Waiting for today...: Putting the Pieces Together: Where I Am, Part 1

Thursday, February 27

Putting the Pieces Together: Where I Am, Part 1

“Depression” (2).  Could I be depressed?  Yup, still in denial.  I haven’t lost all enjoyment in activities that I’ve found pleasure in.  However, I do hesitate doing them… I haven’t referred to other activities, especially those of daily living.  I, at times, will go days without a shower.  I only brush well enough to neutralize the taste of bad breath.  I’ll only wash my clothes when I’ve run out of clean underwear but I’ll live out of my laundry bag until I have to wash again...  My things are scattered all over the living room, I don’t wash my dishes and I’ll only take the trash out when it starts to smell.  This is not a constant however… ~ December 2005
… my mood
It has improved significantly as the holidays have passed.  The hallmarks of my depression from 2005 until now have been the same, so I know I’m better: I’ve been consistent with my hygiene, eating a bit better and chipping away at cleaning my apartment one corner at a time.  I’ve also been a bit more social and putting more energy into some of the things that I enjoy.  I am nowhere close to what would be 100% for me.  But I’m moving in that direction.  And although I still feel stuck in the vicious cycle, I’m thankful for the progress I’ve made: no longer in denial, now in treatment, committed to honestly seeking my root issues.  And, as my mood continues to lift, I would like to explore more ways to keep my mood stable.
… my treatment
Since initiating therapy, I have reduced the frequency of my visits to once every two weeks.  Thankfully, my relationship with my therapist has improved.  In addition to being uneasy about baring my soul to a complete stranger, the “intake” appointment did little to spurn those feelings.  The process was rushed, impersonal and without warning. Another bitter moment occurred during one of our initial conversations when, in response to a statement I made about reaching out for help, she snapped back at me the fact that I first needed to help myself.  I almost lost it.  My response was something to the effect of, “if I knew what to do I wouldn’t be here!”.  Unfortunately that set the tone for the next month or so.  A short while before the holidays, however, I noticed we were getting in sync.  And now I look forward to our sessions.   
I always thought of myself as introspective.  But as I progressed in therapy, I realized that there was so much I was missing.  Prior to therapy, I came to realize that I am sensitive, socially awkward, have a fear of forming deeper relationships and I hold a lot of resentment.  Therapy has helped me to recognize the thread connecting them all: rejection.  I have been rejected since I was in my mother’s womb and the perception of rejection haunts me today. Now that it has been identified, I have to go about the task of meticulously uprooting it.  I knew it would be a painfully overwhelming process with the potential to make my depression worse or cause me to retreat into denial.  I was encouraged to take medication when I first saw my therapist but I wanted no parts of that conversation at the time. She then asked, “aren’t you tired?”, and I was at a loss for words.  Realizing the enormity of this journey and after a conversation with a close friend who once shared my adamancy against medication therapy, I swiftly reconsidered my position.  

The “ups and downs” I often used to describe my life was actually mood swings according to my new doctor, a psychiatrist.  She recommended Lamictal for a mood stabilizer.  Because of the rare but fatal side effect of Steven-Johnsons syndrome, my dose began at 25mg and was slowly tapered up to 100 mg daily.  Thankfully, I had no side effects.  Actually, there didn’t seem to be any effects at all.  I would later ask to discontinue it but my psychiatrist did not recommended it.  She instead added an antidepressant, Celexa and explained that because I may have bipolar features there was a risk of exacerbating symptoms of mania.  A few weeks after starting Celexa at 10 mg, I noticed my mood lifting but not dramatically as in the past.  Recently increased to 20mg, as I am still mildly depressed and erratically irritable, my hope is that I will see greater improvement in the next few weeks.