It’s 11 degrees here, with about four inches of snow on the ground.
You ever notice how discouragement eats you up from the inside? I was just thinking that I’m feeling pretty discouraged for no apparent reason. The neck is still giving me fits, and I’ve been running a slight fever, which makes me achy and grumpy. That, coupled with the flexeril, is making for difficult times here at the homestead.
Some days I get depressed. It used to be a lot worse, though. I have struggled with severe depression off and on since I was five. I saw on TV today that depression is just anger turned inward. That sounds about right, I guess. I just know that whatever it is and whatever causes it, it sucks.
So, anyway, depression for me looks like this. The main way I know I’m beginning to feel worse is that I get angry and irritable, and yell at anyone who gets in my way. Then comes the guilt, which leads to more anger and sadness. After my first child was born, I fell into a pit of depression that lasted almost three years until my son was born. It was then that I began taking Zoloft.
I started feeling better almost immediately, but I chalked it up to relief that I was finally going to escape the constant hell I’d been living in for over three years. It was after I began taking Zoloft that I realized that depression had been a major part of my life since childhood. I had almost given up hope of ever feeling better, so when I finally did improve, I was terrified of going off my medicine.
When I got pregnant with my third child, I was worried that they would tell me I had to go off my meds, but the psychiatrist I was seeing said that I could stay on it, and that, if anything, my baby might be calmer and happier because of the meds. I don’t think that came true, though.
Anyway, I stayed on Zoloft for about four and a half years. Last October, I finally decided it was time to try going without. I began to wean myself off it slowly. I was on a fairly high dose, so it took a while, but the side effects of trying to go cold turkey were awful, so I decreased gradually over a month or so until I could stop altogether.
Going off my antidepressant was pretty scary, but I wanted to try it and see what would happen. I knew that if I started falling out of control, I could always get back on it. Also, in all the years I had struggled with depression, I had never been so down that I had attempted suicide, so I wasn’t worried about going off of it and then killing myself because of it. I just wanted to see if I could figure out a way to control my depression without medicine.
Being able to recognize my own symptoms before they got so out of control I couldn’t function anymore was a HUGE help. I knew that if I got really grumpy, or wanted to go hide in a hole somewhere, that it was time for some intervention. I began reading self help books aimed at depression. We can’t afford a psychiatrist, so I was on my own. I got several books on positive thinking, and then began looking into meditation, yoga, affirmations, anything that might help me reprogram my brain to be more positive.
The things I’ve learned that help me most are meditation and creative visualization. I have also learned to listen to my inner talk [that endless litany of statements that fill your mind even when you’re not paying attention to them… if your self talk is mostly negative, then you have to stop yourself when you realize what’s happening and re-program your mind to say positive things]. You wouldn’t believe what hard work that is.
For some reason, my self talk was mostly about how I am not enough. Not good enough, not smart enough, creative enough, pretty enough, gifted, talented, etc. Not worthy of love or success or money. Well, it’s an endless load of crap, but you get the idea.
Relaxation and meditation techniques have helped, because the goal is to quiet your mind as much as possible. That’s freakin’ hard! I can slow it down enough to control most of the destructive thoughts, but when I don’t get a chance to meditate, my depression level skyrockets.
Which is why I’m this pathetic blob of self-loathing and blech you see before you today [imagine the blob of blech… go ahead, try it.] I think it’s been at least a week since I’ve meditated, and it’s amazing how different I feel right now compared to last week. My depression has been mostly under control since I went off my meds, and the only thing I’ve changed about myself is my self talk patterns. I consciously think positive thoughts [even if I don’t mean them] and I meditate, which helps me slow down enough to hear what [lies] my internal voice is saying, which enables me to contradict her, and speak the truth.
Well, anyway, I’m going to go take a hot shower and soak my aching neck, then I’m gonna meditate and see if I can’t get this depression thing under control again.