It’s been a while since I did a mental health check in post, so I’m going to do that now.
If you asked me how I am right now, I’d tell you that “I’m okay,” and actually mean it. Typically when someone asks how I am, I respond with “I’m okay” or “I’m fine,” but what that really means is “no way in hell I’m telling you anything.” This holds true even with the people who know and understand depression. Very rarely will I tell someone if things are fucking awful, and even then, it will be a seriously downplayed version of what’s going on.
But today I am okay.
My version of okay:
- My depression has been much more manageable.
- My daily mood swings are more stable. I still have ups and downs, but there is improvement.
- The PTSD nightmares aren’t happening nearly as often.
- The suicidal ideation that was…tough as hell, I guess (I’m not quite sure how to describe getting stuck with those thoughts) has been occurring less, and I’ve been able to not get stuck in those thoughts for the most part.
- My anxiety is all over the place still, but if i compare it to my anxiety level a couple years ago (something I may address in a future post), I know it’s not quite as bad. So that’s something.
I really expected to fall apart last week. We had the anniversary of losing Baby N and my grandmother, and that always seems to fall within the early stages of a deep depression. And then an anniversary of something else bad that happened last year is coming up at the end of the month. With all of that, I figured I’d be a fucking mess at this point, but for now I’m okay.
While things had been mostly gradually improving since starting the mood stabilizers, most of this improvement has come about in the past 5-6 weeks when the psychiatrist increased my dosage of Lamictal again. I know what you’re thinking right now — it hasn’t been enough time to have a full blown depression to know whether the higher dosage has truly made an impact. If I were feeling this way during almost any other time of the year, I’d probably be more inclined to think the same and would be waiting for the other shoe to drop, but given that this is historically the worst time of year for me, I truly think we’ve finally hit a truly effective dosage.
I will see the psychiatrist in a couple of weeks and look forward to reporting this improvement. I think there’s more room for improvement, but I doubt she’ll go up on the Lamictal for now since things are manageable. She has major concerns about overmedicating patients with bipolar disorder and prefers to keep symptoms manageable rather than wipe them out completely. She told me before that she expects me to still go through depressive and hypomanic periods, but that they shouldn’t be so severe that I can’t deal. On one hand, who wants to feel depressed at all outside of the normal situational stuff, but then again, if completely medicating away the depression means I’ll also lose the good stuff, well, I don’t want that, either. (And I believe that would happen, as when I was on high doses of antidepressants, I was so numbed out that I had no desire to be creative at all. I was nearly completely devoid of feeling, until they simply stopped working and things would start going to hell.) So, I get her philosophy for sure.
Now on to therapy. The therapist would likely say the therapy is part of the lack of falling apart this month. Maybe she’d be right. We’ve been working on my feelings around these things, plus have been working through the thing that happened almost a year ago. That was the breakthrough I mentioned in my last therapy post, which has us back to weekly sessions now.
And for those sessions — they have been tough as hell. Hence my not writing about them. Well, I’ve tried, but words can be hard to come by sometimes, especially for the tough as hell things. We’ve been doing more EMDR, which led to the therapist telling me that we need to start exploring some abuse that happened when I was really young that I mostly can’t remember. I’m not entirely sure how that will work, but I would imagine that things are only going to get harder in therapy for the time being. I’m hoping I can be tough enough to deal with that and not fall apart as I did before when it came up. With the meds improving things and maybe being mentally stronger than I was several months ago, there’s a better chance at least.
TL;DR: Moods are better, therapy is getting harder.