It’s not just another phase of life. I am just crazy. I’m starting to believe it, anyway.
Depression is not something we keep in the closet anymore, nor are other mental health issues. We seek help. We talk to our friends. There are medications available to help stable us out if we need them.
Yeah….the medications. There are so many, and it’s so hard to find the right one (or combination of meds) that work for each person. In some cases, they work but they have horrible side effects, one wonders if they’re worth it. In other cases, they work for a while, then they stop working completely. Raising the dosage doesn’t help; they just never work again. I’m one of those lucky souls. I can’t tell you how many head meds I’ve been on that suddenly didn’t work anymore. It’s like I build up a resistance to the damn things!
The last two have been Citalopram (generic for Celexa) and Quetiapine (generic for Seroquel). Now, keep in mind, I’ve never been diagnosed as bipolar, schizophrenic, or with other disorders Seroquel addresses. I have chronic insomnia, horrible depression, and anxiety issues. This was to “stablize the mood”.
They both stopped working. At the same time. Lovely.
My head-up-her-a** doctor decided to keep me on Celexa while switching me to the extended release of Quetiapine instead. My thoughts? How the fuck is this going to be any different? Oh, if I only knew… I’ve had the worst reaction. Mania! RAGE!!!
Rage at the slightest goddamn thing! Disagreement with the husband?? Fuck. Him. I won’t talk to him about it like an adult – I can’t!!! I scream, I yell. Jeezus, I wanted to throw things last night!!! Doctor doesn’t return my call? Fuck. Him. I’m looking for a new one. I don’t care if I’ve been seeing that doc forever. I don’t care if that doc might have a valid reason. I didn’t get my callback!
This is not me!!!!!!
I officially stopped taking this gods forsaken med last night. I warned my husband. I can’t seem to get a callback from the head-up-her-a** doctor who prescribed them. Having all the “cold turkey withdrawal” symptoms anyway, so I may as well do it.
Sometimes, we find it difficult to write. Whether it is on our blogs, Facebook, or other means of social media. Some call it “writers block”, but sometimes, it’s just everyday events that just get in the way. Emotional garbage just blocks up the creative flow.
Sometimes, the garbage is so packed in there that it blocks more than creativity… it blocks our need to express ourselves, in general.
Good things happen and we want to say something, but we don’t know how to get past the emotional blockage.
Crappy things happen, and we want to say something, but the words just won’t come.
Horrible events occur, and we try to open our mouths, but we know if we break through that dam of emotional garbage, a river is going to flow and it’s going to be out of control. No one will understand where this raging flood came from.
So it’s just easier to keep things in, keep quiet, and maybe even disappear for a while.
Until you end up here.
The journey out isn’t easy. It’s a long climb. When you realize you’ve isolated yourself, sometimes those voices in your head tell you it’s too late to reach out. It’s a tough battle, fighting those voices, especially when your worst fear is rejection.
It’s a hard climb. Your hands are as raw as your emotions, and the journey up is exhausting. Sometimes you slip, just as you think you’re making so much progress and you think you’re going to get out.
You’ll have moments when you want to let go of that wall and fall all the way back to the bottom, just because you’re having a bad day on your journey and you’re losing hope.
But you keep going. You rest, you breathe, and you start again. It’s a long fucking climb, and that pit is deep. But eventually …. someday….
The pit is always there, but I know where it is now. If I fall in, I know where the good rocks are in the wall. I know how to get out.
I’m wondering if I should just step away from the computer for a few days (or at least, step away from social media). I’ve been in a very …. well, I can’t describe my mood. But for the past few days my filters have been completely gone.
When FilterMode = False, I tend to post and comment whatever is in my head. Yeah, you got it – my crazy, fucked up head.
Now… those of you who are familiar with the cycles of depression will get this. When you’ve fallen into your pit and you’ve been there for a while, you eventually hit a point where you can get up again. But it takes effort, and that first attempt, all you feel is just “numb”.
But you progress to other emotions after that. The first emotion you feel is anger. You go through an entire phase of “angry” at everything, everyone. You’re angry at the world. Everyone is “wrong on the internet” and you have to tell them why. If you do manage to get outside, good gods above, be careful when you drive. Those rat bastard motherfuckers can’t drive for shit! But you’re driving just fine, I’m sure… Road rage is a thing and you are its poster child. Parking lot rage is worse. You might even find yourself ready to get out of the car and choke a bitch over a parking space, for christsake.
But at least you’re feeling something.
I think the anger phase is necessary in the cycle of depression. When you’ve spiraled down to the bottom of your pit and you’ve been there for a while, it’s the anger that gives you the energy to climb out again.
Being that angry takes a lot of energy. You get tired after a while, but you’re still on your climb to get out of the pit. That’s when determination kicks in. You start fighting for your sanity. You look back into the pit and see how far you came and you watch the anger fall into that deep darkness below you. You look above at the climb you have before you and keep looking at the light. The sun is shining outside of your pit. There is hope out there. So you’re determined to keep going because you’ve come this far.
Today, I’m angry. I don’t have a specific reason to be angry – none that comes to mind. It’s more all of the depression weighing down on me and I’m sick and tired of it. I’m angry at the depression. I’m angry at me. I’m angry at the world!
Today, I’m angry. So maybe I do need to step away from the computer. I am typing with my outside voice and I’m probably pissing off a lot of people in the process.
But that’s today. And it’s just something I need to accept. But at least I’m not in a dark room with the covers over my head. I have a list today and I’m working on it. I’m getting things done.
If you aren’t familiar with Spoon Theory, go get a copy of Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson, right now. Also, start reading her blog. Gods…. if you haven’t been reading The Bloggess, what rock have you been hiding under all these years?
In Furiously Happy, Jenny Lawson explains “Spoon Theory” in detail. I’m giving her full credit for it here because it makes so much sense and explains the whole “I just can’t…” part of Depression. Let me explain.
First, let’s take a young, perfectly healthy person. This person wakes up in the morning with a full set of spoons. All the things they have to do that day require energy. You have a spoon for everything you need to do. You already got out of bed. That’s a spoon. Eating, caring for people, going places, cleaning house, working…. you get the idea. And at the end of the day, this young healthy person has spoons leftover as he or she goes to bed. When they wake up, the Spoon Fairy has arrived with this fresh supply of spoons for the day. Voila! Infinite spoons!
But if you’re sick, that affects the number of spoons you get that day. If you’re battling mental illness, you start to see those spoons dwindle. There will be days you wake up and the fairy only left you 3 or 4 spoons. That’s all you get for the day and you have to make them last. You have to be selective with your spoons.
You haven’t seen a post from me since … oh …. June of last year, because I haven’t had the spoons to write. Today, I sit and write about Spoon Theory. I’m still in my pajamas. I haven’t had a shower or brushed my teeth. I haven’t eaten. I haven’t brushed my hair. If my husband hadn’t called me to ask me a question, I probably wouldn’t have said one word to anyone. By the time this post is complete, I may be out of spoons; I’m not sure yet. I may have a couple more. I hope I do.
You always seem to get 1 spoon. You woke up. You aren’t dead today. But, yes, that requires a spoon, because the energy that comes pouring in when you wake up…. all the mind chatter and the self-talk you have to fight.
“OMG, can’t I just lay here?”
“No. you have to get out of bed. How can you tell your kid he can’t stay in bed all day if you just stay in bed all day?”
So by the time you guilt trip yourself, you’ve spent a spoon just waking up.
If you only have 3-4 spoons that day, you decide how to spend them. Personal hygiene may have to be put off until the next day. Or the next. Or the next. Some day when you have enough spoons or until you just can’t take it anymore.
You start valuing relationships on a whole new level. Friendships change. Long-term depression will do that to people. But it comes down to talking about what’s wrong and why you don’t feel like this person doesn’t have your back. You tell yourself that this person just has too much going on right now and it isn’t the right time to talk, but in reality, you just don’t have enough spoons to have a conversation.
There are days when I wake up with one spoon and I just want to cry. I know I have to get out of bed anyway and I don’t have the spoons to do it. Those are the days I have to fake it. I have to put up a façade. I become Duch.
Duch is smart, confident, outgoing. She’s anything but depressed. She can damn sure get out of bed in the morning. I put the face on. Oh, and Duch would want to dress up pretty. But, damn… does she have to wear those uncomfortable shoes? So what if they’re pretty? Ok, but she does tell me I look good.
She drags me outside & we go somewhere. Anywhere. Even if it’s to a freakin’ coffee shop. Although, recently, she made the mistake of dragging me to the grocery store (trying to accomplish getting something done while getting me out of the house), but that only resulted in me having a panic attack. Too many people, too crowded. So Duch and I went home with just a few items, got back into the pajamas and drank beer. I was now at negative spoons.
Negative spoons is not a good thing. This doesn’t go away the next day. There is no magickal reset to zero. When the fairy brings your spoons the next day, she subtracts the spoons you “borrowed” against… you know, those spoons that took you into the negative? If you don’t have enough, she leaves you one. She carries the balance over to the following day.
If there is a way to earn spoons, I’d like to know.
But that is Spoon Theory, in a nutshell. Now go read Jenny Lawson’s book. But if you haven’t read her first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, go read that first. And, for chrissakes! Get out from under that damned rock!
A few days ago, a good friend of mine wrote a post about her own experiences with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, not for attention, but to help others. It took a lot of courage for her to write her post.
Her strength and courage inspired me to do the same with my own issue that arises from long-term depression and anxiety; something I’ve kept to myself for about a month or so. Continue reading “Self-Harm”→
You’re all used to my periodic absences around here. I don’t post on a daily basis. I write when I have a rant, or when I feel something needs awareness. Sometimes I go on hiatus when I have nothing good to say. It’s at these times I find myself in The Abyss.
The holidays are on us. Whether you celebrate or not, ’tis the season and it’s all around you. Every year I have the house decorated by now. I’ve always been of those who gets into the holiday spirit. The music brings back childhood memories of Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and other Christmas specials. I always loved to decorate the tree then lay underneath and look up at the lights. Continue reading “Holiday Spirit”→
I decided to write about this subject because there is surprisingly a lack of information out there. Yes, I’ve found other blogs, but I haven’t found anything from the medical, psychology, or ADHD field itself (other than one book, and he doesn’t cover much). If anyone knows of a credible resource please feel free to share it in a comment.
You work on a huge project. You already have a tendency to hyperfocus, but when the project is this big and the deadline is so close, that tendency kicks into high-gear. Everything else goes by the wayside. Nothing in the world exists but the project. You may forget to eat. When you do eat it isn’t healthy. If you’re lucky, your family understands because they know this pattern by now.
The most amazing thing is the mind chatter disappears. Mind chatter? Yes. You know, internal distractions. The mind is never quiet. One worry pops in just as soon as you push another aside. You’re constantly spinning on one thought or another. Meditation never seems to work. Relax, you say? Hah! Right…
“Mind chatter is the result of a lack of distraction for the ADHD brain.” (Driven to Distraction, Dr. Edward M. Hallowell and Dr. John J. Ratey)
I can’t speak for everyone. We all have our own techniques for handling our distractions so we can get the job done. I wouldn’t get a thing done without the whiteboard in my office. I see it every day along with the deadlines. I outline each project into small parts, giving each part a deadline. I cross off my deadlines as I meet them so I can see my accomplishments. The downside to this process is it encourages me to hyperfocus. The upside is I stay on track.
I’ve also noticed I experience a huge adrenalin rush when I hit the point where I’m hyperfocused on that project. Yes, I’m stressed about hitting my deadline but towards the end when I finally know things are coming together and it’s going to work – the relief just washes over me. I feel glorious! I want to shout to everyone, “Look at what I’ve done! Look at what I accomplished!!” I’m on top of the world.
The project comes to a close and I’m riding on that emotional high. It lasts for about a day.
As I’m enjoying the well-deserved downtime, the mind chatter begins. I’m not hyperfocused anymore. I don’t have anything to “spin” on, so I spin on myself. To the person who doesn’t understand the ADHD brain it would seem I’m scanning the horizon finding something to worry about. I don’t mean to; my mind is just wandering. Most of the time I snap out of it wondering how I got there in the first place; but by the time I find myself “there”, I’m an emotional wreck over whatever I’ve found on the horizon.
These are the highs and lows of working on a project. I used to think it was just me but in my search for more information on “post-project let down” and “post-project depression” I found others experiencing this same issue. People are posting in forums and blogs, both ADHD and Project Management, about this same pattern. Yet I get no hits in the medical field… nothing confirming why. We’re all just speculating. This truly surprises me. Surely there is more information out there and I’m just missing it.
My search was not for a solution. It was more for personal validation that I wasn’t alone. I needed to know if others had this problem or if I was just … crazy. I already have a solution. I’ll stick with my pattern of planning out my projects; I just need to adjust for the project close. I have a great method for planning out my deadlines until the project ends. I just need to make sure I have something lined up for when it’s over. Downtime? We all need it, but I suppose I need to start planning something for that, too.
I posted about this on my old blog. I thought I had it over here. So all this time I’ve referred to it and just assumed you knew what I was talking about. We’re either on the same wavelength or you’re all very polite. 😉
We all have that little voice in our head. No, not the one that tells you, “It’s time to clean all the guns!” We aren’t all that special. 🙂 But we do have our inner critic. You know, the one who tells us, “Hey, you suck!” Maybe some get the simple version, like that, a lot of us get a more detailed picture.
This voice takes whatever situation we’re worried about and starts finding flaws in how we’re handling things. Oh, it knows three or four ways we could have done it better – after the fact. And, yes, this voice is particularly loud when we are in the shower or driving in traffic (alone). However, it is probably loudest at 3:00am, when you are wide awake and everyone else is asleep.
I have caught myself churning and churning on (insert worrisome topic here), only to realize I’ve spent about 20-30 minutes getting all wound up over … nothing. Because that’s really what our inner critic does. It winds you up over your own insecurities, not over anything based in fact. Your inner critic operates & thrives on your deep seated fears.
When I catch the bastard in action, I usually slap the steering wheel in frustration, scream & say, “DUCH! GET THE F*** OUT OF YOUR HEAD!” To the other drivers, I probably look like a crazy woman. But, seriously? Screw them. It’s keeping me sane. I do have to wonder, though… You see homeless people on the street having a heated discussion with themselves… Are they arguing with an inner critic that just won’t STFU? Just a thought…
So where does the inner critic come from? :: shrugs :: I’m no Psychologist. I figure it’s part of the “not good enough” package, where you’re required to beat yourself up on a daily basis for one reason or another. We’re all our own worst critic and we all seem to have this “not good enough” streak to a certain extent, some worse than others. Some fall within an average range, some fall on an extreme scale. Self-esteem? Yeah, it’s got a lot to do with it.
A friend of mine heard me talking about this inner critic and knew exactly what I was talking about. She referred to it as her “Inner McFly”. I think this is probably the best description I’ve heard for it yet. I like giving it a name. It makes it easier to yell at the voice and make it STFU.
Hellooooo, McFly! WTF are you thinking? STFU, already!