Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Thoughts on Medicated Depression

The problem with being somebody like me, who is very clear about what works regarding dealing with my "low" days or holiday freakouts, is that when I'm confronted with a serious depression that's actually caused by my reaction to a new birth control pill, I try to "treat" the medicated depression the same way I deal with my low days.... you know, eat right, exercise, try to figure out what it is that's really bothering you. Depression is a message, right?


Which is, of course, the big problem with depression. If you can't physically get up and get out of bed for anything but bare survival (and keep hitting your alarm every morning, when you've never, ever, not in the entire year you've had this 5:15am job, ever hit the alarm in the morning and skipped your weight routine), then it's very difficult to deal with "low" days the way you're used to. About all you can do is crawl into bed when you get home and maybe get some reading done.

Now that I'm back to myself again, I'm starting to realize just how bad it was getting. I figured out what the problem was when I started to burst into tears at weird moments, like on the bus, at work. Hysterical tears for no real reason.

The rest of the stuff - the low energy, the lack of willpower - I could tack up to sheer laziness, or the stress from traveling a month or so ago, or the stress of figuring out what I was doing next, or the stress from being so sick dealing with the *other* consequences of the bc pill. But the weepiness I remembered from when I was a teenager first getting hopped up on hormones.

The great thing about being older - and getting off the pill for six years and then on it again - is that it was pretty obvious to me what was wrong, and instead of trying to continue to pawn it off as just me being "hysterical" or freaked-out, I can call it for what it is: my body's reaction to synthetic hormones.

And my body reacted with a really freaky, really nasty depression.

It's a funny thing, because it's not like I lacked the will to do things, it's just that it felt like there was this gray gauze between my will to do things and the part of me that was actually consciously doing (or not-doing) things, and every day I'd get home and my will would tap-tap me about going jogging, about not eating those fries, about going to MA class, and it's like the conscious part of me just wasn't picking it up. Just wasn't reacting. Like there's something that kept those parts of my brain from actually talking to each other properly. I got pretty disconnected from everything else around me. It's like stuff was going on, and I was aware that time was passing, but I was having trouble really connecting with everything around me.

On Monday, I was taking my usual walk at the nature preserve, and I was like, "Wow! It's spring! When did that happen!" and I actually went around, like, touching trees and stuff. Everything was so bright and shiny.

It was fucking weird, to realize just how out of it I'd been.

Getting up in the morning this week, doing my regular weights routine, hasn't been like pulling teeth, even though I've been staying up talking to B until past 10pm, my usual oh-shit-I'm-going-feel-like-crap-tomorrow-if-I-don't-go-to-bed time.

I decided Monday that I'd start turning my nature preserve walk into a 40-minute power walk, and I'd bring an extra set of clothes into work (I'd jog it, but we still don't have a shower here in the office, so I compromised), and start on Tuesday.

And, suddenly, unlike all the other shit I've been trying to do the last couple months that's been so fucking hard, like ripping something out of myself so I don't feel even worse about myself, I went home, packed my clothes, and did the power walk yesterday, and will continue today, and wow, hey, all the sudden I can really *do* stuff again, without feeling like I'm pushing through a gray curtain!

What bugs me the most about this is that I'm such a stubborn bitch. If I hadn't experienced pretty much *all* of the side-effects related to this birth control pill (depression, nausea, breakthrough bleeding, yeast infection [FROM HELL], weight gain/increased appetite), I would have probably just let the depression thing go. I might have done the adoloscent thing and just been like, "Well, you know, I'm just feeling really low. I did a lot of traveling, I'm not happy with my job, I'm starting a new relationship, I'm not sure where I'll be living in a year, I don't know what to do, I haven't been writing anything, things are just really shitty right now."

And I might have just let it go, because, hey, it was "just" depression! I'd just deal with it the way I always had, and everything would be great! Right!?

Problem was, I could track it. I could say, "It's been about two months, actually, that I've felt this way."

And the connection was just so blaringly in-my-face obvious that I had to make the connection: I started the pill two months ago. I couldn't shrug that off.

And, to be honest, a low period lasting that long was really, really scary, cause there's always that fear that maybe it's *not* the pill, and you'll be stuck that way forever.

In any case, it was a great learning experience, not only for the future, but for the way I view my past. I remember starting the pill when I was 16 and bursting into tears at work one day (in front of my boss, no less), and thinking, "What the fuck is wrong with me?" and moving through a crappy relationship like some sort of zombie.

The pill has always worked for me: no pregnancy! Yay! But it's exacerbated my own occastional tendency to have low days, and it's turned low days into one long sweeping period of gray fog interspersed with that 7-day-no-pill breather period that's just long enough for you to think, "I'm being silly! There's nothing wrong with me!"

Problem was, being the stubborn bitch I am, I never connected the dots when I was younger. Three years of freakouts. Wow. And I didn't even question it. I just told myself I was a hysterical idiot freakshow, and that's just the way things were.


It's so great to be back in the world again.

Full of fucktards as it may be.....

Oh, For Fuck's Sake

But in one sense, contraception may indeed be the new abortion -- that is, the next battleground for reproductive rights.

I feel like I'm living in a really, really bad SF novel.

Open Letter to the Fuckers (and friend) I Owe Money To:

Dear Corporate Visa Fucktards:

Why, yes, I realize my corporate card account balance is more than 30 days past due. In fact, it stresses me out, too! It would be a great thing if my fucking employers actually reimbursed me on time, so that I could pay you expediantly and not continue to fuck up my already fucked up credit rating.

Believe me, I would love to pay you so that I didn't have to *pay* late charges incurred because my company is full of accounting snobs, late charges that are not, in fact, reimbursed!

Oh, how I would love to pay you!

But I am a lowly fucking admin, I have no money in savings, and you are just one of many, many people I owe a significant amount of money to.

In fact, you're the luckiest of the bunch, because you will, in fact, get paid within the next four weeks, when the payroll snobs get their shit together and give me my goddamn money back.

Someday, I will have a real job that pays me real money. Today is not that day.

Sincerely Yours,

Corporate Slave


Dear Great Lakes Student Loan Fucktards:

Why yes, I realize that my fucking student loan payment is due the 20th of every month. Did you fuckers look through your fucking accounts and notice that *I pay you every single month by the end of every month* before you started leaving pissed-off "you fucking owe us money" messages on my machine?

Have I missed a payment in the last year?

Why, fuck, no I haven't!

In fact, your fucking check went in the fucking mail today, so you can kiss my ass.

Sincerely yours,

Super Bitch


Dear Dell,

Yea. I lost last month's payment.

Sue me.

Your check's in the mail.

Sincerely Me,

Kameron the Great


Dear Jenn,

Yea. Sorry. You can cash the check tomorrow.

- Kameron

The beat goes on.



All my friends are together again!