Stigma Fighters

And Then, I Woke Up

This is what it feels like for me right now. Since four days ago, I have had this feeling as if I just woke up from a long sleep. It is a good feeling, a very good feeling. I feel alive again, awake and part of the world. I have had many “a-ha” moments about the depths of my depression as part of this awakening and although it is sad, I am able to integrate it in my head in a healthy way. Now, nothing is perfect, and I have had moments of irritability and moments of anxiety in the past few days. The difference now is that I am able to think things through and take the time to account for my thoughts.

I will continue to follow through with my treatment: medication, therapy and ECT and I am thankful for all of them. I can now see how they are working together to carry me out of this depression and it is amazing. I feel as if I am slowly getting my life back: my husband, my sparkly daughter, my family and my friends. Everything feels different and clear. The time I have spent with my daughter over the past few days have been magical. I have experienced the feeling of “being with” when we have been together and I have missed that for the past months. It is the same with my husband and I feel like I won a prize to be able to experience this again after so much time.

While this is all very positive, I still have a lot of work to do. My focus is on myself now which is a new phenomenon and I understand the importance of this as I am pulled out of this depression. I also need to work with my doctors and allow them to continue to help me: I simply cannot do this alone and I can absolutely recognize that now.

There really is light at the end of the tunnel and I can finally see it. What an amazing image to wake up to.


Weekly Routines

Every week I take a drive to the Boston area, spend the night at my parents’ home and see my psychiatrist bright and early the next morning. I have been doing this for several weeks now and will continue to so for many weeks to come.

This is now part of my routine and this is how it goes:

1. I leave work on Thursday and drive the hour and twenty minutes to my childhood home. During this drive I increase the volume on the radio and work hard at staying awake. I am tired from being depressed and I am tired from the medications, so I make sure I am alert. I also take advantage of driving alone. I love having my daughter in the car with me but it is a nice break from millions of questions from my beloved four year old. I think about things I want to talk about with my shrink the next day.

2. I arrive at my parents’ house and they immediately want to feed me. OK, why not! My mom has already asked me days prior about what I will want for dinner. My answer is usually “anything” as I do not want to have her “work” for me. So, I am well fed not just with dinner but with a special dessert (cookies, brownies…) and I am spoiled and taken care of for one night. I don’t even mind watching TV with them at night, even thought the volume is loud enough for the entire neighborhood to hear! I am able to just relax.

3. The next morning I am up at 6 AM and out the door at 6:30 AM to see my shrink. We continue to work on my medications which has proven more difficult than I thought. Increase one week but too many side effects, try another med but more intense side effects; increase, decrease, increase and add another med. That’s where we are at now.

4. I leave her office feeling loaded as if my head is so full I will begin to ascend like a balloon into the air. This is when I make my Starbucks pit-stop and drive back to get to work. This is the time I decompress (as anyone in therapy knows, those moments post-session are full of thoughts, questions, sadness, upset, etc.). My drive back is still themed with loud music but I am able to process what was just discussed and wrap it up so I can return to my already in progress life. When I lived in NYC I was lucky as I was able to walk the 2 miles home after each session with my then therapist and that was truly the best way to decompress.

This is now my routine and I think I am used to it at this point. I can take care of myself and I know that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. My life will be even better which will light the lives of my husband and daughter, as well.