Tag: coping

The Lies Depression tells

“I’ll never get better”, “This is hopeless, there is no future”, “Everything will just go wrong”, “I hate myself, I hate my life”, the list can go on and on, forever. When we’re under the hold of depression, all these thoughts seem so accurate, it’s difficult nay almost impossible to see them for what they truly are. LIES. PLAIN WHITE LIES. Lies depression is telling you, twisting your mind into believing these things to be the reality.

The truth however is different. What is needed to decipher it, is realizing that what your mind is conjuring up and trying to get you to accept as the truth is very different from reality. This is one of the first things I learnt in therapy. To recognize the “depression speaking” in my head and then to challenge it. Challenge it by searching for proof against these negative thoughts.

The only problem is that this seems easy to do in hindsight, when your thinking isn’t clouded and you can see things from a different perspective. ┬áTo do it while you’re mind is under the deepest, thickest fog is a challenge in itself….forget about challenging your thoughts. The only reason I could admit that these thoughts, especially the one saying “you’ll never come out of this” was a lie is because I am now better. And truth be told, I haven’t got the least idea of how this can be done while you’re suffering. Especially when for some of us, our life’s situation makes it hard for us to deny what our negative thoughts are telling us.

The issue my therapist raised in the last session of me having wiped my mind clean off the facts I learned about my depression and how to deal with it doesn’t seem fair. I was in such a bad state that I simply did not have the ability to reason with my own mind. It wasn’t before the medication kicked in that I began to think otherwise. Even then, I couldn’t just get myself to be up and running. I had no energy and I was still sleeping through all day, feeling okay one day and bad the next (mood swings are one of the symptoms and I should have been aware of them according to my therapist). In fact, the day before my appointment, I did not do anything at all the whole day, I was dreading leaving the house, I tried reading a bit and then suddenly at 7 pm I got up and tidied up my room. I don’t remember how that happened.

Anyway, what I would really like to learn and discuss with my therapist next is how to come out of the negative thoughts while you’re feeling too depressed to even think. Is medication the only hope? I do remember her telling me though that until you learn the techniques and strategies to cope well enough, medication is there to help you just like the training wheels on a bicycle for kids who are learning to balance. That’s a comforting thought. I don’t know why I had forgotten it.

Another truth is that I was judging myself (as usual) and being hard on myself for having wasted all the past therapy sessions and being back at zero again. To make the same mistake again is foolish they say. I have fallen down the ladder again, I accept it, but I am going to climb back again, I am going to rise and I am going to learn my lessons better this time. I want to believe in a better future where things go right for me and not in the desolate place depression wants to send me to.

I cannot express enough of how thankful I am to my family for getting me help. For everyone going through depression, I want to say this: “I know it’s too dark right now to see, to believe, but just remember it will get better, no matter what your mind is saying right now. It will get better. Seek help. Don’t believe the lies depression is telling you. You will get better.”

 

Advertisements

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.