Three effects of depression: Memory loss, Lack of concentration, Migraines, Slowness.

Three side-effects of anti-depressants: Memory loss, Lack of concentration, Migraines, Slowness.

The new one I recently found out, I have issues piecing words together, my written English is just a crime! In fact I have been thinking of writing for the longest time but there’s the risk of not being understood, or just too many typos. I’m also too tired to go over what I write, and even if I tried, I can’t concentrate. I will now be giving back all the awards in literature and English I received in high school. It was all an elaborate fraud.

It’s been 2 weeks now I went back into therapy, I just increased my dosage too. I have been on anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, and sleeping medications through November. At first I felt ashamed and weak. But I remember the remedy for that is journaling. Publicly. If I have my shame out there, I’ll only have to cringe for a bit, but I would have taken the power away from shame. I had told myself I’ll work hard, so hard, not to get back on meds. If I can get myself through FND, I can get through anything. I am not a routine based human, and the idea of popping pills morning and night is just a chore. And the side effects??? Ugh!!

I remember when the feelings came back this month, overwhelmingly, even before I saw a psychiatrist, I knew, I just knew deep down I was going to get prescriptions. But I love myself so hard, and I will do absolutely anything positive to make the hurt not hurt. To take the negative thoughts away. To change and modify my pattern of behaviours. To re-adjust to the meaning of life. So happily, morning and night do I now pop my pills and pretend the side effects don’t exist. Because the positive effects mean having my spark back, getting the motivation I need to go through each day, I’m not even fighting as hard to quell the negative thoughts. Just free flow positivity in every breathe I take. Such a relief!

I had been doing a lot of the inner work on myself, some of it i chronicle here or in instagram, it’s been 2 years I was last in therapy. I was self therapizing, using Dialectical behavioural therapy, as against cognitive behavioural therapy. CBT focuses on helping you change unhelpful ways of thinking and behaving. DBT does this, but it differs from CBT in that, it also largely focuses on accepting who you are at the same time. It focuses on modifying behaviours.

A lot of it relies on validating the feelings and patterns of behaviour you have, not as either good or bad, but just as what it is. Because only from there can you start to unlearn, start to understand how two things that seem opposite can also both be true. For example, accepting yourself as you are and changing your behaviour might feel contradictory, but that is the first step. Then you learn skills to manage yourself and become able to make positive changes in your life.

Accepting reality sounds simple, oh sure, accept what you can’t change, leave it to fate. To karma. To God. However, that doesn’t help the emotions that comes with realities that are hard. You have to know, a part of accepting reality is knowing that you now have choices. To fight, to lash out, to wallow, to change or stay in the same unhealthy cycle.

I got used to how I felt (acceptance) even though a lot of the symptoms did not change, but I was managing them so much better. I could go days without having a crisis, without being triggered. I could stay positive for much longer. I was committed. But I wasn’t using all the tools. I thought I could do it alone, I sort of forgot, I actually forgot, that does not have to be my story. It doesn’t make me weak that I need continuous professional help,  that I need meds, or that the healing is not going to as fast as I wish it would.

My first day with a recent psychiatrist, he said, “tell me what’s wrong”. Usually people start in the present then work backwards. I was self aware, I started from the past, how it has shaped my pattern of behaviour, where I was, and where I am now, in terms of feeling overwhelmed and needing help. Not a blow by blow of every single event, but I knew exactly which ones shaped me every time they shaped me. So I guess DBT-ing myself totally saved us a lot of catch up time. One of the most validating things I got to hear from my 60yo doctor who has seen all and done all, was that I was a fighter, he doesn’t know how I have stayed on track, because I could be in way worse shape, but I’m just here, strong. It’s one of the things my husband says all the time too! Because I’ve just always wondered. Am I imagining this war? If I was born weak or made weak. If I was made weak because I was just spineless. Why it hits me this hard. Why I am constantly fighting for my life, to stay alive, to find happiness. People have said to me “just let go”. I’ve been told “you’re just exaggerating”. Or “you don’t have enough faith, count your blessings”.  I’ve been told “me too” not in a way of solidarity, but in a way to reduce my pain, as if they’ve gone through worse and I’m just playing.

It’s not a short term thing. I have to work at it every single day. It’s hard to do, and even now, years in and out of therapy, I’m still having to work at it: any and all ways that are healthy to me.

I will not show every aspect of my fight, every little detail of the hard days, but I’ll tell you unprovoked, the hard days are hard, when all there is, is battles and wars. I started a blog in 2014, as a way of journaling. I didn’t ask for an audience. I didn’t know my feelings even had a name or a medical diagnosis, I’ll just write these really concerning dark stuff that was living rent free in my head, just pour them all out. People have said to me “that is so intimate to share”, but also “You’re so strong, Thank you for sharing”. I’ve also been told “me too” not in a way that diminishes my pain, but in solidarity of strength, with people who get how I feel, and uplift me. Like my own support group in my corner of the internet. I’ve been told “You inspire me”. That inspires me.

I find it fun to share my wins. No, I don’t believe in the power of haters to take my wins away because I know I worked for them. Because I know for certainty that there are many people who have to work hard, just like me. Life won’t always be hard I promise. If you do the work. The fight gets easier. If you do the work. Getting out of bed won’t always have you drained. If you do the work. 

I like that I am that person for someone. Not the story of the small town girl who made it big in the city and now takes weekly trips to Sao Paulo and Santorini. But my story, my real story, is that of the fierce woman who looks complex trauma in the face, roars at it, till my voice is sore, and till my pain is gone.

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