Late last fall, I started feeling blue. Through winter, the world began to lose its' color. It was as though every thing I was passionate about became sepia toned. And I didn't really care. It was a literal struggle to get out of bed in the morning. Sometimes I made it to the shower. Sometimes, I made it just to the couch, calling students to re-arrange coaching . . . again. I did not want to leave my house. There were weekends I would get in bed on Friday and not get out again until Monday. I wasn't just falling apart at home, it was showing in my work. I procrastinated until the point I would frantically pull whatever project needed done together in a half-assed way and pretend it was what I intended to do. I did shitty work. And my faith suffered. And my relationships too. I became nearly a recluse, always cancelling plans last-minute because I could not find the desire to wash my hair, put on clothes and leave my house to join friends for dinner. Mixed in with this apathy was anger, but I had no idea where it came from or where to direct it. So I ended up hurting people and alienating people I care about. . Except I was so far into depression denial I didn't even care.
In late April, a dear friend came to me and wanted to know what the hell was going on. And it dawned on me, I might be depressed. See, I've always had anxiety issues - which manifest themselves in very different ways than depression. Anxiety symptoms I recognize. Depression at this level was new to me. So in May, I went to my doctor. We discussed several scenarios, one being that the anti-anxiety med I had been taking for about 6 years might not be working any more. So, the plan was to taper off my 40 mg (max dose) of Celexa and taper on to 300 mg Wellbutrin. It would take about 3-4 weeks before any change might be felt.
At week 4, the shit hit the fan. I became so sad that I was even less functional. I would cry (ugly, chest breaking, hard tears) at anything. If I had to share an elevator in my apartment building with someone, I would cry because they probably thought I was weird. ANY positive or negative story someone posted on Facebook would have me crying for hours. Several times while driving, I would start crying and have to pull into a stores parking lot to calm down. I started having really negative thoughts. The scary negative thoughts. And I knew I needed help or I was going to be in trouble. I called to make an appointment, and was crying so hard the receptionist got me in with a specialist within the day. As I sobbed through my medication history w/ the doctor and was terrified that she wouldn't understand just how sad I was and that I didn't know why I was so sad. But this doctor knew her stuff. She took a look at my medical chart and was unhappy that I had been taken completely off the Celexa (anxiety meds). She said that combining Celexa with Wellbutrin was actually a well known combination that worked really well for people with both anxiety and depression. I started taking Celexa again that day, and within 2 weeks, I had stopped crying. As the days passed, I slowly began to live my life again. I could get out of bed. I was meeting deadlines at work. I was leaving my house more often. And then one day in June, I realized that without even trying, I was having a really good day. A happy day.
It's been 4 months since I got my depression and anxiety under control. There was no way I could blog through that. I could barely brush my teeth most days. But I've been thinking of it the last few months, and I think I'm feeling good enough - stable enough - to start back. The color is back in my world, and with words as my paintbrush, I think I'm ready to open up once again.