'I don't have a cast on my leg because it isn't broken, not because I'm "better at coping" than someone with a broken leg. And I don't take the asthma medicine that my husband takes because I don't have asthma, not because he's weak willed'
These were the wonderfully common sense words left for me by a reader this morning (who incidentally has a really lovely blog, here). Yesterday, I said I was admitting defeat. I need to rethink that. I'm not admitting defeat, rather, I'm acknowledging that yes, I do in fact need medical support in managing this illness. I wasn't convinced before (despite all evidence to the contrary). I am convinced now. Since I've stopped medication, there has been a slow but steady decline into the hole I now find myself in. I've gone from confident I can cope with this, to agitated, to dangerously low, to horribly, uncontrollably angry, to self harm, and everything in between. Most recently, I've lost the ability to use the alternatives that had been helping up to now - yoga, running etc. I'm unpredictable, volatile, severely self critical and almost entirely overwhelmed. Hubby is justifiably on edge, and I have no confidence in my ability to manage normal, day to day life, never mind more demanding situations.
Right now, as I type this, I'm reasonably calm. But it's taken a lot of effort. I've spent the best part of the last two hours crying - one of those with Therapist, the other as I drove home trying to regroup. She agrees with me that we've taken this experiment as far as it can go, and I've an appointment with my GP this afternoon. I need to see my psychiatrist as soon as possible (although I realise that will be extremely lucky to see anyone, never mind someone from my actual team).
I'm reasonably sure there are people reading this who are shaking their heads in disagreement, who believe that depression can be controlled without medication. In some cases, yes, it can. I am not one of those cases. I'm finally coming to realise, fully, that I am someone who is going to have to contend with this for a long time, maybe a lifetime. That no more than diabetes or asthma, it's there, it sometimes overwhelms, but with help it can be managed. With any luck, whoever I get to see, I'll hear something more productive than 'resign, or learn to accept your situation', and soon, because we're all on the brink here.
As I write this, my gorgeous boy is lying on the bed beside me 'reading' Calvin and Hobbes. Hubby is pottering downstairs, and poor M has a bit of a cold and is actually asleep (voluntarily - an extremely rare occurrence). Depression threatened all of this is year ago, I clawed it back, and now it's threatening it again. I'm not enjoying my life right now. I'm enduring it. I'm doing what I have to do to get by, but that's pretty much it. That's no way to live, and no more than needing 4 or 5 hours of total alone time daily, it's not sustainable. The summer is coming. I have a large chunk of time booked off so I can be around the kids during the school holidays, and I want to enjoy it, not survive it. Depression has dragged me down as far as I'm prepared to go. So this is me asking for help.
Labels: acceptance, agitation, anger, emotion, functioning, GP, inner critic, mental illness, psychiatrist, running, self harm, self worth, support, treatment, yoga