I am depressed, and a tad anxious again lately too, so I wanted to write a bit about my experience to help others out there living like this or living with someone like this.
The depression has come as a real surprise to me this time. It has been ongoing and is not at all what I am used to. Usually, when times are tough, I am Miss Anxiety Girl. Miss Anxiety Girl has period of almost having a panic attack on the regular, which is followed by a short stint of a day or two of depression just to polish it off, but never anything truly ongoing.
This has been different.
For a few months there I actually felt no anxiety at all which was pretty amazing. To be anxiety free was wonderful. But it was only because I was so flat that I couldn’t be bothered with much at all. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I met my basic requirements; I fed my kids and myself (too much for me – getting fat), I turned up to work, I did my uni assignments.
I didn’t shower every day though. I screamed at my kids, a lot. Over spilt milk. Literally.
I sent my son to school with a lunch order more times than I could count as I had no energy to make the lunch nor food with which to make it. I was so low on food as doing a grocery order felt like the most mammoth task imaginable. I mean, I had to get SO. MANY. THINGS. It required thought and planning. Impossible.
I thought perhaps I could do an order online instead but even that was unmanageable. Planning to do anything was so hard. It felt extremely overwhelming.
So I’d get to 4pm every day and think “Fuck, I have to serve them dinner” and go to the store and get a frozen tray of something pasta based, pop it in the oven and serve it. No wonder I’m getting fat.
It went on like this for weeks.
I counted three days without showering on more than one occasion. I kid you not. I just couldn’t be bothered.
And before you call me lazy (which I actually can be a little) know that I am usually considered to be the reasonably high achieving type; smart, capable, little go getter, champion at life when she puts her mind to it sort of gal.
Trouble was I couldn’t put my mind to anything much.
I just wanted to watch endless amount of TV as then I could switch off and not care about my inability to do all that much at all.
Trying to Move Forward
I finally realised what was going on about a month ago and got myself to the psychologist. I have seen this one previously for my anxiety and like her a lot so it was an easy process too. Honestly, if you tend to grapple with mental health issues finding a great psych who you can stick with will be an amazing resource. They know your story so you never have to repeat yourself, you trust them, they are relatable. It’s great.
At the time I had my first appointment I was feeling a very slight improvement – I could do my groceries by now – but it wasn’t much. And I was still scrappy with the kids far more than I would like.
We decided to try the natural route first as I have had success with this path for my previous anxiety. Whatever the naturopath gave me helped take off whatever edge I was feeling and I was able to exercise and focus on nutrition and it was all good. This time it’s harder. Motivation is a major factor for me so getting out to exercise has been a massive struggle and you really need the exercise to kind of kick off the feel good endorphins so you can continue to make good decisions.
Three weeks ago I started on the natural supplements and while they def did help with motivation and I do feel a lot better I am still very low on patience and my ability to cope is rather inconsistent. I have more good days but the flat days still persist.
I started to think about anti-depressants. I’ve never been on them before and the idea makes me extremely nervous (ahhh suicide side effects HELLO) but I’ve had two close girlfriends take them with great success so I really started to give them serious consideration.
This past week my anxiety has returned. I almost had a panic attack on Wednesday night due to a suspected venomous spider bite. “Suspected” means I felt a little bite from something and couldn’t identify what so immediately assumed it was deadly in my anxious brain. My lips went numb because VENOM and I started to spiral.
This was one time I willingly just phoned my ex even though he drives me mad. He has had anxiety and depression and understands the mental struggle so I am able to just call and say “Having a panic attack for an irrational reason. Just talk to me for 15 mins and if I’m not dead I will know it wasn’t a venomous spider bite after all”. The talking distracts me and then I am (almost) free. I can logic my way out of it from there.
Anyway, I am tired. So tired of all this.
I need more help.
Today I visited the GP and had the medication chat. She said a lot of things that made me feel good about taking them. Things like:
“Most people report that they wish they’d try them sooner”
which is honestly consistent with the experience both my girlfriends are having. Both report minimal side effects and are glad they tried them. Both are on the same brand that has been prescribed to me: Lexapro.
Of course I went to google so I read some terrifying stuff in relation to suicidal thoughts and some instances of where those thoughts had progressed to actual attempts. I am not suicidal in any way so to end up that way would be a backwards step.
My dose is going to be 10mg but I am starting on 5mg and will progress up to 10 once I feel the side effects are OK…as soon as 4 days and hopefully no more than 10 for the dose increase.
Part of me wants to feel relieved as maybe soon I won’t have to fight so hard internally anymore. The other part of me is terrified that reaching out for help on this will leave me in an even worse situation.
Of course, there is no way to know how it’s going to feel but to wait…it feels so trite to say that but I have nothing more to add. No greater insight or profound wisdom to share.
This is it. This is life.
Goal for this week: try very hard to get back into exercise AND don’t wig out with fear.