Depression

All posts tagged Depression

Duloxetine Withdrawal, Day, ummm, 3? Or is it 4? Squirrel!

Published September 22, 2015 by Crystal

Thought I would share my symptoms over the few days after my last tablet.

Brain zaps, not so many, just the odd one. Dizziness, not so fun.  Been feeling like I’m on a very long ferry ride, and it’s led to the kind of Nausea from one of those really long very rides.  Dreams are still ridiculously vivid.  Last night I rang Goodwood Hotel to book a room for the revival, and it all went wrong, and Lord March was about to get the longest complaint letter of his life.  My poor brain.  And poor Lord March!  Aaaanyway.  I am a little dizzy this morning.  Exhausted from the vivid dreams, but over all I feel all right.  The Omega 3’s do seem to have helped with the brain zaps, unless I wasn’t going to suffer them much anyway.  And I am about to take a dose of Super Greens, will see if I notice any difference.

My snark and sarc buttons seem to be easy to push today….Not sure the family will notice the difference though.

Going to drink lots of water and green tea and try to flush the body.

Appetite seems to be less today.  Not sure if it is connected to nausea.  Oh, and one thing that was horrendous yesterday was heartburn.  Absolutely hideous.  Not felt it so bad in some months.

Shall try to remember to keep you posted, blog reader.

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Joy, pure and simple #blackdog #depression

Published June 21, 2015 by Crystal

On Friday, I finally grasped mindfulness.  It’s taken some time.  This week has passed from positive to positive.  And I am embracing it.  My doctor told me on Wednesday how my whole posture was different, how bright I looked, how my demeanour was so uplifted.  The Duloxetine is working and the depression is in the past.  I am not naive, I have been here before, and I know depression has returned, but I feel good.  For a moment I worried I feel too good.  It’s been so long since I have felt joy and happiness and contentment that for a moment I worried I was going into a hyper state, but then the joy, and the peace, and the contentment continued without increasing, and without my feeling the need to go out and be exciting and imaginative, and I realised how simple it was to still my mind, and to be in the moment, and finally, I can understand the power of mindfulness.

Friday saw husband and I taking a trip to Clifton Suspension Bridge.  While he wandered and took pictures I stood on the bridge and watched sunlight dance on the Avon, listened to the traffic of the city below, and watched cars cross bridges below, and travel back and forth alongside the river.DSCF1588 DSCF1574 DSCF1596

Peace is something that has been elusive of late.  But at this moment peace is in my grasp.  Being in the moment, not worrying about what has passed, or what might be to come.  Not concerning myself with what I need to become, or what I feel I should be, say, or do.  Just being.

I am also feeling the power of the Sheros Journey with Rebecca Kane at the moment.  The Energy Clearing Exercises have brought up thoughts and feelings that were buried, and I am allowing myself to watch and let pass visions and memories without judgement.

It really feels like there is nothing to worry about at the moment.  What is, is, and what will be will be.

Depression doesn’t have to be the end.

Dry #Juneathon? Who am I kidding? (Day 3)

Published June 3, 2015 by Crystal

Today’s exercise is complete.  It wasn’t running in the end.  For several reasons.  One. I felt particularly self conscious on putting my running gear on today.  My tummy, while no difference in size to 6 weeks ago, felt big.  My tights felt revealing, and I felt conspicuous to every passer by.  So naturally, I donned my bright yellow rain coat, which covers my bum.  It also has helpful pockets for things like wallet and phone, which I needed as my exercise involved walking to Tesco 2.5 miles away to get my prescription (apparently Duloxetine is something they need to order in, albeit super fast, they just don’t stock it.  Now I know for next time).  Anyway, I started out, and I felt a bit meh about it anyway, but also particularly self conscious, so I tried a little running, but decided that walking would be fine.

2 miles in and the blister started.  3 miles in and there was the feeling when the blister has popped.  Home and I have a lovely large empty blister.  I was miffed as yet again my twin skin socks had let me down.  Whilst the likes of lidl trainer socks never have.  I won’t bore you with the photo.  I already did that on twitter.  At least now I have my Duloxetine, and I have 5 miles under my belt.

3 days of exercise, it’s a roll!

Food wise I am loosely following Joel Fuhrman’s GBOMBS plan.  I like the idea of all the nutrient dense foods, and am feeling pretty good.  The smell of the KFC I passed did absolutely nothing for me, and my craving for lunch was avocado on rye bread (which I have just had).

What I am really fancying though, is a nice glass (bottle) of wine.  So I had a think to myself What would Geneen ask me re the wine?  How am I feeling?  Am I anxious or agitated?  Is there something I am trying to avoid?  And I’m thinking Well I am starting a new supply job on Friday, and it’s my first shift, but it’s cleaning, and it’s only 2 hours.  Logically there isn’t really any reason to be anxious.  And when it comes down to it, I think the reason I want wine is because I told myself I can’t have it!

What is it about us humans that want the one thing we’ve told ourselves we shouldn’t?  There’s a rebellious streak in me that really does not want to grow up.  I want to smoke, drink, and spend long lazy days at the pub as I did in my teens, which is nearly 20 bloody years ago!  So it’s that, that feeling of sensibility and responsibility that I seem to be fighting against today and I want wine to prove that I’m not yet a fully responsible 30 something, and that I can still play and have fun.  I don’t know where I am going with this awareness, but I guess awareness is the first step towards something positive!

#selfconfidence and #anxiety affect weight? Haven’t we, the cardigan wearing, hairy feminists #sizeacceptance trolls been saying that ALL along, @steve___miller?

Published May 25, 2015 by Crystal

Block out the negative messages.  Lift yourself with the positive ones.  Never stop believing your body is a wonderful thing

I sincerely hope Steve Miller is turning a corner, and realising all his fat shaming is ineffectual when it serves to knock a person’s confidence.

I sincerely hope this is the start of a step back from fat shaming and size shaming, and a move toward working to build esteem and confidence and see where that takes people.

As someone coming out of the other side of a rather long period of depression, thanks in part to running, and starting duloxetine, and good support from friends and family, I can say that my self confidence is below what it used to be.  And it is something that I am addressing at the moment.  When confidence is low, and anxiety is high, the old comfort mechanisms pull strongly to help me make it through the day.  And it’s not a bad thing.  But it’s not a great thing either.  Drinking or eating too much are temporary plasters that don’t leave me feeling great in the long run.

As self confidence increases, and anxiety lessens, and overall mood improves, the need to use food and drink to calm and soothe diminishes.

I know I am turning a corner because self care is getting better, and my drive to look after myself in better ways are getting stronger.  And Geneen Roth and her book Women Food and God, is giving wise words and ideas in the search for self care. You can read an excerpt here.

It is a shame Steve Miller has spent so long shaming already, when hypnotherapy can be used to bring about very positive changes.  It is a shame he prefers to use hate motivation rather than kindness and care motivation.  I sincerely hope he is actually turning a corner here.

I understand he is out to make a living, but he could do it without bullying and hate speech.

When a loved one has #depression. #MHAW

Published May 15, 2015 by Crystal

There are many blogs and articles on what to say and do when a loved one has depression.  It’s a minefield.  As individual as grains of sand on a beach, how a person with depression will respond to loved ones trying to help cannot be known.  To the family members watching a loved one suffer, and feeling completely incapable of supporting and reaching in to the void, it often feels hopeless.  Maybe you want to shake them out of it?  Maybe you want to pep them up and tell them to get out into the sunshine?

I’ve been thinking about this all this morning.  I don’t have advice.  Not really.  I’ve fallen out with family during very bad bouts of depression. I’ve become someone I don’t recognise more than once.  But years on, I think my family and I have more of an understanding of this illness.  And there are things we do and don’t do that help.

I don’t really talk all that much about how I’m feeling, other than a brief, “not so great” or “having a bad day”.  Not because I don’t want to talk to my family, but because I don’t want to weigh them down, and sometimes my thoughts and feelings might worry them more than necessary.  So I tend to talk to other sufferers.  People who might understand a little, but who are also separate enough from my family to know that random thoughts and feelings are part and parcel of the illness, and that they aren’t necessarily as bad as they sound.  Because depression, you know, makes the worst of things, even in the best of times.  To an outsider this may seem a bit “misery loves company”, and it might seem like a bad idea to surround yourself with other sufferers, but only the person with depression can really know whether it is helping or not.

I try to remember that while depression is a mental illness, it is also a physical illness.  We wouldn’t tell someone with a broken leg to “snap out of it”.  We wouldn’t suggest someone with cancer “stop dwelling on it”.  As much as we want a period of depression to go, it isn’t going to go simply by wishing it away or thinking happy thoughts.

Some things do help, and have helped me.  Good home cooked meals.  Maybe a hand with the housework. The odd trip out can be great, if there are not going to be stress adding factors (like for me, facing crowds at times can be horrendous.)  No pressure, no expectations as to what the depression sufferer will or will not be able to put up with.  You might get somewhere, and they feel like they can’t go any further.  They aren’t doing it to test or piss you off.    In a way, they are showing you more trust than anyone else, in being able to be real in front of you, and to not wear a mask to hide their true feelings (again, maybe that’s just me!)  If you are going to be impatient, or intolerant, it will come across to the super sensitive depressed loved one.  And then they will feel worse for having failed to live up to your expectations (or maybe that’s just me).

Physical activity can be great, and for me, running has helped a great deal, but it didn’t defeat depression altogether.   As soon as the marathon was finished I had an appointment with the dr, and am now on duloxetine.  I have also now been put on the waiting list for CBT one to one therapy, and have been given an emotional wellness manual to work through.

I have a positive relationship with my doctor, and I know I can go when I need to,  but not everyone has that positive relationship with their doctor, and in the vulnerability of depression it can feel like wasting the doctors time going back more than once or twice.    But depression is a complicated bugger, and sometimes it needs several visits to the doctor to find a way that will help get out.  Anti depressants are a delicate thing, and what helps one person will do sod all for another.  If your loved one is able to talk to you about depression, and you are worried they are not getting the medical support, then maybe ask what might help?  Would a second opinion help?  What they like some company to the doctors so they have some support to say what they feel?

But above all, just let them know you are there.  Because knowing that, without pressure, or judgement, can sometimes be enough to keep on going.

I am a runner. It has saved me from the #blackdog

Published April 10, 2015 by Crystal

In September 2014, depression hit me over the head, again.  I was weary and tearful, and quite admired the idea of spending every day curled up under my duvet.  I don’t think there was any particularly recognisable trigger the September’s hit.  It was towards the end of the month, so maybe it was the quietness of the kids being back at school, or a feeling that yet again another term of education was passing by and I had chosen to wait another year, before studying or training.

I do remember a discussion with my previous moonwalk buddies and school mums about what might be the next training goal.  What might I do to maintain some sort of fitness, would we all sign up for some great challenge.  I knew the date of the London Marathon ballot results was imminent, but I honestly wasn’t excited or expectant.  After all, how many people apply again and again and again and never ever EVER get in?  So it was a “I’ll wait and see” type thing, and I didn’t expect to be lucky.

My depression continued to press down as the end of September rolled in to the beginning of October.  There were days where I just felt like all I did was cry, or wipe blotchy eyes.  My family kept in contact, getting me out of the house, that sort of thing.  Sometimes it’s hard to describe what depression is when it is so personal.  For me, it is heavy.  And as if colour has been dulled.

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And it’s lonely, because it is exhausting.  Because being sociable is exhausting, and thinking is exhausting, especially all the over thinking. And tiredness increases, and the colours get duller, and the air gets heavier.  And it goes on.  And on.  And on.

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And this is how things were when the Marathon magazine fell into my mail basket.

you're in!

What?  Me?  Two years of applying?  Already?  What?

It was a shock, to say the least.  But it was also the saviour in what has been a rocky 6 months, and where those horrid black dogs have been at my heels a fair few times.  This magazine, and the accompanying letter were a call to try a new tactic, an incentive to fight depression with a new weapon, because really, what is the worse that could happen?

So it is October 6th, and I’m not a runner!  And I have 6 months to become one.

I have tried running before.  After my first Moonwalk in 2013 I decided I wanted to give it a go.  It seemed like a logical(?) progression from walking 26.2 miles to running 26.2 miles. (It’s times like this when I think I have had several hyper manic stages without realising at the time, grandiose ideas of what I am capable of, and then crushing reality as things happen and my dreams crumble, anyway, I digress).  I bought a Zombies, Run! couch to 5k app for my phone, figuring it would be more fun learning to run 5k with than a general couch to 5k app.  And I started out, in the local streets.  This lasted days, before I was in agony with Achilles tendonitis that really needed to heal before I could give it another go.  I guess 26.2 miles had started it, and the attempting to run was the kicker, so to speak.  Anyway, that attempt ended, and with it, my dreams of learning to run any time soon.

me, running, first attempt!

So that was the last time I had tried, and it hadn’t ended happily.  It had also resulted in a disastrous failure at the Cheltenham Half Marathon, because the tendonitis stopped me running, and even walking for any substantial distances.

Now, here I was, with a ticket to the prestigious London Marathon.  A race that hundreds of thousands apply to each year.  An experience not to be missed.  How could I let this opportunity pass me by?

So, I started to run.  I downloaded a host of apps.  I now had a windows phone, and no offence, Cortana, but the app choices were limited and poor.  But off I went with various 5k training apps, and a whole lot of trial and error.  It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t fast.  But on the plus side I was a couple of stone lighter, and I didn’t have tendonitis burning at my heels (though I did have severe anxiety at the thought of my post Moonwalk 2014 stress fracture resurfacing!).

In the first week of October I couldn’t run a minute without getting out of breath.  It was hard, and I wondered how the hell I was ever, ever going to be fit enough and ready enough to run the 2015 London Marathon.

But the key to progress is consistency, and I followed those audio instructors, and would repeat sessions I felt had gone badly.

Depression continued.  It didn’t go away.  But the load lightened and the colours lifted somewhat. October became November, and my breathing was better, my distances slightly longer, and I kept on.

From October 6th, to November 28th my running capabilities took me to being able to run for 28 consecutive minutes.

But those black dogs were getting more and more aggressive.  Maybe it was the thought of Christmas stress and anxiety, maybe it was the worry that January was approaching and months were rolling by.  A depressive episode struck violently and I took myself to the GP to help deal with it.  We decided to try Sertraline.  And what resulted was the worst December and January in some years.  A low dose did nothing, a higher dose sent me manic, and I actually ended up spraining my ankle, putting me out of action for several weeks.  I had an appointment with the mental health nurse in January, and discussed the possibility of my having Cyclothymia, and she referred me to the mental health team for a fuller appointment in the hope it would be within 6 weeks  (That appointment is actually next week, NHS cuts, anyone?).

So I left, grateful that there may be some explanation to my mood swings, and an explanation, to a degreee, of previous crazy behaviour, but concerned about continuing the sertraline.  By now I was alternating doses each day to try and stay balanced, but what was really going on was that I felt constantly anxious about the medication.  I ended up missing a dr’s appointment, and speaking to her on the phone, only to forget the possibility of cyclothymia, and to be prescribed amytriptyline.  In desperation I decided to go cold turkey and quit all the medication.

And that is where the running finally came into its own.

(Now I am not recommending ANYONE quit their medication)

By now my running sessions were getting longer and I was feeling very physical benefits from running.

 I say running in honesty there is a lot of walking during my sessions too.  I run, walk, run, walk. This became my training plan after my sprained ankle affected my New Year training. Sometimes I run for longer, sometimes less.  But I always cover distance that I commit to.  

With the longer distances came the satisfaction, and physical exhaustion.  I didn’t have to think.  I just had to plug in to my music (And Zombies, Run!  again when my windows phone smashed and was replaced with an android!)

I find that it is harder to ruminate when running.  A song will interrupt, or a piece in the storyline, or the achievement of a distance.  I cannot mull over things when I am physically exerting myself.  It brings a peace.  Sometimes it doesn’t.  Sometimes it brings a “why the hell is this hurting so much?  Why is this taking so long?  Why can’t I be home already in the dry?”  but no matter what, I keep going.  Because keeping going keeps me improving.

By February I was able to cover 10 miles to the next town.

By mid March I had covered 12.

Then illness struck.  A cold turned nasty and put me out of action for a fortnight.  I felt the inability to run keenly.  I felt agitated, anxious, and upset.  I couldn’t sleep.  Rumination ruled as I could do very little physically without kicking off a nasty coughing fit.  Panic set in, because depression has trained me to believe in the worst possible outcome, and I nearly convinced myself I would never be able to complete the marathon.  It set me back a couple of weeks, but in my head it was months.

I was overjoyed when I could get back to physical activities again, and was beyond ecstatic when I managed to complete my 18 miler training session 2 weeks ago!

My mood is more stable when I can and do run.  Putting off a run rarely benefits me, and I reap the great side effects of getting out into fresh air.  Even if it is just a mile or two.

With the mental health appointment on Tuesday, I almost feel like I don’t know what I will be able to say.  Because physical exertion does me far more good than anti depressants do. My mood diary points to ups and downs, but the downs don’t last like they have done in recent past.  They are more fleeting.

I have limited my wine consumption drastically, and that too has helped.  I did plan to eliminate it completely, but I actually appreciate being able to have a glass occasionally with family and friends in a sensible, controlled way, and not wake up with a hangover and embarrassment and regrets.

The Hangover (really just an excuse to get Bradley Cooper on my blog)

Health and fitness wise I know I am better off than 2 years ago, and it is something I intend to continue with.  No more marathons after this one (she says), but maybe a half here and there?

I got angry today reading an article in The Guardian by a woman scorning other women who say they are losing weight for health.  For me, it is absolutely true.  I want to run faster and more efficiently with less effort!  Losing extra mass will help that, without a doubt, it’s basic science!  But a knock on effect is that my mental health is improving as a result of getting better at running!

In 6 months I have gone from a few metres to over 18 miles.  In 2 weeks it will be over 26.2 miles.  OK, I’m not running them all.  But damn it I am running more than I ever did before 2014 and that is something to cheer and celebrate!

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If you have a spare pound or two, I know SANE will be thankful, as will users of their services.  You can donate on my running page HERE

I don’t know what my “label” is. But I do know “psychobabble” has helped me #weightloss, #selfcare, #selfacceptance

Published April 7, 2015 by Crystal

Self confidence is, to me, a beautiful thing.  I admire people who ooze self confidence.  I would go so far as to say I envy a little, the sirens who pass through life like a shining beacon,  as in the KT Tunstall song.  There is a myth that thinness creates self confidence in some way.  But I have never really found that to be true myself.  When I was thin, I was still depressed at times, still nervous around people.  Looking back I think my weight loss was heavily linked to one of my high periods, but it still came with tension and anxiety, and paranoia.  I wasn’t fully myself then.  I was in a hyper state.

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I wasn’t any more confident above, in 2007, at under 10 stone, than I am currently, below, at just under 14 stone. DSCF1298

I wouldn’t say that being bigger is my “normal” state.  My body changes with the emotions and moods, not metaphorically, I mean very physically.  But when in a very low period, I can eat more than I need, exercise less than I benefit from, and as a result, gain weight.

Self confidence does not come naturally to me at any size.  It is something I fake, in the hope that one day it will be real!

What weight loss does help with is feeling physically more comfortable.

Weight loss for self confidence isn’t something I can relate to.  For health, yes, for ease of movement, yes, to feel more comfortable and a little better in clothes and make up, yes, but looking better won’t make me feel far more confident.  Does that make sense?

Intuitive eating advocates taught me a valuable lesson over the years, and that is to live as much as I can at any size.  To not put off til tomorrow what I can enjoy today, and so I have, and I do.  It’s nothing to do with confidence.  It’s to do with making each day worth while, even with, especially with, depression.

If folks like Steve Miller had their way, I would be hiding my shocking body away until it looked more appealing to passers by.  His concern isn’t for people like me, it’s for people like him, who don’t want to have to see people like me!  Fortunately, it was those “psychobabblers” from the intuitive eating world who encouraged me to get out and get moving, to not be limited by my size at any time.  And so I have completed two Moonwalks;

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The most recent above, in 2014 and the first, below, in 2013.  In 2013 I was over 16 stone, In 2014 I was just over 14 stone.

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And I am now less than 3 weeks away from the Virgin London Marathon;

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Yes, it is easier with less weight, but we all have to start somewhere.  When I didn’t seem to be able to get a handle on food, I chose to do something else to support my health and my body instead.  At a pace that my body and mind could cope with.  There’s absolutely no shame in taking the slow path to anywhere!  And while the weight loss has not been the stuff of legends, it is a loss I have maintained, and the fitness I have improved on.

I was encouraged the other day by an article in the latest Slimming World magazine, by a young lady who suffers with bipolar.  She was actually diagnosed during her weight loss journey, after an episode saw her hospitalised.  I felt for her.  But equally I felt inspired to give Slimming World another go because of it.

I am off the medication at the moment.  And I am feeling driven.  The voices at the back of my head are muttering about how I start things but never finish, and weight loss is one of those things.  It’s part of my make up, part of the depression.  I don’t know if my disordered eating came about because of depression, or vice versa.  It is all so long ago, and such a big chunk of my life, it just is there.  But even as the disordered eating lessens at times, the depression remains.

But the past doesn’t have to dictate the future.  And there is no reason I can’t keep trying if it helps me mentally.  What has also helped me is “psychobabble”.  The “psychobabble” that tells me I am not a failure, that I have succeeded at so many things.  The “psychobabble” that tells me my brain functions slightly differently to a normal brain, but that is ok.  The “psychobabble” that doesn’t focus on one facet of my being when I have so many other things going on in my life.  “Psychobabble” is supportive.  And in a world of critics that can only be a good thing.  But it also gives us the chance to change and renew ourselves.  Steve Miller criticises “psychobabble” because it tells us why we are fat.  What he fails to acknowledge is that it also gives us the tools to move forward.  But then, who would he be able to criticise if he acknowledged the truth of those things he scorns?

So it’s back to Slimming World, giving it another go.  Feeling driven, but knowing the drive might last a day or a week.  And somehow, this time, I shall try to fight through the down times, because it looks like they are here for the long haul, and while that isn’t the most ideal thing in the world, it’s better to know and work with that.