Archive for the 'depression' Category

Back to the drawing board

It is early in the morning and I haven’t been able to sleep. Could it be a side effect? Who knows, but here I sit so I might as well talk to somebody.

Last (this?) night I went to a costume party. Yes, Halloween is officially over – don’t ask. I’ve been so tired and didn’t really want to go, but threw some devil horns on my head and donned a red shirt and called it good. The party was amazing actually – they must have spent thousands of dollars to decorate. Although I was able to socialize fine, I wasn’t exactly the life of the party either. Sure, I’ve been wiped out from the meds I’m on, but that I can fake my way through for a couple of hours. The problem is that I couldn’t eat or drink.

I, apparently, have lost all taste for alcoholic beverages. There will be some who know me well that might insist that this is a good thing, but I insist it is not. Even standing with a shot of Bailey’s in my hand was making me nauseas. I could smell the alcohol wafting up to my nose like it was rat poison. And there was the most delicious looking spread of food lined out and I had no desire to place a crumb of it in my mouth.

“What do you do with a date that doesn’t drink OR eat?” I asked my husband. A question that apparently had no answer. We left the party at 9:45.

(going to talk about my sex life here for a moment…mom, dad and anyone else who wishes can skip the next paragraph…)

Not only have I had to force-feed myself for the past week because lack of desire for all things gastronomical, I’ve had no desire for the physical, either.  Just for the sake of finding out to what extent the sexual side effects are, the va-jay-jay was taken for a test drive.  It took for freakin’ ever, people.  I did not think I was going to get there.  I was close for at least 20 minutes, sweating like a pig, until frustrated and annoyed I finally squeaked out a less than climactic climax.  Honestly, it just wasn’t worth it.

So, I want to know, what good is a life without food, drink and sex?

My mind is quieted, yes. But my body is miserable. I still have floaty arms (like restless leg syndrome, but the other appendages), and I’m exhausted all the time. And I’m emotionally flat. With this comes an astute ability to reason, which is kind of nice in a Vulcan-ish way, I suppose, but it’s just not me. I am not reasonable, dammit. I’m ready for Cymbalta to release the death grip on me already.

Yet, as miserable as it is to be in my body right now, it may get worse. I’ve recently read up on some horrible Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms. Yes, these are just some message boards and the worst case scenarios, but it just is a reminder that I am not playing with Tinkertoys here. This is serious stuff. But it just makes my resolve stronger to stop the stuff before it gets worse. Luckily I’ve only been on the stuff for a week so I don’t expect to suffer from any agitation, “brain zaps” (?) and other horrific sounding sensations.

A lot of the issues that were spinning around in my head previously have found a place of resolve in my life. I think I am going to be able to continue to face them bravely off the meds. I promise, though, that if I am not able, I will be right back in to the doctor’s office for a new prescription of something else.

Sure, my mind has been quieted. This is a good thing. But, sitting here with a clear head (but a miserable, tired body), I can’t help but think that there must be some other way. Another medication? Perhaps. But I’m starting to lean toward giving some alternative treatment a try – acupuncture and some St. John’s Wort might be the first line of defense.



A week ago, I was trying to describe to Rich what it felt like to be depressed. I told him that it felt a lot like driving for a long, long time in the middle of the night and being so exhausted, but being hours from your destination and having no where to stop and take a rest. Or – having a high fever and feeling achy, tired and confused. Add hating yourself to that equation and you’ve got a pretty good picture of it.

Okay, I have never quite hated myself. A lot of self-doubt and negative inner thoughts, but no self-loathing. Underneath it all, I’ve never stopped liking the person I am. That was just a poor attempt at some humor.

Anyway, the meds are definitely kicking in. I no longer feel as clouded in my thoughts, and I can think on things without a sense of helplessness and dread. I can turn off the circle of unproductive thoughts that still try and spin around in my head from time to time. However, I still have some unpleasant symptoms from my medication – I can barely keep my eyes open and after lunch I can’t operate without a nap. My arms still feel all noodle-y. The good news is that the nausea seems to have worn off. I’m hoping that the rest of the symptoms are introductory only and will disappear soon enough.

With less clouded thought, and with the help of counseling and a few frank discussions with loved ones I am starting to gain some constructive self-insight. And with the medication, I have the courage to face it without falling into a vortex of guilt and helplessness.

I have known for quite a while that the biggest thing holding me back as a human being is that I doubt my own social ability. I fear that I am flawed in some way, and if people get to know me deeply, they will see it too and run for the hills. It’s probably why I feel a lot safer with internet friends lately. I’m realizing that while, like anyone, there are some things I certainly need to work on, much of my problem is this negative self-talk that is becoming a self-fulfilled prophecy. I think I’m different, don’t handle social situations well, say exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time, want so desperately to help people and have the best of intentions but sometimes hurt them instead because I don’t have the skills to handle myself gracefully.

So, with all this spinning around in my head all the time, I over-compensate by trying too hard, sharing too much. Or I have so much fear that to others it looks like I don’t want to get to know them at all. Or I try and look overly confident or competent. Or I hold myself back from people so I don’t hurt them or myself. Or I say I must find people exactly like me, as they are the only people who would truly understand me. Or I talk about myself more than I should because it is more comfortable than dealing with others’ feelings that I assume are negative. All this scares people away, or makes them think that I am not interested in them, and they pull back. I see that as proof of my own flaws and proof that when people really get to know me, they don’t like me very much.

(Wow. I’m pretty messed up.)

Anyway, how do I break this cycle? That’s the next step. My current task in therapy is to be more frank with people when I hear those self-doubts starting to creep into my head. Doing this, hopefully, will show me that most of my assumptions about others’ thoughts about me are wrong. For instance – if a friend seems distant with me, I need to say, “I’m sensing some distance from you right now. In my head, I’m thinking it’s because I said something or did something wrong and am assuming it is x that I said last week. Is that right?” And hopefully they will correct me.

This all sounds well and good, but I worry. Of course. I worry that I won’t be able to say those words without sounding like a social buffoon (there’s that voice again). The words will come out all wrong and I’ll just look pathetic or ridiculous, or hurt someone with them. Will words like that turn people off, or show my insecurities? It all sounds so easy when my therapist says it, but she’s polished and the words come easy for her.

On the upside, I can see how much this work could help me. If I can get past these thoughts, I’ll be a better wife, mother, friend, daughter, sister, doula. It will help me infinitely in all my relationships. And I’ll be unstoppable.

But no one said this wasn’t going to be a lot of work.

(More upbeat, off-the-depression-topic post soon, I promise.)

Down the rabbit hole

The meds seem to have kicked in a teensy bit and I’m starting to feel a little better already, even though I’m not to expect any real progress for “one to four weeks” according to the packaging material.  I am, however, experiencing the side effects full on.  I have waves of a little catch in my throat like I could puke, which is quite like the experience of morning sickness if any of you have experienced that.  My arms feel sort of floaty and almost like the blood running through them is chilled.  I also am experiencing scattered thinking, medicine-head brain numbness, lost appetite, and a desire to sleep more than normal.  Oh, wait – those last things were there before the chemicals invaded my brain.

This weekend as is our usual custom, Rich and I went grocery shopping together while we dropped the kids off at the store’s free childcare.  Usually this time is a little mini-date for us – we goof around up and down the aisles and get to talk uninterrupted by Mommy I Wants and Daddy She Hit Mes.  This time I was not in any state to pal around, and as Rich placed items into the cart (items which he had to list and plan for himself), I floated around the store with a flat expression.  I may as well been moaning, drooling on myself and dragging my knuckles, it was so bad.  Who needs a Halloween costume when you already look straight out of something in Shaun of the Dead?  Later that night when I was feeling better, I made a joke about it and the two of us had a good laugh.  I suppose you might as well laugh instead of cry.  It was sorely needed.

The doc told me to keep involved in my daily activities – to make a list if I have to (list? I can do lists!)  and then carry it out.  “You sound like my husband,”  I said to him.  “But it’s easier to hear it from a doctor.”  Chuckle, chuckle.  Earlier in the week, in fact, I had snapped at Rich for suggesting several times that I just need to get out, exercise, and generally get myself involved in my life again.  He asked me what he can do to help.  “Stop saying things like that – that would help me!  If I was capable of exercising I would have been doing it already!”  It hurt him pretty badly considering how sincerely he was asking.

So I am trying to get back into life.  I’ll be walking for exercise again (starting tomorrow), and I’m actually doing the dishes and picking up the house, even though I’m not up to cleaning it outright just yet.  Besides, Rich cleaned it yesterday.  Have I mentioned how much I love him lately?  Well I do.  Even in this fog, I can appreciate how much I have and am thankful for in my life – stable finances, generally good health, and most importantly true love of my amazing husband and children.  With all this going for me, there is no reason I won’t be able to pick my knuckles off the ground, wipe the drool off my face and walk onward.

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