Friday, June 26, 2015

Enjoying the Pieces

It’s a toll house cookie kind of day.

The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions for me. The anxiety has, at times, felt unbearable. My mindfulness practice has been no match for it and I go for the anti-anxiety med rather quickly. The side effects from the med adjustments have been horrible and I have had nightmares that would terrify even the strongest person. I am tired, nauseous at times and have felt a bit disconnected.

My therapist told me I will get back to how I felt a few weeks ago and she has assured me of this. It is this that I hold on to. I must feel that again. I worked too damn hard.

So far today, I feel pretty good. After seeing my med guy yesterday and forming a plan, I felt relief. After sobbing on the ride home (crying and driving is akin to driving and texting and I should not have done this!) for reasons still unknown to me, the anxiety built in the evening but today, I am okay. I am happy to have a plan to follow for my meds and I am more focused on feeling well again.

I am well aware that the date is approaching of the year anniversary of my hospitalization and this may be a piece of what is going on with me currently. It’s a big trigger and the memories have been flooding me at times. Again, it’s the trauma of being so severely ill that can be haunting. I think I need to get through these next weeks using mindfulness, when I am able, and using my voice in order to garner support. For now, it’s just one day at a time and I am going to enjoy the pieces I can. 

The treat I will look forward to for later today will be those toll house cookies.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Asking for Help

Here I am, closer to the end of my recovery from severe depression than I have been before and I feel horrible. It started over a week ago when I experienced more irritability than I do normally. I didn’t think about it much but it continued and has now grown to random bouts of severe anxiety, trembling and terrible fatigue. Working with my doctor, she believes I may be toxic on my meds. Since I am doing so much better, the dose of my meds may need to be adjusted as a result. I went for a blood test to see what the levels of my meds are but need to wait at least another week for the results. For now, it’s a guessing game. We are decreasing one of the meds slowly and then will look at the others. 

While I know this is actually a very positive thing, I am stuck in the rut of not feeling well, physically and now suffering the emotional piece. I feel sad, not terribly sad, but enough to worry me. I have to exert all of my energy on convincing myself that this will pass and that this is not a recurrence of the depression. It is difficult to do this though when the feelings are so similar. The bonus is that I am now wired differently and can grab onto my strengths, even if it feels as if I am holding on for dear life.

The trauma of my illness haunts me and I spend my waking moments fighting this and doing everything possible to keep busy. Luckily I have a lot of work to finish up by the end of the month, so that is helpful. I have trouble being still (this is called akathisia: from the meds), so in a way, it is good for me to walk more than I usually do. I hold on to my loves and this helps me tremendously.

Sometimes I have a hard time asking for help but this is definitely a time when I need some help, more support than anything else. I just need to know that people are on my side and cheering for me. When I used to hear the Rachel Platten song, Fight Song, it would empower me in a meaningful way as I would belt out the lyrics while driving. Now, I feel heavy and burdened and I am left wanting to feel that strength again. That strength felt so good.

I know I will. I have to be patient. I have to keep fighting.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

So, This is 41

So, this is 41.

A year ago I was quite eager to turn 40. I know, that seems strange. I thought, though, that turning 40 would help me feel better and alleviate my symptoms. I was grasping for anything positive at that time.

I will be honest. The past year sucked. 40 was awful. 40 was horrible. 40 was painful. 40 was sad. I would be lying if I said the entire year was a nightmare, for the past few months have been filled with those silver linings, they just happened to occur at the same time as my pain.

A year ago, I honestly did not know I would make it to 41. There was no light at the end of the tunnel of hell I was trudging through. I couldn't even fathom a future over 40 as it was so painful and difficult.

I am forever thankful to my family and friends who stood by me, helped me, chauffeured me to appointments and did so with no judgment and with humor. There's nothing like a girls road trip to go to ECT! I am thankful for the care I received, in every possible way, at Yale. I believe I was meant to be treated there. The pieces fit together so nicely, from the hospitalizations to ECT, to the MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction) group. I am proud that the medical director (who was my doc while in the hospital and through ECT) has all of his medical residents read my article about ECT. And yes, I'd like to be called a Visiting Professor at Yale!!

These days, I am beyond thankful to my therapist. Words cannot do justice to my feelings about my work with her but I will say that I would not be who I am today, this person who I am just learning about, without her hard work with me. I simply feel lucky.

So, this is 41. I am 41 years old today and I can move on in my life in a healthy, healing and peaceful way. I think I'm going to like 41.

May God heal me, body and soul.
May my pain cease,
May my strength increase,
May my fears be released,
May blessings, love and joy surround me. Amen.
-R. Naomi Levy