So my best laid plans of posting everyday and starting this fabulous new life as a blogger went the way of most best laid plans…straight into the toilet.
And the reason for it? My good ole buddy Depression AKA The Black Dog. I used to find that a really strange expression for depression, I mean I love dogs, when I think of a black dog, I think of this:
So the term The Black Dog never really resonated with me when used to describe depression. Recently however, it has begun to fit very well with my current struggle.
Before I get into this post, let me start by saying this: I don’t claim to be an expert on depression. I am not a Doctor, or Psychologist or any type of expert on this disease as a whole. I don’t know what causes it, I don’t know what cures it, I don’t know all the symptoms. I am however an expert on my depression. When it comes to me and my depression, there is no expert that understands it better than I do.
Which leads me back to where I have been for the last few weeks, and the short answer is, right here. I never went anywhere….except into my own head. Like most people my age, I have parents that don’t generally “believe” in depression. The way they were raised, if you are sad, just stop being sad. If you are tired, harden up and work through it. If you are scared, stop being a baby. If you are anxious, you are being silly.
So growing up, if I was suffering from depression, (which lets be honest, I probably was) the option of taking pills just wasn’t on the table. As I got older I had spent so much of my life pretending that I was ok, that it seemed silly to stop now. Going to the Doctor and taking anti-depressants seemed like a cop out. I was certain that all I needed was a new job, a boyfriend, a new house, a dog, a night out, new friends, make up with my old friends. I was convinced that one or more of these things would fix all my problems. Until it didn’t. Until the Storm came.
So once I finally admitted I had a problem, I went to the doctor, got my pills, and I was fine. All sorted.
What followed was months of adjusting and readjusting, dosage changes, medication changes. Did you know that some versions of the pill can affect how effective anti-depressants are? Me neither, until I couldn’t get out of bed for 3 days. Cold and Flu medication and anti-depressants? Could make you a little (or a lot) crazy. Anti-depressants and Caffeine? How about heart palpitations and panic attacks? Alcohol and those little magic pills? Computer says no!
So lets pretend this caffeine addicted, asthmatic, smoker who is allergic to her dog and definitely loves her booze, lets pretend that she behaves herself. Just takes the pills. All good right? WRONG!
Why? Side effects….which include but are not limited to :
Sensitivity to light
Dry Mouth (Oh my god, such a dry mouth)
Inability to Orgasm (Yup)
Constant Drowsiness (oh naps, how I love you)
And last but not least or final…..long term use can lead to Liver and/or Kidney failure.
So, the question becomes….
Why in Gods name do people willingly put themselves through this? And why is it sometimes referred to as The Black Dog?
Well Winston Churchill once famously referred to his depression as a Black Dog that sat in his lap and followed him around, creating an imagery that his depression was separate from him and not what defines him. I get that now.
As to why we put ourselves through the horrendous experience of trying to find and maintain the right balance of meds?
Because on days we are WINNING……it can feel like this:
And the days we are losing? Well that’s another story…….