Monday, October 26, 2015

Week Two

Week two has begun. I will have ECT three times again this week. My blood pressure was quite high this morning and the nurse repeatedly told me to take deep breaths. It doesn't seem to matter that I have done this many times before, I still feel very anxious right before each treatment. I am lucky. I have a whole team of family and friends on my side. My dear friend who drove me down to New Haven today is like a gift. She made me laugh and she ensured that I felt supported. I feel so lucky and yet at the same time I feel sad, irritable and angry. So many emotions felt all at the same time. I wish I felt better than I do at this time.  I pray there is a dramatic difference by Friday's treatment. I pray my daughter will feel my presence more than she has in the past weeks.

Depression is truly a horrifying disease. This course is quite different than what I suffered last year. I have been tired, more tired than I have ever felt which I did not feel last summer. I feel more sad, if that is even possible. It's hard to look to others for reassurance and support when feeling this low. My therapist told me she would "hold the hope until I am able." This came after I told her "this is a terrible existence." Just as I am lucky to have my family and friends, I am blessed to have an amazing therapist. I count on her just as I count on my family and friends for support. While it is a different relationship, in a sense, one that I pay for, she is my doctor, and she takes care of me.

I pray I get through week two with the integrity I held on to during week one.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Blessing of a Sister (-in-law)

When they began dating, I was 16 years old, an obnoxious adolescent who could simply not fathom why she was at all interested in my brother. But as time went on, she cast a spell on him and made him into a real mensch (still in progress!).

The truth is, she is the real mensch. We've always hated the term "in-law" as sister felt more appropriate. Between last summer and the past week I would much rather say "sister," for only a true sister would drive 8 hours to help out when I am ill; to be there to entertain little girl and hold me up when I do not have the strength to do so on my own. This decision to come came after little thought. Certainly having teenagers makes it easier to leave for a few days, but it's a long drive.

I wish upon everyone a sister like Jenn. I only hope I am half the sister to her that she is to me. I feel blessed and extremely lucky to call her family, a true sister, the one I have always wanted.

Now, she is a real blessing.

And So It Goes

This has been an incredibly difficult week. I have one more ECT to get through this week on Friday and I can't wait until it is done. Today, just like on Monday, I got on the gurney and the tears took over. And again, the nurses were so warm and caring, providing words of encouragement. When asked what was wrong I simply said, "I do not want to be here." I cannot say enough about these nurses and doctors at Yale. They are caring and I actually feel that they are on my side. One nurse, who knows me from last year, just said that this will help me feel better and it will be over before I know it. She was correct about the latter. I woke up and had to question in my head whether they had already performed the treatment. Today's appointment was scheduled for 11:30am but they were running an hour behind. This only added to my anxiety. I was lucky to schedule Friday's appointment for 9:45am. I could not endure another late appointment.

Everything is hard right now. I feel exhausted from the treatments and the medications. I miss my baby girl as Ken has to pick her up today as I cannot drive on treatment days. I'm holding on and praying I will begin to feel the benefits of the treatments soon. Right now I am simply thankful for my family and friends, those who check in on me. It makes all the difference.

And so it goes...

Friday, October 16, 2015

Major Depressive Episode

I have severe depression...again. It crept back in slowly and then it struck me down so fiercely and so abruptly, I can barely catch my breath. More medication trials that do not seem to be working and now I am scheduled for ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) this Monday morning. I tried to get better without it, but nothing is working and my therapist told me "this is no way to live." I have to believe her as I trust her implicitly. You see, my thought process is not very clear so I am stuck in my own misery and believe I deserve this. There is a very small piece of me that wonders if this is true and this is what I have to hold on to.

Depression is something I find difficult to define for myself. It is a pain I can't thoroughly describe as it feels as if my internal self is being stabbed and maimed over and over again. It is a sadness that overtakes me at any moment. It is a pain that brings endless tears. It's a feeling of utter loneliness even when I am sitting next to my husband, my love. This loneliness is carried throughout every waking moment. It's a feeling that no one cares and no one should and at the same time all I want is to be with those I love: my family, my friends. I want my therapist to continue to offer reality testing even when I am having trouble believing her when she tells me that I do not deserve to suffer and she does care about me.

This is a pain I was hoping never to experience again after last year. This hurt and throbbing actually feels worse than last year, if that is even possible.

So, please do not retreat, even when I do. Check in. And please, send your prayers for healing. Even though I have done ECT before, I am truthfully terrified for Monday and would appreciate your support. Please, just be there for me and my family. Thank you and love to you all.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Here Comes the Rain Again

Here comes the rain again
Raining in my head like a tragedy
Tearing me apart like a new emotion

Annie Lennox is narrating my life right now. Indeed it is raining again and it is a tragedy. It’s back and it’s taking me prisoner. It came on slowly and calmly in the late spring but the past few weeks have solidified it and named it for what it is: severe major depressive episode.

Biology is an interesting thing and I am learning much about my own. Each hour I can feel the anxiety, fear, sadness, guilt and solitude and these feelings are strong and they are real. I am sick…again. Different from last summer, but just as incapacitating. Let’s try this med and decrease the other, oh wait, now you are having akathisia (restlessness and agitation) so we need to stop the other new med. I feel like I have danced this dance many times and it feels just as frustrating and scary as it always has.

I am lucky to have invested treatment providers and, of course, my family and friends. I kept quiet for a while because I did not want to make it real and I did not want to disappoint anyone that I could not maintain myself.

My mind is full of negatives and fatigue. How to help someone like me in this situation? Please do not ignore it. You can ask how I am feeling. You can ask if you can do anything to help. You can simply be with me, offer a hug (I may or may not accept, so please do not take it personally!). I need that cheering section to offer its voice, yet again. I need prayers for health and I need your positive wishes.

I hope to have a better plan tomorrow. Weekends are difficult especially during this transition in terms of changing my meds. I can make it through today with the promise of tomorrow. Good thing there is  no rain in the forecast for tomorrow.