Tag: ocd

Facing my flaws

pexels-photo-211024.jpegThis hasn’t really ever happened before but today I feel worse after talking to my therapist. I went in feeling fine and came out with so many mixed emotions and ended up feeling shitty about myself.

Like I mentioned here , I wanted to discuss with her what I could do to feel better and a little less crappier when I am very depressed because I haven’t figured it out yet. Anyway, I made a comment about how I was in an “acceptance” phase, trying to accept my fate etc. What I did not realize was that she could see right through my fake acceptance. Because really, I have been just trying to tell myself that whatever has happened in my life has happened and I need to learn to accept it and live with it. This also includes giving up hope of certain things I want in life because clearly life is in no mood to grant those things to me. We discussed all my thought errors and how my coping abilities were below average and how I have unrealistic expectations which lead to my unhappiness. Deep sh*t. And then she made a comment about a recent relationship escapade I had. I can’t get that comment out of my head. F**k ocd! I am so angry at my therapist.

Then there was this whole episode about assertiveness. My psychiatrist had interns and as I walked in, she asked if I was comfortable with students listening in. I hesitated for a moment because I wasn’t sure. I knew I was not comfortable with them, but on the other hand, I have been an intern myself and I remembered how it used to be. So I hesitated and finally she says, be assertive, why don’t you say what you want, you would be the one to lose out if you don’t express your needs firmly. And I explain I have always been like this, and she says well then you must have suffered losses due to this in life and I say I always have.

Sorry about the rant like paragraphs.

I know what all was discussed today was related to who I am with all my faults and defects, and even though we also discussed how to work on identifying and improving these, I still somehow feel offended. It’s so hard to face our own selves, to look at our flaws laid bare, out in the open, for ourselves to see. We are hit by denial, shame, disbelief, but the truth is that deep down we know. We know who we are but we try and ignore it for as long as possible. We try to forget it, for a lifetime, if possible. If reflecting at ourselves is hard, what’s even harder is owning up to what we see. It’s one of the toughest things in the world to do.

I faced myself today, in the words uttered by my therapist. I did not like what I saw. Not that I like myself very much in general but I saw other things, things which I contended myself with believing were good. It was too much for one day, especially after the aftermath of a major depressive episode.

Today I am just angry and irritated. Today, I am filled with hatred. I don’t want to think the right things, I don’t want to do the right thing. Always trying to be nice, always trying to do the right thing is one of my *features*. I will own up to my flaws, but not today. Maybe tomorrow.

Advertisements

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.  To 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.”

 

Oh! Give me some more time I’m stuck in a vicious cycle

pexels-photo-53918Depression takes a toll on life. It costs to be depressed…and I don’t mean solely in terms of money, but in time. But don’t they say time is money. You lose out on things because depression takes time. It takes time to realize you’re suffering from this malady, it takes time to accept it, it takes time to accept you need help, it takes time to get an appointment, it takes time waiting for your turn, it takes time to find a medication that works, it takes time to go through the therapy sessions and it takes time for the medication and therapy to start working.

Sadly, in today’s fast paced life, we don’t always have that kind of time and while you  go through this process, life can pass you by. Heck, while I was waiting for my turn at the therapist’s office, my friends all got jobs, got married and had kids. And I am still here, waiting.

There is another dimension to this, on a micro level or a daily level. Everyday of depression, when you’re not getting out of bed, when you’re not feeling energetic enough to do anything, when your brain isn’t working all that well, you end up wasting time. This feeling of having wasted precious time hangs over your head, inciting the guilt. The guilt of having wasted days on end, being unproductive, makes it even harder to get up and do something. The cycle repeats itself over and over each day. As the hours and days pile on, the difficulty increases and the anxiety takes over. The anxiety makes everything ten times worse.

You get stuck in this vicious cycle and it seems impossible to get out. You start hating yourself, feeling worthless and think you’ll never achieve anything. That’s the kind of state I find myself in today. It’s freaking me out. The funny thing is, I know this feeling all too well. I’ve been through this cycle before.

I am currently on summer break and I was supposed to do so many things. I am taking a very important exam in a couple of months, an exam vital to my career and I needed to prepare for it. I am starting the third semester of my master’s program in twenty days, and I was supposed to have narrowed down a research topic. I had so many personal goals I had set my mind to. What I did end up doing? Nothing. Zero. Nada. And it’s scary. I don’t want to ruin everything again. I am so close to achieving my goals, I am afraid I’ll wreck it all.

It’s so very hard to pull yourself out of this vicious cycle. I try to force myself to work. I try and I fail. I try to distract myself from this feeling of dread in my chest.

I know the answer. I know how to get out of this roller coaster ride on repeat. It’s setting small goals. Taking baby steps. One step at a time. If only I can take the first. I know if I manage to do one thing, it’ll make me feel better and I can build on it.

I know I need to give myself time to feel better, to heal, to bounce back from this episode. I know the energy and the will to work will come back, but it will take time, oh but…..Time I don’t have.

 

 

 

The two faces of communication

“In spite of language, in spite of intelligence and intuition and sympathy, one can never really communicate anything to anybody. The essential substance of every thought and feeling remains incommunicable, locked up in the impenetrable strong-room of the individual soul and body. Our life is a sentence of perpetual solitary confinement.”

I can’t help but agree with this quote by Aldous Huxley, which is ironic as I commit the act of writing a blog, which is essentially a form of communication and an attempt at being understood by strangers. But I must continue.

Anyway, why I chose to write about this tonight is because since a few days I’ve been quiet, not saying much to anyone (except writing blog posts…). Wrapped in the dark clouds of depression, I became extremely angry at my life, myself and at my parents, seeing they are the only ones I can get angry at. As a result, I hadn’t been speaking to them very much except just the occasional nod of the head or the like.

I felt that this lack of communication, which is made worse by the negative thoughts, was adding fuel to the fire. It became a vicious cycle. The more I thought of all the things I wanted to say, the more I felt I would never be able to say them and moreover, they wouldn’t solve anything. So I kept quiet, and that in turn made the situation worse for all of us. But as you might have guessed by now, my mom doesn’t really leave me alone.

She was pestering me to tell her what was going on in my mind. So I gathered all the courage I had and tried to focus my wandering mind to talk to her. It isn’t easy for me to talk to people. It takes a huge amount of effort to take the words out of my mouth. It took me about three hours, but I kind of had a heart to heart with her.

I felt relieved and worried at the same time. I was relieved because I thought I had broken the barrier of no communication but I felt panicked because I knew I had revealed too much of my dark thoughts to her and I had said some things which were hurtful. And the worst part is I don’t really think she understood what I was trying to say. I am left feeling maybe it wasn’t such a good idea after all.

That’s the thing about communication. No matter how carefully you choose your words, you can still end up not saying what you meant and worsen the situation further. On the contrary, not saying anything can feel equally frustrating. Is there a solution to the problem or was Aldous Huxley quite right when he compared human life to solitary confinement?

 

Bound to medication

I have a love hate relationship with my meds. I know there is absolutely nothing wrong in taking medication, and moreover they help tremendously. Yet, something inside me always resists against them. I was stubborn and refused to take them the very first time they were prescribed. I had this notion in my head that once you start, you get used to them and then there is no turning back. You have to take them continuously. Well, today this fear was realized.

Of course, I gave up my reluctance and eventually began taking anti-depressants. I also required anxiety medication when I got the attacks, usually at crucial moments of my life when I needed most to be calm. The palpitations were the worst of all. My heart used to be in my throat and my eardrums pounded in unison with my heartbeat. The medication pulled me through those anxious moments, and I am thankful for that.

However, “when would I be able to stop taking them” was always on the back of my mind. I hate to admit it but I felt….I guess I still feel… ashamed of the fact that I needed pills to get through situations which were normal for most people. I felt less of a person. It hurt my pride. So the instant I thought I could, I got off my medication (it was a bad idea). I know it is wrong to think like this and it’s just the social stigma at work (another thing I desperately need to address), but that’s what I thought. Up until today, I had been off my meds for about a year.

Today, I went to my psychiatrist, after a year and a half. I was feeling so defeated. The hospital I go to is located in a rather dingy place and the approach road to it is just a mess. I hated the fact that I had to drag myself and my parents to this god forsaken place again. While waiting for my turn, I could hardly contain the tears in my eyes.

I could hardly speak to the doctor, I cried silently, the words escaped me. So I pretty much didn’t inform her of the new symptoms I had. My mother was there and that was another problem. She worries too much and I can never speak about this stuff in front of her, although the symptoms show and I can’t always help it. I wished she would leave me alone for a while. I was so angry at her.

Anyway, coming back to the point. It was what the psychiatrist said that confirmed my fears. It was along the lines: ‘the medication will have to continue for a long time, or else the depression will just keep coming back’. I knew then that there was no escape and I was forever bound to medication. I will have to take it everyday for the rest of my life to lead a normal life. My heart, which is already broken by the way, crashed a little more.

How I underestimated this battle with depression. How I thought, a couple of years of therapy and medication and voilà I am cured. One bad episode, one bad break and boom…..a full blown relapse. The thing that hurts most is that life will always have problems and I can’t handle life without the Fluvoxamine running through my blood.

As I was buying the pills, which are not to mention, quite expensive, and the pharmacist asked me ‘how much do you need?’, I felt like replying ‘ Why don’t you put me down for a life time supply?’. I accepted the one month supply with a sigh. But then as I was returning home, almost in a phased out condition, I thought why not take the support of medication to ease my existence a little. Why shouldn’t I just keep taking them and do what is important in my life right now, like finish my studies and get a job, without being interrupted by depression and its effects? Why do I have to risk losing out on those things because of this stupid notion in my head?

So I took the first of many tonight. That something inside me might keep revolting, I have to learn to stop listening to it. I have to learn to be okay with it. I have to learn to accept it.  I have to learn to live, bound to medication.