Birthday Depression

I recently had a birthday.  Notice I didn’t say “celebrated”?  I hate my birthday, just another year older and still generally unhappy and unsatisfied with my life.  I shouldn’t feel this way.  I have a partner of 25 years that loves me to bits, I have a home, I travel, I have people who care about me.  It still doesn’t seem like much when I am depressed and that is why we don’t mark the occasion.

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I have been thinking about when in life, I started hating my birthday.  I can’t seem to pinpoint any particular year but I think it was in high school.  I didn’t have a lot of close friends in school so maybe I started getting bummed that I didn’t have a lot of people to celebrate it with.  Maybe I started hating my birthday because I didn’t have friends who wanted to do anything for me.

I never kept in touch with my high school friends, nor the college ones.  Instead, my small group of “acquaintances” are mostly my partner’s friends.  Everybody loves her and she has no shortages in the friend department.  I wish I could be more like her but sometimes I say the wrong thing or am disinterested when I hang with people.

Now, I think I hate my birthday because I am one year older and none the wiser.  Same old depression and anxiety following me around like a pestering five year old.

When I was born, the world was so much different.  I am only in my forties but I feel old.  I put together a list of differences from when I was growing up, to now.  They highlight just how far we’ve come.

  • Being gay was illegal back then, now I am in a same-sex marriage.
  • In school, you never learned about depression and anxiety-it was never spoken of or taught.
  • I never had Facebook or other social media.  Closest things was “IRC CHAT.”
  • I am currently taking Prozac, a drug that was “the medication” for depression in the 80’s.
  • Playgrounds used to have kids playing in them.
  • You used to be “crazy” if you had a mental illness. (some still think this way)
  • It used to be so cool if you knew someone with a phone in their car. (or a tattoo)
  • Classified ads in a newspaper were the preferred way to meet someone new. Now it’s online dating sites.

twitter-facebook-tweet-update-birthday-ecards-someecardsCare to share some of your own?

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Vulnerable

Vulnerable

Today is brought to you by the letter “V” and I choose for it to stand for “VULNERABLE” as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

My theme for this Challenge is depression and anxiety and all that goes with it.

Synonyms: Helpless, defenseless, powerless, impotent, susceptible.

Dealing with mental illness, I have often felt vulnerable.  I am vulnerable because my coping skills are gone.  What would normally be considered a minor nuisance, becomes a whole “big thing” because I feel so overwhelmed.  I am vulnerable to freaking out over the smallest of reasons as well as hair trigger anger/irritability issues.  These are new for me and I think it is really just from feeling so frustrated lately with my depression and anxiety.

My partner realized that I had a set back this week (in trying to get a referral to another psychiatrist who isn’t a quack.)  Because my coping skills are gone, she knows that small chores like phone calls or shopping are tough for me right now, she has stepped up and done all these things for me.  I feel the guilt creeping in but I know she loves me and doesn’t mind.  She realizes that I might start crying in public at any time so she makes sure when we do go out, I have my sunglasses.  She understands that I am constantly walking on eggshells, always feeling vulnerable to attack from unknown sources.

I have also been feeling rather vulnerable lately because I have been confiding in my one friend who knows about my depression and anxiety.  It is scary being honest with another person about how I have been suicidal lately.  I am so worried she will freak out and not be able to handle it.  Of course, she has not given me this idea at all, I am just ruminating bad thoughts all the time.  I am vulnerable to that.  keep-calm-and-be-vulnerable

Remorse

Remorse

Today is brought to you by the letter “R” and I choose for it to stand for “REMORSE” as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

My theme for this Challenge is depression and anxiety and all that goes with it.

This post will be very similar to my previous post on GUILT  from earlier in the month, as remorse is closely related.

From Wikipedia:  Remorse is an emotional expression of personal regret felt by a person after they have committed an act which they deem to be shameful, hurtful, or violent. Remorse is closely allied to GUILT and self-directed resentment.

I personally feel remorse about a particular incident years ago.  I tried to hurt myself, fatally.  Instead of doing what I was going to do, I ended up somehow at our nearby emergency ward, drunk and crying (I have since learned that alcohol and depression don’t mix well).  My parents and partner knew I had taken off from the house, set on hurting myself but had no clue where I was.  They called the police, they were looking for me.  My parents saw my mental illness in all it’s glory that night and it broke them.  I am remorseful about that night long ago.  Them at the hospital, out of their mind with worry.  I also feel remorse about that night because it was the time I fell from grace so to speak, in my parents’ eyes.

Mental illness can be downright ugly sometimes.  Loved ones and friends see you for who you really are and there is no more pretending.  The cat is out of the bag I guess.  Strange expression.

Neglect

Neglect

Today is brought to you by the letter “N” and I choose for it to stand for “NEGLECT” as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

My theme for this Challenge is depression and anxiety and all that goes with it.

Have you ever felt neglected, while dealing with mental illness?  I think we all have to some extent.  Either you can’t afford or can’t find the help you need?  You are certainly not alone.  Some sobering facts on mental illness from the Canadian Mental Health Association:

  • Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague.
  • 20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime.
  • Mental illness affects people of all ages, educational and income levels, and cultures.
  • Approximately 8% of adults will experience major depression at some time in their lives.
  • About 1% of Canadians will experience bipolar disorder (or “manic depression”).

I think the reason a lot of people dealing with mental illness feel alone in their plight is because a lot of the time, mental health issues go unreported.  These are the neglected people and they are everywhere.  There are a lot of people out there who don’t want to seek help with their depression or anxiety because they are embarrassed or think there is no help.  They fall through the cracks and go unreported.   Sometimes, it gets worse and is reported as mental illness in hindsight, after a suicide.

When you neglect to help yourself, it is hard for others to see you as in need of help.  This just spirals out of control and you end up feeling helpless and broken.

There are lots of resources out there, ones you don’t know about yet so if you are struggling with depression and anxiety like I am, you need to know I have been recently helped by previously unknown (to myself) resources.  A few weeks ago I had a real mental health crisis.  I wanted to die and was fixated on it.  I couldn’t get in out my head.  My doctor set me up with one of her clinic’s mental health nurses for counseling and it September 18, 2013is much better than my psychiatrist.

I am guilty of neglect myself.  I feel I really need the help of a psychologist but I don’t have the money for one.  In Canada, psychiatry is free but not a psychologist.  I am covered with my work insurance but it will only get me about two sessions worth so I will forgo that option for now.  I feel I have enough doctors’ appointments scheduled already.

As I am writing this, I see over on Yahoo News, there is a new headline:

Homaro Cantu Dead: Famed Chef Dies at 38 of Apparent Suicide

Did not know the man, don’t know his story but it seems to me it is one of neglect.

Judgement

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Today is brought to you by the letter “J” and I choose for it to stand for “JUDGEMENT” as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

My theme for this Challenge is depression and anxiety and all that goes with it.

I used to judge people all the time, mostly subconsciously at first.  I can think back in time, to all the instances where I have passed false or inappropriate judgement onto someone else.  I feel guilty of passing judgement so quickly and readily but I feel it is human nature.  It might not be one of the prettier sides of human nature but it is there none the less.

Dealing with my depression and anxiety, I have learned over the years that the only person I should reserve judgement for is myself.  This is not healthy either but at least I have more compassion for others this way.  I am my own worse critic so I can be brutal on myself at times.  I constantly worry about things like whether or not my friends and neighbours know I am off work on short term disability.  Do they know I have a mental illness (or two)?  What would they think about me as a person if they found out?  They respect and like me, would that change?  774958e5d5b7e2de6fabc1f4cfac1b68

I worry so much about the judgement I would face, that I keep my depression and anxiety a secret from the world.  I figure if I could judge someone unfairly then why wouldn’t someone judge me?  It’s a fair question and I don’t think I am being hard on myself, I just understand human nature and it can be ugly at times.  Mental illness is a topic rife for judgement whether that’s right or wrong.  In fact, it’s so prevalent that it has us mental illness sufferers hiding in the dark, suffering alone many times for fear of driving friends away.

I need to work on my self judgement, that is one of the reasons I started this blog.  By slowly unmasking more and more of who I am through my writing, I hope to improve my self confidence and stop the negative self judgement.

Help

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Today is brought to you by the letter “H” and I choose for it to stand for “HELP” as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

My theme for this Challenge is depression and anxiety and all that goes with it.

I always as far back as I can remember, have always asked for professional help with my depression and anxiety.  When I first started getting depressive episodes back in my late teens and early twenties, I sought help with counseling from my doctor, as well as a psychiatrist.  Fast forward twenty something years now and things haven’t changed much.  I would say I wasn’t getting the right kind of help I needed.  Some would argue that the help has been working as I am still here.

I imagine that there are a lot of people who don’t ask for help with their mental illness, out of fear or maybe they don’t think they have the resources available to them.  Recently, I have been seeing a nurse at my GP’s office for counseling sessions and it was a resource I did not know existed until I dragged myself into my doctor’s office during a particularly alarming  depressive episode recently.  During this appointment, I was also given a few other resources I had no clue about.

If you are the type who does not seek help when you really need it, please be aware that there are options out there and resources that might help you.  They did for me.  Summon up the courage and ask for help.  It doesn’t mean you’re weak, it means you value yourself.   You are worth it!help

Cymbalta

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Today is brought to you by the letter “C” and I choose for it to stand for “CYMBALTA” as part of the A to Z Blog Challenge.

My theme for this Challenge is depression and anxiety and all that goes with it.

I recently went through a horrible Cymbalta withdrawal.  You can read about it HERE. 

I had tapered off the Cymbalta while adding Zoloft and when I finally ran out of the Cymbalta, all hell broke loose.  If you are on Cymbalta and are thinking about switching medication, just be forewarned and you might want to read my aforementioned blog post on that matter.  medication

The reason I switched my depression medication is because it stopped working.  While being treated for my new found anxiety, my depression came back full force recently.  Cymbalta was working for a few years, kept the depression at bay for the most part but I guess your body gets used to the medication and a change is needed.

Cymbalta (duloxetine) is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor antidepressant (SSNRI). Duloxetine affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause depression.

Cymbalta is used to treat major depressive order and general anxiety order in adults.  Cymbalta is also used in adults to treat fibromyalgia (a chronic pain disorder), or chronic muscle or joint pain (such as low back pain and osteoarthritis pain).  I noticed it’s mild pain fighting skills only when I stopped taking it.  It was an effective medication for awhile and it might work well for you but be careful when you stop taking Cymbalta, especially without tapering off gradually.

 

 

 

 

Broken

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Today is brought to you by the letter “B” and I choose for it to stand for “BROKEN” as part of the A to Z Blog Challenge.

My theme for this Challenge is depression and anxiety and all that goes with it.

I often feel like my mind is broken.  Not being able to handle simple tasks at times.  My struggles with depression and anxiety make me feel like my brain is defective in some way and I guess that is the case in reality.  Something inside my head just can’t “shake” the depression away.  This makes me feel so inadequate, useless and well, broken.broken_mind_by_howcouldyoudothat-d6jvp0p

When I am feeling at my worse and I am in the grocery store or somewhere similar, I often wonder if people know I have a mental illness.  Do they know that sometimes I just melt into a puddle of tears and am unable to function?  Can they see through the facade?  Do they know I’m off work because of my mental health issues?

These are the automatic thoughts that happen most days and it isn’t “normal”.  Half the time I don’t realize the destructive conversation inside my head.  If I had a visible broken bone, I would get all sorts of help and sympathy I suppose.  Something is broken alright, you just can’t see it.

Who am I?

I am a forty something female from Ontario Canada who has been wrestling with depression and anxiety for most my life. I started this blog on the advice of my partner who says it might be cathartic.

For now I choose to remain anonymous but that’s not my long term plan. I feel very embarrassed about my mental illness but I hope to one day hear from others and maybe summon up the courage to let others know my struggles.  Until then, I will be using this blog to vent, digitally cry and journal my moods from day to day.  Buckle up, it might get ugly!

If you are struggling with mental illness, it can feel quite lonely, even if you have people all around you that care. If you see yourself in my musings, then please share because I would love to know that other people are going through the same thing as me and that I am not alone.