Monday, December 22, 2008

Depression...again.

I'm just really struggling with depression right now/lately. Adjusting to living in a new town, even though we love it, doesn't help. Any change is hard and joy is counterbalanced by loss and grief. And it's the holidays.

Do I need medication? I don't know. I don't want to need it. There are always unpleasant side effects, and the cost. I'd rather spend the health savings account money on the kids. Depression is an on-going problem in my life and I'm rather ashamed of it. I ask God for help. More tears this morning. I'm horrible about staying on my meds when I am on meds, because of the side effects. They make me dizzy...horribly dizzy. At least Welbutrin does. Other meds have other effects. Blech.

For one thing, I hate winter. Maybe I have Seasonal Affective Disorder because I always get like this at this time of year. Long term readers of my blogs know this. Forgive me.

I'd love to go walking but when it's eight degrees outside, those walks would have to be short.

I really want to be a joyful person. I really want to be a grateful person, but all the joy and gratitude feels like it's on the surface, and underneath is just this huge pit of pain and angst and sadness in my brain and belly.

My thoughts tend to obsess about certain things like my weight, or what to wear and I get on these obsessive loops of despair. Most of my clothes are black, brown, gray and beige and I wonder if this is a symptom or a cause or just part of the cycle. Rather than looking "New Yorky" with those drab colors, I end up looking frumpy and depressed...because I am.



So, a random list of things I'm grateful for:

My sweet children.
The fact that I got to see my dad last week, who lives nine hours away.
My new nephew, born last week.
My husband, who is wonderful even when I don't deserve him to be.
My new apartment and the fact that it's big and is easy to keep clean.
New friends and old.
The adventure of getting to know a new city.
The wonderful pediatician we found last week who is very knowledgeable about Autism spectrum issues.
Health insurance.
My sewing machine (I'm dying to get it out and sew something soon.)
I'm happy that I learned how to make Artisan bread this past year, that it's easy and just like the bread I used to get from the bakery in Switzerland.
I'm grateful for the internet.
I'm grateful for those big boxes of frozen bonrless catfish pieces you can buy at the Walmart grocery.
I'm grateful for the chance to go to St. Athanasius Orthodox Church yesterday, but also grateful that I missed St. Michael's a little bit (our new parish).

Anyways, does anyone else struggle with depression?

10 comments:

Philippa said...

Yes Alana, I do. I have been on an anti-depressant (Zoloft 100mg) for 3 years and it has been incredibly helpful. I had minimal side effects initially (headaches) but they subsided. If I am having any other side effects, I do not know what they are.

I do not regret, for one minute, taking it either. When I started it, I was surprised by how calm I felt. With counseling and reflection, I have come to realize that I have struggled with high anxiety and depression since just a toddler. I never felt calm before, thus my surprise and fear (at first) until I asked my husband if what I was feeling was what everyone else felt every day. He affirmed that as true, at least for him and many he knows.

I am also blessed to have a wonderful spiritual big brother with whom I speak twice a week but not always about my issues. I speak to my spiritual father regularly and go to confession regularly (every 6 weeks or so). I went to counseling for 2+ years and it helped as well.

I have also learned to counter catastrophic thoughts - that is when my emotions get away from me, and my thoughts spin into "Oh my God! What is going to happen!?" I try to capture them and turn them towards reality. My husband helps me with this.

This does not mean that my emotions are suppressed. On the contrary. I now allow myself to get angry and express it. I have released myself from the burden of being the submissive wife. I sometimes feel down, sad and depressed. Sometimes I don't.

I was blessed by my priest to be a spiritual mother and believe it or not, that has helped me too.

There have been people in my life (friends) who, while not coming right out and saying it, do not approve or think it is okay/right to be on anti-depressants long term. I no longer spend a great deal of time with them. If they cannot be supportive of my choice and love me despite what I struggle with and not give me the pat Christian statement of "Turn it all over to God!" then I do not need them/want them as friends.

I don't know if any of this helps. Feel free to email me if you want a friend to chat with and who understands. But if not, that's okay too.

Hugs!

Alana said...

Thanks Philippa, your story is very encouraging, actually. At least I don't feel like I'm the only one who has this problem.

elizabeth said...

I know I do... I don't know how much I do, but I know I do... I think a lot of us who are more introverted do... and life can really throw a lot at us, which contributes too...

God loves us. We are sinners. God loves us.

I cling to this.

Marsha said...

Well, you know I do. And wellbutrin is my miracle drug. However, I have to remember that when I'm feeling better that doesn't mean I'm all fixed and I should go off LOL!

I can honestly say I've been depressed and anxious since a VERY young child, and I have a young child who exhibits some of the same symptoms. I thank God daily that they have better drugs than they did 30 years ago. And that I've been so blessed as to receive this one.

I can see clearly. It's not all good. I'm still mad, sad, anxious and so on, but in a manageable way, it doesn't become part of "me."

A word on the side effects such as dizziness/vertigo with wellbutrin. After two months, max three months I don't have that any more. Even then, it's manageable as long as I don't get hungry or dehydrated, kwim?

ALWAYS take Wellbutrin with food or you will be very dizzy IME.

I am over worrying about if I am "really depressed" or "using them as a crutch". I am blessed, and I thank God for clarity and a sound mind, no matter how He gave it to me.

(((hugs)))

Debby said...

Hello Alana, I also suffer from depression. I actually have been blessed with bipolar disorder, but frequent depression more than the mania end. I have hard days, as we all do, mornings are the worst. When winter hits I make sure I find some sun atleast once or twice a week, if not I atleast am able to turn on all the lights in my house and trick my mind that it is nice and bright.

My family and I are new to orthodoxy, baptised almsot 2 years ago. I did find that I was much worse before I found our church. Now when I am having a bad dad I just open the bible and read randomly, sometimes this helps. Or I find a friend or family member, but unfortunately not many people can relate.

I am new to this blogging thing, so sorry if im not making sense or ?

Joyfulprayz said...

I never struggled with depression until fibromyalgia hit full force. I always fought against taking meds, but it is the best decision for me.

You are in my prayers! You will love Louisville - it is a great little city! (I posted on your other blog, too)

:-)

Robin

Joi said...

I suffer too my friend! I understand exactly how you feel. Depression hits when I least expect it. The move to Ohio was a trigger for me.
I am just now coming out of it.
If you need anything, let me know. I am here for you!
Sending you hugs!!

Tabitha said...

I know what you mean about the side effects and the cost and all. I've been on anti-depressants twice before and neither time really helped. I hate being dizzy worse than just about anything (I would rather experience labor pain than take Stadol!) Zoloft very definitely made me dizzy. Of course, I have all kinds of other stuff going on and the depression is kind of a chicken or egg question. I had just come to the conclusion that I should talk to my therapist about some form of medical therapy (probably hormonal) when I had to quit going to therapy for financial reasons. Sigh. Of course, I wouldn't be able to take anything right now, what with the pregnancy and all, but I suspect that I will need help with the whole postpartum thing. I wonder what's safe for nursing mothers? Keep the lights on and hang in there. (hug)

Veiled Glory said...

Weepy Snotty Mess here...but less so lately. ;-)

amberpeace said...

I'm like Debbie. I am bipolar, but very little mania. Sometimes I wish I didn't have to take medicine - most times actually. I have to force myself to thank God for the doctors and scientists who took the time to discover these drugs. Everyone's chemicals are different wellbutrine might make you sick - but maybe lexapro won't. Or Cymbalta. It takes a patient doctor and a patient you to work through the initial set up. A good doctor will ask you about your diet and exercise as well. One of the first things a depressed or bipolar person should be doing is daily exercises. Omega-3 fatty acids are important. My doctor always wants to know what my daily diet and exercise are before he will look at changing the dosage. You are not alone, dear. We are a large group.