I’m in another period of deepening depression. There’s nothing pretty or poetic to say about it. It is just there.
It wasn’t totally unexpected when the lows came back around. I made a change in medication last month. My psychiatrist took me off of one of the prescriptions I was on because he thought it was causing the intense restlessness that was plaguing me, and he told me that another change might be necessary.
But I wanted to wait a little while and see how I did on just the one medication I’m still taking. I wanted to see if just the one would suffice.
I am grateful that the restlessness abated. My whole level of anxiety, including the anxiety of OCD, has been better lately.
However, the rough energy of the restlessness has been replaced by now-familiar depression.
I’ve had a difficult time getting through my daily duties, and, worst of all, I’ve had the unrelenting hopelessness that marks depression for me.
I wake up and have no enthusiasm or desire to face the day. I cry in the shower as I get ready for work, cry on the way to work, and spend my workdays wanting to scream.
This return of depression, like always, has me thinking about its causes.
Is it related to current situations in my life? Is it chemical? Is it related to the change in medication? Is it related to the season? Is it a combination of all of the above?
I’ve analyzed it, thought and thought about it, obsessed over it in ways that I suspect are related to OCD.
But no matter what is causing it, the big question for me really has been, when should I call the doctor? When is it bad enough to call the doctor?
Because no matter how many times I’ve gone through these bouts of depression, I still doubt myself. I still tell myself that I should be able to deal with this depression on my own, without a doctor’s help. After all, I’m already on an antidepressant. After all, I should be able to rise above it, snap out of it.
Yes, I sometimes buy into the stigma about depression.
I surprised myself when I realized what I was doing. How could I still cling to the myths about depression? How could I still give credence to the beliefs that those of us with mental illnesses should just be quiet about it, get over it, have a positive attitude, be happy already?
How could I fail to see right away that I needed help?
The stigma surrounding mental illness can be subtle, and it can affect how even those of us with mental illnesses treat ourselves.
If you had the same symptoms, I would have advised you to get professional help. I would have assured you that help is available. That treatment can help. That there’s no shame in asking for help.
I told myself a different story.
That story broke into pieces when I finally found the answer to that question of when is it bad enough. I reached my limit. I knew—yes, indeed, I need to see my doctor.
I originally had an appointment to see him again at the end of December, but I rescheduled the appointment for later in January because of work.
On Tuesday I called my doctor’s office to see if he had any openings this week. I was told that he was out of the office until next Tuesday.
So I must wait.
And I’ll be OK to wait. I’ll do what I can to manage this depression. But I won’t deny any longer that I need a professional’s help.
Have you ever found yourself believing the myths about mental illnesses? Have you ever denied to yourself that you needed help from others?