Posts Tagged ‘depression’

IT has been a while since I posted on here. Partly that is because nothing had really changed in my life – the truck was broken, the garden was mostly weeds, and my writing simply wasn’t happening.
So what has changed? Well the truck is running well enough to have my wife take it down the road and get it stuck in the mud.

That about sums it up.
I admit I have been a bit, shall we say, burdened? Maybe down? Depressed and despairing even?A case could be made for that truth. I am not receiving much positive in my life right now. Getting the truck running wasn’t even a positive for me because it had A) taken so long and B) every time I got it fixed… there was a ‘next stage’ that had to be tackled. Fixed just became ‘waiting for the next shoe to drop’.

Was this really a good reason to not post – not really as one of the reasons I have this blog it to share my mental state not shy from it. As any one with mental health issues can verify however, doing things like bothering to post on your blog becomes a pointless chore that takes back bench to trying to ignore your own life. Which of course becomes a cycle of not blogging when you should about what you should because you are going through what you should be blogging about.

I’m not out of the cycle. I just happened to to find enough juice to push this bitch session out into the world. but other than that I still find myself … well – stuck in the mud.

A friend just contacted me and inquired if they could ask me about drugs and side effects. They were curious about weighing the benefits of a medication against it’s side effects.
This is I think one of the fundamental questions for any one on medication and in a way more so for those of us dealing with mental health issues as too often the side effect can interfere with daily life. Not too long ago drugs for mental problems almost always equalled a zombified state but that doesn’t have to be the case any more – and rarely is. There are other side effects however, usually a long list – some of which are very rare and some of which are just a given – and the question of what should I have to put up with to feel ‘better’ is a good one, and a complicated one.

How do you balance mental health with side effects?
My two cents?
A good drug should stabilise but not interfere. If the side effects affect your day to day routine then they are not the right drug.
I once heard a doctor say ‘ that it was ‘better the person be a zombie then suicidal’.  That is a crap attitude and simply wrong. For the suicidal being a walking basket case is one more big reason to want to take their life.
So now we must deal not just with a drugs effectiveness and its possible side effects but also the doctors ability to care, listen and prescribe.
Most drugs take 4- 6 days to be fully integrated into the system and do their job. So how long do we put up with side effects to side if the drug is worth it. Sometimes the side effects wear off; some quickly, some after a few weeks, sometimes they don’t go away at all, and there are even those drugs that can have side effects which appear only after you have been on the medication for a while. So how do you decide what is worth it?
Generally (unless their are really bad side effects) you should wait a week to see if it is the right drug…. this can get to be a pain in the ass, especially if you have to wean back off the drug again if it is not the right one, only to start again. This is the story of taking drugs for the brain and those who have been getting help for a while know it all too well.
I am always scared when I hear about people getting on new medication and not being able to see their doctor for two – three – four weeks ( I know it is too often not by the doctors choice but the overload in the system). When a starting a new regime of medication a patient needs to be seen often because the effect of the drug itself  can be so wide ranging without bringing in the issue of side effects. For example, when I was put on Lithium (the standard go to drug for Bi-Polar) I had a dramatic reaction to it. I should have quit it immediately but I was still new to the game and thought I’d tough it out. Toughing out depression so bad I was curled in a ball between the wall and the bed. Toughing out having eyes that dilated at different sizes so I couldn’t see. I was foolish and would never make that mistake again. Lithium is can be dropped immediately but what about those drugs you must be weaned off slowly?
My friend summed it up well when they said ‘I want to find a thing that works, to get me past this crap. But I don’t want to be damaging my body for the sake of mind.’
Ok, so here’s the skinny…
sometimes – yes – you have to say ‘ is this drug helping the way I want it to? – if it is then you say ” enough to put up with……”
If ‘IT’ is too much of an issue or the drug is not doing what it should then this is not the drug and you should call your doc and say ” I can’t do this ” and tell them why.
Mental health drugs are a game of give, take, balance and acceptance – but you should never feel -stuck or trapped.
Don’t be afraid to be strong willed with your doctor (that’s strong willed not stubborn, rude or obnoxious). A doctor can only help you if your are painfully honest and firm in your resolve. Some medical professionals hate to be questioned but you must stick to your guns. Be assertive (look up the definition before you go charging into the appointment) and make your doctor give you the time you need, make sure they are really hearing you and understand your goals and fears.
It’s not an easy ride – mental health – but it is one you can get the hang off
and get control of  – if you are patient and forthright. My doc is fond of telling me – ‘I can’t cure you but I can make your life easier and more comfortable’.  Now I am a worse case scenario  and some people (once they get the right drug) are as close to cured as one can be with this sort of thing. So for those of you just starting down this road, keep putting one fot in front of the other. It gets easier – it really does – but occasionally you have to go down to find the right road up. You don’t have to get through alone, or do it without help.
If you are seeing some improvements with your medication ask your self if they out weigh the side effects, talk to your doctor about it. And always be aware if you have to wean off a drug or if you can stop it cold because it can be important if you are getting serious side effects. (Your pharmacist might be able to answer these questions too if you can’t get ahold of your doc).
No medication is ‘perfect’ but the ‘right one’ is probably out there if you can be patient and be a good patient.

So in the last 24-36 hours I have occasionally thought – ‘maybe this cycle is starting to wind down’; then a few moments later my brain kicks the inside of my skull, my thoughts suddenly overwhelm each other  and recede leaving me wondering just what I was doing.

I am doing nothing – or just as close to as I can – and this is part of it. When I watch TV or play mindless games my brain is blanketed and I start to feel I might be OK. The moment I do something other (get up to refill my coffee for example) I realise just how much blanketing it has been doing.

I am tired. Getting up early to let the menagerie out and feed them is draining even when I do manage to get back in bed. On top of this going in to see my wife is a social event filled with stimulus a interaction which takes a lot out of me and forces me to do what I am ill equipped to do at the moment. I am glad others are going so far out of there way to make sure I am ok, that my needs are meet, and that I can get in to visit but boy does it all sap my ability to function. I have people dropping everything to come out and give me rides, I have people going out of their way to bring me wood for my heating and my fathers here today to cut the wood so it can be used. All this is great because those are things that I don’t have top stress about and every little thing I can not worry about is a cleared path to the other side.

I wish I was writing but at the moment I still don’t feel focused enough to form words accurately. Even writing these updates is an effort of concentration that is taxing to say the least.

Why do I do them then? I guess because chronicling my life and troubles might help someone. There has to be a therapeutic value to it as well – yeah I’m going to go with that.

Hope your days are going a little better then mine are – if not… for what it’s worth, you’re not alone.

I don’t think I have ever posted on her about the fact that my wife also has mental health issues but she does. She has been suffering with anxiety to some degree or another all her life. Recently, she has also had to cope with a growing depression and suicidal thoughts. The last time this got out of hand was during the summer and was in direct relationship to a bad reaction no one expected to a standard medication and it landed her in the psych ward for two weeks while they got everything sorted out.

She is back in again and not because of any drug reaction.

We are coming to believe that  the anxiety and depression are masking something else; that they are the effect, not the root problem.

Last time she went in, I was in the best place mentally I could have been and was able to drive into the city and see her everyday. This time – well I’m in cycle and it’s a bad one. I am not safe to drive and there is some question as to whether I’m safe to be alone ( not because I will hurt myself intentionally but I may do erratic things like leave the stove on).

But friends and family are sweeping in from all around to come get me (even though they have at least an hour just to get me then another thirty minutes drive to get to the hospital). I am glad because I didn’t want her to feel alone and abandoned but couldn’t do much about it myself.

I am dealing with being alone and trying to be as conscientious about what I do and doing right – this means more concentration then I am really able to handle so I am tired very easily.

I couldn’t imagine my life without my wife and the family and friends I have supporting us. I hope all of you out there have those you can rely on and who can rely on you.

The other day I was in a bad mood, and frustrated, and angry. I was taking it out on my wife to a degree, as part of what was bothering me was a thing she did. But when I calmed myself down and thought about it, I realized I had been more touchy, irritable, and on a slow boil for a good many days.

This made me realize that the drop in medication which had allowed me to actually get up and do stuff had had the negative reaction I had hoped I could avoid. If I didn’t want to be an ass-hat of a cranky bastard I was going to have bring my meds back up to where they have been for the last two years.

I was, I’ll admit, depressed by this. Plus frustrated in an all too familiar way. And feeling trapped.

I upped my pills that night – I almost wept while doing it.

Has this change downgraded my condition from Right Royal Bastard to Lord of Benign ? Yes. Has it adversely affected my ability to ‘Do’ ? I’m not quite sure yet … more evidence needs to be gathered.

Sometimes I just want to lock myself away and wait for it to all end. Sometimes I am glad to have access to medication that can make me more human less monster. Sometimes I miss being a monster – I admit it. Sometimes I am glad I am not hurting those around me – I admit it. Sometimes I wonder how long I can play this game and sometimes I’m glad I get to play at all

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the damn pills are a curse and a blessing.  It’s like what they say on ‘Once Apon A Time’… ‘magic has it’s price, deary’