It’s been some time since we last talked and part of me feels like I owe you an explanation. It’s been a funky year for me. It might have been a funky year for you too. I really want to tell you about something that I’ve walked through this year that was a new experience for me.
It’s my first year as a single mom and my entire world was flipped on its head. I found myself exceedingly exhausted. Just that to my bones tiredness. I went to the doctor to get my thyroid checked, certain I was hypothyrodic. Not only did we check my TSH but she checked my cholesterol and vitamin D to make sure a few things were working right. The next week, I had results and she told me everything was within the range of normal. I felt like I was about to cry. Why was I so exhausted all the time? Was I just lazy? Did I need to get over myself and just truck through? That sounded like the most overwhelming task of all– keep faking it until I make it. I just couldn’t anymore.
“You have many of the symptoms of clinical depression. I’d like you to try an antidepressant.”
My heart sank. I’m not depressed. I’m not sad. I can’t be depressed if I’m not sad. I love my life. I don’t want to end it. I don’t want to hurt myself. My life isn’t perfect but I’m not depressed. I was skeptical, to say the least, and certainly not depressed. You see, I’ve been depressed before. I spent my teenage years living in a group home feeling the lowest I ever have in my life. I only wanted to die. Having depression I could live with, that simply wasn’t possible.
But at the end of the day, I really just wanted to feel better. So despite my reservations, I gave the prescription a try. I was tired of fighting with my alarm clock every morning. I was tired of insomnia that kept me up until 4:00 am. I was tired of feeling like I was running on empty. I was just tired of being tired. I missed feeling like a boss for waking up at 5:00 am to knock out client work. I missed feeling like super mom. I missed feeling like me.
The first two days of the new drugs made me feel really off. I hated it. I felt nauseated. My mouth was dry. I had no appetite. My brain felt a little foggy. By day three, the only side effect that remained was a tremor in my jaw that made it look like I was shivering and some irritating sexual side effects. Within a week, I felt less tired but still tired. I kept with the drug for a month before I had a follow up appointment. I confirmed I was starting to feel better but still wasn’t quite there. I told her about my side effects and she reassured me that those tend to go away after your body regulates. She increased my dosage and we agreed to stick with it for another month. And wouldn’t you know, the strangest thing happened.
The side effects started dissipating. My energy started increasing. I was in bed at a respectable time and I would wake up before my alarm. Mornings stopped being a battle of Carlene against the world. My kids were less annoying with their never-ending barrage of questions and requests. My workflow improved. I was able to handle the demands of the day without shutting down. I started to feel like me again. My depression came on so subtly that I didn’t notice just how much I didn’t feel like myself.
Last Monday, I woke up and felt a fresh wind of life in my lungs. It felt like I had been sleeping for the past six months and was finally awake. I looked around my house and saw all the chores that had been neglected for months (let’s not talk about the state of my laundry room, please) and rather than feeling overwhelmed at the work to do, I simply got to work.
Friends, I say all this to say that I haven’t been okay for a while. But I’m getting better now. And I know I can’t be the only one who has dealt with this. This experience with depression has been unlike any I’ve had before. But the treatment is still the same– get my brain chemistry leveled out, catch up on the things that fell behind, make time for my loved ones and accept the help being given to me. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s not okay to give up.
Antidepressants are saving my life. My day to day life. My wake up and get shit done life. My not hating adulthood life. My actually enjoying my family life. My connecting with people I care about life. And friends, I want you to know what’s going on in my life. So if you’re near by, please call me and lets get coffee. If you’re struggling, shoot me a message and lets commiserate. And if there’s anything I can do to help you, let me know. I’m here for you.