Thursday, April 9, 2015
Chance of Sunshine
I have an appointment with my counselor today. I'm pretty sure he was worried about me after seeing me last week. It was the first time he'd seen me bad since at least November. I've had bad days since then, but not while sitting in his office. So I'm curious... no, anxious... to see what today's appointment holds.
The fact is, I feel much better than I did last week. But I have no confidence that I'll always feel this much better. In fact, I KNOW I'll be down again. It's just a matter of time. It's always happened before... I get down, I get back up, I get down again. Sure, expecting it may just be a self-fulfilling prophecy. But I rationalize that it'll be easier to deal with if I expect it in the first place.
In the past, I've described my mental health as being a circle. Sometimes I'm feeling good at the top of the circle. Sometimes I'm feeling horrible at the bottom of the circle. And just as a circle goes, every time I'm at the bottom, I eventually climb back to the top. But as my counselor has pointed out, it also means I'm already planning to get back to the bottom.
He'd prefer that I think of my walk through depression as being on a path. He insists that the decisions that I make about sleep, diet, exercise, what I read, what I say to myself, etc., help establish the path that my emotions will take. As long as I continue to make positive decisions, my mental health will take positive turns. I don't know if I believe it. I want to. But I also want guarantees. I want to know that if I get eight hours of sleep every night for a week, I'll be mentally healthy. I want assurance that if I make the time to walk a mile every day and eat a healthy diet, that I can count on a healthy mental outlook.
But guess what, my friends... there are no guarantees in this game. I can do it all right... I can walk every day... I can eat a perfect Mediterranean Diet... I can sleep eight hours every night... I can read the most inspirational self-help books along side my bible... I can generate the most positive self-talk and repeat affirmations to myself every day... and all the while be taking my meds... and then still crash emotionally for who knows how long... and for no apparent reason at all. It's just so discouraging.
The day after my appointment with my counselor last week, I met with the psychiatrist. She'd talked with my counselor the night before... and they decided my issues were likely chemical, rather than situational. So, she upped my meds and put me back on a couple that I thought I'd graduated from. Today, I'm taking 120mg of Fetzima, 20mg of Latuda, and .5mg of Xanax. I've taken every dosage that Fetzima offers. I've been on and off Latuda over the last nine months, but I'd been off of it for the last six weeks. And I'd been off Xanax since September.
So right now, I'm feel like I'm taking a full range of meds (an anti-depressant, a mood stabilizer, and an anti-anxiety pill). And today, I feel much better than I did a week ago. But I've lost some of the hope that I used to have about maybe feeling completely better one day.
What I think I need to focus on is just dealing with the ups and downs better. Instead of letting it bother me so much when I get down, I need to learn to cope, to survive, to keep moving forward anyway. I'm not very good at that. I wear my heart on my sleeve. If I'm down, everyone knows it. And it affects decisions that I make and how I react to things. And geez, the self-loathing is almost unbearable. I try telling myself that eventually I'll be positive again. It's usually just a matter of time. Unfortunately, there's just no knowing how much time. And that in itself is frustrating. The whole not knowing part is just frustrating.
But today, even though my overall attitude is a bit flat, I'm more up than down. I'm being productive and successful. I can talk. I can even sing. Just don't ask me how I'm doing... or I might tell you.