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.

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