Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.
Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say
What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,
Which in the very thought renews the fear.
-Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy, Inferno, Canto I
Yes I am aware that I have not updated. But I got a cool new background. That's got to count for something right? I have been doing very well lately. When I got back to school in August I immediately saw my NP. Prozac hasn't quite been working anymore in that I was tired, and my mood was not as high as when I first started it. She switched me to Celexa, which has been working very well. I'm still tired but I attribute that to being very busy. This semester I' taking only two classes, but I am teaching 4 zoology labs. I love teaching, but it's a lot of work. Especially with 4 labs a week. The worse part is the grading. At the same time that I saw my NP, I visited the disability counselor. He required that I get psychologically evaluated for depression before I can receive any accommodations from the school. So for 2 separate days I spent around 8 hours subjected to tests. Turns out I am depressed. Of course I had already known it, but now it's official. Kind of like dating someone for a long time, then getting hitched. I can be taken seriously now. It also turns out that I am perfectly average in Intelligence. However I scored way higher than average in verbal skills. Who knew? That was a great boast to my self-esteem, and it give me great insight on how I learn and how I can use it to my advantage. It also showed me my weaknesses, and know I know what I can do to overcome them.
Well it has been a long time since I last updated. I'm doing great now. I'm taking it easy because in March I had a relapse. I stopped going to class and didn't care about school. I just really wanted to take a break from school for a semester. I went back to see my NP, and she immediatly increased my medication and arranged to see a therapist within 72 hours. Since then I have been going to therapy every other week and took increased doses on my meds. I went back to class, but don't think I did well this semester. But it really doesn't bother me. I'll be taking only 2 classes in the fall. I am very excited about the summer. I'll be at Baylor College of Medicine for a program to gain biomedical research experience. I'll be working on HIV research. This will give me a leg up in getting into grad school for my Ph.D. So regarless of the speed numb I had earlier this year, the future looks good.
Lately I'm noticed that I have not been feeling as good as when I first started recovery. I've been sleepy again and I have been more irritated. I'm worried that I'm falling into a remission again and that I'm doing something wrong. I'm also worried that I might have to increase my prescription so soon. I'm not panicking or anything but I'm just keeping an eye on it before it's too late. I could just be feeling a little down because all my work is piling up and it's close to the end of the year. Being cooped indoors probably hasn't helped. Ah hell, it could be SAD. It did kinda start when the days started to get shorter. I doesn't matter what's causing my dip in mood. The important thing is that I'm tuned to my my moods and know when something isn't quite right. Being aware of how my mood changes will help me recognized when I have a depressive episode and handle it.
Talking to my therapist last week, we both decided that therapy is not necessary for my recovery and decided to stop the sessions. If I ever need to go back, I'm more than welcome to. Therapy was good for me but I felt like I was already doing most of the work. Therapy gave me an opportunity to have insight into how I have been taking care of myself. However I am making my own path to recovery through a try and let's see approach. I've been making decisions that move me closer to a happy life and so far they are working.
As a side note I recently bought an ipod and started subscribing to podcast about depression. It has really helped me in recovery. If your interested and want to learn more about depression check it out.
The Down and up show a podcast run by depressionisreal.org an organization raising depression as a public health issue. This show is more technical with discussions with experts on research, physiology, demographics, etc.
Health Talk: Depression Releases every third Sunday of the month, one hour long shows about various topics on depression
Depression in the Family a podcast for people with friends or family members diagnosed with depression. Very good to help non-depressed people understand what depression is, how it feels, what to look out for, how to care for a loved one with depression, etc. If you think someone close to you has depression or has been recently diagnosed, I highly recommend this podcast.
Taming the dragon: Living well with depression All the other podcast I've listed are told from the expert side, usually people who don't have depression. This one is run by someone who actually has depression and has gone through therapy and medication so you get a very personal insight into the mind of depression. She hits the nail on the head on how depression feels. This podcast only has two real episodes and changed to goodfeeling's Podcast.
I have to apologize for my recent absence. School has been very difficult lately and every week I'm either taking a test, writing a paper, or working on a project. Things have calmed down for a while so I have a bit of a break. As expected the medication has been building up in my system for the last two months and each week I have noticed an improvement. Before if I had this much work I would be overwhelmed and begin to have breakdown fits, but now I still feel the anxiety and nervousness but I can manage it. I have returned to therapy. I returned to one of my therapists that I had seen before. Unfortunately he is a cognitive psychologist and I wanted a psychodynamic approach to therapy. So he referred my to another therapist. I want to examine myself and get in touch with my feelings. I go every other week and discuss my experiences from those last two weeks and how I managed situations and my moods. In my last session I realized that I was giving too much credit to the medication. He made me realize that it is not the medicine that is making the decision visit my mother and sister, let go and play rock band all night. I decided to seek help long before medication, and I knew I was depressed even though no one told me. The medication and I are working together to make me happy. If I didn't have the drive to change the meds would be useless.
When I first thought I had depression (back in high school) I thought I needed to be put on anti-depressants. Of course I was aware of the stigma associated with medication for depression. Some of the thingd I had heard was that they don't work. Another is that teenagers didn't want to be on medication because they were forced to be on it by parents and therapists. I had also heard of the frustration that many people faced when taking anti-depressants. How they were constantly needing to increase dosage, or switch brand. To find the right combination. I was worried that if I needed medication, I would be on them for the rest of my life and I would need to be taking ever increasing doses. I was afraid of taking a medication that alters brain chemistry until my death. Even when I decided to talk to a health care provider and get medication (you could even say I was desperate) and I had the pills in my hand I hesitated for a minute because I knew that there was no going back. I was either going to fight a frustrating battle to see what works or I would be happy. I knew that as soon as I start taking the medication I couldn't stop because I would be worse off. But now that I am on medication, all of the negative things that I have heard about psychiatric drugs have disappeared. My theory as to why we hear so many negative things about medication is that the ones that it doesn't work for are the most vocal about it. For those that it does work, they feel good and don't bother about thinking how bad they feel. I'm glad I'm one of those that it worked for. I don't know how long I'll be on the medication or if the dosage has to go up, but I know I'm glad I did it.
What is depression? Medical references begin to describe it as a mood disorder. That doesn't even scratch the surface. Depression isn't feeling "blue". Being sad every once in a while is okay. It's a part of life. Depression is a distorted mirror where the person looking in sees herself as worthless. She has no hope for the future. Everything will be just as bad and get worse. She believes that no one loves her. Even if a lover constantly tells her he loves her and preforms acts of unconditional love, she will never believe him. She loses interest in everything. She doesn't bother keeping up with schoolwork, work, or activities because she doesn't have the energy. Nothing is interesting anymore. She tries to have hobbies to find meaning, purpose. But it requires too much effort and she abandons it. She gets tired of living without purpose and attempts to change her attitude and activities. She forces herself to meet people. To talk. To join organizations. To preform research. She enjoys doing all of these things. Her relationship is everything she wants and needs. Yet she cannot be happy. She is smart. Gets good grades. Is self taught in many techniques. Yet she feels like and idiot. She has every right to be happy and proud. But feels worthless, stupid, undeserving. She has no confidence in what she can accomplish. Everyone tells her she could be great. But her view of herself is so distorted she doesn't believe them. Her efforts in improving her life are met with constant disappointment. One event goes wrong and she breaks. What's the point? Why put so much effort into something if it's just going to fall apart? It's an angry frustrating battle. After so long it's too exhausting, and you just decide to give up. Lock yourself in your house. Sleep for long hours. Come out of your bedroom only to eat. Don't even bother with hygiene. No body will see you anyway.
I am a 23 year old woman attending university in Texas. My major is biology, though I am not sure what I will do for my career. Like many people in my age group I feel a constant pressure to preform perfectly. To excel in my school work as well as maintain a relationship and have time to enjoy myself. On top of this I had a poor childhood. Ever since my parents separated I have had a hard time dealing with stressful situations. I was always called sensitive. No doubt my family took advantage f it. Out of all the people in my family I never retorted the abuse. When I was yelled at, called names, or hit all I did was cry as silently as I could. Whenever I did try to defend myself, responding in like, it got worse. I was the only one not allowed to use violence. I became progressively numb. Though I participated in activities in highschool there was no enjoyment. As I got older the world came at me faster, harder. I was able to handle it, but eventually it brought me to my knees. I knew there was something wrong with me for years but I never sought help. Until recently.
This blog is a therapeutic tool. To share my story about depression, how I got it, and how I will overcome it.