Category: Depression

Well Lit, Dark Place

Well Lit, Dark Place

I think I’m emotionally in a dark place lately, but at times it seems well lit, make sense?

A light in the dark
A light in the dark

It’s just that I feel emotionally alone, and that’s ok, that seems to be the dark place, and while I may not prefer it I do accept it in some fashion. It’s the fact that I seem to understand and accept the situation that makes it feel illuminated or lit.

And I don’t think it’s the ‘depression’, I believe it’s something more fundamental, something basic to my make-up or mental health.  I’m beginning to think it’s just the way I am.  Some of my first thoughts are that it’s Aspergers syndrome or some similar condition or disorder.  Some variation of Autism.  You can read about some of the characteristics here, on Wikipedia. Isn’t this curious, my self-diagnosis?

What precipitated this latest ah ha moment was a tv show called Dexter.  The show is about a man who witnessed the brutal slaying of his mother when he was a young child and the horrific situation made him emotionally disconnected as an adult.  Now I’ve never had those experiences but it’s the ongoing patter of his ‘inside voice’ that caused me to think.

We are somewhat alike. I have some of those same attributes, difficulty relating to others on an emotional level, emotionally disconnected, unable (or unwilling) to bond on a deeper emotional level.  Almost uncaring.  And yet I do feel deep sadness at times, and elated happiness. This is where I’d differ from my friend Dexter, that is where I can see how we are not so much alike.

Still, it makes me think, why am I the way I am?  Perhaps I need a stronger light to overpower the darkness.

I’m Struggling, Grasping for a String

I’m Struggling, Grasping for a String

Today is another challenge, I want to write, to post something meaningful.  My mind is blank, the ideas aren’t coming, I’m struggling.  I’m looking for a string, a concept to grasp and write about.

I just finished reading a post by another blogger, a specialist in blogging and creating blog and web traffic.  His name is Daniel Scocco and his topic was “A Quick Strategy to Increase Your Traffic.  You can read the post here.  It was very informative and suggested a number of ways we could increase the number of page views, the traffic, on our blogs.  Good ideas all.

It’s an interesting post, one which would undoubtedly help any of us, certainly me.  The caveat in my case seems to be finding the time.  I realize if the task is important enough you WILL find the time, you’ll MAKE the time.  I suspect at this time in my life it just isn’t that important.  I also believe there will be a time when it will.  There are certainly aspects of his suggestions I WILL employ, good ideas.

I started to write this blog to supplement my paper journal, to create a diary if you will of my ’emotional state’, a record of my mood and journey (to use an over-used word in my mind) out of depression.  If for no one but myself it has been a beneficial exercise.  Along the way I have attracted a few followers and created some interest, and that has been …… mentally supportive.  I search for the right word but it doesn’t come, needless to say it feels good.  I don’t feel as burdened by the yoke of depression as I once did.

I’ve seen this site morph into a venue where I frequently bitched, still do on occasion, to one where I’ve developed additional interests.  Maybe re-developed is a better term.  I’m thinking specifically of photography, the art of taking pictures and seeing beauty in the people and things around us..  Blogging is not only a means to not only talk about myself but to strut my stuff (light-hearted humor attempted!)

rail, tracks, railway, perspective
Tracks to the future

Whatever the reason the outcome is the same as it is for so many of use.  Blogging gives an opportunity to speak and be heard.  A means to dialogue with those of similar interests.  Somewhere we can feel connected.  A path or road on our journey through life.

Mine sometimes feels like this photo, I’m taking a path but I can’t see my destination, I can’t see much beyond the next 1/4 mile what life holds.  It’s an interesting trip though.  I’m glad to be on it.

A New Med Regime Is In Order

A New Med Regime Is In Order

I’m dropping the meds, well not dropping my medication totally just dropping the dosage.

When I was first diagnosed with depression the doctor put me on 30mg of Mirtazapine, an antidepressant with the added benefit of being a sleep aide. In addition to my feeling emotionally crappy I had also been having trouble sleeping consistently.  Subsequent to that we raised it to 45 mg as I felt had stopped making progress, maybe I had even regressed a bit.  In hindsight I wonder if any of it was true.

20121019-233653.jpgA number of months ago I lowered my dosage back to 30 mg and then some time after that down ever further to 15 mg. This was after I had left work, not retired officially but was in the process of burning all my vacation and banked time.  I was feeling better and whether the decision was right or wrong I wanted to get off the “juice”.  My wife questioned my decision.

A few days ago I reduced the dosage down even further to 1/2 of one of the 15 mg tablets, or 7 mg +or-.  Only time and the stability of my disposition will tell whether that was prudent or not.  And these changes are all without the doctors advice or knowledge.  Again whether right or wrong I can’t say.

I still maintain my “depression” was more situational than psychological and upon further reading on a number of topics I also now wonder if emotional intensity is a factor.  Certainly the symptoms jive with my mood swings and their intensity but more reading will be in order before I can definitively say.

I guess the bottom line, or where the rubber meets the road, is where I’m at emotionally, how my mental health progresses.  That is what it’s all about isn’t it?  In that regard I’ve been feeling quite good lately, maybe even very good. Hearing myself say those words scares me though, like I’m waiting for the other foot to fall. I’m expecting some imminent decline in my mood or mental health. I’m thinking the doldrums must be around the corner because this is too good to be true.

What is around the corner is winter and with it the shorter days and less sunlight. To compound the seasonal issues we live in a river valley at the confluence of two rivers. One of those is a bit warmer and the mixture of the two, combined with turbulence from the nearby dams makes for very foggy mornings.  A double-whammy, seasonal change and weather fluctuations.

The lack of sunlight has been detrimental to me before and as a means to cope with it, to mitigate the dreary days, I was using a SAD light. This was after a doctor’s suggestion that I had Seasonal Affective Disorder (SADs).  I saw significant improvement in my moods after eating my breakfast in front of the light.  I was no longer as tired later in the day and my sweet tooth shrank to where a large bowl of ice cream at 9 pm was no longer a requirement.  On the whole I felt much better.

I haven’t used the SAD light in a couple years now.  Instead I now take a fish-oil supplement, an Omega 3 capsule, and have begun increasing my intake of vitamin D.  Both these changes seem to have helped me and the last time I tried the light I didn’t feel as much of an improvement.

Of course I am maintaining the supplement regime, I sleep better, my diet’s improved, and I’m putting concerted effort into improving my exercise schedule.  All these are good things and I’m “hoping” they are enough to keep me well.  I know “hope is not a plan” however I’m optimistic my new meds regime won’t backfire.

Wish me luck, please.

Happy Birthday Son, I Miss you!

Happy Birthday Son, I Miss you!

Shawn as youngster

It’s my son’s birthday today, but I can’t wish him happy birthday because he passed away suddenly 12 years ago, on Jan. 18, of a rare heart condition called Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia (AVRD).  If he was with us today he would be turning 30 years old.

I miss him, sometimes painfully, and I think of him most days. The hollowness in my heart never goes away but it has lessened over time.  Knowing I will meet him again sometime eases my loss.

Another thing that helps to mitigate the hurt is partially filling the void with another love.  It can never replace my heart’s previous tenant but will moderate the loss. It will take the edge off, it’ll provide some relief from the angst that comes from losing someone.  I’ll never forget my son, but having a grandson to love now allows me to use that love instead of letting it wilt inside me.

You will never get over the loss of someone you love, particularly your child.  They are your hopes and dreams, they are the future.  When they is gone so go those thoughts.

I had so hoped to write something fitting and appropriate today, a means to capture his memory and pay proper tribute, but the words escape me.  It will have to be enough to say Happy Birthday, and I love you!

Limbo Land, My Country of Personal Discontent

Limbo Land, My Country of Personal Discontent

I feel like I’m in limbo land, and that’s not the country of origin for the dance either. It’s the land of my personal discontent.

I am wavering, wondering again/still about the prudence of reducing the dosage of my meds. My wife suggested I not do so now for a variety of reasons, and of course I would know better so why listen to her. I’m afraid now she may have been right, and yes, afraid would be an accurate assessment. Don’t you dare tell her I said so.

It’s been about 3 week since I made that questionable move. If my recollectin’ is accurate it was July 19. To be honest I couldn’t remember so I had to check earlier posts and in “Our Time Here is Done” I said that would be the day. A date that may reign in infamy.

I feel bitchy, irritable and short tempered, and have little ambition. Bare in mind the temperatures have been high lately, in the neighborhood of 35 – 40 degrees C, and that’s an unwelcome neighborhood. For those not using the Celsius scale it is a touch over 100 degrees F. Hot, damn hot for here.

Now I would expect some emotional response to dealing with life in these temperatures. I mean it’s not so hot that people wither and die like plants without water, at least not most healthy people. We will wilt and often show little signs of life however. Hot spells zap the life out of even the most robust individuals.

On a personal note I do feel somewhat dead, lacking in energy and life, and I don’t have the spunk to take on even the smallest tasks. Is it depression or the unwavering heat?

Perhaps the most concerning symptom is that I’m also beginning to experience a resurgence of that anger and bitterness in the morning, when I first begin to stir and my mind starts it’s day churning over life events and planning future moves. My crankiness begins in earnest, right off the get go. It was perhaps the MOST concerning symptom exhibited prior to my being diagnosed as depressed. Concerning to me at least.

I didn’t experience many of the more typical, documented, symptoms of depression. Those such as sleeplessness (although there was some of that), thoughts of suicide, eating issues, complete lack of energy, thoughts of self loathing, drinking etc.. Ok, I take it back, I did (and sometimes do) have some of these issues but not in a way I believe to be uncommon. Am I deluding myself? Please let me know, give me feedback……..

Whatever the determination I believe I must stay the course and maintain my current dosage of medication. If I relent now I’ll never know for sure. Once this hot spell passes we will see. If I feel ok again then apparently it was just the heat. If my mood remains shitty then there is some other cause. I sooo want it to be the heat…..please!

Tis Bittersweet, This First day of Retirement

Tis Bittersweet, This First day of Retirement

Hmmm, what to write.  Whether ’tis nobler…..wait, that line’s been taken.

I’ve been pondering much of my day what to post or if to post, this day being the first day of the rest of my life so to speak.  It’s the first official day of my retirement, early retirement if it matters.  I tried to come up with something profound to write, something with some teeth in it, but alas it was not to be.  So I just wrote this.

Read More Read More

The Call Has Been Made, All in Favor?

The Call Has Been Made, All in Favor?

I’ve made the call, the decreased dosage of my meds will begin.  I will drop down to taking one 15 mg pill a day, against the better judgement of my wife.

This is not a decision I’m making without any consideration of the potential outcome.  I know full well the possible negative side effects, however I am going to do it in consultation with my Doctor (may be after the fact that’s all).

From what I’ve read there have been some real horror stories of withdrawal, ranging from increased anxiety to nausea and sleep issues.  Sleep problems were one of the reasons this medication was chosen for me to begin with, in addition to the depression of  course.  I feel much better now though and sleep like a log.

We’ll see how it goes, I’ll try to keep you posted.

Depression. Mine is……well, Depressed – pt.2

Depression. Mine is……well, Depressed – pt.2

In my previous post I was giving a bit of an update on how I see things have gone for me lately, how I’m feeling better and generally less angry and frustrated.  I think I’m coming out of this tunnel called Depression. I believe I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not an oncoming train (I hope).

I discussed some of my symptoms, the treatments and path I took to deal with it, the meds and my visits with a counselor.  I left off with the discussion about if the death of my sons had any role in my depression.

More to the saga – read here