Friday, October 19, 2007

It's a Long Drop

It's that time of year again. Like a well-meaning friend, my depression creeps up on me and puts it's hands over my eyes shouting 'Surprise!'.......

I can control the darkness somewhat in the summer months, but it becomes overwhelming in autumn and winter, knowing I have four to six months of darkness and desperation in front of me makes me feel totally helpless.

I have had my usual autumn doctor's appointment. I hate going to the doctor, there's nothing they can do about a chemical imbalance other than give me drugs, they can't make it better or improve my quality of life. I hate sitting there basically complaining while they listen sympathetically. It is also always very, very traumatic as I have to face my depression and actually speak the words I usually conceal.
They had me do the psychometry test for depression, and surprise - I am 'severe'.

I hate this non-illness. It's not real, there is nothing physically wrong with me - except everything is a struggle. It's all in my head, as the saying goes.
My life is a constant effort to hide my unhappiness and misery from those around me. The occasional bouts of agorophobia or paranoia cripple me. the daily effort to remain 'normal' and balanced at work exhausts me.

I'm paying for my stubbornness too. I won't take Prozac in the summer, I refuse to become a Prozac junkie. But when autumn comes and winter looms, I end up worse off as I have to adapt to Prozac again.
My doctor pointed out I should take it all year round - he's right, but I don't want to be that person.

I told my doctor for the first time that I had given up smoking 12 months previously. He agreed that could explain the weight increase, but he also wanted to do the usual full blood work up - testing me for everything from thyroid to cholesterol.
I even had a spyrometry test, to check my lungs, because I am still wheezing and breathless. They were worried I might be asthmatic ('or worse' to quote my doctor!) after 30yrs smoking. My lungs have 90+ capacity so, as I said to the nurse, 'I am just an overweight, middle-aged woman with depression - I might as well start smoking again.'

This middle-aged woman is currently walking on the rim of a black, dank, bottomless pit, with an ugly monster whispering in her ear 'go on, jump.....'



.:mar said...

Whenever you mention that monster I truly, honestly wish I was closer to you.

Carmi said...

I echo Mar's statement. I wish I could just pop by for some tea. We'd chat about whatever it is that inveterate bloggers chat about. And you'd inspire me to take a silly picture of my world. I'd do the same to your own photographic obsession.

Tell that monster to leave you alone. You have so much sharing left to do. And so many of us rely on you to be there.

Geggie said...

Me too! I'll bring the biscuits and we'll chat and laugh.

But, CQ, this is a real illness, fortunately, not me directly, but both my father and my long-term BF suffer from clinical depression. It's real. I'm happy that you acknowledge it.

Best to you!

gautami tripathy said...

Hey, we are all there with you. I know we can't see other or know each other. Has that stopped us from sharing our pleasures and pains? I feel it is a community and miss people when they disappear. Despair when they are troubled.

Here is GOOD hug for you.

Anne said...

How can I improve on what's already been said so eloquently before me? Ditto everyone.

Have you tried practical things like full-spectrum lighting, and lots of it, around the house? Fresh-cut flowers can also trick the brain into thinking it's not winter out there.

Nikki-ann said...

I know nothing truely helps, but have you tried one of those lights? (I can't remember what they're called, I have an awful memory!).

Anyway, here's hoping you beat the ugly monster to a pulp! :D

Smiler said...

I know exactly what you speak of. I've been there myself many times. Didn't believe in drugs, but now I'll take whatever they say will help. And by the way, depression is VERY real. Saying it's just in your head is another way to feel guilty about something you have no control over. I wish you good luck and just remember... things eventually do get better.

Michele says to say hi!

moon said...

I have to agree with everyone above me also...I can't add much more except to also suggest you add more vitamin D to your daily intake. I know it's not much a canadian with long winters here, it's the vitamin we lack most during the winter with less sun. ALSO ..huge studies have come out this yr that ppl taking 1000-1500 units...can actually prevent cancers from occuring , up to 80% ...Can't lose with that !..They did long term studies..for ostioporosis patients..and found that fact out by hey, I upped my vitamin D dose, nothing to lose on both counts...
I realise it wont change a whole lot for you...but who knows it may make a tiny difference and if not, atleast health wise it certainly can't hurt.
Take care CQ...u have many here thinking about you.

Dawn said...

I'm with ya hon. Suffering from depression has been a long battle for me, and one I never feel I'm winning.

As you know, I refused pills, and still won't take them - I pay for that decision in October and through November before things start to settle down somewhat.

As echoed by many people here, I wish I were closer to you. Tea and biscuits and a chat with an insane Yorkshire girl does wonders!

Shephard said...

CQ, I'm so glad you have your blog where you can be open and honest and relax a little more. My sister dealt with similar issues, so at least from living with her, I partially understand. Maybe you can make a daily log of what you accomplish each day, a sort of tally of the things you did to defeat the monster. If you kept record of the monster on your blog, maybe it would seem less overwhelming and you'd recognize your small but steady victories. I'd even lend you a monster for your visual tally (drawn by my Disney animator hubby).

Michele sent me to say hello!
~S :)

Aginoth said...

I wont say I told you so ...cos you know that and we have the conversation about all year prozac occasionally.

but, take it form me a 365 day a year prozac popper it's not a problem, and it takes away the hit of gloom when autumn arrives to a great extent.

in the meantime .... HUG

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Darling CQ...So sorry that the bloody awful monster is more than rearing it's very ugly head! OY!..Hey, just a thought...They have these lights you can wear, like a visor, which simulate the sun, and actually ARE like sunlight..And Bulbs that do that, too...It may not be the whole answer but it might help a bit in these dark autumn wintery months...Alaska, where they have no Sunshine for God knows how many hours a day(?) during a part of the year....Well, People use these Visor lights all the time to ward of depression....My physical Therapist has the Bulbs in ALL his light sockets in his home and office because he is inside ALL day Every Day....And he is actually quite jolly..(not really)!

Anyway, it's just a thought, my dear...And, it can't hurt, you know?
I send you Huge Huge ((((((HUGS)))))) from across the pond. I wish I lived closer, my dear....Just to be able to give your REAL Hugs with the hope that you know how truly special and wonderful you are, and that you mean so much to so very many---ME included!

Michael Manning said...

The blood work up is actually very smart. Of course I wish I could assign you to film a day in my life from the back seat of my rental car on the road. An interesting documentary with a giggling camera lady! :) Do hang in CQ!!!

Charles in HK said...

I am sorry to learn of this darkness but it IS good that you recognize it. In addition to the other ideas above, what about exercise? Might that help? I know it's not the proper answer but might help to take the edge off. Good luck with this.

panthergirl said...

I think we may have talked about this before... but I also suffer from depression with a side-order of anxiety, completely crippling if I were not on meds.

The only thing I can tell you is, if the meds work...don't feel guity about being on them, just go for it.

In my experience, if you are on the RIGHT meds, you won't feel medicated at all. That's how I always know if I need an adjustment...I suddenly feel like I'm on drugs.

As for me, Wellbutrin works better than anything else. One reason is because it does not make me gain weight (which of course just adds to depression!). I take Xanax when my anxiety is acting up, and Neurontin at night to level out my manic side.

Do I feel like a chemical experiment? You bet. But I can function, I'm not afraid to leave the house, and I'm thankful there is something that works.

If you had told me, ten years ago, that I'd be on all this medication I would have said you were nuts. But you do what you have to do...

Anyway... enough of my rambling. I'm sorry you are going through this and hope you start to feel better very, very soon...

Here via michele today.

kenju said...

CQ, I ache for you. Fight that monster - fight it with all you have in you - even when it seems like there's nothing left.

aka_Monty said...

I completely understand. Mine came on in a mental meltdown a few days ago, complete with crying jag.


Sara said...

Hello, CQ, Michele sent me today to wish you happiness and to hope that the pain of depression eases. I know what you suffer from as I tend to suffer from "seasonal depression" - and the winter is hard for me. Also, it my thyroid medication is off - it can make it much worse!

Wish I lived closer, too, and we could just share a cup of tea...and chase the blues away!!!

David said...

be strong, get some exercise, and know you have friends who care

Bob-kat said...