I’ve shared recently how 2019 was not at all a good year for me and then earlier this year about how I was just generally struggling. Writing that last post gave me so much clarity. As the words flowed from my thoughts, through my fingers, onto a keyboard to be broadcast to the whole internet, I had sudden and instant clarity. My depression has flared.
The Black Dog Is Back
I was originally diagnosed with clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorder about 20 odd years ago. I was always a naturally anxious child, I was the kid with the stomach ache, the spastic colon, and other anxiety-related medical issues and then as a young adult, I was diagnosed with clinical depression too.
And at the beginning of last year, after almost a decade on medication, I got this brilliant idea to wean myself off it. There is NO logic in that decision so I can’t even try and explain it, except to say that I got this idea in my head that my depression was gone and I didn’t need meds anymore. In hindsight, I realize that literally within a couple of months of weaning myself off my medication, my depression was back with vengeance!
The signs of my slide back into the dark pit where everywhere but for some daft reason, I tried to explain it all away. The sudden desire to eat all the carbs and sugar (my Dr tells me this relates to low serotonin) and my weight gain last year, coupled with low moods and extreme irritability, guys, I can’t stress this enough, one of the first signs of my depression is always a VERY LOW TOLERANCE for any kind of irritation or frustrations. Crazy bouts of insomnia. And violent rages with floods of tears. All of these I lumped together as more signs of my perimenopause. Turns out I was wrong! While all my signs and symptoms may be exacerbated by perimenopause, it was very much a pretty intense bout of depression that brought it all on.
How do I know?
Because I’ve been back on medication for my depression and anxiety for the past 3 weeks and my moods have stabilized and evened out. It’s actually ridiculous the difference it makes. I feel like I can cope with everyday life again. Not like I’m frozen in one place and bubbling over with rage and frustration. I feel calmer and better equipped to cope. And everyone around me is safer, I no longer want to stab you (jokes) when you ask me a question.
Now if I could just start sleeping again, that would be fantastic.
But what I really want people know….
Is that we need to set aside our preconceived notion of what clinical depression looks like. It’s not always about lying in your bed crying all day. Not every one that battles depression experiences it that way. Depression presents itself in so many different ways and it’s not about just feeling sad, I have to say, in all the years I’ve battled depression, rarely has it ever come with feelings of sadness.
The psychological symptoms of depression include:
- continuous low mood or sadness
- feeling hopeless and helpless
- having low self-esteem
- feeling tearful
- feeling guilt-ridden
- feeling irritable and intolerant of others
- having no motivation or interest in things
- finding it difficult to make decisions
- not getting any enjoyment out of life
- feeling anxious or worried
- having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself
I have, twice in the past, during particularly bad bouts of depression, considered suicide. But if you’re battling with a combination of any of the above symptoms, it may be time to seek medical attention.
A Lesson Learned/Reminded
My own Dr gave me a good crap out at my last session. Reminding me that I can’t just wean myself off meds. That clinical depression is a disorder that doesn’t just go away and that I need to make peace with being on medication probably for the rest of my life. Of course, now that I’m in a better frame of mind, I do understand all of this, hopefully, this time it sinks in.
But damn, it feels so much better to be starting to feel more balanced and like me again! Do you or anyone you know suffer from clinical depression? What are your signs or symptoms?