Sunday, April 13, 2014

Day 2?

Not as jittery as yesterday but still on occasion I feel like I want to jump out of my skin.
I sleep, and that's a good thing. I also wake up earlier than I normally do.
It's that anxious energy I'm trying to deal with now. I try to keep my brain occupied doing things and it seems without that I end up needing to focus on breathing and that's all. This has been a strange experience so far. They tell me it needs time to level off. Apparently my brain is being flooded with more seratonin than it previously had to experience and it needs to adjust. Hoping that my brain gets the idea and starts producing this more without the need for the pills. But we'll see.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Day 1: Reaching Out

While in the darkness it's easy to sit and stay. Just be quiet and be miserable.
It won't bother anyone else and that's good, right?
That's when it needs to happen. Realization that friends and family DO want to be bothered. They DO want to hear how you are doing. They DO want to help.
So you've got to raise your voice, speak up, and reach out.
For me it started with replying to texts.
"I'm not doing well"
"Things aren't going so well"
Then accepting invitations to make cinnamon rolls, go on walks. It also helped me find motivation when I discovered that one of the actresses from the series Doctor Who will be appearing at Comic Con in Salt Lake city next weekend. Something to get excited about.
I think the last part of reaching out for me was scheduling an appointment with a doctor.
That appointment happened today and I came away with a two month prescription of Lexapro, an anti-depressant.
For so long I've stigmatized myself against depending on a drug to make me feel better. But with family history fraught with depression I decided it was time to try it out, at least until I'm out of the hole well enough to get my head back on straight.
1 pill, every night before going to bed.
I'm feeling anxious about it. I understand it will take a while for it to have much noticeable effect.
We'll see how things go and I'll keep you updated.
In other news.
I saw God's hand in my life today.
The girls standing outside of the student center offering free hugs to stressed out students (it's finals).
A friend with time to spare and a willingness to care.
Beautiful paintings on exhibit at the Museum of Art on BYU campus.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Don't Belittle Your Challenges

There will always be rough spots in life. One way we've learned to deal with some of these is to change our perspective. Being a poor college student and going hungry every once in awhile isn't so bad when you remember that some don't have a paycheck to look forward to; a time when one gets to eat like a king and order from Pizza Hut rather than get Little Ceasar's.
Changing attitude is a miraculous fix to much of life problems. In doing so I hope that people take caution in minimizing their struggles. Benefits abound when challenges come but we may disservice ourselves by playing it off, saying, "This isn't as serious as that problem some person halfway around the world has".
Your problem is serious to you because it's in your life and it's your problem. Thinking around the great looming rock in your path by saying that someone else doesn't have this rock doesn't get rid of the rock. Now it may appear smaller when you change your attitude, but the rock is still there and for some, no matter how small it may appear, the weight still presses down.
And when you amass for yourself more boulders than you can count you may downplay your accomplishment when standing upon the mountain of your achievement.
Ok, if you spilled the coffee you just bought then obviously it won't be time to cry. But if that were the straw that broke the camels back don't think poorly of yourself. Life is hard.

Depression: A Walkthrough

I suffer from depression. It's more often than not mild and on rare occasions severe.
To me it's a mental and emotional illness that has a biological aspect.So basically everything has something to do with it. When I have many healthy connections with those around me I fare better (sounds like common sense). The waves of stress and turmoil don't rock me as much when my emotional safety net is large enough.
However, there come times when the stars line up just right and it hits me.
I usually don't recognize where I am until after I've stumbled through a few weeks.
Week 1: Just a few more stresses to deal with. I can do this. No problem.
Week 2: Well it's just a little bit more difficult than last month or the couple of months before, you know. Life has ups and downs.
Week 3: Why is it so hard to go to class? Why can't I get out of bed? Today was supposed to be a good day.
Week 4: There were days last week I should have been perfectly fine. All motivation has left me at this point. It's difficult to even think about cooking for myself.

It wasn't until about 3 months into the new year that I realized I'm still suffering from depression. The lingering darkness that haunts me. It sits just behind my ears, on the back of my neck and without even raising those hairs to let me know it sinks in.
My prayers are suffocated. Hope fades and the cycles begin to set in.

Cyclical Self-Depreciation
I'm depressed. I'm no fun. I don't have my lively personality. People won't have fun around me. I won't go.
People don't spend time with me because I'm no fun. I must not be that important.
I'm not important enough to bother those people. They wouldn't want to spend time with me.
Why are my days filled with no accomplishment. I feel terrible and worthless.
I'm worthless and shouldn't even try. I won't get anything done because my work isn't good.

The fact is, none of this is necessarily true. But it happens. It's happened throughout so many years of my life.
Sure there are ups and downs, doesn't everybody have those? So why do I bother?

"Are you coming up today?"
"I've been in bed all day"
"Get out of bed. Go be with people"

It's at this point where I know something has to be done (I've known all along, and despite years of experience the task is still monumental)
Get up. Go to the shower. Accomplish something. Get food. Eat it. Drink something. Drink water.
Next I'm in the car. Focus on the road. Don't be lazy. Don't endanger anyone else. (Here comes another cyclical downward spiral). Stop. Think about the people who love you.

This is when things are getting pretty bad for me. Some days I feel more or less near a cliff and there's that looming sense of darkness that hovers just behind me. Other days the hole is several feet away and I'm not worried about falling in. But always that hole is there. I must always be aware of its reality.

Looking back I can imagine the concern on faces of friends. "What can I do to help?" "What do you need?"
I don't know. It's too dark to see.
And so nothing is done, because I don't know.

If you've read all the way to this point please read on for the next sentences.
I'm not crying out for help. I want you to see what I see. I want you to understand in some small way my depression. I believe there are more people who experience mild depression than are happy to admit. No one wants to be considered suicidal. But you don't have to be suicidal to be depressed.