Saturday, February 25, 2012

Depression and the Viking Warrior

I suffer from depression.  There, I said it.  It's not something I wear on a shirt.  But I realize a lot more people deal with depression than one would think.  I used to see commercials about depression talking about how if you can't get out of bed, you might be suffering from depression.  I get out of bed every day.  In fact, I could probably use some more time *in* bed.  So I couldn't possibly be suffering from depression.  Oh, except that I do definitely deal with depression.

Rob and I had just moved in together, which caused me a lot of stress (I've lived roommate-free for probably ten years, so sharing space was hard for me).  My friend's daughter had been killed in a horrific accident.  I took a break from Twirly Girls (bad, bad idea for a social person who is depressed to take a break from being social).  A month or so later, I decided to try anti-depressants for my third time.  

The first two tries went fairly well.  Lexapro made my brain "happy" but I gained weight on it (hence, my need to lose 22 pounds about four years ago).  I did stay on it for at least a year before I decided the weight issue was too much to handle.  Plus, I was just tired of being "medicated."  I tried medication again before I met Rob in 2009.  This time, I tried a different medication -- Wellbutrin.  It made me sweat worse than I normally do, so I went off it pretty quickly.  In 2010, I tried Effexor.  I didn't gain weight on it, and I didn't sweat as much as with the Wellbutrin.  I mean, I have gained weight but it's not from the medication.  It's from continuing to stress out -- I eat my feelings. 

Anyway, I've been on Effexor for almost a year and a half.  I decided a couple of months ago that I was tired of being medicated.  And so I recently stepped down off the medication.  There are studies that suggest that, for some, anti-depressants only work for 9 months to a year.  So I figured that it was time to try living without medication again.  I'm about four weeks into being fully medication-free.  And I'm bummed to report that I'm finding myself getting irritated and frustrated a lot faster than I used to.  I really don't want to be reliant on medication, so I am working to get through that (I mean, I should be able to deal with a small amount of irritation without Hulking out).  But I have definitely noticed a difference in my stupidity tolerance level.

This week has been a little emotional.  My friend's granny passed away February 13, 2007.  A couple of days ago, Rob found a tiny spoon in his pocket.  Gran had given me the spoon after gastric bypass in 2004 because that's all I would be able to eat.  It was really sweet.  Rob has no idea how it got into his pants pocket.  He hasn't even worn those pants since he stopped working last September, and he would have no need to put a tiny spoon in his work pants anyway (although I joked, in poor taste, that maybe he took it for his tiny heroin habit, since he worked at a methadone clinic).  I joked that Gran was playing a trick on us.  We later found out that my friend's three year old son, Mason, who was born on the anniversary of Gran's death, and is her great-grandson, has been having trouble sleeping because people are "talking" to him.  I figure it must be her!  :-)  I also found out that my friends (who are sisters) just booked a trip to England to meet their granny's family.  Maybe coincidence.  Maybe not.  Maybe Gran just wanted to say hi.  Either way, it brings back a lot of good memories and sadness for a lady who was really sweet to me.

We are also coming up on the anniversary of the death of my sister's friend, Tyler.  I didn't know him *that* well but it was a young life gone way too soon under suspicious circumstances.  It makes me sad and I still see the posts on his memory page on Facebook.  He is missed by so many people.

My brother got married last night.  He and his wife are just good people -- the best couple I've ever met in my life.  I normally don't get emotional at weddings but I did get a little teary when Melissa came down the aisle.  I have always been kind of "meh" about marriage but seeing two people who truly do make relationships look easy, is making me wonder if I need to soften my view of marriage.  I also had a hard time seeing my own grandmother, who is suffering from Alzheimer's.  She's in that stage where she's forgetting things and people but she's very aware that something's wrong and it gives her anxiety.  She was always such a pillar of strength in my life and it is so hard to see her so frail and sad.  So another emotional day...and no drugs to "even me out."

Rob and I recently heard another commercial...this one saying how this girl didn't realize that depression could lead to suicide.  We thought it was a dumb commercial..."happy" people don't kill themselves, right?!  So, of course depression can lead to suicide.  However, not everyone might be as aware of it as I am.  My Auntie Lori killed herself three years ago -- in a horrific manner.  The anniversary of her death was a little over a week ago.  She wasn't my real aunt -- but my mom's best friend and the person after whom I was named.  She dealt with major depression, anxiety and suffered from anorexia.  She was troubled for my entire life.  I remember when she first passed, I first felt relief.  Relief that her mind was finally at peace.  Now I just miss her.  Maybe the anniversary is what is setting off this feeling now.  Or maybe some days, it's just harder to face the world than others. 

My point of talking about this is not to get sympathy.  I wrote this today because writing is my outlet.  Every single person has their own issues to deal with.  Some people are just better equipped to deal than others.  I don't know if I was born with a brain that can't deal as well, or if I just grew up in a way that didn't give me great coping skills.  Nature versus nurture.  Maybe its both.  It doesn't matter.  The end result is that I do deal with a crazy brain sometimes.  And I hope that if you have someone in your life that struggles, you will be understanding of their problems.  Or, if you are someone who has a hard time coping, I hope you will ask for help before you go to extreme measures.

This post is dedicated to my Auntie Lori.  I'm sorry you felt that was your only way out.  I miss you and love you.  


  1. Hey lori. I'll try and find the name of the book to read as it explains it well. But I came off medication last year and it turns out that the side effects coming off of most anti depressants look like depression, or anxiety, bi polar. It can take 6-8 weeks for that to stop. I did it with the support of a good counsellor; thats highly recommended, as she taught me how to 'feel' without Meds,& to let myself feel, and how to get over the deep hurt that made me depressed.

    I've struggled with the same questions about my brain and this kind of counselling has helped me to rebuild my brain (turns out you can do that, the science is called neuro plasticity. The counseling methodology is called co-counselling. I believe we're friends on Facebook - my names andria rose- feel free to inbox any questions and keep trying. You'll get there abd your

  2. Lori, your candor always touches me. I truly hope you know how many people you have touched. I'm sure I'm not the only one who is just a "lurker" here. Please know that I, for just one, am on this journey with you. Thank you for all you do for so many.

  3. Your an amazing person Lori!!

    Jessica Speer

  4. Thank you so much, Jessica!!! I'm still having good and bad days. Today is a crappy one. One thing is that Effexor helped me sleep...and I think I'm having a problem sleeping now. :-/