Apr 18, 2012
Depression is a Vampire
I have suffered from depression and mania (bipolar disorder) and anxiety most of my life. I have been labeled with a whole host of disorders since I was a wee little one. Although it's been very hard for me to write this post (in fact, I'm on Day 3 of typing and editing this), I'm going to try to tell you all how I have been feeling lately.
I have felt very listless. I have felt very tired, but I can't sleep.
I even felt gloomy, unless the sun was shining, and then I only felt okay. If it's raining, watch out, because I couldn't bear to get up out of bed. My joints ached. My heart ached.
I barely had an appetite. Strangely, I have been only able to eat Bosco Sticks every day. When I eat them, I have to eat them with a tall glass of hot green tea flavored with honey. Everything else is bland and boring. I could barely stand to chew.
I had a bunch of favorite television shows that I taped on the DVR, but I haven't been able to watch any of them. The numbers next to their titles on the DVR Menu were adding up each week. I'm now behind 4 weeks of House, 5 weeks of Celebrity Apprentice and 4 weeks of Ghost Adventures. I'm sure ignorant people believe depressed individuals are couch potatoes, but for the past month and a half I couldn't even sit in front of the television long enough to watch any of my shows. My thoughts wandered continuously, and I couldn't focus.
Depression is a vampire that slowly drains a person of their life blood. It not only affected me, it has affected everyone around me. My husband, my children, my friends.
Many of you may wonder, if I was diagnosed so long ago, why don't I have this disorder under control.
Well, it's not that simple.
The trouble for me is two-fold. If the medication works, it causes side effects.
Depakote is one of those medications. It's as old as the hills in bipolar treatment. It was the first mood stabilizer I was ever put on. It works wonders for my mood. It keeps me stable. It makes me play nice. But...and this is a big but...it causes extensive weight gain and hair loss. My sister and I have joked that Depakote makes you fat and bald. That, in itself, can cause depression. And then treatment becomes a vicious circle.
Over the years I have been on: Tegretol, Topamax, Risperdal, Zyprexa, and Lamictal. Each one causing some horrible side effect. Tegretol gave me headaches; Topamax made me lose too much weight and I was in a fog most of the time; Risperdal made me too tired to work; Zyprexa made me jittery and shaky; and, Lamictal caused a light rash.
Last fall, after years of being off and on various mood stabilizing medications, I was taken off everything. I actually felt good about the decision. I wanted to believe there was no such thing as bipolar disorder. I wanted to believe I could cure myself.
My good mood lasted for several months.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. I was delusional. There is no cure for bipolar disorder. I was just in remission, as my psychiatrist called it. My experiment didn't work. I fell into a depressive episode shortly after Christmas.
I also started having sleep issues and anxiety, and was put on Trazodone.
Now my therapist has added Saphris, a newer sublingual mood stabilizer. The first few days on Saphris were scary for me because of the delivery mode of the medication. One doesn't swallow a pill with a glass of water. Instead a chalk-like pill is put under the tongue and it is allowed to dissolve slowly. It tastes horrible.
But amazingly: it is working.
I'm slowly coming back to life. So far the side effects have been minimal. The biggest issue I have is what time I take the medication. I have to take the pill early in the night and make sure I get at least 10 hours of sleep, or it's very difficult to get up in the morning.
Thankfully, I had a few posts that were prepared ahead of time that published in the month of March. This is my first post for the month of April. I really hope that I can continue to push forward.
I hope that you all don't mind my opening up here about my struggles with depression. I realize my blog was never meant to be a personal expose of my feelings or of my family, but I hope my readers will stick around to get to know me anyway.
I welcome your comments.