Disclaimer: The following is part of my “getting things out of my head and on paper” to help with what I’m going through. Depression, anxiety and an overall feeling of not giving a crap are serious, they are more common than even I realized, and if you are in need of someone to talk to, or you find yourself unable to voice how you feel, please get help. I am only sharing my thoughts and feelings and this is not meant as a “works for everyone” post. I had no idea until I shared a prayer request with about 15 friends that anyone else felt like I do, or had felt it, or had been treated or was in treatment for it. Out of 15 people I know, 12 of them separately responded with their own stories. I was humbled, comforted and saddened that of these women I had no idea that this was a common issue. I am sad for everyone who feels alone, and clueless and like no one understands. Please speak up, and be heard, you are not alone.
After a rough month, I’m here, still breathing, still wondering what happened, and how to get past where I still am. I’m not a whiner, but I am me, and I don’t like being “down” or unsure of myself. I’m not even sure how I got to where I am. Not talking about in life, but in looking into myself, it turns out where I am feeling wise, is a direct result of where I am life wise. Yes, I know that’s no epiphany and I haven’t discovered the new world, but when you are moving through life and trying to just “do” you often forget how it is you got to where you are until something makes you stop and recognize how well off…or not well off you truly are.
Two weeks ago I voiced to Big Daddy that I felt “blah.” This was the actual word I used. I had no other description. He had been dealing with me, making a few observations here and there about my “lack of giving a crap” or how I seemed like he was bugging me, or how I just seemed short with everyone. I, of course, dismissed him and told him I was fine. That’s always the answer you give…”hey, how are you?” “Fine, you?” We never really answer that, because, as I’ve pointed out before “No one wants to hear your whining.” After writing a post like that how am I supposed to be taken seriously if I’m whining about something I can’t even describe. So, you just grin (or stew in your own miserableness) and bear it. Until you can’t.
I’ve mentioned before that I have anxiety, to the degree that it interferes with normal life, however I’ve learned to live with that, as uncomfortable as it is sometimes. I’ve also recently learned that it makes other people way more uncomfortable than it makes me…but I’ll skip that for now. Back to the story. I had been feeling just off, like not me, no “joy,” struggling to get out of bed, or care about anything. Conversations in the weeks leading up to my doctor visit last Monday went like this:
D – So what do you want for dinner? Do you want to cook, or want me to make something?
Me – I don’t know.
D – Ok, well just tell me, I’m ok either way.
Me – (looking up from whatever I was mindlessly doing) I really don’t know, and I can’t make a decision.
I kid you not those exact words were my answer for everything. Dinner, bed, what movie to watch, if we were going to go to the store, anything…it sucked. I’m sure it sucked more for D. So, after about 3 weeks of feeling like crud, I told D I needed to go to my doctor and get some help. This was a huge step for me. Some would think that I finally have realized how “bad off” I am (in reference to my anxiety), but in reality the huge step was admitting that I was unhappy.
You see, when you have been unhappy for years, you learn to pretend to be happy, and find the happiness around you. I’ve mentioned how much I’ve changed over the years, from speaking my mind and not giving a crap, to eloquently expressing my disagreement with others and doing it with a loving, helpful heart, rather than a mean spirit. What I didn’t realize was that in trying to see the good in life, as much as it sucked at the time, I’ve been taking on more than I could. I’ve brought myself to this point. In not expressing what is going through my mind, I’ve kept it only to myself. By not wanting to put myself through the arguments/stress/pain of feeling what it is I don’t like, or don’t want to deal with from other people, I’ve taken it upon myself to stew about it, and push it to the back and just move on. That’s how I deal (or don’t deal) with everything. Move on. It’s not going to help to cry, whine, be upset, yell, or anything else, so why do it? Just move on. Only it’s not that easy. I take that back, it’s easy…it just comes back with a vengeance one day. That day was last Monday.
We showed up at the doctor, I sat on the table and felt both relief and emotion finally about my state of mind. I’ve never been “depressed” so I honestly had no clue what it felt like. I can say now, after the last week, that I don’t think I was “depressed” – I think I was having a bad month and don’t know enough about how to handle things where I am now in life. I’m not in the same place, relationship or mindset to deal with “life” as I have been previously. I’ve always had no choice but to move on, so it would make sense that it’s my go to solution. Only, I’m different now. One and a half years with a good man will do that to a girl. Back to the doc…more on Big Daddy’s amazingness (new word) in a moment. So, on the table, I tell the doc that I think I’m depressed, I review my “odd” anxiety issues, spill my guts about mom, my divorce, moving, explain that I have no clue WHY I would be depressed since there is nothing major going on in my life and everything is pretty smooth sailing aside from normal daily crap. I have no clue what my problem is, but I don’t give a crap about anything, and I’m snippy, and I don’t like to do anything I normally like to do. He suggests exercise, therapy/counseling, and journaling. I let him know that I’m game for all that, but I’m to the point (at that time) that I needed MORE help. This is huge, Melissa doesn’t do medicine. I don’t like pills, I chew them, can’t swallow them, prefer liquid, and prefer not to take medicine at all. However, this is how bad I felt. So, he decides on a good option that should help with the depression AND the anxiety. We’re good to go…I feel better already, kinda.
We leave, head home to wait for J to get off the bus, and I do as I always do and start looking up the meds and side effects. I know better, but I always do it anyways. I’m allergic to 5 antibiotics and 2 other kinds of medicine, to the point that I’ve had to have epinephrine. So, I always check things out. Let me just say, when you are anxious…you should not do this. It does nothing for your anxiety. To be anxious to take anxiety medicine is both funny, and sad…more funny (but not when it’s you). Ok, so as I’m sitting here looking at what all can happen to me (which is crazy since I take migraine medicine and one of the possible side effects is migraines – DOH!), I begin to tell D that I’m not sure I want to take the meds. He tells me to stop it, and I’ll be fine, to which I start naming the things I’m reading and explaining that it’s not just ONE person with the same problem. He then looks serious and says “so do you want to take the meds or not? Are we going to get them or are you just going to sit here and read about it?” Poor D, he had no idea that this was not the time for tough love…cut to me, on the couch, tears streaming, balled up, a hot mess. I couldn’t answer (which is why we we’re in this place), I didn’t know, couldn’t decide, couldn’t even argue my point, it was bottom, rock bottom. He came and held me, and for probably the third time since we’ve been married (in a year and a month) I cried…hard, sup-supping, runny nose, make-up running, can’t stop, crying. I think he felt more bad than he did happy that I was actually letting something out. It felt good, but then I had a headache and stuffy nose, and I was no further to figuring out what I wanted, so that pissed me off. We’ve discussed, I’m not a cryer, which tells you more of where I was that day. So, he held me till I couldn’t breathe due to the stuffy nose, we got up, he made the executive decision and we got the meds.
Monday night, took a pill – not too bad, went to sleep, slept like a baby (I hadn’t for weeks), woke up and felt like I had a hangover.
Tuesday – all day, dizzy – even sitting still, moving my eyes fast was an issue, no appetite, I ate applesauce, cheerios and soup, and I had to MAKE myself eat that. I had no desire to eat anything, nothing sounded good, there was zero appetite (had I been trying to lose weight this drug would have done it). I spent all of Tuesday in a ball on the couch, by Tuesday night, I could not walk myself to the restroom 10 steps away from the couch. I also had 1 anxiety attack. Slept like crap, woke up with my heart racing and noticed that I was asleep and normally I’d wake up freaking out, but I simply woke up enough to notice my heart racing and went back to sleep. It was nice, however with the other side effects, it wasn’t worth it.
Wednesday – day 2 of the same, couldn’t move myself, couldn’t eat, couldn’t talk/didn’t want to because it took effort. Slept off and on all day. Not feeling like myself, not even feeling anything. Dizzy – SO dizzy. Feel more off than I did, but no anxiety, hell I didn’t have the energy to be anxious about anything. Wednesday night D decided I should drop down dose and see if it was just too high…skipped Wed night dose. Slept finally, woke myself up 3 times jerking my arm or leg around, had VERY vivid dreams, colors, conversations, smells – kinda cool, but not worth it.
Thursday – feel like eating finally! Took the morning dose and we ventured out of the house but I was still dizzy and not feeling well and then the meds from the morning dose kicked in. D got a call from the doc and was told that I needed to stay on the meds because “my reaction was totally normal.” He disagreed and informed the nurse that I had not eaten and couldn’t get myself to the restroom…she then said “oh, that’s not normal.” Duh. I was advised to cut the dose (which we had already done). On Thursday night I didn’t take the dose, we planned to call my normal doc and see what he had to say.
Friday morning – FINALLY, I can eat, go pee by myself, laugh, I even knitted (which made me dizzy, but it was nice to WANT to). Doc called and wanted to switch me to another med. I am not a fan of this. This is now a conversation D and I are disagreeing on because he thinks I still need something.
Let me say this – as far as my experience goes, you don’t realize how much you actually feel ok, until you feel like complete shit. If the tagline/description of this medicine had read “Feeling down? Think your life sucks? Want to know what uncomfortable is? Boy, have we got a pill for you!” I truly feel like I had no clue what miserable was until I took that medicine. I know, you aren’t supposed to stop meds, change meds, everything works differently for everyone, etc, etc. I am completely happy knowing that I tried something, I’m also more content knowing that I was healthy, and probably not happy, but I was healthy, and for 4 days felt like I was roadkill, and would have given anything to just walk myself to the kitchen and eat. So, with that said, I think the meds worked.
I am not a painter (so I can’t paint a picture of how I feel now), but in one week, my attitude, and spirit have changed tremendously. I never felt that I was depressed enough to need medicine all the time for depression, and I now know I wasn’t. I may have been down, but I think we all get that way sometimes. Some of us are more used to it, some of us shop, cry, talk, journal, fight, eat ice cream, shop…we all deal differently.
My deal – as I mentioned, was always to move on. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, that won’t work anymore. It’s impossible to move on when there is no where better to move to. I am not the person I was when I came to NC. I had been pushed to a place, through a previous relationship, life, and my own actions of how I don’t deal, where it was best to not deal, as it didn’t help anyways. It was my own fault for being where I was, but it was the best way to keep happy and function, pretend. It worked for a while, and I made it to where I am because of how I’ve handled life before D. Each chapter in life deserves it’s own care and rules, and I have been living this chapter as I’ve lived the rest. Only it’s not working anymore.
This weekend D and I had a 3 hour conversation about the meds, my anxiety, our lives together, our love, and our plan for the future. Out of all the things I’ve felt in the last few weeks, the outcome has been that we are closer, more understanding of where the other is, and more resolved than ever to get me (and us) through this. In trying to be a “good wife” I try to keep some things to myself, dealing with ex’s, kids, etc. We talk, D knows everything about who’s saying what, but I tend to show my disdain for someone’s point of view and say how “stupid” it is and then just leave it. He handles lots of things for me, because we both know how mad I get, and how in my quest to be grown up and not tell people off like I used to, I don’t want to be spouting off at the mouth, when I should just shut up and let people dig their own holes – which they always do. (That was a run-on sentence) D has stepped up and taken on things that I would have normally handled alone, he’s been here to say “I’ve got this” – which is nice, and different. It allows me to still stew, silently, or tell him what I think and saves me that “bad girl” image of replying to emails with “You suck, go screw yourself.” (Only I’d say it much more colorful)
We’ve come up with these lessons from what’s going on.
- I would not be here, physically, in NC, if I didn’t have my anxiety issues. We would not be together if I was not who I am, or who I’ve been for the last 8-9 years (it took years to get this
goodmessed up). We are both ecstatic that we are together, and no matter how crazy some things are, God has a plan, and so far, even when we had no clue what was going on, He did. We’ve made it through 3 kids, a grandkid, moving, 2 ex’s (with custody issues), a new car, changing jobs, learning all about each other, and loving each other. Had ANY of our circumstances or our personalities not been where they were, we would not be here. My anxiety has been a curse, and the silver lining is that we have been given an entire year to get to know each other. We have spent 24 hours together since we were married. There is nothing I don’t know about him, and he knows all about me. I know couples that couldn’t say that and they’ve been married for years.
- I am finally in a place in life (that is new to me) where I don’t have to pretend. Life is good. We are healthy, happy, cared for, financially sound (and getting better with hard work), we have great friends, family and above all I am more loved than I have ever been in my marriage. I simply have not experienced this enough to know how to deal with feelings I’ve always had in life. I’ve been down, and I would deal by focusing on something else and getting over it because I had to…I didn’t have the luxury of being “depressed.” So, when the “honeymoon” endorphins have slacked off and we have settled in a year later to our life, it’s comforting and different, and I didn’t know how to deal. How do you entertain yourself when there is nothing bad to focus on? That is part of my problem, but it’s a good problem I think.
I still feel like there is something I can do, that I’m not, to help me move past upsetting feelings, but for me, medicine will not be one of them. We are going to explore natural remedies, and counseling, and maybe just a better understanding that this is where I am in life, and there is a reason for everything.