Depression…Parte Tres

change-aheadEvery time I entered both of my shrinks’ offices’, I wanted to immediately turn around and run. No one I had known at the time had receive this type of treatment, they’d usually just take the prescription from their physician and carry on. I felt absurd. I kept my family in the dark, I honestly did not know how to start this conversation with them especially through the phone. I was three weeks into my treatment when I finally went home to tell my family, as strongly suggested by my therapist. It was the worst plane ride ever. My depression was still very present and anxiety attacks would still visit me daily and as I started boarding the plane for a six hour flight I tried so fucken hard to keep my shit together. As soon as I got to my seat I put my hood on, closed my eyes and focused on my breathing. At the time my therapist was teaching me mindfulness coping strategies and my psychiatrist had started me on a really low dose of fluoxetine. I only moved to drink water and to exit the plane. My visit was nothing short of emotional. So many damn tears, not only from me but from all my siblings and mother.

I don’t remember the day I began to feel a bit more normal, in the sense that I wasn’t breathing erratically or almost crying all day or having major panic attacks. The medication began to work and I was beginning to become attune to my emotions. I was (still kind of am) someone who adheres more to logic than my emotions. Though a very sympathetic/empathetic person I struggle(d) to allow myself to feel what I am feeling most of the time. Therapy really helped with that, allowing me accept what I feel.  I am quick to push my emotions to the side in order to get shit done; if it doesn’t help or will get in my way of doing or finishing something or make me feel weak, I don’t want to feel it. I have realized how detrimental it is to one’s emotional/mental health and still struggle to accept and embrace certain emotions. When I cry, I no longer feel ashamed or weak. When I feel sad or hollow I allow myself sit in those feelings. I don’t wallow in self-pity, instead I embrace my feelings and ask myself why I feel this way.

Slowly, I began to venture out into the world again. Going out again, hiking and feeling confident with both school and work. I felt emotionally and mentally better. But I did not feel like the same person from before the episode and it was frustrating. And I constantly compared myself to old me, pre-2012 clinical depression episode me. I couldn’t concentrate as well, I was far more emotional, too much exposure to sun would make me dizzy and I struggled with both vertigo and hypochondria. I was mad at myself for always automatically feeling/being cautious of everything I was doing. Constantly second guessing myself in things I never had before. It was learning my new limits and I hated it.

I continued weekly therapy for 5 months and then did biweekly sessions for about 4 months and decided to stop taking fluoxetine 6 months into treatment. I decided to use the medication as a crutch until I felt confident enough that I could handle both minor depression episodes and anxiety attacks with the mindfulness strategies my therapist had taught me. My psychiatrist didn’t necessarily agree with my decision, but it was something I wanted to at least try. I continued with practicing mindfulness, yoga and better communicating and accepting my emotions. For about two years I did not have a major depression episode, only those little bouts that lasted 2-3 days but nothing I felt I could not handle on my own. And then it felt like my world came crashing down slowly and I was drowning while burning at the same time. – Bella

To my dear Pan…

Pan,
I cannot quit you. No matpannnter how hard I try I sprint back to you. You’ve been my comfort for as long as I can remember, in my good and bad times, especially my bad, no no I mean my good times, heck you’ve always been there. From pan dulce to croissants you just can’t disappoint! Who ever first created you is a true God. Even though you’re causing me major weight gain right now I still love you:) I’m going to have to limit you right now just for my health, I hope you understand, it truly isn’t you its me. Stay tasty my friend. – Nene

 

Self-Preservation

notebook-picDark memories and worries about the future woke me up this morning. Not cool. I know this happens to everybody and it sucks. It’s been happening to me more often the last few weeks. This is often a sign that I am not taking care of myself as best as I should. I am not taking care of my emotional health. I have a million excuses not to take care of my emotional health. Work has been busy and we’re still organizing our new place and trying to prepare for upcoming family events. Yes, I have tons of stuff going and I’m sure you do too. But taking care of ourselves is most important. Self preservation is so important. When the dark memories and worries start to come after me, it’s because I am not dealing with something or I am not expressing something that is bothering me. Just voicing my concerns about the future of things that may never happen can make me feel a lot better. My acts of self-preservation lies mostly in writing and affirmations. Getting up early and writing about what is on my mind and what I am feeling has served as a great release for me. The problem is that I do not do it every day and sometimes only once or twice a week. I need to take a step back and make my writing a priority in my day-to-day. My writing is not a luxury but a necessity to my peace and happiness.

Writing is my act of self-preservation.

-Leticia