If you’re reading this blog I sincerely hope that throughout the years you have acquired basic knowledge of mental illness and thus you are aware that depression is not just a vague feeling of sadness now and then. I hope you are aware that depression is not a poetic melancholy. Depression is hell on earth, it is the crying till you cannot no more and fall asleep from the fatigue every night, it is the praying not to wake up the following morning. Depression is not being able to do your school work because you spend too much time laying on your bed with a blank face and a head full of thoughts. Imagine life as swimming in the ocean, sometimes there are huge waves and eerie atmosphere, at other times it is calm and peaceful, now imagine you have a large, heavy, black stone tied to your left foot, the stone represents depression. You’re unable to swim just like before the stone has tied itself to you, you cannot swim towards your goals and aspirations just like others around you as you are constantly sucked under water and the only thing you are focused on is the darkness of depression.
From the time my mental problems have started, I have felt these emotions and struggles yet they were in such moderation that I was able to lead a sad and miserable, yet fairly normal life. In July I was prescribed the magical famous anti-depressant Zoloft! I was happy, I was finally diagnosed with that thing that has been bothering me for so long, I got my medication and thought that my problems would disappear with the click of my fingers. My first week on Zoloft ended with feeling sick and dizziness. I survived. The second week on zoloft started the so called -hell-. I lost interest in what I wear, how I look and all the appearance stuff I used to care so precisely about. Secondly, school work was out of the question, I did nothing for a month as I was unable to, I was numb inside, I felt so bad I could not even cry. My days were as follows – if I managed to get out of bed (which rarely happened) I went to school, I was in my own world of fantasy during each lesson unless I had panic attacks (which zoloft seemed to have tripled over the course of trying to cure me out of them). I can’t remember all the things I went through, even if I do, they are impossible to describe. My 8 weeks on zoloft was the time when I think I was going through the thing that can be classified as worse than actual death.
My family decided to help and took me yet to another psychiatrist, oh the joys of telling another stranger about my life and myself. The new psychiatrist was so competent and really got straight down to the cause of my problems and has diagnosed me with PTSD. Now everything made so much sense, the emotional numbness, the depression, the anxiety, the panic attacks and being unable to communicate with people. I was prescribed with paxil and xanax. Weirdly, once again, due to the kindness and competence of my new doctor, I actually thought that this would be it and that this time I would get better. She also told me that I should go to therapy as medication can only help me feel better but I have to open up about my past bla bla bla. That was just what I did, I went to therapy at the same clinic, the therapist is great, she is so lovely and open and there are no barriers between us, the first time I went to see her I left feeling completely normal (for an hour or so) and it was great! I smiled at people on the bus, I didn’t feel the need to listen to music and disappear to my fantasy world, I felt as if the rope that is tied between my foot and the stone has loosened and I can swim more freely. It was amazing, something I have not felt for a couple of years. But then the reality, and also my mother moaning about therapy prices kicked in and I was back to my normal self which I don’t even know how to describe, it just seems so pathetic. So moving back to my medication, I started paxil and was on it for 4 weeks, through this time I had the worst suicidal thoughts ever and that is coming from a person who has twice planned and once attempted suicide. I was afraid I would kill myself – isn’t it ironic how I want to kill myself, how I desire death but how scared of it I am? I suddenly had these moments where I knew that if I didn’t get help, I would end my life right there. I once had this happen to me at school during my economics class. It was hell. And the next lesson was spent with the nurse in her quiet office drinking tea, I felt better afterwards, but I still thought about killing myself. And that is how the four weeks o paxil went, I was more stressed, depressed and not even well dressed (ha ha).
Then my psychiatrist decided to act and -drum roll- I got new meds. I was told to go off paxil slowly, taking lower doses for another week (great!) and to immediately start on lithium (not an anti-depressant, this is going to be interesting. I thought. It wasn’t.) as apparently it is great in stabilising mood and getting the suicidal thoughts out of your head. I took it one week, and as you can probably figure out by now, it did nothing at all. Sorry, it did actually, my whole body was trembling like an old lady, my hands were shaking so much I struggled to eat with them. Mentally, I felt no change, as if nothing has changed, I was off paxil and only on lithium yet felt as if I was on nothing at all. Another unsuccessful medicine off the bucket list. I stopped taking lithium after a week when the trembling and shaking got so bad, my friend would mistake it for seizures.
It is my third day off lithium, my third day since July, when I’m off any kind of meds. My family is happy as they saw what happened to me when I was on the above mentioned pills, plus they think that there is nothing wrong with me and I shouldn’t have taken medication in the first place, but why aren’t I happy? Well, off the meds, I have been crying for three days straight, I went from being numb and unable to cry to crying over everything. I cry during shower and dinner, I cry during walking my dog and doing school work. I just simply cry all the time. I feel so bad, the suicidal thoughts have returned again and I have no one to tell it to. I have my best friend, B, but I do not feel like telling her anything about this, I don’t need pity. I lost my second best friend due to her and my post-anti-depressant mood swings. My mother and I always fight, she is so disappointed in me due to the cutting and the whole illness that today she even mentioned how she is embarrassed to have such a daughter. I won’t comment on that as I have already cried about it for three hours straight – if only crying burned calories!
I am left alone now, I have no one to talk to, no one I trust with my real feelings, I have no medications, the tablets turned my life around and left it a hundred times worse. What is there for me to do? If I have said that depression is hell, think about what treatment-resistant depression might be like. I have never been so terrified in my life, I am living with a demon that is ruining my life and it’s ‚treatment-resistant’. This is going to be interesting, I wonder how will I cope with all of this on top of my school and family and friend issues. I think my time is slowly ending, how much can a girl take?