So. It’s July.
Here is how I want to feel:
Summer! I love Colorado in the summer! It’s beautiful and there are mountains and rivers and flowers and live music and festivals and communing with people and nature! I must not let a moment slip by!
Here’s how I actually feel:
FUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK. Here I am. Losing another summer to depression. It looks pretty outside. Maybe I should leave the house. Maybe I should ride my stupid bike. Or go to the mountains. Or go to a concert. Or do any number of the bazillion things that I need to get done…. I’m exhausted just thinking about it…. Maybe tomorrow….
I wonder if the fact that I am frustrated with this depression is an indication that I’m getting a little better? I mean, I can remember other summers that went by without me even noticing that other people seemed to be having lives.
Could this fucked up/horrible feeling of noticing that life is slipping away be a good sign?
I went to my psychiatrist a couple of weeks ago. I really like him. He’s Canadian. But that isn’t why I like him. I like him because he’s smart and he listens and asks good questions and has a great sense of humor. When we first met in 2008, it took him about 30 minutes of listening to my story to determine that I had been misdiagnosed with “bi-polar disorder” and, consequently, took the exact wrong medications in the exact wrong dosages and combinations for, oh, I don’t know, a fucking DECADE.
Dr. Canuck: “Who said you’re bi-polar?!”
Me: “Ummm, a psychiatrist? Dr. X”
Dr. Canuck: “That’s crazy. You know that is crazy, right?”
Me: “Ummmm. No?”
Dr. Canuck: “It is. It’s completely fucked up. (Note: he totally said “fucked up” – that’s how I knew I had finally found the right psychiatrist.) and I’m looking at this medication you are taking and I’m looking at you and I don’t even know how you are conscious right now. If you weren’t sitting right here I wouldn’t believe it. I can’t believe you even have a job. You probably shouldn’t even be driving.”
Me: “Well. I just lost my third job in, ummm, 3 years. Technically I quit the first two, but I probably should have been fired.”
Dr. Canuck: (head in hands) “This might be the most fucked up thing I’ve ever seen. That Dr. X should be in jail.”
Me: (trying not to cry) “He’s dead.”
Dr. Canuck: (smiling) “Good. Now I don’t have to call him and tell him what an ass he is. Don’t cry. We can fix this.”
Me: “We can?”
Dr. Canuck: “Of course we can. Unless you are actually insane, in which case you’re on your own.” (wink)
God I love that Dr. Canuck.
Upon reflection, I don’t know why I went along with the “bi-polar” diagnosis for so long. It never really made sense. I mean, for as long as I can remember (ok, that is an exaggeration, it would be more correct to say that for about the past 20 years that I can remember…) I’ve pretty much had one mood:
D E P R E S S E D
Maybe two: Depressed and less depressed.
Maybe three: Depressed, less depressed and highly anxious.
The point is that none of those moods looked remotely like “mania”, and if you don’t have manic episodes, you don’t have bi-polar disorder. And you sure as hell don’t need “mood stabilizers” if your ONLY mood is “completely fucking depressed”…
In short, I was not bi-polar and coming off the mood stabilizing and anti-anxiety meds was a bitch. It took over a year. Realizing how messed up I had been was also a bitch. Realizing that I had pervasive memory loss and fuzzy thinking and difficulty speaking for much of that DECADE of DOOM is sad and humiliating. Not knowing what part of my behavior was “me” and what part could be primarily attributed to the medications is particularly troubling. I would like to think that some of my more questionable choices/behavior/reactions were the result of being misdiagnosed/medicated, but I’m not sure it’s that simple.
I wish it were simple.
So. Now we have A New Plan.
It’s kind of scary. Two weeks ago I started to take reduced doses of my antidepressants and then stopped taking them altogether last Sunday.
You read that right. For the first time since 1997, I am not taking any kind of anti-depressant/mood stabilizer/who-knows-what.
I’m supposed to start taking a completely different kind of anti-depressant next week. It is an “MAOI” drug. I kind of understand what that means, but not well enough to explain it to anyone else. I think that the important thing for me is that I’ve never taken a MAOI med, so maybe it will work. And MAOIs used to be uber-scary, but now they can give it to you via a skin patch and bypass some bad side effects that occurred when the drug was ingested. And I’m supposed to start wearing the patch on Sunday.
The thing is, I’ve completely disrupted my medication schedule for the past two weeks and I haven’t felt much different…? I thought I would be suicidal/barricaded in my room/ripping my sad, limp, depressed hair out by now, but I’m not. I’m kind of okay. Which makes me think that maybe I should try life without any kind of medication for a while. Which makes me think, “Kim, isn’t that what crazy people do?” (i.e., go off their meds). And the answer to that is YES, that is what crazy people do.
And just to push the “crazy” envelope, I’m thinking maybe I could try to manage my depression/anxiety with diet and (GASP) exercise and some good old-fashioned therapy.
Isn’t it kind of weird that trying to manage depression without scary, brain-altering, “we aren’t even sure how this shit works” type chemicals seems more “crazy” than just taking the scary, brain-altering, “we aren’t even sure how this shit works” type chemicals?
It’s all so complicated. I don’t know what to do. I just want to feel better. I’m so tired of being a spectator in my own life.