‘I don’t have a cast on my leg because it isn’t broken, not because I’m “better at coping” than someone with a broken leg. And I don’t take the asthma medicine that my husband takes because I don’t have asthma, not because he’s weak willed’

These were the wonderfully common sense words left for me by a reader this morning (who incidentally has a really lovely blog, here). Yesterday, I said I was admitting defeat. I need to rethink that. I’m not admitting defeat, rather, I’m acknowledging that yes, I do in fact need medical support in managing this illness. I wasn’t convinced before (despite all evidence to the contrary). I am convinced now. Since I’ve stopped medication, there has been a slow but steady decline into the hole I now find myself in. I’ve gone from confident I can cope with this, to agitated, to dangerously low, to horribly, uncontrollably angry, to self harm, and everything in between. Most recently, I’ve lost the ability to use the alternatives that had been helping up to now – yoga, running etc. I’m unpredictable, volatile, severely self critical and almost entirely overwhelmed. Hubby is justifiably on edge, and I have no confidence in my ability to manage normal, day to day life, never mind more demanding situations.

Right now, as I type this, I’m reasonably calm. But it’s taken a lot of effort. I’ve spent the best part of the last two hours crying – one of those with Therapist, the other as I drove home trying to regroup. She agrees with me that we’ve taken this experiment as far as it can go, and I’ve an appointment with my GP this afternoon. I need to see my psychiatrist as soon as possible (although I realise that will be extremely lucky to see anyone, never mind someone from my actual team).

I’m reasonably sure there are people reading this who are shaking their heads in disagreement, who believe that depression can be controlled without medication. In some cases, yes, it can. I am not one of those cases. I’m finally coming to realise, fully, that I am someone who is going to have to contend with this for a long time, maybe a lifetime. That no more than diabetes or asthma, it’s there, it sometimes overwhelms, but with help it can be managed. With any luck, whoever I get to see, I’ll hear something more productive than ‘resign, or learn to accept your situation’, and soon, because we’re all on the brink here.

As I write this, my gorgeous boy is lying on the bed beside me ‘reading’ Calvin and Hobbes. Hubby is pottering downstairs, and poor M has a bit of a cold and is actually asleep (voluntarily – an extremely rare occurrence). Depression threatened all of this is year ago, I clawed it back, and now it’s threatening it again. I’m not enjoying my life right now. I’m enduring it. I’m doing what I have to do to get by, but that’s pretty much it. That’s no way to live, and no more than needing 4 or 5 hours of total alone time daily, it’s not sustainable. The summer is coming. I have a large chunk of time booked off so I can be around the kids during the school holidays, and I want to enjoy it, not survive it. Depression has dragged me down as far as I’m prepared to go. So this is me asking for help. 

This article has 5 Comments

  1. Fair play for realising this, I think if u have any illness and medication is there to help so u can live a normal life then so be it. You've tried without and from your posts on Facebook and the blog you've gone as far as you can and coped as well as you can. A family member of mine has arthritis and if he doesn't take his meds he will suffer a day of pain, it's the same thing for depression. I wish you all the luck with going forward on this route.

  2. "I'm finally coming to realise, fully, that I am someone who is going to have to contend with this for a long time, maybe a lifetime."

    I know all too well that this is not a statement one makes lightly. I have gradually, veerrry gradually, come to the same realization. It's a tough one to process and accept, to face the reality that I'll likely be on meds for the rest of my life. (Apparently there's some hope that my depression might get better after menopause, but who wants to wait for that to feel better? 🙂 ) But in starting to accept my reality, I think I'm also finding some self-compassion, which is usually in short supply around here. My illness simply cannot be managed with all the best lifestyle choices in the world. So I can cut myself a little slack for the fact that my best efforts, without meds, were not enough. Hopefully you can find some compassion for yourself as well. You deserve it.

  3. One of the best decisions I've made for myself is to realise I'm doing the best I can as I am able and allowing guilt into my head serves no-one any good. It's a hard exercise as an Irish mother but trying your best allows you to fail without feeling like a failure (ie remove the guilt rethink the plan and carry on). We are required to do it all have it all and never let our vulnerability show. Feck that..we're only human and so many factors are at us every day affecting our thoughts and feeling it's no wonder we are overwhelmed. Taking 'me' time is vital for everyone's mental and physical health. It's why a good nap or walking solo can be of such benefit…to those who aren't overwhelmed at least.
    I've been in a state of depression post-break-up and didn't realise it for quite some time. Now I'm aware I offer all the support I can to those experiencing similar difficulties. Do whatever you need to ensure a happier life for yourself. If you're happy your family will be. A cleaner could be hired for once a week…I just put a load of stuff in black plastic bags and vacuumed..sorted the mess out for a day or two. I became aware of the lunar cycle (it's been full for the past three nights – could be a factor) we are 70% water..it has to affect us if it turns the tides. And be gentle on yourself…take whatever you need to be well. My mother and grandmother and many family members benefitted from medical help.and came through the other side..it can work. We're here for you..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *