Antidepression Quandry

For the past several months, I’ve been actively trying to wean myself off of my antidepressants. It’s been going quite well, which is why I’ve been keeping it up. Slow and steady, as I am in no rush. I just feel like it’s time to get off them, and since I know from previous experience how difficult that can be, I figured I would take my time, and just aim for an eventuality. I don’t really want to be taking them for the rest of my life, if I can help it.

I’d forgotten how physically sick I would feel when I changed the consistency of taking them, so I went back to super steady, and made incremental changes as I went along. I keep forgetting when I last took one, so sometimes I still don’t feel great, even though my weaning period has been going on for a long time.

As far as depression goes, however, I’m still feeling pretty balanced. That, for me, has been the main thing to keep an eye on. Even when PMS-ing, though, I’m thus far able to differentiate between when I’m legit upset by something versus weeping unnecessarily hard over a commercial on television.

I mean, I have a new TV now, so everything looks splendid, but still…I can tell when I’m being hormonally over-sensitive, most of the time. So that’s good.

I’m wondering now, though, if I should start taking them regularly again, even just at the lowest dose. I find my ability to focus on one thing at a time is suffering a lot lately, and it occurred to me this morning that it might actually be due to taking myself off antidepressants. It was easier for me to direct my focus when I had something to take the edge off. Is it something I can learn to do for myself, if I keep working my way off of them? I actually don’t know. I’m not entirely sure I ever could. It’s fine on the surface – things still get done, and some of them even get done well. I write everything down now, anyway, because I have trouble remembering things since I started on these MS meds. So keeping track in alternate ways helps me, and is a habit I’ve developed anyway. But it’s frustrating on the inside. I feel almost overwhelmed sometimes, and more often now than I used to. Again, maybe I can learn to focus better, anyway.

But maybe not.

The other point in favour of going back on them more regularly is how, like…not exactly over-sensitive, but I’m having a lot more anxiety now, and as such I am getting much less sleep. I’m constantly thinking about things, and going over things in my mind. That on top of the usual MS fatigue I’ve been experiencing the past few years is making it harder for me to NOT break down and cry about even the smallest things.

Again, maybe in time I’ll learn how to quiet my mind naturally and get better rest. But maybe I won’t. Maybe I never really could. I’m not actually sure.

For now, I’m not really going to make any decisions. I just started thinking about it this morning, and since I’m definitely PMS-ing (bring me salt!) right now, I may as well wait until I at least have whichever faculties I usually have about me again, and go from there!

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I’m Still Standing

So basically, I was done with today well before I even left the apartment this morning. I debated whether or not to do even that much, but only briefly, because there’s just too much to do at work at the moment. In a way, it’s easier to just come in and do it than figure out what happened while I was off when I get back. Plus, in today’s case, I think being there in the heat and the ridiculousness of all the things that went wrong for me this morning would have been worse than coming to work.

Just, you know, to put into perspective how much my morning sucked.

However, there was no one big thing to which I could attribute my feeling that everything was spiralling out of control, but rather a plethora of small things that overwhelmed me as I was being bombarded by them. Despite just wanting to give up and go back to bed, though, I was instead able to take care of home problems as much as possible before I left, push the panic surrounding things I can’t control at the moment to the side long enough to realize that it’s probably not as bad as I’m fearing, and get myself to work. On time, even.

I haven’t really slept, I feel physically quite terrible, and I am struggling to focus on the tasks at hand…but here I am. Doing it all, anyway.

I realized that, while the frustration and panic and stress and fatigue made everything seem out of control, I can still actually function in small ways, and today that’s enough. It’s enough for me to feel a sense of pride in my ability to do the things I can do, even when it seems like there are so many more things that I can’t. Somehow, I was able to recognize that my feelings are still valid, even if there are all kinds of external reasons for feeling them more acutely than may be necessary. Maybe I get frazzled easily over little things sometimes, but even that is valid, because it’s how I feel. And that I am able to recognize that as it’s happening – as I stand in the eye of that emotional storm – yet still manage to keep up the struggle, makes me proud of myself.

I didn’t let the frazzled-ness win. What felt overwhelming didn’t actually overwhelm, because I’m still standing. Struggling, yes, and unsure as to how some things will turn out, but even that is a far more positive step than giving in and giving up. Any step forward is better than no step at all.

I think my therapist would be crazy pleased with me today, as well. And who doesn’t want that kind of validation, really? 😉

Interesting Day

Interesting day.

Physically taxing, yet somewhat emotionally rejuvenating.

I had kind of a hard week – work, fatigue, the heat, stress, sadness yet trying to wean off antidepressants, and a general malaise in every facet of my being.

I am tired.

This morning, I helped out a raccoon who took longer than usual to accept my aid, but I finally saw them run across the street to head home for the day.  Then I carried home a sweet little cabinet that was on the curb – it was heavier than it seemed at first, and about did me in on a physical level.  My muscles have been shaking ever since; every cell of my body feels drained.

Totally have great nerdy plans for that cabinet, though.

Then, after much back-and-forth deliberation, I went to the zoo.  Had a brief but amazing time with equally amazing friends,got to see inside the white rhino barn and met Tony, the handsomest white rhino I’ve ever seen.  He is astounding up close – at least as close as we got today.  I can’t even imagine being able to touch him and look directly into those deep, gentle eyes of his.

Also, there was swag, some of which I scored thanks to those aforementioned amazing friends, and am so excited to add to my zoo-related belongings!

And there were crayons.  And, hence, colouring.

I decided to stay longer to hang out with young Miss Juno, who was being ridiculously cute and even lingered by the fence with me for a while.  Also helped a nice older lady plan her tour of zoo babies, which was fun!

I was running out of steam in the Eurasia Wilds when I met up with another friend, but decided that I could not leave in good conscience without seeing the baby lynx and my beloved gorilla troop.  So I stayed longer than planned, but added the giraffes (Kiko has grown taller, I believe), and a repeat viewing of the polar bears – as well as other animals along the way – to the mix.

Now I’m extra exhausted, and everyone hurts.

But I can’t say it wasn’t worth it!

Thanks friends!  🙂

PS Too tired to proofread this – sorry for any errors I didn’t catch while typing!

 

Kindness and Writing

I’m not very kind to myself when I am unhappy.

I have an opportunity to make a big change, which will make me more out-of-control unhappy for a while, but may balance out in the end naturally, if I stay on top of things.

It’s weird to not be quite certain as to whether you are doing something good for you in the long run, but knowing it’ll make you even more miserable in the short term. Like, would I be doing it for the potential long term gain? Or because I believe on some level that I deserve the short term misery?

Similar scenarios have come up…pretty much my whole life, I think, but I really only noticed the bizarre nature of the conundrum within the past decade, or so. I even like to push myself occasionally, just to see how much I can take. And I can take a lot. And that, too, makes me proud.

Maybe only part of it is thinking I deserve it. Maybe part of it is about finding some new part of myself to be pleased with.

Twisted as that is.

I think I’m in an abusive relationship. With myself.

Then again, I think most people are, to some degree. I’m just better able to recognize it, and that also pleases me, about me.

Also – like, I usually have more than one thing going on in my daily life. And way more than that on my mind. Narrowing it all down to one topic or two to graze the surface of in a blog post isn’t meant to indicate that I only ever have one thing to talk about. Or that I want to talk about. Or that there isn’t far more that I don’t want to talk about. Sometimes I think maybe I should just focus on doing different little writing exercises, instead of trying to come up with something to say. I actually want to do more writing exercises, because they are fun, and forcing myself to do them more often might somehow improve my writing a bit. Part of me always worries about putting my writing online, because then it’s a public forum, not copyrighted, and easy to steal.

But then again, if someone really wants to claim something I whipped up on my lunch break at work was actually something they wrote themselves, then perhaps I should just be flattered, and let them have at it.

Obviously they would be in far worse shape than I!

Zoo Day Okay

First day of a four day long weekend for me, so tried to sleep in a bit, then went to the zoo for a while.

Headed out later than usual to avoid the school crowd, and that actually worked out pretty well.  More people were leaving than arriving, by that point.

I’m still not in a good space, and even he happiest place on Earth couldn’t cure my blues, but it still had its moments.  I decided to not visit the pandas because I needed something more immediate than a half hour wait for thirty seconds of time, so I headed straight for my friend, Juno, the polar bear cub.  Back in her big brother’s day, it was the Tundra Trek where I spent the beginning and end of my day, so it seemed a better fit.  I tried taking a few deep breaths once I was in the relative quiet of the Core Woods, too, just to try and wash some of the “me” off of me.

Juno is really freaking cute.  She spent a lot of time trying to get her keepers to bring out some more food once she had emptied her bowl (saving some on her nose for later like the delicate flower that she is), but did come over closer a few times, and I got some golden shots of her adorable little face.  She’s getting good at taking a running jump up onto her rocks, now, too.  I still have yet to see her in her pool, though.

I swung by to check on a few other friends – the giraffes, white lions, Watusi, penguins – but I spent a great deal of time with the gorilla troop.  I was even there for most of the keeper talk, and then spent several minutes chatting with the keeper more after, too.  I love being around that family.  They never fail to just calm the world down.  My heart was so down today that I had tears in the corner of my eyes more often than not, but still…they are just so much love.  And Charles is such a big kid when it’s treat time during the keeper talk.  Totally chill, but so kid-like he makes me heart explode sometimes.  Don’t even GE me started on Nneka, either.  That baby girl, man.  She is really something else.  I will miss seeing her and Nassir together, but she’s really growing into a sweet, hilarious, Independant youngster, and I’ m enjoying watching her interactions with everyone else, now, too.

Baby Lynx, a  zoomobile ride through Eurasia, Dairy Queen, time spent with a friend, and then home to the critters I love most.

With the very real possibility that I’ll do at least some of it again tomorrow.  Maybe by then I’ll be able to enjoy it more, too.

On Loss and Depression and Stuff

A combination of things that came up within a couple of days of one another reminded me of something I’d noticed about myself some time ago, but still haven’t fully come to terms with as of yet.

One was talking with my buddy and hearing him say how he used to love hanging out in his backyard, and how he should start doing more of that now that the weather is nice. His backyard, it turns out, is ridiculously amazing, and I can’t wait to hang out in it again, myself. Never give that up, dude! Haha

Another was a passage in the book I am currently reading, Wit’s End by Karen Joy Fowler. It mentioned something about how, when one experiences a loss of pretty much any sort, one ceases to be the same person they once were. Sometimes there are massive changes, and sometimes it’s just something little – something you used to enjoy that you don’t anymore. Or that you still do enjoy, but which you’ve forgotten in your attempt to deal with said loss.

I mean, people change as they grow older, anyway, of course, but I feel like this is something a bit different. Sometimes it happens because we equate at least some aspect of the thing with whoever was lost, and we no longer derive enjoyment from it as a result. Sometimes it’s more the depression that comes after a loss, or – in my case – that’s triggered by the loss. It’s hard to feign enthusiasm about something you used to love when you’re just not feeling it anymore.

And it’s confusing.

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve remembered loving something, yet been too detached inside to still feel like I love anything, let alone any particular thing. Usually I keep trying to do it, anyway, even if I no longer get much enjoyment out of it. Then the sense of emptiness and of disappointment that accompanies the attempt to enjoy something I remember loving before pushes me down even further. The sense of let-down; that I’ve let myself down, and that I’ve let others down. Especially with fandom-related things, where the sense of community was once so strong. Though, really, I think the fans pretty much ruined fandom for me, for the most part. I think that was more one of the losses, for me, realizing I didn’t feel like I had that anymore.

In most cases, though, the thing itself didn’t change; I just don’t feel the same about it anymore. I changed, while the thing remained the same. And if I can’t still feel like I love the same thing as I once did, then who’s to say I can love something else as much? What if I can’t find the next things I love?

What if I can’t love at all?

Well, that escalated quickly. #melodrama #pms

Anyway, there is a definite difference between realizing you don’t love something anymore – be it due to a particular loss, or depression, or just aging and personal growth – and realizing that you do still love it, but you’ve been letting life and circumstances keep you from doing it more and/or enjoying it to its full extent. It’s not always simply a case of “fake it ’til you make it”, or of just doing it and relying on whatever it is to turn your mood around.

Sometimes it’s not about a mood.

Actual depression isn’t something that can be fixed by pretending to be happy, or thinking happy thoughts. It’s not about being sad all the time. It’s more about not being happy, if you want to simplify it, but from what I can tell, even that’s not very accurate. In my experience, it’s usually more of a lack of feeling anything at all; a deadening of the senses, of emotion, of thought. Of course, I have also been on medication for it regularly since 2009, and off and on for years before that, so it’s quite likely that the meds are doing their job and I can no longer accurately remember what it was like before I started taking them again, when everything was still very raw.

I do remember a few occasions where I suddenly realized that some of the things which had previously made me happy were no longer doing so. I remember being confused by that sensation. I remember not being certain if I would ever really feel joy again, but being more concerned with getting out of the emotional hole I was stuck in for a time. The purpose of the meds was to take the edge off so that I could work more productively both with my therapist, and in my daily life. Not employment work, so much as just being able to express awareness of my own feelings and understand what I needed to do to take better care of myself. To even want to take better care of myself. It’s a delicate balance – it’s not like I don’t still feel; I just have more time in a middle ground instead of highs and lows – but it’s a balance nonetheless.

Sometimes that’s enough. And sometimes spending time in your sweet backyard is really all you need for now. 🙂

Rambling Mind

I don’t understand what’s going on. At all. Maybe nothing. I have no idea. There is, of late, a huge disconnect between my inner and outer realities. Add a healthy dose of PMS into the mix and the confusion is overwhelming. So isolating. Perhaps I am just succumbing to my usual paranoia and uncertainty. Though it’s often been right in the past – can it still be deemed paranoia if it ends up being correct?

Meh. Questions without answers, really. Better to just keep plodding along and wait for my next break.

I have my next MRI on Sunday. While I’m technically hoping it will be a quick session, I feel it’s much more likely that it’ll be one of the long 45-minute-IV-with-contrast-material types, instead. It makes more sense, since it’s just my annual check-up type one and they’ll want to get as much detail and cover as much territory in the scans as possible. I just really hate those ones, and am running out of ways to entertain myself while in the tube for that long. However, at least it’ll be over with, and since Monday is a holiday, I’ll be able to just relax and do nothing, if I want, the whole next day. That’ll help. Usually I feel more than a little off once I come out of the machine. I know it doesn’t do anything to me physically, but my mind feels cloudy, anyway. Maybe from focusing on remaining still while not letting claustrophobia set in.

There should be a law against cologne – or artificial scents of any kind – that I can smell even if I am not near you. Seriously people. What kind of nastiness are you trying to cover up by dousing yourself so completely in something else?

Anyway.

I’m frustrated at this whole not working Saturdays thing. I know, sounds weird, but there are several reasons why I’m feeling this way. Aside from the fact that it’s a shorter work day, and earns a longer weekday off, which is sometimes enough. But it would give me the opportunity to do other things I want to do sometimes. Like go to the zoo. I hate going on weekends, through the summer at least, because of the hoards of sweaty hairless apes in my way, ruining my Zen thing. But if I want to go on a weekday, I have to burn a vacation or sick day to do it. I got turned down for volunteering at the Wildlife Centre because the weekend shifts are first to go, and those are the only ones I could do. I probably wouldn’t be a Big Sister again anyway, but that’s another thing I can’t do. Not the in-school mentor program, at least. I can see my therapist if I book an appointment first thing and then head to work after, which doesn’t always have me in the greatest headspace for the rest of the work day. Sometimes it’d be better if I could just go home after and process. But I can’t, unless I am willing to burn a sick day, o vacation day, if I know far enough in advance that I won’t feel up to coming in that day.

Overall, it’s fine. I’ve just been feeling lately like I am having to give up a lot of the things that I’d enjoy or look forward to or benefit from in some way in order to continue receiving a paycheque. That is, of course, the most important thing, because without that I’d have far less opportunity than I do now. I guess I’m just sad that this seems to be all there is, and I am struggling to make even that much balance out. It’s depressing sometimes.

In other news, Mr. Brodykins has an appointment with the groomer on Saturday! He will hate every moment, except the ones where he gets to hang with Momma Kristi and ride in the car. Probably on her lap, if he gets his way. That’s his preferred mode of travel, after all. I hate leaving him there, knowing how miserable it makes him, but he does love being picked up after, and being told how utterly adorable he is. He likes to show off a bit, at that point. Maybe I’ll see about getting him some kind of little special treat for being a good boy. Because he’s always a good boy. He hates the whole grooming process with the seething fire of a thousand suns, but he doesn’t fight it. Instead, he freezes in his silent misery, and tolerates it all until it’s finally over. And then gets unnaturally excited when you put his collar back on.

Bless.

I love that little guy.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m just so in my head I don’t really know what’s accurate or real anymore. Or maybe my instincts are good enough that I’m getting the hints being put out there, but am just not certain enough to react. Maybe there’s nothing to react to at all. Regardless, I feel dumb, so hopefully I can figure out at least some of it soon. It’s seeming pretty manic, really. I’m still here, though, so as much as I am trying to sort some things out, I’m also trying to, like, live day to day life. It’s all I can think to do, sometimes.

Long weekend coming up finally, and then next weekend is the first one I booked off for myself. Four days in a row! I don’t know how I’ll manage NOT to give myself so much to do that I won’t get it done and then be disappointed in myself…but I’m going to try not to give myself so much to do that I don’t get it done and feel disappointed in myself.

A co-worker just asked if it was Friday yet – it’s like he’s reading my mind. I was just thinking how far away Friday still is, but that it’s kind of a good thing because I have a lot to do in the meantime.

I was looking up screenwriting contests yesterday to see if there were any deadlines I could aim for but realistically meet. I realized that I’m not anywhere close to ready to start writing the updated adaptation of my first book, though. I need to sort out the changes that will be made and how they’ll all go together with the parts of the story that are being kept. I’ll work on a new outline first, and then consider starting the script.

Why can’t things in our heads just come out on paper automatically?