October 13th, 2010
So, I sat in there and talked about my fucking feelings and thoughts and all that other bullshit, and the first thing she nailed is that I need some light therapy because, as I have known for YEARS, I clearly have Seasonal Affective Disorder. I know many people who think this is bullshit, but I am here to tell you, it is so NOT. I remember one year, when I lived in my apartment in Brooklyn, coming happily home from a great day at work one sunny day in September, and getting inside only to burst into tears. And after a good crying jag, I sat there and was like, what the fuck was that? I had no idea what was bothering me. Work was good. My mother hadn’t yet gone off the deep end. I examined all aspects of my life and was okay with where I was, so I could not figure out what the hell my problem was. The only thing that I could find that was bothering me even remotely was that it was getting cooler and the days were getting shorter. And the minute I thought about it, I felt depressed and the tears came again, and although it was good to know what was bothering me, it was like, wow, this is what I’m crying rivers about?
(Aside: Um, I just sneezed while I was burping. It is very painful and now the burp is stuck in my throat. I’m thinking those two things happening at the same time is pretty rare, but if it ever happens to you, don’t say I didn’t warn you.)
That was my first real insight into Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is, of course, SAD, how appropriate. And although when I worked outside the home I had some modicum of success at staving it off, now, it seems to hit me like a ton of bricks every year.
The doctor’s theory is that I have it but since I am also depressed about other things, having SAD just makes things worse. In spring, these same issues seem manageable most of the time. In the fall, they make me want to stick my head in the oven.
(Okay, seriously, does anyone even do that anymore? It’s so Sylvia Plath.)
So she gave me some stuff, and I drove like a bat out of hell quickly to the pharmacy to get “the stuff”, which I took immediately after eating last night, under the Tech Guru’s disdainful eye, which just made me cry some more (more on that later).
So, this stuff has had one night to sit in my system. My impressions thus far:
- Waking up at 5:30 in the morning and being unable to go back to sleep is not so much fun. I could be wrong that this is due to the drugs but it did list sleeplessness as a potential side effect; I did go to bed relatively early (11ish) but still, 5:30? Are you fucking kidding me? 5:30? And then just lying there? I was writing shit in my head, which was good, but I refused to get my ass out of bed to actually put it down, which was…not so good. Dumb ass. If this keeps happening, I will either have to get up and write or exercise.
- My mouth this morning was dry but…sweet! It tasted weird. Like I’d had candy or something. Which is way better than what my mouth usually tastes like in the A.M. so I’m not complaining.
- I still feel jittery right now, but honestly, I think it’s from being awake at 5:fucking 30 in the morning and being tired as opposed to the meds. I don’t do 5:30. Even when the children were babies, I did not do 5:30 because they never made me do 5:30, the ultimate proof to me that God only gives you what you can handle which is why he sent me kids that both slept 5-6 hours at a time before they even left the hospital because he knew that I cannot do 5:30!
Obviously it’s early days yet; these things usually take a while to work their mojos and I only have one pill in the system (well, two, because she gave me another med for panic attacks to be taken as needed and last night it was “as needed” so… I took one!) I’m going to keep a running diary of how I’m feeling so that at the end of 30 days the doctor and I can decide whether or not this med is the right one for me.
I have to say, the Tech Guru is…I don’t know. I know he is not happy about me being on medication. Neither am I frankly, but when I realized that without it I was going downhill fast, I chose to live. Really! It’s a life or death choice and he doesn’t seem to be getting that into his head although I’ve broken it down as bluntly as I can: me on meds, or me in a coffin. I’m not saying without the meds I would definitely make a final exit, but the fact that I would think about it and be unhappy and miserable and spreading that misery around, well, shit, don’t I deserve to not just exist but LIVE? Even if it’s just to correct all the fuckups I’ve made up to now so I can move beyond them? I’m not sure how much more starkly I can put it. I know he is worried and I know he cares and wants me to get better, but I feel as though he is judging me for getting on medication, as though one day I cried a few little tears and then said, hey, gimme some drugs! I’ve been feeling like this FOR YEARS. And I’ve done yoga, and meditation, and prayer, and therapy, and working out, and all of those things have helped but I realized they were not enough by themselves, especially at this time of year. Medication was the last resort, but guess what? Sometimes you don’t just talk about the last resort, you actually reach it. And the truth is, I haven’t been doing all of those other things that much recently, the yoga and working out and meditation, because I don’t have the energy or the will. What I’m hoping is that the medication will give me back some of that oomph to pick up some of those other things again.
But I hate feeling that he thinks less of me for going this route and truth be told, it makes me angry, which the doctor said was actually good because it shows that deep down inside I am fighting for my life. (That made me cry.) I know I am not an easy person to deal with, and I know riding with me on the crazy train without knowing where it’s going or when the hell it’s going to stop is a little unsettling. But I’m doing what I need to do to slow the train down and it pisses me the fuck off to be judged on how I choose to do that, particularly when it’s clear that I’ve tried so many things, particularly when it’s clear that this is a longstanding problem that is only getting worse with the passage of time. It’s not like I’m shooting up or going on drunken binges for days where I can’t function or see straight. I am being a responsible mother, wife and woman by trying to handle this with a variety of society-approved methods. I don’t like feeling as though I’ve been judged and found lacking by my own husband.
It is easier for those of us who live with depression to tackle it when we receive support from those who love us. If I had cancer, or MLS, or lupus, or Parkinson’s, the support would be unwavering. No one feels ashamed of having cancer – it’s something that happens to you and you fight it. Depression, on the other hand, carries a stigma: it’s all in your head, so you must be able to just fix it by changing your thinking, right? And if you don’t, you’re just playing the victim or fucking crazy.
No. I am not a victim, I am a person with an illness that I am fighting. And although I might be one step closer to crazy than a person with cancer, at the end of the day we’re both ill, it’s just that our illnesses are happening in different parts of our body. For depressives, to have accepted the truth of what we have and who we are is a major step, and yet it is one of many steps. I still have many steps to take. The question is, where are you: are you on the sidelines judging me? Or are you walking with me?
Update: I just read that among some of the fabulous possible side effects of Lexapro are decreased sex drive and difficulty having an orgasm. So I’ll be depressed, and possibly not even be able to release any of the tension with a little bit of fun? FUCKING LOVELY! I’ll just get more depressed and be on this shit forever! (Which, now that I think of it, is probably part of their master plan, the bastards.)