My apathy is pissing me off. So I guess that’s an improvement.

Pssst – the Honest Voices linkup for bloggers is back! Get the skinny after the post…

ssris and apathyI keep starting this post. Then I erase what I wrote. I walk away. Sit down and try again. And my brain keeps hijacking me.

I feel foggy and tired and unfocused and unmotivated and just plain old apathetic about most stuff. And that makes it really tough to write.

I think it’s this new antidepressant – Luvox – that I’m on. But I’m pretty sure the last couple of SSRIs did this to me too, just not as severely. It’s hard to remember, really. I have to go back to my notes and my old blog posts about depression to remember.

Zoloft, Celexa, Zoloft again. And there has been Prozac and Viibryd and Lexapro and Luvox. One loses its effectiveness so we try another. Another has bad side effects, so let’s try another. On and on and on.

I’m tired of the SSRI merry-go-round and all the side effects. Trying something new, hoping it’ll work better. And then being disappointed. Again.

Now I’m in this weird, fuzzy place. I don’t feel sad or down or depressed, really. It’s not like I want to crawl into bed and avoid everything. I’m still doing everyday, normal things. Playing with my kids, taking them places, doing work and household tasks, and so on.

I just can’t seem to really care about anything that matters. I have a list of to-dos and some get done. Some don’t. Whatever.

Laundry piles up. Dishes pile up. Emails accumulate. Maybe I’ll get to them. Or maybe I’ll just get lost in Facebook or the TV or a magazine or some random task that suddenly becomes important. Or maybe I’ll take a 45-minute shower and not notice how long I took.

And then suddenly the day is over and I realize I wanted to get two specific things done today, and I didn’t. This would have panicked me in the past. Now I just shrug my shoulders and say, “meh.”

In a way, this sounds like a good thing, right? Not worrying so much, just kind of floating along and doing what I can. But it’s a terrible feeling. I don’t feel enough and it’s a terrible, terrible feeling. I know I’m not alone in this because I spent a lot of time last night Googling “SSRIs and apathy” – and I found out this isn’t totally unusual. But no one seems to know how to solve the problem.

What’s odd is if you saw me out and about, you wouldn’t notice how bizarro I’m feeling. I’m pretty good at hiding it. But I bet my good friends could tell if they spent some time with me, because I’m not following conversations very well. I have a sort of numb, drunken feeling that colors everything I do. I can’t focus. I feel drugged. And I HATE IT.

I need to achieve clarity again. I need to feel like ME again. This apathetic feeling is pissing me off! That’s a good thing, right?

So I’m playing phone tag with my doc. Chugging coffee and hoping it’ll clear my head a little. Or avoiding coffee and drinking green smoothies up the wazoo. Just trying something, ANYTHING, to feel normal. I’m trying to force myself to care enough to take charge of my health. Trying to figure out the key to clarity.

I’m wondering if I need to get off all meds and clear out my system. The last time I did that I did okay for a couple months. And then all the sadness and irritability came storming back, so back on the meds I went.

I don’t know what to do. Sometimes meds make me feel worse and then when I go off them, all is well. Sometimes meds are what make me feel like me again.

Right now I need to find that place between feeling too much and feeling too little. That normal place I used to know. Does it exist for me anymore? I think it does. It’s just really hard to find right now. But I’ll get there. I always believe I’ll get there. I have to, right?

Have you dealt with this weird, fuzzy, apathetic feeling from antidepressants? Did a different SSRI fix it? Or did going off antidepressants fix it? What about alternative therapies? Let’s hear your ideas and experiences. I know I’m not the only one looking for answers. Please comment with your thoughts after the linkup for bloggers below.

*****

It’s back!

Honest Voices linkup at HonestMom.com NEW

 

Hey bloggers! Welcome to Honest Voices, an every-other-week linkup at Honest Mom. I invite you to link up with a post of yours that you’re really proud of. One that shows off your blog’s voice and what it’s all about. Funny or serious, old or new, it doesn’t matter – just as long as your post is HONEST.

TWO SIMPLE RULES:

1) Visit and comment on the blog that linked right before you and one other blog post of your choice.

2) Promote the linkup at least once, but more is better. Tweet it, Facebook it, Pin it, whatever. Just remember – the more people you get to visit the linkup, the more people will discover you!

Now what are you waiting for? Let’s see your posts!

*****

photo credit: jenny downing via photopin cc

It’s been five years of battling depression. And I’m really, really Tired.

A few weeks after Grace was born in 2008, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. And now, five years later, I’m still dealing with its effects.

Five years.

I no longer have a baby, but I’m still dealing with the aftermath of an illness that I thought I would have kicked to the curb by now, set out with the trash alongside Gracie’s stained onesies and chewed-up teethers.

But here I am, still battling it.

Soon I have an appointment with a psychiatrist. He’s supposed to be The Best, the guy who can put all the puzzle pieces together and figure out a solution that will help me feel like me again.

I have so much hope for this appointment. I want him to give me the magical weapon that will end this fight, with me as the victor. I want to hear, If you put together x, y, and z, you will feel better. You will feel like you. You will win.

Because I’m just so tired of fighting.

Now before you get worried, I’m not suicidal or anything like that. I like being here. And though depression is still haunting me, I’m still a big fan of life and living and all that good stuff.

It more that I’m in the grips of Depression’s bastard brother: Tired. And it is really doing a number on me.

You see, when you’re treading water because you’re fighting off Depression and Tired joins in, you’re just plain outnumbered. Tired plants its heavy foot upon your head and pushes you down. And you’re just too damn worn out to fight off Tired because you’ve been battling Depression for so long.

Your meds are probably working enough to keep Depression from pulling you way under. But with Tired in the picture, you’re bobbing just under the surface of feeling alive. And you find yourself in this weird place of not drowning in Depression, but feeling pretty crummy–and being Tired enough to not have an ounce of energy to do anything about it.

To-dos pile up. Deadlines pass. Pants get too tight. You get a little stressed and then shrug. Meh. Whatever.

People who don’t understand depression don’t get why people struggling with it can’t just TRY to do something different. Make a change, they say. Just do it, they say, as if a inspirational sneaker slogan can fix everything.

I want to explain about Tired and how it keeps me from doing things I know could help me. But anyone who hasn’t dealt with depression just can’t understand. Because it doesn’t make sense. It sounds like a lazy excuse.

So I don’t try to explain anymore. I nod in agreement with the helpful advice givers. Of course I can get my butt out of bed early three times a week to work out. And not eat my kids’ candy. And go to bed earlier. Because anyone can get fit and feel better if they just want it enough.

And then I go back to apathetically staring at my to-do list and getting nothing done.

That’s why I have so much riding on this doctor appointment. I need him to find the right meds for me. Meds that will banish both Tired and Depression, and give me back the energy I need to care again.

To want to tackle my to-do list. To want to write those blog posts that are in my head. And yes, to want to exercise and lose weight.

I want to once again feel the thrill of accomplishment. The desire to inspire others. The joy of goofing around with my kids.

I want to remember what it’s like to be energized and alive and not constantly beaten down and … Tired.

I want to feel like me again. Because five years is a long time to feel like someone else.

five years of battling depression

The obsessive part of depression really annoys me.

one signI’ve been feeling pretty good lately. After a slow start, spring got into full swing around here. Which means that my annual blog neglect began as I got gloriously dirty in my garden (and that’s not a euphemism).

Gardening is therapeutic for me, and my girls love it too. So we’ve been spending lots of time outside: digging, planting, watering, weeding. It’s been wonderful.

But even when I feel good and things are generally humming along, that haunting feeling is still there in the background. I’m always wondering something, in a place deep inside me that I’d like to ignore but can’t:

When is the depression going to hit me again?

It will. It always comes back. It’s just a matter of time.

And I hate knowing it’s coming. It’s either going to sneak up on me, slowly and insidiously wiggling its way in, almost unnoticed because of its gradual seeping into my consciousness.

Or BAM – it’ll hit me with a force that overwhelms me and makes my mind and soul ache from its blunt force trauma.

I never know how depression is going to show its face to me again.

But I kind of have a feeling it’s oozing its way back into my life now.

I’ve been waking up sad in the morning. My temper has been shorter. And there’s that one nagging symptom of depression that never really goes away for me – and then ramps up when depression comes creeping around again.

It’s the obsessive side of depression.

Not everyone has it, just like not everyone deals with rage. But similar to rage, it’s one of those symptoms people don’t always think about.

In my first bout of depression in college, I was sad and anxious and down – and I also had terrible OCD. I wasn’t a germ-phobe; I was a list maker and a checker.

I couldn’t get through tests because I couldn’t stop checking my work. I was always late because I was checking the lights were off, the stove was off, I had my keys. Over and over and over. I felt like something awful would happen to me or someone I cared about if I didn’t check just one last time.

Today, I understand I was doing this to try to create a sense of control in my life – because my depression was making me feel so out of control.

I’ve haven’t been in that bad of a place with OCD since then. “Checking” is always a part of my life, but in a very average way that lots of harried moms can identify with.

However, the need to check escalates when I’m not feeling good. It’s a warning sign. Lately I can feel the checking obsession coming back. And holy crap, is it annoying me.

I’m checking my lists and my calendar over and over and over, convinced I’m forgetting to do something or that I’m supposed to be somewhere.

I’m easily distracted and have a tough time focusing. I often find myself in a situation where I’m doing too many things at once and none of them are getting done. I’m feeling ramped-up and overwhelmed. And so I keep “checking” to try to get some control over it all.

But unlike when I was in college, I am recognizing what’s going on and taking steps to ease my anxiousness.

It’s hard at this time of year, with so many end-of-school events and activities winding up. But I’m trying to clear my calendar a bit so I’m not rushing from place to place.

I’m saying no to most requests for my time and yes to a very few.

I’m really trying to prioritize my list of to-dos and say to myself, what will *really* happen if I don’t get this done?

I’m trying to get more sleep (with varying degrees of success).

And yes, I’m gardening and doing more yard work because it makes me happy and clears my head.

Will these steps stave off a serious bout of depression? I don’t know. Maybe it’ll only help the annoying checking issue. But at least I’m trying to go at it with a positive mindset.

And whenever that bastard depression makes its presence known, hopefully I’ll be a little more ready than last time.

If you deal with depression, does it come and go for you? Do you try to arm yourself for the next battle in advance, or do you find that really difficult?

photo credit: alles-schlumpf via photopin cc