(crossposted from my Facebook page)
Depression lies. And you’re not alone.
Mental illness is a son of a bitch. Even when you know what’s going on and you’ve made a vow to be open and honest about your own illnesses so that others don’t feel alone in theirs, it can still be very, very difficult.
Over the past four or five months, I’ve been able to tell that my medication stopped working. But I was too busy to take the time and make an appointment with my psychiatrist. So I just upped the dose on my own in late June, from 40 mgs of Prozac a day to 60 mgs. Six weeks go by and nothing is better. In fact, it’s worse.
Additional responsibilities at work and in my personal life don’t help any. It just piles on. My inability to focus and concentrate make my work duties very difficult. I get further and further behind, which ratchets up my stress levels. The death of a dear friend in April makes it tougher still.
My injured groin muscle throws everything off, making my back pain come on quicker than before. The groin muscle is taking forever to heal, even though I’m following the directives of the sports medicine doctor I lucked into when I finally took myself to urgent care. So yeah, the daily pain isn’t helping at all.
Then comes the play, which I am thrilled to be working on, but which is also contributing to my stress, depression, and anxiety because, no matter what I do, learning my lines proves to be even more difficult than usual. (A rousing thanks to the director for having the confidence in me that I didn’t have in myself. I did get the lines down by opening night, but it was a very close thing.)
Right before Hell Week for the play (the week leading up to opening night, for those unfamiliar with theater), our beloved twelve year old cat Loki gets very, very sick and we lose him. I’ve got to be there for my dearest HSG, who raised him since he was a six month old kitten, and I try to be as much as possible while still honoring my commitment to the play (thank you so much for understanding, fellow cast and crew) and grieving for our lost Loki without burdening my grieving partner. Because I’ve got to be the strong one, right? That’s my job.
And I try so hard to be strong. I can do this. I know I can,
Except I can’t.
The same week as Hell Week, a big two day meeting at JPL that I’ve been helping to coordinate happens. There are several things that I don’t complete before the meeting. Nothing too huge, but if I had been able to think clearly in the proceeding days, even those Not Too Huge things would have been completed with no problem. And my thigh pain is flaring up really bad, as is my back. And one of the other assistants on the floor basically bails my ass out and the meeting runs relatively smoothly.
The night before the two day meeting starts, I finally realize that something is very, very wrong. I finally break down in front of HSG and let him know that I’m not doing well and what I think is going on. And the first day of the meeting, when I feel like everything is spiraling out of control and I can’t think and I’m in physical, emotional, and mental pain, I break down at my desk and sob. No one is around. Me being me, even when I can’t take it any longer, I manage to lose most of my shit in relative privacy, despite having my desk in a very public place.
Hey, it’s a talent.
Despite knowing and living with depression and anxiety for the majority of my life (and being treated for it over 10 years), my asshole brain still manages to lie successfully to me. It took brick after brick of despair and stress and anxiety to build a wall of, “No, I’m okay, really!” right on top of my heart and soul before I finally realized the wall was there and I sought professional help to tear it down again.
And now…now, I’m on medical leave from work. For three weeks. I’ve gotten a new prescription from my psychiatrist, have started seeing a therapist again, and am attending a 3x/week work stress clinic to help manage my stress (and so that I can actually be on medical leave – that’s what proves I’m under the care of a doctor).
Not being at work will also – hopefully – help with my thigh pain. Some days it’s okay, other days it isn’t, but the less I put strain on it, hopefully the better it’ll be. On the other hand, being in pain as often as I am, with pain meds really not helping all that much, frustrates me because I can’t go for a nice walk during the day. I can’t exercise, not really, not the way I like to, because it hurts too much.
(Maybe I should seek out some exercise that won’t strain my legs or back.)
Anyway, I thought it was finally time to be open and honest about what is going on with me right now. I’m not seeking sympathy or empathy. Really, I’m not.There was never any fear of self-harm with me, so please, don’t worry about that.
But if me being open and honest helps someone else, well, I’m all about that. Which is why this status is public.
Remember, you’re not alone. Depression is a lying mother-fucker. And even if you know that, you’re not a bad person for listening to its seductive ways. You’re human. We need you here. We need you fighting. it’s a tough fight, I know, but you’re worth all of it.