Thursday, May 17, 2012

Depression and Health

Depression is my own personal demon.  It's difficult to talk about, because I feel ashamed of my weakness.  I know that it's silly to be ashamed of it, silly to be ashamed of taking antidepressants.  Diabetics aren't ashamed of  the need for insulin, right?  Depression is a real illness, and it has had a very real impact on my life and my health.

 First off, let me just tell you, depression is a bitch.  It's a difficult thing to describe to someone who has never experienced it, but it is so much more than just a bad mood. It is pervasive and insidious, effecting not only mental and emotional health, but physical health as well.  I've dealt with depression off and on since I was a pre-teen, so I've also had plenty of time to learn to recognize when I'm sliding back into it after a clear spell.  I've learned to recognize when the depression is coloring my experience of life, my actions and reactions.  Knowing that intellectually may give me an edge in controlling my external reaction.  This knowledge does not change my emotional experience.

 I'm also well acquainted with how it effects me. It tampers with the way I think, with my emotions and how I experience them.  I have to struggle to take the ups and downs of daily life in stride, rather than falling into despair or flying into fury at the slightest bump in the road. It robs me of will, energy, and interest in doing many of the things I normally enjoy, like playing with my children or sewing and making jewelry.  So if I can't even muster the energy to sew a dress for my daughter or work on a bridal necklace for a friend because the thought of starting--much less finishing-- such a project is overwhelming, how the heck am I ever going to make my self work out? I like to cook, and I like to have a neat, clean house, but I struggle with those tasks too.  And unfortunately, when I'm feeling like that, exercise and controlling my diet fall to the very bottom of my list of things to worry about.

I've been on a very low dosage of Prozac for a few years now, and it has been enough to keep me on an even keel for most of that time.  In the last few months, though, I haven't been so even.  I think my boat started to rock as far back as the first of the year, but the changes were so subtle that I can only recognize  what was happening in retrospect.  I started exercising less frequently, and started forgetting to take my meds, which made things get a little worse.  So then I exercised less, and forgot more.  The whole thing is a nasty, vicious circle.  Finally, a few weeks ago, I ran out of my meds altogether because I neglected to get the prescription re-filled.  I kept telling myself I would take care of it later, tomorrow, on Monday, until I ran out of time, and even then I kept putting it off.  I spent almost 2 miserable weeks on nothing at all before I finally got my act together.  (God bless my husband for his love and patience!)
Now that I'm taking my medication again, I'm starting to feel more like my usual, buoyant self, but I'm thinking that it might be a good idea to bump my dosage up just a bit.  After all, this is what I was taking when I first started to spiral downward, right?  So I'll be chatting with my doctor come the end of the month, and hopefully, soon, I really will be back to normal, and one hurdle to meeting my health goals will be removed.


  1. I'm really happy that you're making forward progress. Having the ability to say "I'm not right" takes so much inner strength.

  2. It's amazing how your life situations seems to reflect things that have gone on in my own life. I think a lot of people probably feel the same and just don't talk about it because of shame... I think your openness is admirable.

    After Olivia I went through PPD and I didn't have the will to do anything further than try to hide my emotions. Lately, I've been having a hard time getting anything done again, but so far it just seems like normal baby blues.


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