17 May 2010

Downer Debbie: AKA Me

The last two years of life have been rough for me. I know it and you know it, because I've blogged about it almost every step of the way. There were many contributing factors to my negative outlook: my health deteriorated, once I got something fixed and feeling better something else would start to bother me. I put a lot of effort into relationships that ultimately fell apart. I lost a job of 4 years on my 25th birthday. We didn't celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas. My finances went from being on track to complete and utter chaos. I spent 4 months unemployed and found another job only to lose it 3 months later. Throughout this time I knew that I was becoming more withdrawn. I started to avoid everyday things like checking my voicemail or the mail box, because I knew it was only bills or collectors seeking payment that I couldn't give. I began losing interest in things I once enjoyed and more often than not I saw the negative aspect in everything. I had lost all of the joy in my life. I knew I was in an unhappy place, but I never really considered myself depressed.

Clinical depression is defined as: a depression so severe as to be considered abnormal, either because of no obvious environmental causes, or because the reaction to unfortunate life circumstances is more intense or prolonged than would generally be expected.

I started experiencing panic/anxiety attacks towards the end of January when I started my new job. Most times they would happen when I was in the car. I commuted 40 miles to and from the office and I tend to get my best thinking done in the car. So I would drive and think about all of the problems on my plate and I would just get so overwhelmed. My heart rate would increase, I would start to sweat, it became difficult to breathe, tears would run down my cheeks, and I'd end up pulling the car over until I could gain control. I went to the doctor and he suggested I talk with the psychiatrist on their staff to help me gain some perspective on my situation and to learn some coping techniques. I reluctantly agreed and made an appointment.

To be honest I thought it was a waste of time. I have always been a "solve your own problems" kind of girl. I'm a reserved person so the idea of paying someone to discussing my inner most thoughts with me just seems so vain. But I went and we discussed the things I am struggling with in life and how to cope with them. I left the appointment feeling like the doctor just confirmed everything I already knew about myself, which wasn't all that helpful really. But I decided that if I didn't want to continuing feeling so down and confused I should try to follow through with the treatment. The soonest I could start on a regular weekly appointment was 3 weeks out. The therapist suggested I start on an anti-depressant. So I went to my primary care doctor a few days later and he wrote me a prescription for Lexapro. I ended up having a reaction to that and so I couldn't take it anymore. You can read about that experience here. We changed the Lexapro to Prozac and I didn't have any reactions to it.

Prozac takes approximately 5 weeks to absorb in your system to fully take effect. Well it has definitely kicked in and I am so pleased with the way I am feeling. It is incredible to wake up in the morning and not feel like "ughhh ANOTHER day". I'm content again and looking forward to the future. I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I feel like it's easier to express myself.

My question is, if this new found happiness is based on a medication, is it real? How does everyone feel about anti-depressant medications? For me, I think the medication has been a blessing. Being depressed can be debilitating. There were days when I just couldn't get out of bed. Literally. Everything is exhausting and you have absolutely no joy. But now I wake up excited for the day and I feel like I can handle the problems in front of me, instead of avoiding them. I am excited to move and I am excited for the job search ahead of me. I want to get back into a healthy routine. I am happy to have the weight of depression off my shoulders so I can get back into a more normal cycle.


Sell...Party Of 4 said...

blessing indeed. changed my life, because it changed Paul's life. best thing he ever did for himself was get on pills. =)

Andrea said...

I've watched my sister go through a lot of ups and downs due to different medications. She will have to be on them for the rest of her life due to thyroid cancer. I have also heard my husband talk about what medication did to him (he's bi-polar) and how much he hated it. Because although it got rid of the lows, it also got rid of the highs. My personal opinion is that it is there to help when you need it and then when life becomes manageable again to go back to au natural.

Julie said...

I can remember the day...exactly 3 weeks after I started taking Prozac...I woke up in a good mood for the first time in over a year. A lot of what you have described I have experienced, the panic attacks, isolating yourself. If taking medication helps keep that under control I say go for it. Eleven years later I can never regret going on the medication.

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