Tag: acceptance

Side effects of “forgetting” your depression

“You’ve rejected your diagnosis at a visceral level. It’s like you are a clean slate. You don’t remember you have episodes of depression. And so every time it hits you, you are taken by surprise and don’t know what to do. Do you remember the strategies that we have talked about in the past of how to manage your depression better?”

Me: Umm…NO

Yeah that was my therapist the other day, at the end of our session. Apparently, during the last year when I was not depressed and happy, yes actually happy for a whole year, I basically forgot I had depression. Well, no I didn’t forget I had depression. I just didn’t think I would have it this bad…again. I got busy with living my life and forgot about what to do when the symptoms hit me. Apparently, that’s a bad thing. Okay, being happy is not, forgetting the lessons from therapy is.

Oh well. I can’t deny it. The lady had a point. I should have been better prepared. She said if you don’t inculcate the coping mechanisms into your life, she and I are going to have to go over this again and again.

I also heard about my ‘drug default’. Yes, I made the grave mistake of stopping medication on my own, as my own decision, without consulting with my psychiatrist. She had advised a lower dose but not told me to stop exactly. I have to admit, it wasn’t an intelligent decision on my part. So if you are reading this, I would strongly recommend you don’t play with your medication and don’t do any experiments with going off or on them without professional opinion. It cost me a lot doing just that.

That said. One of the factors why I “rejected my diagnosis” was the fact that at a deeper level, I also rejected the fact that I need medication to control my symptoms and function normally. I am aware it’s something I have to work on. I can’t deny the fact that the medication helped stop the non-stop relay of negative thoughts (the drug that I am prescribed, fluvoxamine, is for my ocd primarily) in a few days and I am feeling much better.

Coming back to what my therapist said. It’s true, even though I find it hard to believe, that I was surprised and acted like I didn’t know what I was experiencing were symptoms, just like earlier . I did not want to even go see the doctor.

I have to admit, this time my condition really put the “recurring” into my diagnosis of Recurring depressive disorder. I am finally beginning to see that what I have is chronic and I have to be aware of my moods, of things that can trigger my symptoms and most importantly I have to have my coping mechanisms ingrained in me like second nature.

Now that I think about it, we do tend to be adamant in accepting our diagnoses, we want to fight tooth and nail to not be put into labels like that, to not be suffering from x or y. Even if we don’t recognize it consciously, we do it at a subconscious level.

So until my next session, I plan to pull out all the lessons I had learnt during my previous visits and try and create my own strategies manual. I am going to put into clear words all the thought errors I make, all the tendencies I have of taking things the wrong way, what all triggers my downfall, what symptoms I experience, and the things I can do, the things under my control, to help improve my condition.

While I begin to do that, I would really like to know, has anyone else ever “forgotten” their diagnosis like me? Also, I would really appreciate if you could share some of your own strategies you’ve used successfully in the past or do so in the present to reduce the impact of the symptoms on your life.

 

 

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When relapse stares you in the face

My depression has relapsed. It’s back. There…I needed to write it out for me to accept that I cannot control my symptoms, yet again. Tomorrow I visit my psychiatrist, and wait for my therapist to fix up an appointment. It might be a couple of weeks before I can see her.

Since the past two weeks, I have been trying to evade the fact that certain circumstances have triggered the relapse, that I no longer feel okay, that I cannot control the relay of negative thoughts running through my head, that that familiar feeling of unworthiness, of life having no meaning is haunting me incessantly. I see no future, only darkness, hope seems like a myth, and death seems like the only answer. I am too weak to fight it, all the lessons learnt in the past have gone down the drain, and depression has won.

I was trying to avoid going back to medications and therapy, but I can’t anymore. Too much is at stake, I cannot let the cycle repeat itself. Last time it took me only my entire teenage, college life, and two failed attempts at therapy to get my illness in control. Not to mention that I lost a career and the best years of my young life in the process.

At that time I was a lost soul, trying to make a sense of the world which appeared so strange. What I did not realize was that I was the one with the crooked glasses, that it was my own convoluted brain that was lying to me. It was my mother who picked up on my symptoms of complete apathy towards life, moodiness, lack of energy, anxiety and utter hopelessness and suggested that I have depression. I, on the other hand, never saw them as symptoms. My mom kept insisting that this is more than just a passing phase and I kept arguing that I will change, just give me some time.

I am surprised that even now, when I have the knowledge and the experience that what I am experiencing are symptoms of depression, I am unwilling to see them. I just don’t want to accept that I was weak and I let it come back. The guilt is rising inside of me. I hate to make my parents go through this all over again. Of course, as I write these lines, some sane part of my brain tells me that the guilt is also part of the symptoms.

In 2011, my mom forced me somehow to see a psychologist, but the moment drugs were suggested, I bolted. I did not want to go down that road, I was obstinate. Two more years passed, things got really bad, I started having suicidal thoughts, and I wasn’t getting anywhere. I finally accepted my situation, started seeking professional help. I continued for two years, taking medications, attending the sessions religiously. I got better. In April last year, I felt confident enough to get off medication and I did really well.

But here I am now, back on that same road, with a relapse staring me in the face. Depression is ready to punch me in the guts and knock me over. It has come with new symptoms along with the usual ones. I experienced enormous amounts of anger about trivial issues. I felt such rage that when I didn’t know how to handle it, I cut myself. I also tried to overdose, what stopped me midway was the thought of my parents having to deal with my dead body.

My mood got a little better for a few hours and I decided to write. It was the only outlet available to me. I am surprised at how I even managed to write a couple of posts that I did, because most of the time, I was just lying in bed, listless, tied in the cage of my negative mind, ready to throw in the towel.

I was being obstinate again about getting back into therapy, ┬áthe more my mother tried to talk to me, interrogate me, ask me to go to the therapist, the more I shut down, pushed her away and got worse. But somehow, she got through to me tonight and I agreed. This is my first big relapse after getting better and maybe that’s why it was so tough to acknowledge. Relapses are hard, hard to accept and harder to manage, because it means going through that same tedious process.

I begin mine again, tomorrow.