Thursday, November 21, 2013

the one about depression

I'm not even sure where to start this, but I know that I have to get it out. So I apologize in advance for what is sure to be a rambly post.

I've struggled with depression for a lot of years. I remember as a kid wishing I could go see a psychiatrist or therapist of some kind, but those things just weren't done in the little town I grew up in, and, if they were, it was because your parents got divorced or something. There was no traumatic event that happened in my childhood that would necessitate me getting "mental help," so that was that. I never even mentioned these thoughts to anyone; what good would it do? I was just being silly.

The first time I ever saw someone was when I was in undergrad at Purdue; I went to the student mental health center (CAPS). I was dealing with a lot of stuff at the time (stuff that I'm not going to go into here), and I was pretty much at my wits end. Back then I was woefully uneducated about depression and mental health and figured that with enough willpower I could just "be normal" again. Yeah... that's not so much how it works. I went to about 4 or 5 appointments (as many as the school would give me for free), and then stopped. Like I had money to pay for psychiatrist appointments. HA. Even those few appointments made me feel like I was back on the right track, though, and for that I was grateful.

I didn't see anyone again until right as I was starting law school. My fiance at the time had just left, and I was starting this big, life-changing thing, and my life was spiraling out of control. I went to the CAPS on the IUPUI campus. Wonderfully enough, they gave me more free sessions than the office at Purdue did, and those appointments which exceeded my free allotment were only like $10 apiece. I saw someone there for about 6 months... long enough for me to get to the point where I wasn't crying every day.

Months went by, though, and I never really got out of my funk. I thought that because I wasn't crying every day that I was better. I was not better. Not even a little bit. I really wanted to go to see a therapist, but thought that it would be silly. I mean, nothing traumatic was happening in my life. Man up, Marcie! I couldn't shake it though. I was anxious, and apathetic, and a whole host of other feelings that I couldn't quite put into words. On my birthday that year (2009), I called and made an appointment with an office in town. I distinctly remember making that phone call; I was so nervous to call and make it, and once they told me that they couldn't get me in for a month, I hung up the phone and sobbed in desperation. I knew that the way I was feeling wasn't right, but I felt powerless to stop it or change it.

A month later I began a year-long journey with the lady who saved my sanity. I underwent Cognitive-Behavorial Therapy (as opposed to the crisis management therapy that I had at the university offices) and was put on an antidepressant. It really changed my life. I learned what behaviors I had that fed into the depression, and I learned how to change those behaviors. I also learned that sometimes, no matter how much therapy a person gets or how successful it's going, sometimes a person's brain just doesn't work the way it's supposed to, and that's ok. I shouldn't be ashamed of that any more than a person with Type 1 diabetes should feel ashamed of having to use insulin.

By the time I stopped seeing her, I really did feel better. Normal. It was fantastic. And it stayed that way until I started my last job when I could feel the old depression monster rearing its ugly head (thanks to the neverending stream of stress). I upped my dose of medication, and I felt better.

Why am I writing about this today, you might ask? Well, despite my best efforts, my prescription ran out last weekend. At first I didn't even notice. I don't even remember what day it ran out. As this week has gone on, however, I'm finding myself falling into old behaviors: avoidance, hypersensitivity, apathy towards life. Things really reached a head last night and this morning, though. Without getting too much into marital dirty laundry, C has had a hard week and my increasingly avoidant behavior caused him to become upset last night. When he told me about it (you know, like an adult), I was not prepared to handle it like an adult. I slept alone last night because I couldn't handle life.

I finally admitted to C this morning that I was off my meds, he sprang into action. Called my doctor's office and gave them the what-for. He also picked clothes out for me this morning and FORCED me to get out of bed and go to work. He's a good husband. And I will be getting my refill this afternoon, so hopefully I feel better within the next week or 2.

Sorry for the downer post (apologizing is another thing I do a lot when I'm depressed), but I think it's important for people to be honest about who they are. Who knows, perhaps someone who reads this will recognize themselves or a loved one in my words, and that will push them to get help. What I don't want is for you to feel sorry for me. This is my life, and that's ok. I'll be my normal self again soon.

(And if you're interested, go over and read Hyperbole and a Half: Depression Part Two. That's exactly it.)

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