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serotonin

If I had known what a difference antidepressants would make in my life, I would have started taking them years ago.

I spent years putting it off, telling myself medication wasn’t necessary.  I’d have day-, week-, sometimes even month-long periods of feeling awful and hopeless, and then a patch of “good days” would come along and convince me that I was making mountains out of molehills.  I couldn’t possibly be truly depressed; I just let myself think negatively too often.

During the bad days, the internal debate of whether or not I should give antidepressants a try seemed like an obvious choice.  I’d keep telling myself “at the next appointment” I’d ask my doctor about it, just to find myself in a better mood when that appointment came, and change my mind once again.  At one point I actually did ask for my doctor’s opinion on  me trying medication, and she was very much in favor of it.  I told her I’d think it over, and of course by the next time I saw her, I’d chickened out.

Looking back, the things holding me back seem incredibly petty.  I was afraid antidepressants would make me gain weight.  I worried that I’d become a kind of pseudo-happy, and be reliant on drugs for the rest of my life.  Even the issue of how much medication might cost went on my list of objections.

The factor that I’m most sheepish about letting stop me, however, is the worry that I’d be judged for needing medication to deal with my seemingly wonderful life.  I’m a privileged white girl, with a lovely family and good friends, a good job, a good life overall.  What right did I have to be depressed?  Even the people around me who “understood” depression told me all I needed was some fresh air and exercise; think positive and you’ll feel better.  All that did was make me feel worse when I tried my best to do those things, and still felt terrible on a daily basis.

All the sunshine and inspiring Eckhart Tolle books in the world won’t pull a person out of depression if the brain chemicals aren’t behaving.

I’m constantly amazed at how much easier life is with the help of my antidepressants.  The facts that daily life doesn’t have to feel struggle-y and grey, and that it’s not normal to be sad and anxious for the majority of your life seemed like brand new information when I started to feel better.  I didn’t even realize how low I had been until I began to feel…normal.

It’s the absence of the bad things that I notice the most.  I don’t have days on end of crying before work, and faking smiles to get me through the day.  I don’t feel like crying and completely on edge when mom starts cooking something oily and stressful for dinner.  I don’t see my future as bleak and hopeless.

Instead, I’m beginning to feel like a real person.  Joking and laughing and being fully present with a person, rather than being stuck in my head worrying about how much they hate me, feels good.  Being able to look forward to things, even the small things, feels good.  Simply being able to enjoy my life, relax a bit, and not have a constant torrent of negative thoughts flooding my brain, feels amazing.

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it gotta get bad before it gets good (right?)

Whoooops, it’s been a while.  A combination of doing well, being stressed, and lacking inspiration is to blame for my neglecting this blog; I should really get back into the writing mode.

How can I say I’m doing well, but also stressed?  I feel like eating-disorder-wise, I’ve been pretty good lately.  There’s still anxiety about certain foods/situations, but I’m pushing myself daily, and a whole lot of foods have lost the “fear food” title.  In terms of life though, it’s been rough.

I’ve read a lot about how when people start to recover, they feel overwhelmed with the emotions that flood in after being numb for so long.  I can only assume that’s what I’m going through, because there’s no legitimate reason I should be so sad and stressed all the time.  Maybe without the focus on food taking up 96% of my brain, all the other things going on finally feel real to me.

Whether there’s that “logic” behind it or not, this depression/anxiety thing is incredibly frustrating.  Most days, just getting to the end of the day without tears, and presenting myself as a reasonably happy person, is exhausting.  Trying to ignore all the bad feelings is hard.  The voices in my head that tell me I’m awful, I’m not good enough, I don’t deserve to be happy are just so persistent.

And then, out of the blue, I’ll have a happy, carefree day, and criticize myself for ever getting into such a bad funk.  *Sigh.*

I’m hoping this is a temporary thing.  I’m hoping it’ll all get easier soon – eating, thinking, life.  I’m just so tired of always feeling a bit mentally unstable.  Am I ever going to be just normal and happy and healthy?  What’s it like to not have constant negativity and overanalyzing and anxiety going on in your head?

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sad panda

I feel guilty and ungrateful.

I have so many great things in my life, and so many cool things to look forward to.  In two weeks I’ll be in Bangkok, starting a month-long adventure of Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia.  A month after that I’m going to NYC with my mama and auntie for a girls’ trip.  I’m finally quitting the job that’s made me miserable for the past year, I’m going back to school to study something I’m really interested in, and I’m making tonnes of progress in beating this decade-old eating disorder.

I have so much to be happy about!

And yet, I’m not.  2015 was supposed to be the year of happiness and positivity only, but so far I’ve spent the majority of it alone, sad, and wishing my time away.  I know I have a lot to look forward to in the next few months, and I’m truly excited and happy about those things, but that does nothing to make my day-to-day any better.  I’m lacking the friends and activities and everyday things that make life enjoyable.

Anyone on the outside looking in at my life would consider me ungrateful, I know.  And I feel like I must be – how can anyone be sad when they’re about to do all those big exciting things?!

I’m in a slump, and I don’t know how to get out of it.  I need a hug, and I need a good friend to sit down and share a cup of tea and real conversation with.  I need to spend less time alone and idle, and I need to stop feeling so sad and sorry for myself.

Someone write me a “Happiness for Dummies” book, because I’m having trouble with this.

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