Treating My Depression & Anxiety, Part 2

by Ginger on June 6, 2012

in I'm a Disaster

So, where were we? (Part 1, if you missed it).

Medication Can Help

I had been fairly resistant to taking medication. Not because I think it’s bad, at all, but instead because it was one more way that I was judging myself and adding to my anxiety & depression. I basically tried to tell myself that things weren’t bad *enough* to deserve taking medication.

When I finally realized what I was doing, I decided to knock that nonsense off and do what I DESERVED to do, which is get better. I talked to my therapist about maybe trying medication out, with the idea of hopefully giving me a baseline that wasn’t “I’m just barely holding my shit together” so that I could get a handle on some of the underlying problems–something I wasn’t able to do when it was all I could do to hold on to “barely holding on.”

She agreed that it was a good thing to try, and got me into the psychiatrist that week for his evaluation. Through that appointment, he prescribed Wellbutrin, for a variety of reasons. I’ve been taking it for about 6 weeks now, and I KNOW it’s made an amazing difference. I don’t think about death every day. I’m able to DO things on my to-do list. I’m able to get up and do things other than lump in front of the TV. I’m able to use some of the tools I’ve learned in therapy to actually make a difference in how I’m approaching my day, not just to barely hold on.

Is it the be-all-end-all? No. I still have to do the rest of the work. Even with the meds, if I don’t get sleep, the anxious thoughts can come back. Even with the meds, if I have too much caffeine, I can find myself getting mired down in what I *can’t* do to the point of not doing anything. I still am going to therapy each week to try and tackle some of the underlying issues that have led me to this point. But I’ll be honest, the meds…they make a huge difference. It’s like I have a baseline of fairly normal now, instead of just feeling like I’m holding on to the cliff with just the tips of my fingers.

Let Go & Be Kind

The other thing that I’ve done through this process is given myself permission to let things go, in the spirit of giving myself a break. For example, letting Noodle Knobs go, not writing here as much, not answering comments on EVERY post, stepping away from certain social media sites–all things I’ve consciously done to let myself off the hook. And I’ve got examples for home, and work, and personal life too. I’m slowly making my way back to some of those things, but I’m also learning to not be so hard on myself about the “Shoulds” that aren’t actually shoulds. I’m my own worst enemy with that one, so I’m learning how to silence what my mom calls “the drunken monkeys” in my head that chatter at me about all the ways I’m not doing what I need to/should.

It’s a slow process, for sure. It’s WORK. All of this, it’s work. But I’m in a much better place today than I was 3 months ago, and I have high hopes that I’ll be in an even better place 3 months from now. Deciding to take care of this–to take care of ME–is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I hope that if you find yourself wondering whether to take that leap that you’ll do the same. Because you deserve peace and happiness and calm, just like I deserve it.

shasta June 6, 2012 at 9:06 am

Your last two paragraphs are so great. For anyone who just hasn’t been able to shake the “Shoulds” (which I think we as moms are prone to), here’s hoping they’re inspired by your success and seek professional help.

Ginger June 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm

The shoulds are basically one of my own worst enemies. And it’s gotten SO MUCH WORSE as a mom. So, so much worse. Turning that voice off is incredibly hard, but I think everyone needs to learn how to silence those shoulds.

Emily @ The Happy Home June 6, 2012 at 11:21 am

tearing up a bit at your last bold-faced line…”Because you deserve peace and happiness and calm.” sometimes, it’s hard to convince yourself that life shouldn’t be a struggle, and that things shouldn’t always be hard or infuriating or dejecting. that there are things that are meant just to be joyous, and we should take joy IN them.

Ginger June 7, 2012 at 3:50 pm

It’s funny how much we let ourselves be unhappy. Life is always going to be full of challenges, but it shouldn’t be unhappy all the time, and if it is, it’s a sign that something needs work. We should all be able to feel joy and happiness and peace within the challenges of the day to day.

ant_danielle June 6, 2012 at 4:14 pm

So glad to hear you’re doing so well! It’s amazing how good you feel when you realize that you’re supposed to feel good, and start taking steps to make it happen.

Ginger June 7, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Thank you! I’m so, SO glad I did something about it, because now I know how I CAN feel. It’s amazing what that piece of knowledge does!

Nicoleandmaggie June 7, 2012 at 5:07 am

It’s ironic how sometimes one needs the medication to feel deserving of getting the medication.

Glad you have a responsible psychiatrist!

Classic NYer June 7, 2012 at 7:50 am

I don’t want you to take this as a put down bc it’s not… but hearing about how much better you’re doing makes me think I might have a problem.

Ginger June 7, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Not a put down at all! I think there’s nothing wrong with questioning where we are (even if we start questioning because of other people).

Hope June 10, 2012 at 10:27 am

I’m glad that the meds are working for you! 🙂

Reading (and chickens) June 11, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I love this post. YES. I swear you are inside my head writing this. I felt the same way about medication when I needed it, and I feel the same way now about letting go. We don’t need to do it all.

Alyssa June 22, 2012 at 6:47 am

I meant to comment on this forever ago. Alas.

Again, thank you so much for sharing. Your honesty has helped me so much, I can’t tell you. I like that, in some ways, I can walk this path with you – your words make me feel less alone, they comfort me, they clear the confusion of my own journey. I wish I was as open and awesome as you are. I sort of dropped a bomb on my blog and haven’t been back! Oops.

I also went on medication. I intended to work it out by talking it out, but it became clear (to everyone else, and then eventually to me) that I needed something more. And, oh my god, I am a whole new person. I wonder how long I’ve been suffering, because I haven’t felt this good in YEARS. Years.

My anxiety centers around catastrophic thinking. I totally feel you on the airplane thing. My worst anxiety tends to focus on personal relationships. Sometimes it is impossible to shake, even with the medication.

You told me, “it’s hard work.” And you are right. I keep your words in my head and my heart because it feels so weird to actually do work on oneself. It feels weird to look around at my family and then put myself first. But I am a better mom and friend and person because of it.

You’ve helped me more than I can say. Thank you, Ginger.

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