Saturday, March 24, 2012

Today I slept until four minutes until I was supposed to take a test 10 minutes away. But it was at a testing center, not in a classroom. I called and got permission to come in half an hour late. Still finished the test well within what the time limit would have been had I started on time. The teacher gives two hours for tests that usually take me less than half an hour. Because I either know it or I don't know it. Multiple choice (I love multiple choice). Sign language tests where I have to record myself signing... I can take longer on those (but they aren't proctored, so I can choose my own start time and place).

Mostly, today, I slept. Not sure why. After my test was over around 11:00 am, I went shopping at three places, bought one thing, then went home, ate one cookie, and slept another three or more hours. I wasn't feeling good. Possibly a bug from work. More likely due to not getting enough sleep. Also possibly related to either the medication I'm getting off or the new one I'm starting. The one I'm getting off (venlafaxine) isn't one of the easiest to get off, according to what I've read and what the psychiatrist said.

And the one I'm getting on? It didn't have the warnings and all that most psych. meds have, so the pharmacist printed me out a bunch of pages - a longer med. guide. The kind that hasn't yet been summarized in the concise, print-on-the-back-of-the-prescription-paper kind. The kind that rates the dangers into "side effects," "contact your doctor if"s, and "seek immediate medical attention if"s. This one had side effects that were more likely along with ones that didn't have a proven connection. Serious and silly listed together. Also written in complicated words so that I wouldn't even know what the symptoms of some potential side effects would be. Which is okay. My short version of antidepressant side effects would read, "may kill you, watch for increased indications of suicide risk, if it makes you shake a lot, be somewhat concerned (but don't immediately panic since shaking isn't likely to kill you), if you get a really bad fever or other really bad flu symptoms, you probably have the flu, but you can call a doctor just in case you have an exciting, potentially life threatening "blah-blah serotonin syndrome somethingorother" problem. Most importantly, don't take the risks too seriously, because, after all, you really hate this stupid depression." But the long version the pharmacist printed out did cite a highly amusing reported side effect: "feeling different." I laughed. That was very funny to me. So, in case you also are trying the same SSRI that I am, be aware that it could leave you "feeling different." I sure hope it leaves me feeling different! Only I'm hoping for a positive difference, a less depressed difference, not an alien or zombie feeling. Then again, if I feel like that really cute alien that is pictured in one of the computer games I keep playing, it might not be so bad, because that is a really cute, cheerful looking critter.

This is my fourth SSRI, and I'm quitting my seventh tried-and-rejected psych med. It took me a few days to get over being really upset about starting my fourth SSRI, but I'm feeling better (or number in that cheerfulish numbness that comes with weariness, onset of cold viruses, and I'm not sure when else.

It did help to cry a lot in front of people on Thursday night. I went to the young adult group from my church, the one I often turn down due to wanting to go to the mental illness support group and/or due to it making me stay out until after 9 pm. But I missed church Sunday with my lovely headache, sleepiness, and dead car (thankfully, with jump starts, cars may have more than 9 lives). So I went, and discovered that the pastor who usually preaches on Sundays was going to be speaking that night. So, I listened to the first part of his lesson, then started crying. That worked out okay, because I walked into another room, cried silently, and then returned, having put myself back together. To my surprise, after that, the talking didn't make me want to cry; it made me want to talk to the pastor. See, there have been some things he's said that I've wanted to talk to him about. Things I would have said differently. My counselor has recommended talking to him about them, but so far, I never get around to it. So after the lesson was over, I actually went up to him and talked to him! Hurray! I hope he didn't take offense. Sometimes, when I'm depressed, I say things that, when I look back from a less depressed standpoint, aren't as big a problem as I first perceive them to be. I appreciated talking with him. Mostly, I disagreed with how he said things or with things he didn't say. So I had the pleasure of stating my own opinions. But at the end, I tried to soften my disagreements by admitting to the dead churches in my past that color my view of the present. So he nicely pointed out that I could be missing things due to focusing too much on other things. And I nicely agreed that that could be. At least I hope it was nicely. And he concluded that the legalistic view of God was wrong as was the happy Santa Clause don't care about sin so let's enjoy sinning view of God were both wrong and what we need is a relationship with God. And I concluded agreeing with him but started crying about the relationship part.

Because the depression seems to sit squarely between me and that "relationship." So we switched topics and I talked about depression with him for a while. Him and his wife, since she joined us then. The wife seemed to want to find ways to start fixing the depression, but after I questioned her about several approaches if she meant that that would cure my depression, she got really good at stating right off that her ideas were not intended either as complete cures or to imply any guilt on my part. Sweat lady, really. And another guy from the young adult group joined in, providing another first hand account of depression. His depression improved recently concurrently with spiritual growth. Lucky man. But between him, the pastor's wife, the pastor, and myself, we had an interesting discussion going. No cures, but I really didn't even want cures! I wanted understanding. I wanted support. I wanted to understand how Christianity and my depression co-existed, how joy and peace and depression can exist at the same time, because I'm not that interested in something that I can't have while I'm still depressed, because I'm not sure how long this depression is going to stick around. Besides, if I can't have joy and peace and depression simultaneously, how can my depression not be sin? And I don't think depression equals sin.

Anyway, many tears, a few prayers, and feelings of support later, we stopped talking and I left around 10, with myself responsible for the late night. Friday, I felt a little embarrassed about the thought of all I'd said and cried along with seeing those people again, but today I'm glad I got to talk to them. And even though I didn't exactly solve anything regarding my wording differences with the pastor, I feel better that I've discussed it. Now, I'll hope that if he is offended by what I said, that he can tell me so that I can apologize, because I don't want to spend much time in OCD worry about whether or not I've offended him or said something wrong. Wait, I already decided one phrase I spoke was not good. But I think it's one I should just move on from.

And now, I think I've written enough - no, wait. I started "My Book of High Fives," a notebook of entries of five positive things I'm thankful for or that happened each day. My counselor was in on the five things plan. I chose the double meaning title, and bribery is already involved, since I've told myself that I can put stickers on the pages that I write. I love stickers. Cat stickers, dog stickers, etc. My first two pages have been fun.


  1. Abigail, I'm glad you were able to have a frank discussion with the minister, and then with the additional two people. Talking doesn't always solve differences, but you put your opinions out there and was honest. That's the important thing.

    I've been on several SSRIs through the years. I don't know if I could list all the meds without looking at my medical records. The same drug can do wonders for one person while doing nothing or very little for another. Hang in there!

    I love stickers too, espcially animal stickers, especially cat stickers. :-)

  2. Im sorry that it's been such a hard road to getting a medication that works for you for the depression. Hopefully it will all end well with one that helps you a lot.

    Judging your own spirituality while depressed probably isn't too accurate. That's like judging someone because they yelled at their husband while in labour.

    I like your idea about finding things to be happy about and then sparkling it up with stickers. I too, have a 'happy book' to help me remember the good things in my life, esp. the small ones or 'ordinary' ones i usually take for granted.

    I also like your idea of treating yourself like you would treat your friend's friend. Please continue to do that for yourself!

    Good luck with your school work. That's amazing how you can get your schooling done and still deal with your depression. You go girl!