2020 is behind us and while 2021 has not yet done much in way of proving itself any different than the preceding year, I do believe a fair bit of optimism is in order moving forward.
Times have been tough for us all. We’ve all had our own private struggles, to go along with a worldwide pandemic that has touched all of our lives in different, some tragic, ways. My woes are not far in comparison to everyone else’s currently. I miss my friends, I miss my family, my finances are in the garbage and the bills (and thus stress) keep piling up. To say I have had a bleak mindset in recent months would be an embarrassing understatement.
I’m getting ahead of myself.
I have severe depression and anxiety. I suffer from bouts of deep sadness and manic panic attacks, am besieged by frequent “major depressive episodes” and have contemplated suicide countless times in my life. Attempted it at least a couple, as well. It was really bad in my teenage years, but figured at the time that it was only hormones and testosterone and that every other teenager was going through the same thing and really what was so damn special about me anyway. Through the love and compassion of a small group of wonderful people I’ve met in my life, acquaintances who became friends, friends who became family, I was able to “survive” those years and was able to push that shadow back into the inner recesses of my mind. Kept it at bay.
Then five years ago, my grandfather and father passed away within months of each other.
It was like a door was unlocked, a gate unhinged and blown off of a wall, that darkness was back in a big way. I struggled for so very long before finally seeking help and being put on an antidepressant for the first time in my life, though that should have probably happened much earlier. I’ve had varying levels of success with the various pills I have been on in recent years, but with the fifth anniversary of my grandfather’s passing having just happened and the fifth anniversary of my father’s passing looming on the horizon, coupled with the aforementioned universal issues of money/loneliness/plague, I have been very unwell lately.
I spoke with my doctor, a lovely man by the name of Dr. Shelstead, and he switched me from Citalopram (on which I have been for at least a year now) to Effexor. We’ll see how this works, if I’m able to reclaim some sense of normalcy or stability in coming weeks. Today is only my second dose and so far, aside from mild nausea and a headache which may or may not have been related, so good.
I am also coming up on a full year since I fell and fractured my back. Pain is still a daily hurdle to clear, still easing back into a normal work routine. When I finally returned to work, it was under the orders of three hours a day for three days a week, but now I have the green light to work six hours a day, three days a week. It is not much, but it close to doubles my current paycheck, which will be a huge help with bills. I explained to Dr. Shelstead that I was afraid people would think I was making up my pain, in order to attain sympathy and an easy work schedule. He said he believed me, as I hadn’t been requesting hard pain relievers, just that I want the pain to stop.
I was doing so very well with my weight loss, having lost almost fifty pounds total, but given the gravity of things and old habits having a tendency to die hard, I was saddened at the clinic to learn I had gained almost all of it back.
I’m not sharing any of the above information in a cry for help or a grab for attention/pity, but rather to highlight the fact that we are not alone in any of this. I have been much better recently in reaching out to those around me for help when I feel like it’s all getting too much. I have been making every attempt possible to ignore the lies depression and anxiety are wont to tell. That I am a burden to those around me, that no one really loves me and I’m seen as a joke or a one dimensional presence in peoples lives. That I truly have no friends and no one wants to hear me complain about my life.
These are the thoughts and feelings that have almost cost me my life. If not for those select few in my life that I know I can speak to and who care about me, I probably would not be here.
With the addition of Effexor to my daily round of medications and with the promise of a vaccine (I’m on the list now, as is Danielle) and loosening public restrictions around the corner, as well as the welcome shift to warmer weather, I am hopeful that the rest of my year will be better. Dr. Shelstead and I discussed my joining a weight loss program they offer at the local clinic, but I told him to give me a month. In starting the Effexor, he wants to see me in one month to check in and see how its working anyway. Plus, with the Effexor having side effects that are beneficial to weight loss, and a renewed drive to get the number on that scale even lower than it was before, I think I can get into a much better place physically by that point. It’s really just finding a bit of calm mentally that worries me.
Nicer weather and no ice on the ground mean I can start my daily walks again. I’ve been eating a much higher volume of fruits and veggies, been watching my sodium intake and protein consumption, and have been doing my physical therapy exercises daily.
I’ll definitely post my progress here.