Undoing Crazy

“send your armies in of robbers and thieves to steal the state I’m in, I don’t want it anymore”

The above is from a song called Basket Case from Sara Bareilles.  The perfect description of how I’ve been feeling for a while.

I’m trying to come up with more in depth topics to talk about, but I’m having a hard time just doing the regular things I was getting used to.  The shrink I talked to (that I despise) said to keep going for another couple weeks on the dosages he gave me last week.  If I still feel like this, we’ll do a switch again.  Yay!  

I sent a text to my landlord this morning asking if I could get a cat. He has yet to respond, which makes me think his answer is probably no. I really want something to look forward to waking up to.  Work, reading, and writing really won’t cut it for too long.

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“I, being depressive, was totally focused on myself.”

The above is another quote from Hide & Seek by Wendy Aron, although I’m currently reading An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison.

Since I’ve started my recovery journey, I started to make an effort to text at least two people a day outside of my main support system as to not have them stuck with all the burden and just as an effort to not isolate myself as much as I have been.  Sadly, last night after writing the post that I did, I went home and went straight to bed because of a dibilitating headache.

I’m starting to see a trend in most of my messages to people, I completely take over the conversation and mostly just talk about what’s going on with me. As much as I try to be there for others, I think I might just be self-absorbed. Although this is nothing new, maybe it has an effect on why I became depressed and why I feel so alone. Or, maybe I was less self-absorbed before and didn’t notice it.

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I’m trying to come up with a good topic to write about today, but I can’t currently come up with anything. I’m plagued by a terrible headache that won’t go away and unfortunatley just feel like going to bed.

With any luck though, I’ll go home, journal, work on my Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Workbook, read, and go to bed.

Tomorrow is my last day in IOP, maybe that’s part of the reason I’m feeling crumby today.


a brief post on sleep and the depressed…

The sleeping habits of the depressed can be a many splendid thing.  And by splendid, I mean horribly confusing, at least in my experience with depression.

In the beginning, I could sleep all day and night, no problem. When I started Zoloft, in the very beginning of my recovery, I was weak from not eating and also wanted to sleep all the time.  When I switched to Effexor and started eating again I couldn’t stop thinking about things. And by not being able to control my thoughts, I couldn’t sleep either.

The struggle to find a psychiatrist was a completely different story, but after I finally found one that could fit me in, he prescribed Ambien.  I took an entire pill the first night that I also started a higher dosage of Effexor and a mood stabilizer, lets just say the result wasn’t a pretty picture the next day.  The rest of the week I used Ambien to sleep, but only took a half of a pill.  Even then, I couldn’t sleep the entire night. For some reason, my body wanted to wake up at 3 a.m. I’ve found through extensive reading on the subject that this is not uncommon for depressives.

Now that I feel like I have hit a mostly stable point in my medicine merry-go-round, I’m still having issues staying asleep at night.  For some reason my body still wants to wake up at 3 a.m. I typically get up, take a little walk around the place and lay back down and fall asleep shortly after.  Right now, I suppose I should just be thankful to get the sleep.

On a side note, I’ve also discovered that it is greatly amusing to watch people and make up a story about their life.  I think I’m really going to enjoy the new writing kick that I’m on.


I wish I knew myself as well as everyone else does.

This isn’t the first time in my life that I’ve felt like this, about a year and a half/two years ago I had a lot of the same feelings that I’ve been feeling lately but they just spontaneously ended, or rather went into remission.  I thought about attending therapy to try to get help, but with my health insurance at the time I needed a referral for them to pay for my visits and I wasn’t about to tell someone outside of the mental health profession that something is wrong and I need help.

At that time in my life I remember taking a couple days off of work and going into Chicago just to walk around and take everything in, I also remember taking a few yoga classes to try to get the benefits people claim. Unfortunately, I don’t have the ability to shut off my mind when I’m doing yoga or any meditative exercise so, I gave up.  (Maybe I can try to get all the things that could come to my mind during yoga out by writing before I start and try it again?)

There a many ways that you can handle and cope with depression, sadly because I’ve had one severe episode the chances of me having another is highly likely. What I can’t get to the root of is why it’s happening in the first place.  Through a lot reading on the subject I have found out that you don’t necessarily have to have a trigger to fall into a depressive state, although so many people I talk to would like to blame a close friend of mine for my moods even though I know he isn’t the single deciding factor in my depression.

Yes, I do like my friend for many obvious reason; he’s great to talk to, doesn’t judge me, and knows when I just need time to vent and get my frustrations out.  Since we decided not to begin a romantic relationship, many people feel that he is to blame for my negative attitude and view toward life.  I know deep in my heart that even if he decided right this second that he wanted to be with me all my pain and sorrow would not disappear.

In fact, Sally Brampton, the author of Shoot the Damn Dog summed it up perfectly; “my mood might have changed. The depression would not. But then you would not expect any other illness to lift according to the person who is standing in front of you, however happy they might make you feel.”  Because people only see the outside pain, they think that we can just snap out of our emotional turmoil.

In my opinion, I think my father traveling to another state for work weeks at a time had a bigger impact on me falling into a deep depression than any of the fights and rejection I’ve experienced with my close friend. If you don’t believe me, then, just find someone else to fix. I’m the only one who can fix me anyway!

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If we treated all illnesses the way we treat mental illness…

A perfect example of the stigma surrounding mental illness. Although I’m not sure how I’ll handle negative feedback when it comes to me (and I know it will) I’m finally confident that I’m making the right decision with getting treatment. I wouldn’t expect myself to “just deal” if I had cancer.

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“Depression is the catch-22 of illnesses in that the very things that allow us to recover from it are the things we find hardest to do.”

The title of this post is a quote from the book Hide & Seek by Wendy Aron.

This time last week I was laying in bed without the ability to get up.  When I did get out of bed, (to go to the bathroom mostly) I was in tremendous pain.  That morning my mother suggested I go to the gym with her to get out and get moving, when I woke up that morning it was the last thing I wanted to do.  I only ended up doing a few exercises in the pool for about 15 minutes before I gave up completely and went to the lobby to read and wait for my mother.

When she had finished, she wanted to run errands despite the “get-me-out-of-here-and-into-bed” look I know I had on my face.  After a grueling trip to Wal*Mart we finally made it home where I spent the rest of the weekend in bed, self-loathing.

It seemed the only thing I could do last weekend was read and lay in bed.  My mother (with which I am staying with to be in the presence of others) insisted that I go outside to do my reading, I replied with a quiet “no thanks.”  Although I was in the presence of someone else, I still felt alone and couldn’t shake that feeling.

This weekend, I’m proud to say that although I did start to fall asleep at 6 P.M. last night, it was the product of being exhausted and not the desire to stay in bed and never wake up again.  I had planned to do some reading that night, but my eyes decided they couldn’t stand being open any longer.  I woke up at 8 to take my meds, which I’m also happy to report that other than my hands shaking and random twitching in my body, seem to be working well.  I awoke again from 12:45 to 2:30, when I wrote in my journal and read from the book mentioned above. I’ve found that writing the jumbled mess that’s in my head before reading helps to keep it from wandering while I read.  

Aron also wrote “my mind, as always, became a cauldron of competing thoughts. And there was no way out.”  Aside from my deeply depressive state, the lack of med management, and constant fatigue I felt, this was one of the main reasons I decided to take a leave from work.  When I was at work, I couldn’t concentrate on anything but the pain and whatever hurdle I was trying to get past that day.

My last full day at work, I went out to move the vehicle that I’m driving because mine had broken down a few weeks earlier (which also ended in a nervous breakdown) and found that the tire had gone flat.  At that time, this was just one more thing that I couldn’t handle. I immediately broke down crying, once I thought I had it under control I returned to work.  Apparently, I still had the appearance of tears in my eyes and when asked what happened I broke down once more.  The rest of that night, I continued to walk on eggshells until the tire was fixed.

Today, as I sit in Starbucks writing this blog entry I can say that I’m not exactly happy but optimistic about the future.  I plan to continue writing in will hopefully be taking a class in a few weeks to continue with this newfound passion.  With any luck, I’ll be working on writing a book by fall.  I’ve found out that with all the fun tools on the internet it’s pretty easy to do this and get it self-published.  Don’t worry, I’m still keeping my day job.


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“We’re a feeling-phobic society.”

The title of this post is a quote from the book Hide & Seek by Wendy Aron and it paints the picture of what brought me to the hospital in the first place. (I’m sure you’ll be seeing a few quotes from this book as it’s my current read) I started going to therapy because I was in pain all the time without explanation.

My stomach would bother me and my entire body would ache. I visited my primary care physician thought it was the product of stress. One day I was in so much pain I needed to see a specialist. I visited a gastroenterologist who took a countless number of tests and told me I was completely fine.  With two doctors telling me I was fine I began to evaluate myself and realize that I spend a lot time worrying about things I can’t control.

I seeked out a therapist to try to get this under control and about a month in to my sessions I became more and more withdrawn from people. I started going even further into darkness when she cancelled my session out of the blue. I showed up the next week with textbook signs of depression. She asked me if the cancellation of my appointment made me feel like I was unimportant, and the short answer was “yes.”

Throughout my month or two in individual therapy I was able to talk about the facts but when she asked the deeper questions I would resort to “I don’t know.”  After a couple weeks of feeling depressed I called and changed my appointments from once a week to twice a week in hopes the the combination of therapy and meds would help me recover faster. During my second session of two-a-weeks she mentioned partial hospitalization.

It was hard enough having the secret of going to therapy but to be institutionalized was unheard of.   After much thought and many more “I don’t knows,” I reluctantly agreed to an intensive outpatient program.  For the first week of the sessions I was mostly silent and attentively listening to my peers hearing stories that I knew all to well.  It’s amazing how similar we all are.

After two weeks in outpatient, I can say that I’m feeling okay about the future and although I’m a little scared of the weekend I know that I can keep myself busy. I’ve been pretty good at it this week.


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Hello world!

Whether we like it or not, often times the mental illnesses we face are seen and judged by others. For a depressive like me who is already sensitive to people’s judgements and reactions, like many depressives, the way we are perceived comments can mean staying in a deep depression for longer than we plan.

It’s easy for people to say, but it’s hard for me to believe not to care what others think and that it IS okay to seek help for your mental health issues without the worry of being stigmatized as a lunatic, crazy person, insane, demented, or mad.  In fact, everyone that I have met in my various forms of therapy are far from any of the stereotypes. They’re just like everyone else in the world.

Although I’ve only received negative feedback from a few people (you know, the old “buck up and move on”) it’s still in the back of my mind that most people think I’m crazy.  Going to therapy and starting antidepressants was hard enough for me to accept, getting a recommendation to enter a mental health facility was almost impossible for me to accept at the time.  Opening up to my parents and supervisors would prove to be even more difficult although everyone around me knew I was in a downward spiral.

At my worst I would miss work at least an average of two days a week, and when I was at work I came and did my job without saying more than three words. I dreaded going to work, and more days than not I couldn’t even get out of bed to make it there.  Although I didn’t see it, and they didn’t seem to show it, I was told many people were worried about me.  At the time, I was only fixated on how bad my life was and barely thought about anything but that. I made the decision to take a leave of absence to work on myself and get better a week ago and since then I’ve had two coworkers inquire about my health.  It turns out that even though I thought no one would care if I went missing, people did take notice.

At the beginning of my treatment I started seeing my primary care doctor to prescribe antidepressants. The first to try become an off brand Zoloft.  The two weeks I was on it I couldn’t eat without feeling sick, barely wanted to move because of it, and worst of all started to plan my own death.  When I switched to an off brand Effexor, side effects became much more tolerable but the desire to kill myself was still there. I simply didn’t think that life was worth living, although I didn’t have a plan on how to do it.

I’m now seeing a psychiatrist once a week, although I’m not the biggest fan of my current psychiatrist.  I’ll be meeting a possible new candidate next week.  And I’m also still in an outpatient behavior health facility that is giving me new insight into myself.  Without it, I wouldn’t have found out that I enjoy writing about my feelings much more than talking about them.  I actually find writing to be quite a therapeutic experience for me.  I haven’t actually written anything since college and I know my writing in college was far from perfect but I would really enjoy even the possibility of writing a book on my personal experiences as well.  Practice makes perfect.  I’ve also discovered that my worry about the stigma surrounding mental illnesses was holding me back from truly gaining the most out of my therapy experiences.  I would love to volunteer or write about ways in which to break the stigma or at least make efforts in trying to do so.

I’m going to try to make this a habit like I have started to make daily journaling a habit as well.

Thanks for listening,


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