Friday, December 30, 2011

Babystepping Toward Health

First Steps I'm excited to be able to say that I started writing seriously this week.  I've had an idea that I've been thinking about writing for quite awhile, and this week I finally did something about it.  I've spent about an hour each evening working on it.  Not sure where it is going at the moment, but it feels good to be doing it.  

I was partly inspired by this quote that was tweeted this week:  

"No one can read a book that's in your head!" Anita Heiss .

I don't do New Years' Resolutions, because to me they are only made to be broken.   So I started writing a few days ago and hope to continue doing so every night.

I've also been researching how to safely make changes to antidepressant use.  I've found a book that has been very helpful in describing how people like me have ended up being dependent on antidepressants.  I think knowing the why will help me with understanding the how and taking the necessary steps.  The book describes a 5 step process, but I'm not that far into it yet.  I'm planning on taking things slowly.  If you are interested in this topic at all, I recommend this book.  It is very easy to understand and it has been an easy read so far.  I haven't felt at all bogged down by technical information.  

What I really like about this book is that it has given me a sense of hope.  It is possible to get off of antidepressants and it is possible to minimize the "discontinuation" aka withdrawal symptoms.  It helps to know that others have experienced this and that they were able to get there.  I got this book at the library, but I see that the author Dr. Joseph Glenmullen has other books, so I may have to check them out too.  

I'll be sure to share more about this book as I continue reading it.  If you have experience with antidepressant discontinuation, please let me know!  I'd love to hear from others in the same boat and to know what worked for you.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Village

Matera Little things have been happening that have shown me that I am not alone in my daily battle with depression. The phrase "It takes a village to raise a child" has been going through my head. It seems it also takes a village to beat depression. The picture is of the village my father grew up in, Matera, Italy. It is known for the "sassi" or caves. The houses were built right into the caves. I thought it gave a good picture of a village where everyone is interconnected and kind of on top of each other. These are a few of the people in my village. They are people who are going to be there on my road to recovery as well. Names will not be mentioned. If they read this, my villagers will know who they are, but I don't think it's fair to share every detail of their connection with me.

Someone Who's Been There:

 When you're battling depression, it helps to know someone who has been there. Someone who has struggled with the beast known as depression. It gives you a common enemy and it lets you know that you are not alone. I have a couple people in my life who've been there and are still there with me. It gives you a real feeling of connection when you can describe exactly how you're feeling and they just get it.

They're usually the same people who will check-in to see how I'm really doing. They won't put up with a bullshit answer of "I'm fine". They want the truth. They don't run away when you tell them the truth either, because it doesn't freak them out. They understand the truth because it is something they've experienced too. They are the ones who want to keep in touch so that we can help each other. They listen and know that you can be counted on to listen to them too. It can be freeing to know that you can be real with someone and not have to put forth the exhausting fakeness that you have to put on in public sometimes.

My Husband

So much for not naming names! My husband is my biggest supporter. He put up with me before I was medicated which says a lot about him. He's been with me through two pregnancies when my hormones wreaked havoc on the depression and the postpartum aftermath that ensued. He understands when it's me talking and when it's the depression. He lets me have my space and also knows when to give me a gentle kick to get me back to living. I call him my cheerleader because he really encourages me to go out there and do it. He barely batted an eye when I told him I was changing to a plant based diet. He just accepted it. Just like he accepts me. He's been encouraging me to look for answers about the medication I take and how to stop taking it. He's going to be with me through getting off this medication and I'm going to need him for sure.

Someone Who is Praying

One thing I found when I started taking the antidepressants is that I felt like I had no spiritual connections any more. I don't know exactly why that is, but I have been doing some reading and it seems that this is not uncommon. Through it all, I know that I am being prayed for and that encourages me.

The Professionals

My family doctor and my chiropractor are also part of my village whether they know it or not. My chiropractor is big on getting people healthy and off of medications, so I'm sure that he will encourage me in my quest to discontinue antidepressant use. My family doctor will be a harder sell, but I'm going to need his help to taper this medication. I'm doing research now and hope to have something to present to my family doctor in the next few weeks, so that he can help me to come up with a plan.  I know that the medication I take has a high incidence of withdrawal symptoms, so I want to do what I can before starting to taper the medication to prepare my body for this.  It looks like I'll be looking at supplements first.


It's hard to be friends with someone who is depressed. We're not likely to put an equivalent amount of effort into maintaining the friendship. It takes a lot of effort to do anything, so we tend to focus on doing what needs to get done to get through the day and let other things drop. That doesn't mean we don't care. It just means we're doing all that we can. I have a couple of people I can drop an e-mail or text message to from time to time.  They seem to know when I could use a joke or just a reminder that they're still around.

My village mostly consists of family and friends and I'm thankful to have them.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I'm Still Standing

 This song came to mind when I was thinking of what to write tonight, so I went with it. I've never seen the video before, and I've gotta say, it's a little weird. Rather than get into a critique of 80s style, I'll get back to my post. I've been quiet for a few weeks on this blog, but even quieter on my other blogs. I don't know quite how, but I wound up in a depressed slump.

Sometimes when I'm not expecting it, depression jumps up and kicks my ass. It started off as just not wanting to write anything. I just didn't feel like it. It kind of grew from there. Looking back, I think that it started around the time we switched to Daylight Savings Time. I don't know for sure, but I think it has to do with less hours of daylight. The ironic thing is that I was talking with my husband about my dislike for the medication I am currently taking and planning to talk to my doctor about going off it. I have felt for some time that my current antidepressant makes me numb to any kind of feeling. I don't feel horribly depressed, but I don't feel happy either. I truly believe that I needed the medication when I started taking it. Without the antidepressants, I would have continued in a downward spiral. I don't even necessarily want to go off medication all together. I just want to get off this medication.

My plan right now is to get through the holidays and then sit down and talk with my family doctor about making a change. After being on this medication for so long, it's going to be a pain to get off of it. Anyway, I'm still here and hopefully I'll be writing more again. I made the effort to get the Wii out the other day and I did a bit of time with Jillian Michaels' game. I wanted to use the Wii Fit, but my disc is hiding somewhere. Hopefully I will find it soon.

The kids and I have been trying to go out for walks after dinner every night. We just go around the block, but it does us good to get outside and get some exercise and fresh air. The nights we walk, the kids go down much better.

I've been trying to organize more by getting more clutter out. A few more boxes have been donated to the local Sally Ann. I've also been tossing a lot of stuff. If the kids leave it out, it's being trashed. I got a new bin for garbage, recycling and compost as well. The recycling was falling all over the place, so this helps to keep it contained. The kids are having fun using the bin to sort things right now. I'm sure this novelty will wear off soon.

As for healthy, I'm sticking to a vegan diet. I'm also seeing my chiropractor once a week now. I'm noticing a difference. When we started chiropractic, the chiropractor told me I had a 97% loss of curve to my neck. It turned out that he mis-read my x-ray and it was actually 107% loss of curve. After 3 months of treatment, I was at 97%. It's getting better slowly, but I feel better already. I've had less headaches and fewer migraines. I'm not falling over tired any more. I'm not as short-tempered and moody either. As I continue treatment, I'm hoping I'll be feeling even better. So, that's me for now. I'm still standing.