It’s been a week.
It seems so strange that for all of the emotions I’ve felt this week, I can’t come up with the words to properly describe them. My brain feels like it’s short-circuited somewhere along the way and has been lagging to catch up for the last few days.
So, given that my brain is temporarily out of commission and my writing skills are down for the moment, I’ll just skip the thick description and opt for a listicle to describe my current mental and emotional state.
Here’s the lowdown:
I thought I had cured my depression using positive psychology and CBT and I have, kind of. I mean, CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is a beautiful thing. When I went off of Lexapro in November because of less-than-ideal side effects (a janky eye twich that made me grimace-wink every 2 minutes–trust me, not a good look), I was a bit of a wreck (see previous post for proof). But I worked really hard with my school’s counselor, and now I can happily say that I can go off of antidepressant medication and not want to crawl in a hole and die. Yayyy, progress!!!!!!!!!!
I figured out that Depression is much more than sadness. So I had thought that if I could just make peace with my past and focus on becoming more positive, I could rehabilitate my life and it would all be roses. HAHAHA NOPE! I’m not crying every day anymore, but it doesn’t mean that my problems are over. It turns out that Depression and Anxiety are much more complex than I had previously realized. See, while changing your paradigm and developing a positive attitude are necessary (and beautiful) aspects of recovery, it takes a lot more than that. I still have neural pathways that react the same way they always do. I still want to skew negative when new problems arise. I still tend to lose my focus in class or church because I’m worried about something absolutely ridiculous. And I still have the memory of a goldfish (which goes over really well in grad school when I lose my train of thought and can’t remember what I’m saying). My outlook might be better, but it doesn’t change the fact that my brain is still sick.
I came to terms with the fact that recovery could take a lot longer than I previously thought. I’ve been a bit down for the last few days for a few reasons. First, I felt like for all my hard work, I hadn’t seen a lot of results. I had read Stephen Ilardi’s book “The Depression Cure” earlier this year, and I had religiously followed each of his recommendations (okay, except for the sleep thing. But I’m a perpetual insomniac, so I can’t do much there). I’ve run at least a mile each day, I’ve taken fish oil, I’ve tried not to ruminate, etc. I even bought a sunlight therapy lamp (which I highly recommend). All of these things are AWESOME, and I feel more productive. I feel better. But something is still wrong, still there. I can tell my brain is still not quite right. I certainly can’t fault Ilardi for this, particularly because I haven’t been following all of his guidelines. But it’s there.
Dating feels foreign to me now
I’ve been sort of avoiding dating (at least seriously) for the last little while because I knew I needed time to heal. It seemed better not only for me, but for the males around me as well. After all, I could never be able to find a healthy relationship if I was unhealthy. So I took a step back and worked on my mental health.
There were some guys who were interested, but I never took the plunge because I knew that if I were ever going to get better, I had to learn to be healthy outside of a relationship. Plus, for the last few years I had this weird thing where guys would pursue me and I would hang out with them a lot and try to convince myself that I liked them. It’s pathetic, I know. I hated myself for doing that, for being so weak. I felt like a bad person for leading people on, even if it felt like I couldn’t help myself sometimes. But now.. I want to date someone because I want them around, not because I need them.
3 months into my dating fast (and nearly a year of being a single woman), in walks a guy into my life that I like. He was handsome, smart, and hella tall. He wanted to flirt with me. And surprise surprise, I had no idea how to conduct myself. I was Garth from “Wayne’s World.”
I’m telling you, my behavior around him was laughably bad. As much as I had tried to shore up my self-esteem for the last few months, my attempts were utterly futile in the midst this particularly tall pair of blue eyes. During every one of our interactions, I had a running inner dialogue that sounded something like, oh please lawdy. I ain’t ready for this kind of man. Pleaaaase don’t put me in the ring with George Foreman yet.
Blue Eyes, of course was not having my strange, stilted, aloof, goofy behavior one bit and hightailed it right out there. Which I don’t blame him for, because I would have totally done the same if I were a 6’7 granola lawyer with outdoorsy babes to woo. Afterwards I was really bummed – not because I lost my shot with him, as there are other Blue Eyes – but because I knew that this was how all of my interactions were going to go with the opposite sex for the next indeterminate amount of time. Up until now, I purposely avoided being interested in guys around me, but now that I was opening up to the idea, this was just a harbinger for a rough road ahead. A road paved with with male rejection and oodles of therapy, I would imagine. (I kid).
(VERY) long story short…
I’m just a girl trying to get by. Fighting this Depression, Anxiety, and whatever-the-heck-else is going on with my mind is a constant struggle for me. I feel burned out. But I can feel peace from the fact that I’m doing everything in my power to fight it. Am I bummed out that males seem to not like me rn? Kind of. BUT, heaven-willing, I’ll get to the point where I won’t mind as much. My priority at the moment is just to get my mind working okay. I just want to be OKAY.
I caved and started taking 30mg of Cymbalta (Duloxetine) today. I just couldn’t deal with the social anxiety and lack of concentration and it seemed silly to try and fight this when I could get additional assistance from le drugs. The doctor also prescribed Gabitril, which is, weirdly enough, a seizure medication that can be used to treat anxiety. I don’t know why, but I am MUCHO excited about this. I figured it would be helpful to chronicle my experience with these drugs, because so many people have questions about them. I’m just looking forward to finally feeling less like a turd in a toilet bowl.