Creating my happy life on the other side of fear.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

One year later

This morning I went to my doctor to refill a prescription. A prescription that changed my life a year ago.
Too dramatic? Honestly, it isn't.

I don't have a proper source - pinterest is all I could find

I haven't talked about my depression in a while, for the simple reason that it doesn't play a dominant role in my life any more. When my doctor asked me earlier today how I'm doing I could honestly say: "Really good". The demons are (mostly) gone. I also told him that I want to stay on my medication for the rest of my life if it continues to make me feel the way it does now. Calm. At peace. No internal turmoil.
He agrees. Depression is a medical condition, a chemical imbalance, and if medication can treat it without any discernible side effects, why not?

I fully understand that my route is not right for everyone, and that for other people pills may not the right choice - every person is different. But for me, it was a happiness saver. (Not a life saver, I was never suicidal - but it had a huge impact on the people around me and my own happiness.)
Whatever your way of dealing with depression is, the most important thing I want you to know is this: You are not alone. There is help! Go and get it!! You won't be able to fight it alone, with willpower, discipline or dedication - trust me, I tried.

For all you Harry Potter fans, J.K. Rowling described depression perfectly in the form of dementors:
Dementors 'drain peace, hope and happiness out of the air around them ... Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you.' It makes you feel like you will never be happy again.  
She describes it so well because she suffered from depression herself.

It is awful.

Another pinterest source
For me there were several ways my "dementors" tormented me:
Sometimes, I would get angry. White-hot anger rising inside me so fast that I could barely catch my breath before it broke out with a vengeance. It was like a huge tidal wave crashing over me. I remember thinking afterwards "if I only count to 10 then I can hold it in" - but I never managed to do that. Not once.
The anger was so overpowering that I exploded every.damn.time.

Then there was the despair. You wake up and feel - hopeless. Like you will never be happy again. (J.K. Rowling's description is spot on.)
I remember one particular time when I was at school here in Canada, and my friend asked me what's wrong. And I didn't really have an answer but was so down that I thought I needed to say something, so I sort of made something up - about a hypothetical problem with Richard that didn't really exist. And then I started to cry and it was just awful. Because I felt like my entire life sucked big time. Everything is stupid and pointless.

The third one was wallowing in self-pity. A good old pity party for one. With all the glasses half empty. It's very easy: You just focus on everything negative. If you look for it you will find it. Christmas? Over-commercialised and shallow. Kids? They are just using us and don't care about me. My parents? They don't care about me. My husband? Why can't he help more at home? Why does he always leave his dirty socks on the floor? Why am I so hard done by??

You get the picture. I'm quite embarrassed to write this, but it's the truth. I really felt like that sometimes. Not all the time though, oh no.
That's how my illness was so sneaky: I would have weeks and weeks with no problem, being sunny and happy, and thinking I got over my "mood swings". Yay! And then it would sucker-punch me with a good one.
Especially this time of year: The rain, short days, the formerly dreaded Christmas season approaching - it was the worst time of the year for me. I'm sure many of you can identify, SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is very common around these parts.

But then. Rewind one year, when I started taking Citalopram (aka Celexa). That medication is my patronus. For you non-Harry Potter fans (you are weird btw), the patronus is the only weapon that protects you from a dementor.
My cute little pill that I faithfully take every morning has proven to be a powerful protector.
I picture mine in a wolf shape. (source)
Anger? Gone. Poof! Disappeared. Things that used to drive me crazy don't faze me any more. It's fantastic.

Despair? Gone, too. Of course I still have days where I feel a bit off, or sad, or anything but happy. But now there are (usually) reasons for it. (Or hormones. Can't beat hormones.)
If someone asks me nowadays why I'm down, I can give them a real answer. It might be a stupid reason (it usually is), but I don't need to make anything up any more.

And then there's the pity party. I have left it. That one is more than the pill's doing though. Granted, it has helped. However, I also have done some growing up. Yikes, I know! I'm telling you, my thirties are good for me. I dreaded them so much (almost 4 years ago, wow). But they have surprising perks: no adult acne (except right now: my skin is currently on a little rebellious streak), more confidence, less impulse buying.

And more wisdom. I like hanging out with older people: my favourite, of course, my hubby, who has quite a bit of wisdom and is not afraid to share it. (Ha! He loves it.) But then there are also patients, friends, co-workers - I like to find out about their life story. For one because I'm nosey, but also because I find it fascinating to hear other people's life lessons. And they don't need to be older: you can learn something from anybody, young or old.

Here it is. On this anniversary of finally admitting to myself and others that I have a problem, I feel very thankful. For this life free of depression. And I want anybody out there who suffers from it, or has any of the symptoms I used to have, to get help. Please!
You won't believe the difference it will make in your life. It affects everything: work, family, friends.
But most importantly: you.

source

Love and hugs,
Miriam
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7 comments

  1. it takes so much to open up about these kinds of things too. what an awesome strength you have. i've had troubles with depression too. but i haven't been as brave as you. i did a lot of soul searching and hope searching and well.. i did a lot of searching and ive really come full circle. i hope everything is working out for you! its so great that you are able to open up.
    found you from the collective blog hop (:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Alyssa, I hope you will find help! Seriously, it's SO worth it, even if it's hard. There's a world of difference now from a year ago.
      I wish you all the best!
      Thank you so much for your kind words, they mean a lot.

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  2. Miriam, thank you! May I share this? Your story may help someone close to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course Mary! That's why I put it out there, in the hope of helping someone else.

      Delete
  3. Miriam, thank you! May I share this? Your story may help someone close to me.

    ReplyDelete
  4. As a former sufferer of depression, I truly appreciate you sharing your story! It's truly an uphill battle, and it takes a lot of support and willpower to get through it. New follower from the Collective hop :) Hope you'll drop by and follow along my blog, as well. Have a great week!

    xo,
    Stephanie
    Diary of a Debutanet
    www.stephanieziajka.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sure is a battle, but worth the fight! I'm following you now, too!
      Thanks for coming over from the Collective :)

      Delete

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