I’m starting to feel better, and I want to share some of my experiences and things I’m learning about depression. In particular, I want to share a bit of hope related to antidepressants.
I had a hard week, but by the end of it I started to feel the clouds of depression parting. I was laid up one day with cramps and abdominal pains and another day with a migraine. As those symptoms eased, I began to notice my mind felt clearer and more focused than it has in months, I had a little more energy and felt stronger, and I had a little spark of happiness.
Somewhere around May I started to slide into a recurrence of depression. I was stressed and grieving, so it was very hard for me at the time to see depression coming on. I think it was August when I realized I was in trouble.
I’ve been through this before. About 10 years ago I had a bout of serious depression, and I dug myself out of that pit. From that experience, I recognized it as I started to sink back into the quicksand this time around. I also learned I can weather these times in life and find happiness again. I know that it can feel hopeless, but that is a feeling and not a fact. I know that it gets better. I also learned from my past experience that antidepressants can be very helpful for me. I had been on various dosages of Wellbutrin over the past 10 years. They worked for me.
About a year ago I felt fantastic and had been stable for quite a few years. I was also newly married and thinking about trying to get pregnant. I wanted to see how I’d do without the medication, and whether I could do pregnancy without exposing my child to those drugs. Anyway, I went through most of the year feeling good even though we were going through some serious difficulties including the death of my husband’s mother. We had hard times, but I felt good. This changed as my job became more and more stressful. And then as I didn’t get pregnant, as I learned how difficult it would be for me, and realized it was realistically not going to happen for me. This capsized me.
I wish I had gone back to my doctor right away this spring to get back on Wellbutrin. As soon as I met with the specialist and got the tough news, I should have got a prescription. I guess I was thinking I could get through, but I think my brain chemistry is such that stress and loss of that magnitude will sink me. And it did. My depression was very strong the last several months. In August, I started 150 mg daily Wellbutrin. There were a few days where I thought maybe I was starting to feel better, but after 6 weeks I actually felt worse. My dosage then got increased to 300 mg daily.
After 3 weeks, I have started to feel the clouds parting. I caught myself whistling at work and singing at random times. This is my normal, but I haven’t for months. I felt more focused, like cobwebs clearing. I had almost felt filled with concrete and about as intelligent. Now I feel a little more alive and focused. The world had felt closed in around me, but I feel it opening up. I take more enjoyment from experiences.
Depression runs in my family and I expect I’ll manage it my whole life. I hope I won’t have to be on medication forever. I think I’ll have to be vigilant during times of high stress and be quicker to ensure I’m having my depression treated. I shouldn’t wait again until I’m so deep in the pit.
I know that medications may not be for everyone, but I want to share that it has seriously helped me. I was honestly starting to worry about being able to keep working with how terrible I felt. I still feel stressed and sad and worried and heartbroken. The difference is that I feel like I can keep going forward.
Image: Sonnenaufgang vom Weldenstein (Sunrise from Weldenstein) by Emil Orlik, public domain
Content copyright Snowdroplets 2015