“Fields” by Kasimir Malevich (oil on canvas)
“I was so scared to give up depression, fearing that somehow the worst part of me was actually all of me. ” ~ Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation
Feeling rather mellow today. The feeling that I have been strung too tightly is finally beginning to recede, due in large part to being able to take my Cymbalta again.
Rapeseed Fields in Qinghai, China
Years ago, when a doctor first tried to put me on antidepressants, I fought him tooth and nail, as it were. I remember telling him that I wouldn’t be me without all of the intense highs and lows, that I did not want to be medicated all of my life. He told me that I may or may not have to stay on medication for the rest of my life.
Two times I have tried to go off antidepressants, both times taking myself off cold turkey. I remember vividly the first time that I did this was after my ex had left, and I found out that my daughter was going to be put on antidepressants. I felt so consumed with guilt that she had inherited this condition from me that I wanted to show her that it would be possible not to be on medication. I also thought that if I were off the medication that I would be able to think more clearly.
Boy was I wrong. I crashed very, very badly, but hid it from everyone. My preoccupation with my daughter’s illness overshadowed any thoughts of taking care of myself. What I realized, though, was that I could not take care of her if I was not able to take care of myself.
The other time I stopped taking my medication on my own was when someone close to me told me that I shouldn’t be relying on medication, that it was creating a false sense of security. Again, I stopped cold, and stayed off for several months. But the fact is that I need medication. I have a chemical, biological need, which is nothing of which I should be ashamed. Now that I know this and have accepted it, I do not like to be off my medication as it does affect me adversely. I become very snappish, bitchier than usual, and cry at the drop of a hat.
Why should I live like that when there is a medication that evens out my extreme highs and lows and allows me to live like those in the world who do not suffer from depression? And so after a few days of being back on, I can already feel my body begin to shift. I do not feel like a violin string too taughtly wound, ready to break if touched in the wrong way.
“All melody is a sweet echo, as it were coincident with [the] movement of our organs. We wake the echo of the place we are in, its lumbering music.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Fields of West Flanders, Belgium
It’s very quiet here today. It’s been raining steadily since early morning, and the temperature has risen to the 50’s, which is a nice change. undoubtedly we will have more cold weather, but I am hoping that the worst of it is gone. We usually have at least one cold snap in February and another in March.
Brett is spending some time at his friend Gordon’s house, which always does him good. He and Gordon have been friends since childhood, which is interesting since Gordon’s father and I have known each other since grade school. Yes, life is cyclic.
Brett and I have been talking about college. It’s late in the year to be applying, but he is still unsettled as to what he should do. He is very interested in astronomy, but not many universities offer degrees in astronomy or astrophysics. The reality is that he will probably have to do his first year at ODU and then transfer. It’s probably going to take us a year—at a minimum—to get back on our feet after Corey starts back to work.
Brett’s interests are diverse: He wants to study astronomy, but he is also interested in creative writing. I really have no idea where he will end up, but I hope that he sticks with the plan to go to college. Eamonn began classes last week, and so far, no problems. I think that perhaps all of my children may take longer to find their individual paths, but that’s all right.
“In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
So last night, I managed to fall asleep before 3 in the morning. What a breakthrough. I never thought that I would get to a point in my life when falling asleep in the middle of the night felt like something to celebrate, but there you have it. The downside is that I think I was probably able to fall asleep earlier because I had to take Phenergan for my nausea twice last night.
Field of Sunflowers in the Loire Valley, France
My body clock is so backwards. I sleep the soundest in the two hours after noon. Only then, it seems, do the dogs settle into a deep sleep, and only then am I able to sleep without fits and starts, a constant awakening after only 45 minutes. If only I could turn that around so that my deepest sleep occurred at the precise moment when I have lately found myself trying to capture sleep.
I suppose that this, too, shall find its way back to normal at some point as long as I do not fret about it too much.
That’s about all for now. In recent days I have been suffering from bouts of unexpected nausea again, hence, the Phenergan. Corey thinks that I’m developing an eating disorder. What he fails to realize is that I abhor throwing up, absolutely abhor it. That is why I know that I will never be bulimic. Nevertheless, not sure where this nausea is coming from, so I suppose I need to make that long overdue appointment with my gastroenterologist, that along with my long overdue, breast-smashing mammogram.
Oh joy. I’ll leave you with a passage from a writer/poet who I am very late in discovering, Alejandra Piznarik, a Russian émigré to Buenos Aires. She lived to be only 36, but what I have read so far is passionate and beautiful. I want to read more of her, but I am going to either have to learn to translate Spanish, or find more of her work in translation:
I change the colour of paper, the colour of ink. I write laughing. I write to ward off coldness and fear. I write in vain. Silence has corroded me: some poems remain like a dead person’s bones that chisel into my frightened nights. The meaning of the most obvious word has been lost. I still write. I still throw myself urgently to narrate states of astonishment and rage. A very slight pressure, a new recognition of what’s stalking you, and you will no longer write. We’re just a few steps from an eternity of silence.
More later. Peace.
“Fields of Gold” by Sting, appropriate for a mellow evening.
7 thoughts on ““My soul is impatient with itself, as with a bothersome child; its restlessness keeps growing and is forever the same. Everything interests me, but nothing holds me. I attend to everything, dreaming all the while.” ~ Fernando Pessoa”
A friend of mine works in mental health as a clinical social worker, and has handled cases ranging from the mentally ill homeless to the criminally insane (no, I’m not suggesting anything here :-)). He swears by medication for a range of illnesses including depression, but at the same time emphasises that they should be taken in a context of rehabilitation, which should include both spoken therapy, but also (and he’s adamant on this one), an exercise regime to enhance medication. Running is the one he always suggests, but swimming, or walking or cycling can be equally good…
Hope it helps you get on top of things.
I know that physical activity would help, but at the moment, it’s a bit of a Catch-22. With the chronic pain, it’s very, very hard to be actiive, but I would feel better all the way around if I were. As soon as Corey’s job starts, I plan to re-enroll in the yoga classes that I was taking and gradually get back into my workout routine. I’ve never been able to run. It just kills my knees, even with good shoes. My ex was a long-distance runner, and several times we invested in good running shoes for me, and I tried to begin a regimen, but to no avail. Plus, I just find it boring as hell . . . Thanks as always for your comments.
Thanks for this honest account of your battle with depression and the meds.
Like you, I fought my doctors about taking meds for several years. The syptoms of PTSD became so difficult to live with that I finally gave in a began taking them. What a relief! There are still times when the meds make little difference but overall, they have been a great success(combined with therapy).
I wonder if it is your meds causing you the nausea? I still have to take maxalon daily with mine as they make me feel dreadful otherwise.
Symptoms! Sorry for the typo
I am so glad that you have found some measure of relief from PTSD with your meds. I know how insidious that disorder can be, permeatingy your life in unimaginable ways.
Corey and I were talking about what might be different in my routine, and the only thing that we can think of is that I’ve been trying to take my multi-vitamin along with my fish oil. I didn’t take it last night, and I didn’t feel as nauseous, so who knows what’s going on. Just one more mystery symptom that comes and goes.
This is a beautiful post. I too have struggled with depression for quite a while, and like you have wrestled with the issues surrounding antidepressant medication. I was placed on some a few years ago that made me feel drugged–almost stoned. I quit them vowing to never take antidepressants again. Last year I was given another script, and again had a similar drugged feeling. Then I complained to my doctor and he switched me to another type that comes from the first family of antidepressant meds. This time it worked. I took them to help make it through winter, then quit when spring came. Now I’m thinking I should go on them again. I think pride and ego have played significant parts in my decisions so far. I’m going to have to balance these things with the sort of honesty you’ve shared in your story. Thanks again.
Thank you for commenting. For what it’s worth, I had to try about seven different medications before finding one that worked for me without making me feel like a zombie, or making me sick, or worsening my depression. Even though these meds are categorized as being in the same family, they all work a bit differently. I was on zoloft for a while, and it worked remarkably well. Then my pain management doctor suggested cymbalta, which helps with my depression and chronic pain. I know how hard it is to accept that you may need a pill to make you feel normal (whatever that is), but please do not stop taking your meds when you feel better or when spring comes. The fact is that anti-depressants work best when maintained at a certain level. The coming of spring always brings me great joy, but not enough to stop taking my medication. That being said, it is a very personal decision, and one that you need to make weighing all factors carefully. Just do not let pride be one of the factors. I, too, know how that can hamper recovery. Take care.