problem just to get me off the phone, but that works for me. By the time we rolled around to Wednesday I felt like I had ants under my skin and was wanting to punch out anyone who would be stupid enough to get within a few feet of me. This is when I decided maybe it is time to get back on my medication.

I did like the way I felt at one point off the medication, actually having some deep feelings about things, but then the new feelings of anger just aren’t going to cut it. I guess to get feelings of any sort you have to be willing to take both extremes from happy to sad, nice to mean, and anything in between. Maybe it is better to have your emotions more railed in by the medication, as it really is easier to function in society when you don’t want to bite off everyone’s head that looks at you crossed eyed or the opposite of starting to cry every time they look at you wrong. I guess what I was considering not feeling emotions was more normal than the way I have been experiencing emotions for years now. I guess the extremes of really happy to really sad are not the norm and being a more even keel is what makes life easier to deal with.

I did call my doctor Wednesday though and they informed me that I shouldn’t have just stopped taking my pills…duh. I was also told that even though I might not have felt like they were doing any good that the people around me can tell, and they are the ones we stay on our pills for. I guess that makes sense. We devised a plan on how to ease back on them and then build back up to where I need to be to be able to wrangle my emotions back in and be easier to live with, deal with, and keep me out of jail, as I really don’t want to have to spend time in jail for punching out a complete stranger. That might not be a good thing. That might actually be a felony charge, and I really don’t want a police record.

I guess I wouldn’t call my stopping the happy pills a complete and epic fail…I was able to see what I feel like on and off the pills and now can make a better judgment as to whether taking them is the best thing for me or not. At this time going back on them is probably best for everyone involved…till next time…

I don’t know many other diseases/conditions that are insidious as depression. It sneaks up on a person and by the time you are fully entrenched in it you are so down and deep in it you don’t know how to get out. It starts with little things, not wanting to do things you like to do. Instead of sitting and painting or whatever you like to do you decide you would rather just stay in bed or watch TV. You get to where you are just tired, have no energy, just not yourself. You are still functioning at this point, but you just feel different. You can’t put your finger on it, but different. Next step is you don’t want to get out of bed anymore. You don’t want to leave the house. The last thing you want to do is something fun or something you used to enjoy. You are having trouble getting yourself to work, let alone being able to do anything once you get there. This is the point where people start wondering about you. They tell you to get out of your funk. Just snap out of it. What have you got to be depressed about. You have a family, decent job, good life, get over yourself. What they don’t realize is they are just making things worse. For me at this point I would sit and cry for no reason. Have you ever tried to explain to someone why you are crying when you have no idea yourself. They look at you like you are nuts. What is wrong they ask. Well, I don’t know. Why don’t you know? I don’t know…. and it just goes downhill from there.

The problem is if you have never experienced depression you have no idea what it does to a person. How it affects your mind. How a once lively, creative, and engaging person becomes a “hermit.” They are probably just as frustrated as the person with depression, but no one really has a clue what to do or how to fix it. In most cases medicine can help. The problem with that is normally the first pill they put you on doesn’t do the right job, so you have to keep doing a trial and error thing until you finally find something that works. What is kind of sad about this part of it is most of the side effects for antidepressant agents is thoughts of suicide or hurting others. So, tell me how that is fixing the problem. I went from not just being depressed, but now I want to kill myself or everyone around me. Not a good situation.

I guess what prompted me to write this today is a writing buddy of mine had been ignoring my emails and texts for over a week now. I would send them and wait for a reply. I finally got tired of it and sent one of those texts that say something like, “hey, are you alive? are you ignoring me? you know it won’t work!” Finally I got a response. They are slipping into a low cycle in their depression and are playing hermit. It was noon when got the text back and they had just gotten out of bed. I informed them that next time let me know something before it gets that bad and we can call and talk, whatever they needed, but not to let it get that bad next time.

The problem is this isn’t my only friend who goes into hermit mode. I have a mentor/teacher/friend who does this to me also.  They will not answer my emails or calls not just for weeks, but months. I finally have to get in my car and drive four hours down to see them to get them to talk to me. Sad thing is, I truly understand where they both are coming from. When you get into the deep cycle of your depression the normal path is to Hermitville. That place where you just want everyone to leave you alone and let you be. I am not talking about people who get a bit blue now and then. They lost their job and are in a bit of a funk. I am talking about those people who are deep into depression, the drowning type of depression where you see no light at the end of the tunnel. To you every day is dark, and there really is no way out of it for you.

What I realized a few years ago was my mother suffered from depression but I had no idea. As a teenager I would watch her sit on the couch for days and cry. I would try to get her to talk to me and she would just give this look of go away. I would get upset, sit down in the chair across from her, and talk to her. I would carry on a two-way conversation with her and she would just stare at me. I guess this is why to this day I can’t stand for people to give me the silent treatment. Yell at me, tell me to get lost, tell me you need some space and I will leave you alone, but don’t ignore me. You want to drive me nutty? Well nuttier… give me the silent treatment.

What I found out years later that my talking to her like that really was more of a help than a hinder. I still to this day feel bad about being that way to her, but I was told by more than one expert in the field that my making her listen to me and interact that I was actually helping her find her way out of her depression. Who would have thought. I just did it because I was frustrated. I see now though behavior in me that I used to see in her and it’s not a good thing. They say most mental illnesses are inherited and guess that is true….till next time…

ImageAbout three weeks ago I did something that I would not recommend to anyone, I quit taking my happy pills. This is normally not a smart thing to do, especially just cold turkey. Normally you need to ease off the things and then finally quit taking them. I was tired of pills and just not feeling right, so said what the heck and stopped taking everything but my little purple pill for my tummy. I don’t enjoy the atomic fire that burns up my esophagus when I don’t take that one, so figured it could stay. I guess now that I have had time for the antidepressant to get out of my system I actually can feel again. I think I finally understand what my one child tried to tell me for years as to why they did not want to take their pills for their mental issue. I wasn’t crying all the time when I took the pills, but I also just wasn’t feeling anything. A situation would happen to me and I would think it deserved at least a few tears or a reaction of some sort, but I just didn’t feel anything. I wouldn’t say that I was a zombie, but more of a who cares attitude. I admit when I went on the pills a few years back after my mother passed away I couldn’t even function. I would sit and cry for days for absolutely no reason. You could look at me cross eyed and I would start crying. I didn’t want to work, take care of the house, nothing. Going on the pills at that time was the best thing I could do.

I had tried earlier in the year to go off my pills and had major mood swings, so figured I needed to stay on them. I am not sure what the difference is now,  but I am actually feeling like myself again after stopping the pills. I am sure if the doctor knew what I did she would be having a fit and I am not against going back on them if I have to, but right now I am enjoying feeling like myself again. I am actually wanting to wear jewelry and makeup again. I have never been one to wear much of either, but am have dug my bracelets and earrings out of the closet and wearing them again. I am just enjoying the ability, good or bad, to tell how I am suppose to feel about myself and what is going on around me.

I do feel that there are too many people being put on antidepressants that really just need some exercise, counseling, change in diet, whatever to help them get out of their funk. There are too many people being put on pills that just need some alternative methods of treatment. I am not saying that someone who was in the position I have been in the last few years shouldn’t be put on medication, there are points in which a person needs help to get out of their funk before they are destroyed by it. I was never to the point of suicide, but there were days I thought it would be better to pass and go to heaven than to keep living on this earth. I also got to the point that I couldn’t even work. I would sit in front of the computer and could absolutely not make myself type. I would stare at the screen and know what I needed to do but just could not make myself do it. I just could not explain to anyone exactly how I felt, other than those people who have depression and understand completely.

When a person is in the state I was in medicine is a very good options and sometimes what needs to be done to make a person to where they can actually function and contribute to society. For a couple of years a very good friend of mine had gotten to where she would not answer my emails, my phone calls, whatever. I asked her why and she said she was in hermit mode. I never understood what she meant by that until one weekend I finally drove down to see her and she explained it. She gets to where she feels safe in her little world she has made in her apartment. She doesn’t have to deal with people and try to explain how she feels. Once we talked I understood completely how she felt. That place a person gets when they are deeply depressed where you just don’t want to talk to others as you just cannot put into words how you feel. There just doesn’t seem to be a way to explain exactly what is going on other than leave me alone and I will be fine. I probably won’t be fine, but at least I don’t have to try to explain to you why I am not okay. I don’t have to try to explain what is going on in my head to someone who has no idea. Depression is such a lonely and debilitating disease and is so hard to explain to those who don’t have a clue.

Like I said in the beginning, no one should just stop taking their pills like I did. The situation could have gone two ways, I could right now be on the psych ward from a major breakdown or doing okay. I got lucky and am actually doing okay right now. Not sure how tomorrow is going to be, as we are taking this one day at at time, but right now am enjoying the ability to feel again and hope it continues. If you find yourself in a deep dark place please seek help or talk to someone, as depression will take a hold of you and drag you so far down that you feel like you will never be able to surface again…till next time…

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