No Zoloft! Woo Hoo!

So I finally got off of Zoloft a few weeks or a couple months or so ago. I wish I had posted about the getting off process, but I didn’t. Oh well. I asked my doctor about trying to get off and he suggested tapering over the course of 4 weeks (dropping to 150mg, 100mg, 50mg, 25mg and then stopping) I’ve read many things about how horrible it is to get off of Zoloft, so I decided (though he said it wouldn’t be necessary) to taper even slower. I think I spent about two weeks at each stage but didn’t notice any withdrawal until I was reducing from 50 to 25mg. So I fluctuated at that point. Withdrawals continued as I reduced from 25mg to zero, so there were a few weeks where I wouldn’t take anything for a few days, and then would go back to 50, and 25 the next couple days. How much I took depended on how strong I was feeling the withdrawals. It definitely was not as bad as many people have had it getting off, I strongly recommend tapering, I’ve only ever read bad things about getting off too quickly or all at once. The worst I had was a couple days of migraine type headaches.

So now I’m only on Adderall. I felt like my lack of focus was the major cause of my depression once I tried adderall. It made me feel so much better than Zoloft ever did. Or so I thought. I can’t tell. I wish it was more clear what was doing what. That was part of my purpose of this blog, but I can’t really tell what’s going on, so …i don’t know.

I feel good and am glad to be off the zoloft, but there have definitely been some depressing days. I think it’s easier now though because I can identify those emotions as depression, so while it is unpleasant to the taste, at least I know I’m not at fault and I don’t beat myself up over “being too negative” or “always being sad.” Depression is a tricky thing though. Even with all the good days I’ve had (long strings of them even), one depressive day came make all the doom and gloom seem so real. I remember that it’s not always that way, that this is a temporary state. I remember tactics to get out of it… but sometimes those tactics don’t work, and I don’t know what to do, and all the thoughts that come along with depression start to seem real. I know they are not true though, and those thoughts never help anything or make anything better, so I just do the best I can to put them aside, shove them away, or to clear my mind and think of other things.

Sometimes I just accept that I’m depressed that day, and I just cut myself some slack. I try to stay positive, but I don’t put a lot of pressure on myself to do anything that doesn’t feel right on those days. If I have things that need to get done some day, and I just don’t feel like doing it, then I just don’t, and often I find that I’m not feeling the same the next day. I also find that when I am able to stay on track and stay focused, and work on and do the things I’m supposed to be working on and doing, that it feels very rewarding, and tends to lead toward very satisfying and fulfilling days. I also find that overloading myself, even with things that I want to do, becomes stressful and depressing. So I try (but have not found a balance) to limit the number of things I want to be working on or trying to get done in a day.

So back to the adderall…well I take that (sometimes), but I also just had my third child a few months back, and I also have my wife on maternity leave. So has all this wondrous stuff been the result of a more focused mind and that then because of adderall? Or is it just that I’m at one of those wondrous times in my life? And is the adderall messing with me like I think it is, or am I just stressed, because three little kids and not having a job, and not knowing what to do is stressful? Well, I think it’s all a combination of both. I keep telling my doctor that the adderall makes me very sleepy, but he doesn’t believe me. I don’t just get sleepy, I feel very odd. So finally out of curiosity I decided to look into it myself. Sure enough, if you overdose on adderall, it puts you up for a few short hours, and then you crash hard. The sleepiness can be accompanied by headaches and other symptoms I wasn’t even looking for but could definitely relate to. So I assume now that I’ve been overdosing on adderall, but here’s the catch…I’m only on 20mg, and I don’t take more than prescribed. All drugs seem to do this to me though (ok, not zoloft or novacane). I don’t smoke, haven’t ever, I hope I never, I’ve never had a drink of alcohol, I don’t even drink coffee or tea…so all I can figure out is that my body isn’t accustomed to extra chemicals and responds accordingly. I don’t know if less adderall will even be enough to have an effect on me, but I don’t like when I crash midday and feel like I could sleep all afternoon and evening and into the next morning. I’ve taken 10mg the past two days, but I can’t tell how much difference it makes. And right now, I’m on here posting this, because right now, I feel off. I don’t know how to put it, but I don’t feel up to doing much of anything.

I feel like the drugs have helped me get my life and mood back on track, but now I’m thinking I’ll need a whole diet overhaul before things are really where they should be. Or maybe it’s something else. I don’t know, and that has been frustrating me.

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Hello all four followers

I was thinking about starting another (totally unrelated) blog. I saw this one and how little I’ve done with it and thought “what a waste.” But then again, I saw the number of viewers, number of visits, and my four ‘followers.’ So maybe it hasn’t gotten tons of views and changed the world in some dramatic way, but as I thought to myself from the beginning, even if what I write or has been written helps a single person, I’m ok with that. That makes it worth it. Maybe part of why I don’t write more is because I don’t know what people want/need. I’m still on this anti-depressant journey, but ooooooh man I am sooo much better than I had been when I started.

Short recap (aka whatever comments come to my head) of the journey over the last couple (actually just over 1.5) years:

So I’ve had this low grade long-lasting depression for my whole life…or for at least as long as I was at a cognitive level sufficient to know that there is a difference. I never wanted to admit it, because it’s scary, it’s embarrassing, nobody wants all the weird worrisome attention that comes with the label. There’s definitely a stigma about it. Or at least I used to think that. My last semester of school, I realized that I was not lined up to step into a career, that school had been a pretty big waste, and that like everyone had told me for years leading up to it…what you learn in school really doesn’t matter. Well, that just about blew it for me. Even up until the last day that semester I was ready to quit. It didn’t help any that the majority of my ‘friends’ came from being part of an honors program…and that entire program and all the friendships in it (not just mine) were falling apart. Luckily I hit my low before that semester even started, so I was able to get help before running into the dark abyss of that last semester.

Just reaching out and getting help…helped. I was still embarrassed and didn’t tell anybody so long as I could find a way to hide it. It was quite awkward, but probably one of the most beneficial things for me was going to “that class” where every meeting starts with “Hi, my name is joe, I’m feeling awkward that I’m sharing my feelings with strangers.” But the tools they gave to me in that class were sooo helpful. I’ve since lost/forgotten most of those tools. I wish I had them back. I’ve tried to do the program on my own from the booklet I received with the program…but for me at least, I have to be accountable to someone in order to have much success with the follow through.

I’ve been on Zoloft ever since. I’d really like to get off of it, but I just recently started taking Adderall, and my psychiatrist doesn’t want to do a bunch of changes at once. I think the Zoloft helped, but it’s not like some magically everything is better type of thing. Without going back and reading past comments, I actually can’t even think of what exactly it did to help.

Then right after I got fired (strongly encouraged to go away) from my first “real” job, I was prescribed Adderall for my ADD…which was also the cause of not being able to keep my job. Oddly enough, I think the Adderall has helped more with the overcoming depression than the Zoloft ever did. I think my “low-grade long lasting depression” has just been a symptom of “high-grade long-lasting procrastination” and ADD. It gets pretty depressing when you feel like, or actually can’t, get anything done. Euhhh such a horrible feeling.

The Adderall has some drawbacks though. I don’t have an appetite. I LOVE ice-cream. I plus Adderall doesn’t love ice-cream. I plus Adderall doesn’t love anything I eat any more. Although I’ve been having cravings for a Dole Whip, one of those sounds pretty good. The lack of appetite became so bothersome, and my ability to do what I need to be doing has improved so much, that I stopped taking it….aaaaand here comes depression. Oh good, glad that didn’t go anywhere…thought I lost it. So…back on the Adderall. I haven’t fixed my diet…but it feels so great to actually be able to focus and get the things done, & achieve the goals I need to.

I think being cognizant of my thoughts and attitudes has helped as well. There are a lot of thoughts that I have changed. I would tell myself “I don’t care.” but I always knew I was lying. So I started telling myself “yes I do” whenever that thought came up. Thinking of what the actual reality is makes it easier to. “It’s not that I don’t care, I do care. I just don’t enjoy doing dishes and cleaning and I wish I didn’t have to.” I don’t have to, but I really don’t want the alternative…as I kept being honest with myself, I was eventually able to get to “actually I do care, I do want the dishes done, I do want to live in a clean house, and all I have to do is wash them, like 7 minutes.” that and “Actually, what I don’t enjoy is depression. What I don’t enjoy is beating myself up over NOT getting it done. I don’t enjoy the internal struggle trying to suppress the thought that I know I need to go do it.”

There have been some pretty successful times, and there have still be some pretty low times. But at least now I’ve got some idea of where I want to be, and when I am depressed, *it has been recent enough that I’ve been happy* that I can remember that, and remember what it feels like, and have the will to get back out of the depressing mood I am so easily beset with.

Soo…anyway…back to that comment about not writing more perhaps because of not know what people want or need. Yes, I’ve had some success. I have tried different solutions, and I may have just walked a few decades in your shoes (or a pair just like them). I am happy to share…if it makes you feel better. Just tell me what you want to know.

We are all the family of God

I felt like sharing a short thought based on a short movie clip that I couldn’t figure out how to embed:
We are all the family of God. I know one source of my greatest happiness has always been family. They annoy me to death but I love them so much. Especially my wife and children. It’s amazing how much joy they bring, yet some people do not get to enjoy the same blessings, at least not in the same ways. The video clip was a montage of interviews of different families, many of whom weren’t married, or couldn’t have children. In one way or another, they all found a ‘family’ to love and cherish and be a part of. Family can be difficult, but it is essential. There are many ways to find a family of your own even if its not the traditional nuclear family. And if it comes down to it, God is your family. I truly believe He is our spirit father. I feel His love. He loves more perfectly than we ever can. I hope this is not something that will be taken as preachy, just as me saying where I have found a source of happiness, in hopes of helping anyone I can to find some too.

“Happiness comes from serving others”

I think the drive behind this blog originally came from how well it worked as a coping mechanism. I’ve had depression my entire life, and I don’t know what changed that caused it to get so bad that I finally HAD TO do something about it. Normal levels of depression is what I was used to, so it was no big deal to go on with life feeling down or bad about myself. Somehow toward the end of my school career, that changed, and I was not interested in anything, and did not enjoy anything. Looking back from this point, it wasn’t the only thing I constantly “dealt” with. I wasn’t healthy, I always dealt with (but never admitted to) significantly high levels of ADD, there were plenty of other things that were not positive attributes, but were ‘just part of who I was.’

When it finally got so bad and I finally couldn’t take it anymore, I decided I needed to take care of myself. I sought treatment for the depression (that’s right when this blog started), and when I had health issues, I went to the doctor and tried to get them resolved. I kept telling myself I would eat better, but only made minimal improvements. Things were actually changing though and getting better. I graduated, eventually got a job, and then that’s when ADD finally took me down. Appearantly this happens to many adults because there are a lot of ways someone might find to cope with ADD in school, and it works all through school. But those same coping mechanisms don’t work in the job world. There are things you have to do, stay focused, right now, hours on end, and you must complete those tasks on someone else’s schedule in a timely manner. I was happy to be working and providing for my family, but in other ways my life was falling apart.

It was the job that led me to admit I had a problem (ADD) and to seek treatment and help with it. Ironically by the time I made it through all the different hoops, tests, and doctors visits to finally get treatment…was about the same time my short-lived job came to an end. That brought more depression, but trying to please my boss and not being able to was so taxing on me that it was actually quite a relief. For the ADD my psychiatrist prescribed Adderall. Oddly enough, I think that has been a better treatment for my depression than the Zoloft. Although I’m taking both, and I hear that they can improve the effects of each other.  Once I worked up to the full dose of Adderall, painfully miserable job ended, and full force starting my own venture…I was in a pretty good high upswing. It was pretty nice. was. Didn’t last.

I’m pretty good at getting depressed. It’s not like I meant to though. All treatments have side effects. I was taking care of myself. It was good to solve all these problems, but I became so focused on me. I wanted to solve all my problems, but I couldn’t, and it was bothering me. I had a hard time seeing how to serve others, even when I was trying to find ways to do so. I also didn’t feel like I could do much of anything for anyone, couldn’t handle anything. I probably could have, but not while being so self-centered.

My wife taught a wonderful family home evening lesson last night about being selfless. And then (ironically) we all wrote down a list of things we want, but for a good cause of letting others know some things they could do to be selfless. We were all committed to do at least one thing for each of the other people in our family before doing anything for ourselves. It has only really been one day, but I feel good. Not because of what others have done for me, but because of the joy I brought to their lives by serving them. I feel more accomplished, less stressed, and more happy than when I work on my own things. It has only been a day, and I’m sure like everything else I do, there will be swings and mood shifts, but I believe it truly works, and I’m grateful to have learned and have been reminded of such an important concept.

Moral of the story: I think it’s important to take care of yourself and be healthy so that you can take care of others.

Here’s some good stuff, that helped me to be led to the thoughts in this post.
“His love never fails, and we never will cease to feel inour hearts the urge “to mourn with those that mourn …and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.” Norwill the peace He promises ever leave us as we serveothers for Him.” Henry B. Eyering https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/04/the-comforter?lang=eng#watch=video

Decades of Depression Don’t End Easy

The happiest thing about my day so far is the small bits of alliteration in that title. Probably not true though. I have kids. Even when they are completely overwhelming, there is something happy about having them around. I really hate to get on here and complain, so I’ll try not to. It hasn’t been easy. I really don’t feel like I know what to do. Things seemed to be going good and getting better for a while there, then everything seemed to be a roller coaster of ups and downs, and then everything seemed to mellow out. No real highs, but no terrible lows either. But now I feel like I have done a fabulous job at overcoming any progress I’ve made. I feel like the drugs don’t have an effect. Or maybe its just that I’ve stopped practicing the techniques that I learned. I’ve been telling myself that I was going to start studying those again for a few months now, but …well that hasn’t happened.

I wish I could give whoever is reading this hope, that you just make a few small changes, and then BAMMM everything is good and happy. In reality I haven’t figured it out. I feel weak, unproductive, almost useless. Not actually like I have no use, but more like that one weird tool you have in your tool box that you rarely have a use for. Unique, special, interesting, maybe even durable and high-quality, and comfortable to use, but so far from the norm that you just don’t need it much. That’s kinda how I feel.

I beat myself up way too much. That needs to change. I’m always down on myself for the past, for choices I made, or didn’t make, for being indecisive, for lost opportunities. Things I wish I could be but that I am not. Feeling like that isn’t helpful. I have to just keep telling myself that the me that made those mistakes isn’t who I am anymore.

One thing I have learned from my past and that I try to teach to as many young people as I can, is to figure out early in life what you want to do so you can prepare yourself early and make sure you get there, and without wasting tons of time either. Not knowing what you want to do can be a huge waste of time.

Anyway…rambling. There are many things I AM grateful for, especially the beauties of nature, and the phenomenons of physics and math and science. There are so many cool little intricacies to this world. I wish I could spend my lifetime exploring them (and get paid for it).

What do you love to do? What do you love about life? Post a comment below because you very well might be the first person to comment on this blog.

So it’s been a month….

To some extent I feel bad for not having published anything. But then again, as someone who suffers from depression…I feel bad anyway, so not sure if that makes a difference.

I had two great weeks in April, and really haven’t felt the same since. I haven’t really been tracking my mood anymore. The topic just isn’t interesting to me. In the beginning I was learning all these new things about it, and getting lots of good insights as to what was happening. I was learning more about me and why I am the way I am. But the thing about studying depression, especially in an introspective manner is that ITS DEPRESSING. So I’m not really too fond of it. I remember thinking and feeling and even posting on here during my high period how great it is and to not lose hope because although the road is long and rough, it gets better. Now I feel like I’m eating my own words. I wonder if it’s true. Can it change? Will it ever change?

I’ve started to get to the point where I feel like rather than try to change who I am, and rather than try to get rid of the depression, to just accept it. It has taken up so much of my time and energy and thoughts trying to deal with exterminating it, and other than a few peaks, I don’t feel like anything is a whole lot different. I’m not trying to sound pessimistic, but I have been depressed so maybe it is that way to me. Anyway, to the contrary I’m thinking, perhaps life is better if I just accept it. Perhaps I would be more free because rather than fighting it and wasting time, money (for prescriptions), energy, and thoughts, I can just enjoy what I enjoy and forget about the fact that I tend to be more pessimistic or depressed than other people. I have a lot of good things going for me, so why should I waste my life worrying about not being in a good mood constantly.

I’ve always wanted to get out of the state I was in. It’s hard to act on something like that (ok, it’s hard to act on anything) when you’re depressed. For a while, I always just accepted it as normal. I didn’t like it, but it’s all I really knew. Then I got to a point leading into the start of my last semester of school where I got so depressed that I couldn’t really function. I think I needed the help and the extra focus on escaping depression so I could finish my last semester of school. There wasn’t a day of that semester that I wouldn’t have rather dropped out if a better opportunity came my way. Even in the last days of the semester, finishing the last exams and projects, I still dreaded it so much I would have preferred dropping out.

But that’s done now. I’m out of school (hopefully forever). I don’t have to worry about that anymore, so I wonder: Is it worth it to keep fighting it? If I am able to function normally, should I still be fighting it? I don’t have a lot of hope for overcoming it any more, but I do have hope that life can be good anyway. And it’s not like fighting it doesn’t come with any negative consequences. I’d rather not be putting perscription drugs into my body every day if I don’t need to. And they have side effects. I’m supposed to be happier and feel better, and have less anxiety too. The side effect of the anti-anxiety drug is increased irritability. Maybe that’d be ok if I realized it was just the drug effecting me, but I often don’t realize that it was the drug, not the situation that was causing me to be more irritable until AFTER it’s gotten me into trouble.

I hope I haven’t discouraged anyone who happens to read this from getting help or continuing the fight if they have gotten help. But I do think with all things in life, it’s important to weigh the costs against the benefits. Maybe I can be happier by living with the depression and enjoying it too. If that makes any sense. I hope it does. Oh good, more hope. I think this writing what I’m thinking thing is better than the drug. Feel free to contact me if you want to write something; maybe I could put up some guest posts and give some other points of view.

Another thought: Almost forgot to mention the possibility that being done with school may relieve enough pressure that the prescriptions and other relief techniques might start working. Who knows. I guess I will at somewhere down the road.

Pray to God, He hears you. And I pray to God, He hears you.

Just found this and wanted to add it. Never give up!

Days 22, 23 & 24

I had two good days followed by a difficult day. I haven’t been good at taking the med at the same time every day, so I wonder if that is causing up and downs. My wife was also at work on the 24th day. It seems like it’s always really difficult without her. Today the 25th day has been daunting as well, and she is at work. I don’t know why but I feel so much less hope on the days she works. Otherwise things seem to be going well. I was really depressed about going back to school, but I feel ok about that now (other than the typical stress I’ve always felt all semester, every semester of school). 

1 Month! And 3 days

I’m not sure about this med. I haven’t had any terrible physical side effects, but I wonder what it’s doing to my mind. My mind and feelings have definitely changed, but it’s hard to tell where to attribute the changes, and even then, they haven’t all been good. I feel like I’ve been in an even worse state of depression ever since I started tracking it and getting help and taking meds. I can’t seem to find the right analogy. It was like I was treading water barely staying afloat, and making no progress, but now I’ve got a current somewhat pushing me, and somewhat pulling me under. 

For example, I get overwhelmed by the smallest things lately. I have a hard time doing things like making lunch, and especially trying to get homework done. Yet at the same time my attitude is different. I used to get hung up on little details. I would take forever to get things done, because everything had to be perfect. I care less now, and I’m able to get past the little unimportant things. But then many times in so overwhelmed I never get started to begin with. 

I also noticed that I seem to think more realistically, I used to have a lot of grand and glorious dreams of how things would play out, especially in my career, but now I realize those were just dreams. The good thing is that it may help me to be successful because my expectations will be more accurate, so it will be easier to gauge the required efforts. 

What d’ya do? The gap between recording something and posting it seems to be lengthening. I’ve been trying to close it by posting longer periods, but I don’t want one post to jump across an entire month either. Anyway, relating to the taking meds at about the same time each day, I am not successfully doing that (mostly.) I think it is helping a little bit, but I feel like I’ve become sensitive to everything. I’m feeling like anything that fluctuates off of a set routine is throwing my mood and balance and everything off. It seems like if I do not eat at the right time, and sleep at the right time, and get up at the right time/get the right amount of sleep, then I don’t feel good. I don’t EVER remember fluctuations in my schedule causing such a problem before, unless I slept way too long or too little, or went too long before eating breakfast. Unlike many of the problems I face in trying to overcome depression, at least with this problem I have an idea of what I need to do. Pinning the med to a schedule seemed to help, so hopefully I can figure out and maintain a good routine with everything else. It’d probably help me to be healthier anyway.

In relation to the dreaming vs realism, it is interesting to me that this post came up, because I was just thinking about that today and remembering that I had written something, but didn’t know when. Apparently that was at the 1 month mark. I’ve been searching for a place to start my career (I graduate from school soon), or just trying to configure a plan for my career. On the days I have hope, and I am happy, I seem to have dreams. I don’t know whether I lost hope and that crushed my dreams, or if I lost my dreams, and that crushed my hope. Either way, whenever I get back down, all hope and dreams seem to be gone. I’m not sure that what I posted about realistic expectations being better has been accurate. I guess it feels much better to have unrealistic dreams that pull you along, than to realize what is practical, and have no excitement in trying to obtain it. I’ve been calling the dreamless state the more realistic one, but I’m not sure anymore, is it?

I know now that happiness is out there and obtainable. I know how great it feels, but I haven’t been feeling very good lately. Don’t know what to do about it, but it sure makes it difficult to give advice on overcoming depression. When all else fails (or hopefully before all else fails) pray. That is the only part of my life I have been able to consistently rely on. Not everybody believes in prayer, or sometimes just not in their own ability to pray and be heard, but Pray on! God hears you.

Journey through Darkness

Realizing that you have to do something, and then climbing the mountain to overcome depression may be worse than depression itself (as this post makes it appear). But you’ve got to do something, and trust me, overcoming it is worth the reward.

Day 8 My dose went from 25 to 50 mg, and my day was pretty awful. It was a lot like the first two days when I started, except more depressed than negative thoughts. The day actually started out pretty good, and then got worse and worse. I had a class on an overview of depression and I could not bear sitting through it. It felt pretty awful. I was depressed before I showed up, and then I was late, which added to it. 

Day 9 I didn’t know what to expect since this was my second day on the higher dose AND I was going to spend 10 hours in a little car driving to Utah. It actually turned out pretty good, and I enjoyed spending the time with family. I think it helps whenever I feel like I am accomplishing whatever it is I feel needs to be accomplished. On the other hand, I am sure that if I was going to be depressed today, that there was plenty of opportunity for it, but I never felt down at all today. My stomach has felt a little off, which seems correlated to the drug, but I’m not altogether certain, and even so, it was a good day. 

Day 10 last night as I laid down to sleep on my sisters couch, I felt at peace. Today was mostly good. In the morning I felt a bit bored, but also hadn’t taken the med yet. I feel a little nauseous all the time now. I felt good today otherwise. I got to hang out with a good friend, go out to eat, get some ice cream, and sit in a hot tub. It was nice to have some time to just hangout and enjoy being with a friend. 

Day 15 

The last few days have been up and down. It feels more like normal. I seem to be thinking about it all too much, which also gets me down. I seem to get down more easily, but I also seem to get out of it easier. I have also been more able to do the things I need to do but don’t want to do. 

Day 17 

Today was mostly a good enjoyable day. I had the two boys to watch and play with all day while my wife worked. That is always difficult, but it is a lot of fun when the boys are happy and smiling and giggling. I felt good most of the day; I didn’t get much done though. I didn’t really try to get much done, and didn’t feel guilty for it because taking care of the kids is enough work. There were a few downs but they didn’t last too long, and it was more so stress and being overwhelmed trying to take care of everything, not so much feeling bad or negative about myself. I think I am extra stressed because I am about to start my last semester of school and I don’t feel ready to do another semester, or to finish school, or to start a career. 

Day 19

Today was horrible. I felt down and negative/pessimistic all day. I didn’t feel like doing anything. In the last several days I’ve felt like I had increased ability to get myself to do the things I needed to get done, but today I felt like that was all gone. During the break from school I enjoyed designing a house, but today there was nothing satisfying about it to me. I didn’t want to do anything all day and felt horrible about myself the whole time. The only thing that gave me any hope is that I was told I wouldn’t notice the effects of the drug working until after three or four weeks. It still hasn’t been three weeks yet. I feel trapped at a dead end, and I don’t see a way out. I love my family, but there isn’t anything I look forward to, and no dreams alive in me. There are things I want, but I feel like they are too impractical and selfish and conflict with what other people want and need. I don’t feel like I’ve been making progress lately and that gets me down even more. I feel like I’m trying to complete a marathon weighed down with a sack of rocks and lately I haven’t even been able to get up off the ground. I still have hope in God.

Days 8-19 do not appear to paint a very bright picture of what is to come. Really the medication doesn’t work at its full effect until 6-8 weeks, and the higher doses (I was recently prescribed 200mg) work much better. I also think that what makes the difference is the collective effort of relying on God, being reconciled to Him and yourself (forgiving yourself and putting the past behind you), taking the medication and getting help, and working and learning to overcome the depression. Sometimes all of the things it looked like I needed to do to recover would overwhelm me, so I would just do what I could. Do what works for you, just do something.

Some things that I feel have been successful for me include:
1. Write out your thoughts/ feelings about each day. This helps you to realize the patterns behind your successes and pitfalls. You are more able to see your progress, and it gives you a reminder of the little joys in life.
2. Challenge your thoughts. Knowing you can’t read minds or predict the future can calm your worries about how others will think of you or about how badly something may turn out. You may not know how to get everything to work out, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work out.
3. Know what you want.

  • Grab a piece of scratch paper/note paper, and pen
  • Write down anything you think of that you would like to do.
  • Don’t worry about how long your list is.
  • As thoughts of things you need/want to do pop into your head, write them down and then dismiss them.
  • Then try to keep yourself to only doing things on your list.

This has helped me by reminding me what I truly care about or need to do. I am not likely to want to do the things that are a waste of time enough to put them on the list. If a youtube clip or a news article is interesting enough to me that I’m willing to write it down, then I am likely to actually enjoy it, without watching the hundreds of videos that are a waste of my time. When you have a free moment, it doesn’t go wasted just because you can’t think of what you’d like to do.

Doing the things you want to do is enjoyable, you feel less like you are wasting your time, and the sense of accomplishment can give you power to get done the things you need to get done.

Depression and Procrastination?

 It has come to my attention that I don’t have much initiative. I always knew I was a procrastinator, but in the end, things got done. I wasn’t really worried about it. It turns out if you’re a procrastinator, you also don’t have much initiative (or is that just me?). The problems and stress that both of these cause results in me feeling depressed. And yet, feeling depressed makes me not want to do anything. I also over think everything, which also causes me to be depressed because I can’t make a decision, which makes it worse because of the opportunities I miss by not being quick to act.

So is depression the chicken or the egg? Either way, I know that when I am happy I get more done, and when I am able to get things done, I am more happy. It is probably easier to force yourself to get something done than it is to force yourself to be happy. So if you want to get out of depression, I suggest that you do as many of the things you don’t feel up to as you can, and don’t beat yourself up for that which you can’t.

I don’t know how many weeks it has been since I last posted. I’m going to share the rest of what I recorded from week one since it has been so long:

Day 3 started off pretty good and everything went smooth taking care of the boys until baby was screaming and messy and his brother’s bath was getting way too full. Then I got overwhelmed and got in a bad mood that lasted most of the day. I was enjoying myself as long as we were doing something or I was talking with someone, but as soon as the conversation or activity was over, then I was down again. My energy level was pretty low all day. Today was far better than yesterday though, maybe partly because I got a full night of uninterrupted sleep and because i got breakfast before having to take care of the kids. Negative thoughts left pretty quickly but still left me feeling down, but at about my normal low level, not the horrible low of yesterday. The evening ended well, watching a movie while holding both of the boys. My wife got home and I enjoyed some time with her, but then she went to bed and I felt overwhelmed and guilty over the extremely messy house. I decided to spend the rest of the night before bed cleaning it. I felt like I had no energy at all, and wanted to quit at many points, but somehow I was carried through till I quit at midnight. I’m sure the Lord helped me. I felt quite overwhelmed the whole time, but had little pick-me-ups that gave me just enough boost each time I felt I couldn’t go any further. I think part of what has made the last few days hard is that I’ve probably been over thinking about the depression. I do not know where it is coming from, but I’ve also had extra initiative to get things done the last two days, and more doing things just because I felt like it too. 

Day 4 I felt better than the previous 3 days, probably at about the same level I would have been on a typical down day before the meds. 

Day 5 was good. I didn’t have a lot of negative thoughts. I didn’t have much motivation to do anything though. I still felt a little overwhelmed and low energy, but today was definitely the best of the five days so far.  

Day 6 I read yesterday about different people and their experiences with the medication. One guy said it turns you into a zombie, with little explanation. Lately I have been content to just stare at the computer and whatever I’m doing on it. That’s what I typically do with my time to begin with, but I don’t think I was content with it. I have been designing a house in sketchup, and I enjoy it, but today after my wife was gone all day and got home and asked me to sit by her, all I wanted to do was keep designing. I worry that I am becoming content to do nothing. Maybe I just wanted some me-time though since I spent the entire day entertaining and trying to take care of the two boys. I still feel down, I know the drug is supposed to take a few weeks to start having an effect but I’ve gone longer without feeling good since I’ve been on it than I ever went without feeling good before. I had long periods of feeling down before, but never with so little energy and with so few peaks. This has been one long valley. I kind of worry that I’m just not letting myself feel good, but I don’t know why that would be. Whatever it is, I hope it doesn’t continue. 

Day 7 I don’t do the things I enjoy because I feel like I have to take care of all my obligations first. I don’t enjoy hobbies or activities if I know there are other things I’m supposed to do either. 

 

So all that being said, it was nice (for me) to re-read day 3, that gave me some more hope because it reminded me of the little changes and the bits of determination that have been building up and making me feel better. I also thought that it was an interesting coincidence that today I just happened to decide to add to my blog on overcoming depression, and today one of WordPress’ blog prompts was

Daily Prompt: Singing the Blues

by Krista on March 28, 2014

We all feel down from time to time. How do you combat the blues? What’s one tip you can share with others that always helps to lift your spirits?

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/prompt-singing-the-blues/

Just to answer the question: I make my bed. It is one thing that makes a difference every time I walk in my room. If it is made, the room looks clean, and I feel happy. If it is not, it reminds me of the plethora of things I need to get done, and I feel down or overwhelmed or depressed. I don’t always do it, and it won’t pull me out of depression to just make the bed, but it is certainly a component of how I feel the rest of the day. And it really doesn’t take that long.

Tough Start

I found it soothing to write out what I was feeling. I didn’t worry about how much I wrote. I was trying to not worry about anything. The first day, this meant I wrote almost nothing. From then on, it feels like I wrote a ton. I have been typing everything on my phone though, so it’s hard to tell how much text it actually is. After several days I wasn’t so good at writing every day, so my posts won’t be a perfect chronology.

Day 1 unfulfilled, down most of the day. Nothing felt like it would give me satisfaction. Didn’t particularly enjoy anything other than playing with the music glasses and playing with the family and photography.

Day 2 somehow got a lot done while simultaneously dealing with a headache and feeling really tired. I don’t remember how the day started but today was one of my worst days as far as depression. My mind was flooded with seemingly every negative thought and feeling I’ve ever had in the past. One thought would get me down and then be followed by another thought and another that would get me down. It was pretty terrible and tough to deal with. I knew I didn’t want to spend the day trying to take care of two kids alone so I arranged to spend the day with my parents. That didn’t change my condition, but they were a huge help with the kids, and having other adults around to talk to was helpful. The one Tylenol I took didn’t help at all, but I usually take two. At the grocery store I felt even more awful and a little nauseous. Today made me worry how I’d get through the rest of life’s challenges though it never made me doubt whether I could get through them. I don’t know if the headache, nausea, and feeling tired/worn out was related to the baby waking me up a lot last night and not getting sleep, or maybe from actually being sick, or if it was all from the drugs?

I’ve forgotten until re-reading and posting this how bad it started out. The first week or so started before I began taking classes on overcoming depression. I always dreaded the awkward group based “Hi I’m Ted, and I have depression.” In reality, I think the class is doing more for me than the drug. If you have access to such a class, I highly suggest you take advantage of it. It can be awkward, but hopefully if your class is like mine, it’s 95% learning about the causes and and strategies to avoid and overcome things that trigger depression, and maybe 5% about you personally.

What has worked for you? Leave a comment, let me (and others) know.