Why is this so effing hard?

Anxiety and depression. Hand in hand, they tug one me one way or the other.  I think I have one under control and the other pops up “Surprise! Can’t get rid of me that easily.” No forgiveness with this hell. Just day in day out wondering if today is the day I’ll finally feel better. Or perhaps wondering if this is it. Maybe this is as good as it gets. Psych appt on Thursday and I’ll tell him the depression has reared its ugly head again. Probably another med change or tinkering with dosages again. Frustrated. Agitated. Sad. Affecting my relationships and my school work. Wonder if I’ll ever get better. Don’t have high hopes even though my therapist thinks that “deep down I’m an optimist.”
Yup, that’s my past month. Questioning my self, questioning my “normal.” Tired of all the questioning. Oh, and got told off by an acquaintance that insulted a friend of mine on my fb, so I kindly deleted his comment. Yay me.

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An update

So I’ve been seeing my psychiatrist for 11 months. I can say with some certainty that my depression has lifted, but that my anxiety continues, and every day I battle with it. The med combination that I’m on now seems to be working and both my dr and I are hesitant to change it.  Dr. L. allows me to determine how much clonazepam I need daily. I vary between 1 – 2 mgs. It honestly depends on the day. The other two meds are fixed doses and we are going to stick with them right now.

This year (it will be a year on June 6) has been difficult, but I have noticed a difference in the past three months. I feel better about my thesis and doing work in general. I have more calm days than agitated ones. The days that I am agitated I try to remember to take the higher dose of clonaz. I’m kind of working on a “Let Go and Let God” sort of mantra. I do not consider myself very religious but that phrase does help me, and I do consider myself to be spiritual.

I am still me, a year later, and I’m pretty happy about that. I’m still afraid that I’ll jinx it somehow, if I say that I came out on the other side, but I do feel like I survived. And for anyone who has ever battled depression and anxiety, survival is what we’re going for. So here’s to you, fellow survivors.

What if you can’t tell?

Had another psychiatrist appointment today.  This dr is keeping good tabs on me, which is a good thing, I guess.  I see him monthly.  I guess I didn’t expect to see him that frequently, seeing how overbooked and overworked our mental health system is.  But, hey, I’ll take it.

My anxiety is through the roof.  The house is up for sale but we haven’t had any offers.  The new house is built, and they are in the process of putting in the hardwood floors this week.  Every other day I have a meeting with my partner, the designer or contractor, or a house showing. I feel like I’m going insane.

But then there are times when I’m fine. I feel calm. I feel okay. I wouldn’t say that I’m super happy, but I’m definitely okay. Unfortunately, these days, the days when I am fine are infrequent.

So today, when my psychiatrist asked how I was doing, I didn’t know what to say. How do I sum up that I feel mostly okay depression-wise, but not so okay anxiety-wise, but oh, it’s not all the time, but most of the time?  Well, I think that is pretty much what I said.  But what really sucks about having depression/anxiety is that my concentration is shit and my comprehension is sluggish.  So, self-assessment is not exactly my forte.  I try to “check in” with myself, to compare myself to last month, or two months ago, but I find it incredibly difficult.  Am I better than I was last month? Worse?  I think I had a good bump up when the remeron was increased, but the dr decreased the prozac, which I think probably didn’t help the anxiety. So today he bumped the prozac back up. The medication balance is very tricky. And frustrating.

So what do you do, dear reader, if you can’t tell if you are better or worse? I am looking for insightful ways to figure out myself.  What works for you?

p.s. here’s a great blog post. I love her language.  Three Things You Need to Know about Mental Illness.

By the way, I have decided I am vanilla bean ice cream.

Taking care of me

So, one of the things my therapist told me when I was really depressed was to try to have fun, to play. It was as if he was speaking Japanese to me, it sounded so foreign a concept. The vicious cycle of depression makes you not want to do the things that you used to enjoy. And by not doing those things, by staying in bed, or just sitting in front of the TV, you can make your depression worse. You don’t do those things you like because depression robs you of the will to do them, to your agency, and energy. That’s why depression is so horrible. It is literally a thief. Of your time. Your happy feelings. Even your will to survive.

Because of a combination of meds and therapy, my depression lifted. I feel very lucky that I was able to get through it. That I had a good support system and the tools to ask for help. I know a lot of people suffer because they can’t ask for help, for a multitude of reasons.

I still consider myself to have severe anxiety and moderate depression, even if the depression is in remission. But I am back to doing the activities I like, the ones that make me happy. From April to July I was unable to do them. Things like baking and cross-stitch. Tonight the simple act of making blueberry muffins made me feel good. And they were tasty too!

I guess I am coming to the realisation that I have to be careful. Treat myself kindly and keep doing my self-care treatments. Because after three major depressive episodes, it’s a certainty that I will have another depressive episode in my life. Likely more than one. Knowing that, maybe I will be able to recognize it earlier, and help it to be less severe.

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Anxiety and Stress

Feel like I’m cracking up with all the stress in my life right now. Trying to declutter the house in order to sell, getting painters and cleaners and going to the new already built house to oversee plumbing and electrical. First coat of paint is on in each room. It’s starting to look like a house.

But it feels like the stress may just kill me. Went back to dr to get an increase in my clonazepam. It doesn’t seem to be working yet. Still get upset at every little thing. Still so high-strung I feel like I’m about to snap. Is this the way it’s going to be then? Is this the best I can hope for? It paints a bleak picture.

The only good thing is that I haven’t continued to gain weight even though I’ve increased my meds. I’ve stayed the same weight since July. Small victories.

They are building a playground across from our new house. This would make some people happy, but I have two barky von schnauzers who aren’t exactly fond of kids playing.  Too erratic, too loud. Ha. Me and the dogs have a lot in common.

Maybe I’ll have to get on valium or something. I just want to not be so upset and irritable all the time. I don’t think I’m very pleasant to be around.

How to deal with anxiety.

TAKE your meds.

Geez.

You’d think I would have this figured out by now, but somehow my brain is hardwired to think I don’t need these pills.  I’ll be fine if I just take deep breaths, focus on a non-moving point, centre myself, use mindfulness, etc…

Guess what? Sometimes anxiety can’t be willed away.  Sometimes you have to rely on your medications.

Clonazepam

Clonazepam

I’m just learning this.  I went to the psychiatrist yesterday, and he upped my anxiety meds.  I had only been taking 0.5 of the clonazepam, but now I am going to take that dose twice a day.  That is not a large dose apparently, but just might be enough to keep me from having my panic attacks.  Now that selling our house and moving is becoming a looming reality, my anxiety is through the roof and I’m having un-precipitated attacks.  They were definitely getting worse.

You know those “keep calm” posters you always see? I need one that says “Keep calm and take your meds”!

Keep Calm and Take Your Meds

Keep Calm and Take Your Meds