Tag: survival

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.

 

 

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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,  the 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.

 

 

 

Depression creeps up on you

Now, to give you a little background, I am writing this blog because, first, I always wanted to write one, no surprises there! and second, I did not have anyone to share my stuff with. To be honest, I had gotten used to not sharing anything I was going through and that became normal for me. For many years now, I keep everything in the strong hold of my own mind. But it was a couple of weeks ago that I came across a TED talk by the psychologist Guy Winch called Why we all need to practice emotional first aid (https://www.ted.com/talks/guy_winch_the_case_for_emotional_hygiene) , and I realized that I needed to open up and share. As it has been difficult, almost impossible for me to express myself to others, I thought well why not write about it?

So, here I am, sharing my story, and looking forward to listening to others’ as well. For years I have tried to get myself out there, but the fear, the fear of people not understanding, the fear of being seen as weak, the insecurities, have stopped me from sharing.

In the spring of 2013 I was diagnosed with major recurring depressive disorder, anxiety and OCD. However, I have been suffering from depression since my teens, but I was oblivious to the fact and did not have the courage to accept that it was a problem.

I know to where I can trace the beginning but that would be going too far for an introduction. Staring from my first year while pursuing my undergraduate studies, in 2005, I starting losing interest, became chronically anxious, my grades went down, I felt sad, always. I had no energy and I did not want to take initiative to do anything. I kept ignoring it, reasoning that it was simply my laziness. It came to a point where I became so scared inside, so unsure of myself, that the moment I was asked a question, my heart would start pounding, I would start trembling, and I fought to not let it show, to stop my throat from getting dry. This happened now on a daily basis and finally in my third year, I crashed. I failed my exam, I closed myself up, stopped talking to everyone, locked myself in my room and just started studying to retake the exam. Even then, I thought not of depression, I was too blind to the demon who had bought this upon me. And it would take me another six years to finally accept the fact that all was not well, that it wasn’t just a case of blues, and that I couldn’t shake it off and that I needed help.

A lot has happened since, and I will share more in the next post.