Dealing with Depression, Part 1

Dealing with Depression, Part 1

CW: Depression, anxiety, life trauma (though no specific details), implied suicide (briefly)

Some More Blapril Advice

Something that struck me, as I was about to sit down to write this post, is that it may come off as an apology for being gone, which I don’t want it to be. I want it to be more of a… recounting of what I’ve been going through to (1) get it off my chest, (2) provide assistance to those that may be in a similar situation, and (3) give me some content for the day. But it made me think of a final tidbit of advice, especially for those picking up serious content creation for the first time.

You don’t need to apologize for disappearing for a while. Some of us fall off the face of the earth in the blogosphere, and that’s okay. Honestly, creating apology posts time and time again makes it feel like blogging is more of a chore, rather than an outlet of your choosing. It’s something that most of us bloggers are guilty of doing, but it’s something that we should get away from. As a reader, most of us don’t care to read apologies—we’re still here, reading, so we just want to get into what you’ve been doing!

So don’t worry if this pace you take in Blapril is too much, and you disappear for a few months. When you come back, do so with a pace that works for you. Make sure that you enjoy what you’re doing, and keep with whatever schedule you decide to set for yourself!

Chronic Illness, Round Infinity, FIGHT!

I had mentioned in my initial I’m-participating-in-Blapril post that I’ve been on a hiatus of sorts, but I’m starting to feel better enough to carve time out for myself to get back to blogging. For those that don’t know (whether you’ve not read past blog posts where I mention it, or don’t follow me on Twitter), I suffer from some pretty intense depression and anxiety (among some other chronic illnesses), and I have as long as I can remember.

Most of my life has been caught up in the symptoms of depression, but I’ve never addressed it outside of a few free therapy sessions I got in college, and a few sessions with a therapist I didn’t particularly care for over ten years ago. I’ve been with my current therapist for about five years at this point (has it really been that long?), and she is a salve that I very much appreciate.

However, there’s only so much that therapy can do for someone that suffers from chemical imbalances (thanks, genetics!) in the brain. Therapy has done a great job in giving me coping mechanisms for my anxiety, but it never fully tackled that, or my depression. I’ve been in survival mode for so long in my life, that I’ve been scraping rock bottom and not even realizing it.

The catalyst moment, however, was when I went to go read a comic volume, and realized that a few pages in, I couldn’t remember what I had read the few pages previously. And I burst into tears.

Reading is something that I’ve loved doing since I was a kid. I used to devour hundreds of books a year, and was an avid visitor of my local library growing up. I would travel with a book and get so engrossed out at events that my parents would have to take my book away to get my attention and get me to participate (ugh, extroverts 😉 ). I stopped reading so much when I met my ex-husband, and never particularly got back into it because I couldn’t find the “time” (it was more that I was recovering from lots of trauma and just didn’t have the capacity along with the depression).

Anyways. Realizing that I was unable to do something that I adored was finally the straw on the camel’s back to get me to take antidepressants for (mostly) the first time in my life.

Antidepressants and Me

Growing up, my parents didn’t want to believe that I was suffering from depression, so I got very good at pretending to be normal. I think this is something that a lot of folks with depression get good at. It’s a coping mechanism that we develop fairly quickly, because nobody ever wants to hear about it (and then folks always say, “I never realized they were depressed!” when someone tries to leave this life because they can’t pretend anymore… but we’re straying from the topic at hand, no?).

I probably should have been on antidepressants at a young age, but it’s not something my parents wanted to entertain. Briefly, in the early 2010s I was on antidepressants for a month (given to my by my GP), but I don’t think they ever did anything, and I’m not sure why my GP decided to take me off of them after that month. Regardless, I was in an abusive relationship with someone who told me that my depression was all in my head (no pun intended). So I never did anything about it after that.

Fast forward to just before Thanksgiving, 2019. I had my first ever appointment with a psychiatrist, and I was terrified. There’s so many side-effects you read about with taking antidepressants, and I was so scared that I would experience all of them (especially loss of sex-drive—if you know anything about me, you know I’m a very lewd and sexual person, and I was terrified of losing that part of me). But I’d promised myself, my therapist, and Manthing that I’d go to the appointment and get a prescription, and take them. I don’t know how I made it to the appointment. I’m sure that knowing Manthing was going to go with me and wait for me just so I had some support was the biggest help.

So I started taking them. And it was a roller-coaster, let me tell you. There’s so much out there that folks don’t tell you about taking antidepressants, that I want to cover them, and my journey, for you. I had initially thought to do it in this post, but I think I’m going to do so in another post tomorrow so that this one doesn’t drag on too far.

This is post 2/31 for Blapril. You can find out more and sign up at Belghast’s original post. You can view those participating on Twitter via the Twitter list I put together. Nogamara of Battlestance has put together an RSS feed of all Blapril participants.

4 thoughts on “Dealing with Depression, Part 1

  1. So nice to hear you banging the same drum I pound on every Blaugust/NBI – blogging is supposed to be a hobby and a creative outlet, not some kind of community service order you’re in fear of breaching. I read so many people apologizing or explaining for not posting often enough or regularly enough or for going silent for a while. It’s really not necessary – as readers we’re just happy to see you come back or to read whatever it is you have for us when you’re able and ready to post.

    It is, perhaps, good if you know you’re going to take a break to mention it so readers don’t worry about you. They do. I was surprised last year, when I was in and out a bit with ilness, to find how many people were paying attention to changes in my post frequency. Often, though, people aren’t planning to stop posting – they just do. It’s fine. Take the time you need and come back when you’re ready.

    On the getting a few pages into a comic and realizing you can’t remember what you’ve read – I’m not sure that isn’t just how I’ve been reading all my life! I work in a bookshop where a big part of the job is knowing about books and what’s in them. Most of the people I work with can do that but me, not so much. When someone asks me what I’m reading it is completely normal for me to be literally unable to remember the title, the author’s name or anything about the characters or plot beyond the page I’m reading – even when I’m sitting there with the book in my hand. I have always been like that – I have to look at the book and see a few words of description before it comes back to me.

    Of course, then it does come back. I just need a trigger. It would be terrifying if the trigger stopped firing. Anyway, keep on keeping on. It’s all we can do and probably all we need to do!

    1. Yes! It is very much supposed to be something fun. So we need to stop apologizing and enjoy it for what it is! See, I didn’t even have the trigger. That’s what was so scary about it, to be honest.

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