Sunday, November 23, 2008


This has been sitting in my drafts pile since the 16th of November. I couldn't decide if I wanted to post it or not. However, a recent post by Keira gave me the little nudge I needed to go ahead and share it.


I put a little thought into whether or not I should write about my personal life; more specifically, my mental health at the present. The initial intention of this online world was to create a sounding board for myself, to perhaps become a better writer and to speak to no one in general. I'd talk about my best friend, about ex-boyfriends, about my cats and daily musings of my average life. So this next bit is a bit more personal, and a difficult topic for me to share - even more than the environment! In short: I live with depression. To add to this, I am also a very sensitive person who really does have my heart right out there in plain sight. The past 8 months for me have been very difficult to handle. I was beyond excited to get married in May, to see my family and to be done with University. While all these joyful events were passing through my life I still was sinking deeper and deeper into some weird abyss.

At the time, I wouldn't say that I was overwhelmingly worried about getting a job. I figured that it would happen and that my hard work of searching would pay off. So I wouldn't blame 'the real world' for consciously triggering this mood however it has definitely sustained it. The slump only worsened when I couldn't find my ideal job and I began to play the game of 'I feel like an idiot, therefore I am'. It's on a long list of cognitive disorders, most of which appear in any of my mannerisims.

The relief I felt from finding a job, any job, was short-lived because my value of self worth was depreciating. I didn't feel like I was 'good enough' for an engineering job and that I didn't deserve one. I was constantly battered from all sides, trying to defend my decision. I've accepted that over the past few weeks, I avoid all questions that relate to my workplace. At the moment, I'm on the fence about how I feel: do I want to ask for more responsiblilities (and therefore more money) at my current job, or do I keep persuing other options? I had an interview approximately 3 weeks ago with an engineering firm whom I would love to work for. It was very casual and laid back. I felt like I could be myself and was pleased to hear the lines 'you are definitely W.P. material' and 'I will arrange for a second interview'. That was 3 weeks ago and I am still waiting to hear back from my now, 3, un-responded emails. So you can only imagine how this makes me feel.

With the help of a friend's father who is a psychiatrist at a children's hospital, I was able to find a psychiatrist who could see me. My first experience with a counsellor was a let-down as he told me things I already knew (I had S.A.D., should get a light box, 'let's check your thyroid levels') without really getting to know me. It was only two days prior to my first visit that I almost stepping out onto the street into on-coming traffic. I had to call Mike to talk me out of the swirling negative thoughts and only a few days later, I was seeing a counsellor and then, my perfect match, Dr Louie.

In the past, I had been on Effexor and I didn't like the way it made me feel. Initially, the relief that I had from not going into deep, dark moods was great, however, I felt like I was medicated. No really highs from laughter anymore and my sex drive slowly diminished. For someone who really likes the naughty-times, this was hard to deal with. So I went off the medication and since this break, things have gotten worse. Which leads me up to the present.

Dr Louie has taken the time to get to know me. Immediately after meeting me the first time, I received a phone call from the receptionist who followed up and made a minimum 10 more appointments for me. He wanted to talk and just talk. If I wanted to start considering medication again, that was up to me. However, as we dove a little deeper into our conversations, he did recommend a low dosage of Cipralex to keep my sensitivies at bay. It has worked wonders so far with controlling irrational crying bouts which usually hit me hard at work. I've managed to make it through the past few weeks tear-free and am really happy to have the waterworks under control. The sessions will continue into the new year and as long as I want them to.

I was very reluctant to go back on medication again as I didn't have much support from those around me. "Medication was for the weak" or "it's just an excuse" were common remarks I heard. However, I spoke with my current doctor about these sentiments and his reply was very simple "You wouldn't ask a diabetic to just stop taking their insulin now would you? Why would you expect that someone who has depression or is bipolar can?". After hearing this, I began to feel less ashamed of what was going on in my life and more confident that I can get this under control.

This time around, I am doing it the right way. Making sure that I get out, have heaps of exercise, taking high dosage of vitamin B-12 and Omega-3 supplements and am getting plenty of water. These modifications coupled with the low dosage of Cipralex have been working wonders with how I've been feeling. I'm ready to come out of my hobbit hole and re-join society, well, little by little. But first, I've got some major decorating to do for Christmas.


Stephen J. said...

yay! Come out of your hole when you're ready bud. I really wish you were coming home for Christmas. I'd like nothing more right now than to give you a hug / take a hug.

Alright, listen up, this is important, if you haven't considered this before. There's nothing wrong with medication as long as you are responsible and careful about it; which from the sounds of it, you most certainly are. If medication is what's best for a person, how could that possibly be the wrong course of action? People can give advice all they want, which should not be ignored, as often people do have insights that one may not consider on their own; and people certainly do have a different view when they're outside looking in. Ultimately, however, it is you that must weigh all the evidence, and the decision of what's best for you must lay within. I'm sure i'm not telling you anything you don't know, but there it is, and sometimes it helps to hear it from someone else anyhow. You should feel justified in whatever choice you make. And that goes for a lot of things.


i'm really glad you're taking care of business. My hopes are with you. I know how hard it is to achieve much, or have a sense of achievement, when you're in a pit of despair. A crappy compound.

It's probably a good thing that you're sharing. It's certainly a good thing that you're mindful of your diet and excercise. That really is the cornerstone of all health. Without that, you'll miss out on a lot.

Keep it up, ok?

Alissa said...

XOXOXO Lindsay. I'm so proud of you for being open about this on your blog. Personally, I think everyone should go to a therapist, before a dentist, even. They do amazing work. My savior's name is Leslie. In addition to Ben, of course.

I was on Effexor too in 2001 until I became the most horrible version of myself imaginable. I think it should go through clinical trials again. Boo. (Therapy, exercise, and lots of drawing and painting were my personal cure.)

It's a really long road to fight depression.. took me many years and it still creeps back when I'm not paying attention. The biggest lesson I needed to learn was that my career (or several failures of which) is not tied to love or self-worth... kind of rings familiar in this entry of yours, so I thought I'd mention it. You are a glorious, incredibly smart and lovable person. Period. You rock.

Let's chat whenever you want.

Keira-Anne said...

Awesome post, Linds. Speaking about mental health and depression is never easy, but ironically enough, it's talking about it that's usually the first and most helpful step. It's so important to appreciate who you are, not judge yourself and understand how important it is to take care of yourself. From reading this post, I have no doubt that you're well on your way down that path.