There are a lot of ways to be depressed, and depression takes a number of different forms. For me, it can be profound exhaustion, lack of motivation, or just plain sadness.
My depression is very responsive to medication. When I take my brain meds regularly, I am usually in a pretty good place. But last week I ran out of one of the critical ones, I hadn’t gotten refills on time, and the pharmacy was out for a couple of days. As a result, my brain went into a spiral of sadness. Here are some examples of what went on:
- We are currently fostering two orphan kittens, feeding them by bottle because they are too young for solid food. One night when Jennifer was at rehearsal or something, I was holding the kittens and feeding them. They were crying out loud for food, and I told one of them — Pumpernickel, I think — that I understood because, “You’re just looking for your mommy.” And then I started crying, and couldn’t stop for a good ten minutes because hey, orphan kittens. I’m better now and I know that with us, the kittens are in good and loving hands.
- One afternoon I texted Jennifer to ask he to swap laundry for me. She works at home and I was in the office at the time. She didn’t reply for an hour or so. Normally not a big deal, because, of course, she was working. But my brain spiraled out of control thinking that she’d had a heart attack and had died or something, and then it took everything I had to tell myself that the thought was irrational and so on. I almost cried in the office anyway.
- On the way home the next day, I started crying again. Not sure why, this time. Probably the kittens again. Anyway, I was sad and frustrated with myself for being sad, and ended up yelling at myself to just stop it and get over it. I did by the time I got home. But that was bad: angry, sad, and frustrated all at the same time is no way to go through life, so.
Fortunately, the pharmacy had stocked my meds that day, and by the weekend I was back to normal.
I know a number of people who have weaned themselves off their own brain meds for whatever reason. I’m all for it, as long as they do it in consultation with this doctor. Me, I think I need the meds to keep functioning on a good level. There was a time before the meds when I felt like the above all the time. I’m glad those times have passed.