cripsy13

Musings, mutterings from the misguided.


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ATYPICAL DEPRESSION

After 30 years of never really being diagnosed with anything concrete – well, finally – FINALLY something tangible.

ATYPICAL DEPRESSION

Reader’s Digest version of events:  After my ‘episode’ of a couple of months ago, where I wound up in hospital after a rather feeble overdose attempt (weaning myself off of Cymbalta was a most horrendous experience), my doctor put me on a new medication, which turns out I was terribly allergic to (I thought it was spring allergies, but it was much, MUCH worse).  She took me off of that and put me back on a medication that I used to take, and it was then that I knew I had to take some time to just get back on track and heal.

While the hospital experience was something I’d rather forget, it opened me up to a much higher level of psychiatric care that I’d never had in the past.  My GP fast tracked an appointment with the clinic’s resident psychiatrist and I was able to get in to see him in a matter of weeks.  The main reason being, was that my GP explained to me that she had run the gamut of antidepressants she was willing to prescribe; anything else needed to be prescribed by a psychiatrist.

So, I toddled off to see the nice doctor and in 45 minutes, he had come up with a diagnosis that made sense of all the different symptoms I’d ever had.  He was ever so kind, explaining to me the different symptoms and how he came up with the diagnosis.  Part of me was mortified that it had a name; the other part of me didn’t care – finally I could relate to something and understand why I am the way I am and that I’m NOT batshit crazy (okay, maybe a little bit, but aren’t we all?)

Since then, I’ve felt stronger, more empowered and certainly less frantic/weepy/messed up.  It is so wonderful (yes, wonderful) to know that it’s not just me acting like a weirdo – there is an actual name for my weirdness (ha).

And, so, for those of you wondering – here is what Atypical Depression looks like:

Image

erm…wrong picture, let’s try that again:

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So many things just fell into place – especially the ‘sensitive to rejection’ thing.  I can usually control it, but if I’m feeling particularly crappy, and let’s say I send out an email and don’t get a response, I automatically think it’s me, I’ve done something wrong, etc..  WHICH is extremely annoying to those closest to me – especially my boss and colleagues.  Trying to explain that is extremely difficult and frankly, embarrassing.  I’m often very tired and my body feels like I’m wearing concrete weights on my forearms and my legs.  While I don’t sleep in, given the chance, I do like to take an afternoon nap (which can sometimes be upwards of 4 hours).  I crave carbohydrates like an alcoholic craves booze; I always have. When I’m ‘depressed’, for the most part I don’t feel like I’m melancholic, rather, I’m more likely to feel angry and frantic.  Don’t get me wrong; I have fabulous crying jags worthy of an Oscar, but they don’t last very long.  Thankfully (I hate crying).

I had a conversation with a friend this morning about a woman she knows who has schizophrenia and while she has the disease, she is NOT the disease.  While I’m very thankful to have a diagnosis that I can work with and learn about, I too have a disease; I am NOT the disease itself.  My mother lived her whole life with depression as her identity; I don’t ever want to be that person.

If you’d like further information on atypical depression, please visit  http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/atypical-depression.

 

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Picking myself up off the floor, one inch at a time…

Since my ‘incident’ of 3 weeks ago, things have been…well…frankly, fucking awful.

I’m now on medical leave with yet another bout of severe depression.  Almost one year ago to the date.  Time flies when you’re having fun.  Right.  (That was sarcasm).

I’m now no longer taking Cymbalta (thank GOD), but have had a few set backs since my final dose.  My doctor (bless her) put me on a new medication, which caused me to have serious allergic reactions (swollen eyes, swollen eyelids, unable to breathe properly) and they did NOTHING to improve my quickly dwindling mental well being.  I saw her this past week and she took me off of those and has put me back on a medication that I used to take, but went off of it because of the ‘flat lining’ effect that I get with all anti depressants when I’ve been on them for a long time.

I’m beginning to think that having no emotion whatsoever would be preferable to what I’m experiencing right now.

Usually when I go through a bout of depression, I’m basically just sad and very lethargic.  I work with my counsellor(s) and talk things out and the meds start to kick in and I’m back to the land of the living again.  However, this time, things are much, MUCH different.

I’m madangrysadpissedoffweepyfullofragecryinglikeababyfuckyou!ihatemyselfihateyouihateeveryone – it’s everything; all at once.  And, it’s tiring and scary.

I woke up this morning feeling pretty good.  I had planned to run a few errands (I’ve been away from work since last Thursday and haven’t been out).  I had a coffee, watched the news…the usual.  Then I weighed myself.  And somehow, even after kicking my wine habit (25 days!), eating healthy (for the most part) and even exercising (I’m trying to swim every couple of days) I’ve gained 10 lbs.  The highest weight I’ve ever been and it puts me in that ‘OMG, YOU ARE TOO FAT TO LIVE, SO JUST GIVE UP NOW‘ category (apologies to those of you who find this offensive; it’s about me, not you).  Then an all consuming anger took over me.  I screamed and picked that fucking scale up over my head and SMASHED it onto my floor (which now bears a bunch of scratches).  I saw red.  I started to cry uncontrollable, heaving sobs that were filled with deep, soul destroying feelings and I could barely catch my breath.  In order not to throw the scale (and myself) over the balcony, I paced around my apartment until I could breathe properly.  Then the condemnation came from inside of myself.  “You are disgusting.”  “You are a waste of space.”  “You are so fat and disgusting, you shouldn’t be allowed to live.”  “You will never be loved.”

I sat for a few moments and tried to compose myself and in about 15 minutes, it was gone and I was completely exhausted.  I felt nothing.  I didn’t feel sad, mad, manic, angry – nada.  Something inside of me switched off.  I showered, went out and did some errands, all the while, completely numb.  Some guy cut me off in traffic and I barely flinched.  One of the clerks in the store said hello and asked me how I was and I mumbled ‘fine’ and walked away, when normally I would engage in conversation with her because she is such a lovely person.

I got home and put my things away and sat down and had lunch.  Then my sister called and by the time we were finished talking, I was once again feeling madangrysadpissedoffweepyfullofragecryinglikeababyfuckyou!ihatemyselfihateyouihateeveryone and had to hang up before our conversation was finished because I couldn’t speak.  She was only trying to help; I didn’t want it.

I sit here, right this minute, on the verge of tears for reasons I can’t explain to you – let alone myself.  I sort of feel like that guy in Alien who had that nasty creature explode from his chest:

Alien Stomach

 

I’m just waiting for it to explode from MY chest because then maybe I’ll start to feel better.

I’m very grateful for the love and support from my friends and family and I’m not writing this as an ‘OH, WOE IS ME! – YOU MUST PITY ME!’ because I’m not.  Many people have asked ‘what’s wrong?’ and ‘what can I do to help?’  So, I hope this explains a bit of what’s been going on.

Depression is a bitch.  It steals your personality, your soul and leaves you feeling worthless and unlovable.  It is debilitating, exhausting and will beat you into submission until you can’t fight any more.  It wants to lay you flat out until you believe that you are useless and there is no sense going on.  However, I know – that deep down inside, my soul is fighting to see the good things again.  It wants to enjoy life.  It wants to live, love and laugh again!  It’s in there, but it’s buried deep…it’s like a storage closet – all the precious and breakable things are at the back, safely wrapped and protected, but you can’t get at them unless you pull out all of the shit that’s been piling up for years in front of them.

So, patiently, I will take out each box and put it aside until I find the hidden treasures of my soul again.

 


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FALLING OFF THE FLOOR…

My dad was wrong; you can fall off the floor.  I proved that on Friday night.

For the past month, I have been weaning myself off of Cymbalta with the assistance of my doctor.  I’d done some research online and there are websites dedicated to what it’s like to rid yourself of this horrible drug.

Having successfully weaned myself off from many different antidepressants over the years, I didn’t think much of it; I didn’t have any physical ailments to speak of.  I was a bit snarlier than usual and a bit quieter, but I expected that.

What I didn’t expect was what happened to me on Friday night.  The day at work had been very busy and it was good and although I was a bit on the quiet side (which for me is very unusual); there wasn’t anything spectacular about it.  After work, I picked up some groceries and some wine and headed home for an evening of Netflix, pizza and wine.  My typical Friday night.  I should point out that it’s not uncommon for me to drink two bottles of wine in one sitting and only feel mildly tipsy.

At around 10:00, I started feeling awful.  I mean mentally awful.  I started to cry and couldn’t stop.  Nothing triggered it; it just came out of the blue.  I was inconsolable.  I was beside myself with sadness and nothing was going to change that.  I started thinking that if this is what my life was going to be like; I wanted no part of it.  Evil thoughts started swirling around in my brain – would anyone really care if I wasn’t around anymore?  Would it be a tremendous loss?  I just couldn’t shake the thought that I would be better off dead.

I had a letter on my computer that I wrote a long time ago when I was depressed and wanting to get a will done.  I opened up that letter and below everything I’d written before, I put down into words, a final note for my friends and family.  A suicide note.  I’d written a fucking suicide note.

Then I went online and found out how much of a certain medication I’d have to take to effectively kill myself.  I found it, went to my cupboard and got the bottle.  I still hadn’t stopped crying, it’s like everything had caved in on me and I couldn’t see anything beyond what was right in front of me.  I methodically counted them out and put them on the table.  I looked at them through tear soaked eyes and before I knew what I was doing, I grabbed a handful and swallowed them.

In that minute, I knew.  I knew it was wrong and that I didn’t want to die.  I wanted to live.  I called my sister and freaked her out and told her what I’d done and that I loved her and hung up.  She kept calling and calling and then when I answered, I was informed that an ambulance was on the way.  I was pretty sleepy at this point and when they got to my house, my sister had pulled up just behind them.  They came in and led me out to the ambulance and off to emergency I went.

I was sleepy, drunk, and dozy and I felt like I was having an out of body experience.  We got to emergency and when they led me to a bed (I was still able to walk and everything), it was directly across from the bed they had my father in 3 weeks before he died.  That sent me into a fit of hysterics and I started to cry uncontrollably again.  I got settled and they did a whole slew of blood work and hooked me up to an IV to get some saline into my system.  My sister was there and I was angry that she called an ambulance and one minute I was crying to her and the next I was telling her off.

This is the part that scared me the most.  After an hour of being there, I just desperately wanted to go home.  I felt remorse, embarrassment and terrible that I’d wasted the valuable resources of our health system.  I promised I was fine and that I would be okay.  It wasn’t that easy.  They invoked the ‘mental health act’ which meant that I was bound by law to stay and if I put up any resistance, they had the legal obligation to actually restrict me by tying me down.

I had put myself in a situation where they needed to make sure I wouldn’t try harming myself again.  Jesus H. Christ.

So, I lay there and seethed throughout the night – not being able to sleep a wink. I was exhausted, I had a shitload of sleeping pills in my system and yet, my brain would not shut off long enough to allow me to sleep.  The longer the night wore on, the worse I felt.  Not physically, but I felt just awful for putting my sister through it (she has enough of her own problems).  The guilt was overwhelming.

I was told the night before that I had to wait to see the psychiatrist on call once the alcohol had left my system, so at 6:00 am, I asked if I could finally be considered to see someone and they told me someone would be around to see me ‘sometime that morning’.  I started to panic – what if they forgot about me?  What if my birds were scared and I’d accidentally left the door to their cage open?  I just wanted to GO HOME.

Around 9:00, a lovely young girl came in to see me and I gave her the whole story.  We talked for about an hour and from there she had to report back to the psychiatrist on call and she would decide if I could go home or if I needed to be admitted.

What?  I couldn’t be admitted!  I had too much to do!  I hate hospitals!  I want to go home!  I have pets to think about!  I can’t be admitted…I just can’t.  What would people think?  Would I lose my job?

The hours ticked by slower than anything I’d ever experienced.  I’d messaged my two very close friends to let them know what had happened and the messages started coming in fast and furious from them expressing concern and wondering what they could do to help.

I was overwhelmed by the messages – the sheer volume of them, and the love that was contained in each and every one of them.  They wanted to help.  They were sad that I had gotten to the point I had.  They wanted me to know that they thought I was worthy of love and friendship.  They thought I was special.

Around 12:00, after meetings with my young lady and the psychiatrist on call, I was discharged – with the promise from me that I would stop pushing people away and that I would let people support me.  I promised with every fibre of my being that I would.  I will be honest when I say that I would have agreed to anything just to get the hell out of there.

I got home and the first thing I did was open the door to the cage of my birds.  They glared at me, none too impressed that they hadn’t been let out or anything for over a day.  I started to cry, because I was so thankful to be home, to have my beautiful sister with me and to know that I had an entire team of friends that would check on me throughout the weekend to ensure I was okay.

My one little bird, came out of the cage tentatively and looked at me, flew over to my shoulder and buzzed me on the cheek.  What an absolutely glorious kiss that was.

At this risk of this sounding cliché, I was happy to be alive.

That was last weekend.  I had a rough start to the week – I was very weepy and emotional.  I explained to coworkers who asked how my weekend was that I had been in the hospital from ‘extreme reaction to a medication’.

Today is Wednesday and I’m feeling better, although I am weepy and get very emotional over the tiniest of things.  However, for the first time in a long time, I feel somewhat optimistic.  I think that sometimes we do have to fall off the floor so that we can learn how to stand up again.  Maybe we need to completely break in order to rebuild, instead of just putting band aids over the gaping wounds of our lives.  Perhaps – perhaps we need to lose all of the things that were holding our lives together – our egos, our anger, our sadness and depression – so that we can start fresh to build the lives we are supposed to have.

To anyone who is suicidal or thinks that life isn’t worth living – I beg you; please call your local distress centre.  Have that phone number on your speed dial.  Call a friend.  Call a neighbour.  Have a plan.  Know that you are worthy of love and happiness.  Know that what they say about it being darkest before the dawn is true – but that the dawn is coming and it wants to welcome you to a new day of being you.