Tag Archives: depression

A new start…again

11 Oct

New Life Chapter One Typewriter

Here I go again, repeating a now-familiar pattern:

  1. Melt down mentally and financially, avoiding work, bills, friends, etc.
  2. Finally quit whatever substance I’m using to self-medicate (and/or numb)
  3. Days/weeks of bed-ridden depression, anxiety and absence of self-esteem
  4. Slowly get back into basic personal routine – sleep, moderately healthy eating, etc.
  5. Revisit long-neglected doctors – mental and phsysical
  6. Start some form of group therapy – finally trying AA this time*
  7. Build on healthy routine – including household chores, writing and exercise
  8. Reach critical mass of healthy routine, lifestyle and mental state
  9. Begin new job hunt – and/or in this case – return to full time role
  10. Secure quick, early wins and build from there…but not f–king it up this time

I’ll give you one guess where I am now. Hint: if you’re at 3, you’ve gone too far, again.

If all goes well, you’ll learn more, and I’ll have progress to report, the next time you check in, including thoughts and progress on AA. This may be the key to not screwing it up again; I can barely afford to do it this time, let alone another. Too many loved ones, kids and dollars at stake, and not being the dad, husband or man I want to be.

Thanks for reading…

Skipping church and other signs of trouble

18 Feb

It’s been a little over 36 hours since my return from the long weekend and, as expected, it’s been a brutal, depressing and anxiety-ridden road back to my own reality. Since I’ve been back I:

…had another B2C (straight from bed to couch) day yesterday, paralyzed by anxiety and lack of confidence with even the smallest of tasks.

…feel even more overwhelmed than I expected, mainly because our water pipes froze while we were away, adding another major task to the ever growing to do list.

…skipped church (group therapy) last night, probably when I needed it most, and in itself a warning sign that I’m neglecting my own self-care (more on this topic to come).

…let my own judgemental, pessimistic outlook on my return become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The good news? I’ve been looking after my 2-year old nephew who’s home sick from daycare, so I’m out of the house and being (to my mind) productive. What’s more, I’m feeling the proven therapeutic effects of spending quality time with a toddler.

The need for speed…amphetamines for beginners

5 Feb

After two B2C* days in a row, I’ve got a new sense of purpose and vigor this morning. It’s not because of an early walk or a healthy breakfast, nor from any coping strategy to get my mind into gear for the day.  I did none of these things…but I did take my amphetamines.

In addition to my longstanding battles with depression and anxiety, I was diagnosed a couple years ago with adult ADHD.  My wife was the first to be convinced of it, before my psychiatric team even explored the diagnosis, but it would take some time for me to come around.  I had a problem with confidence and drive, not with my attention span.  Besides, ADHD is a disorder for kids, not adults, right?

Only because of my wife’s persistence did I eventually and reluctantly accept the diagnosis.  Along the way she introduced me to great resources like TotallyADD.com and held my hand through several self-diagnosis tests like those from Psychology Today, Psych Central and Totally ADD.  In the end, my symptoms matched up so closely that in hindsight the ADHD diagnosis was a no-brainer.

Just accepting the diagnosis, knowing that much more about how my mind operates, brought a wave of relief.  With a new mental battle front I learned about a whole new set of tools and coping strategies – making lists, setting attainable goals, establishing routines, etc. – to manage my ADHD.  My psychiatrist added a medication to the mix that would prove to be a silver bullet: Vyvanse.

Being a stimulant I expected it would make me anxious and jittery.  I already felt there wasn’t enough time in the day and I was sure that Vyvanse would only speed up.  It turned out to be the opposite; from the first day I took it, time slowed down for me and gave me room to breath.  I was no longer in a mad panic to solve all my life’s problems in a day.  I could see pathways to completing intimidating tasks that until then seemed impossible.  I actually started checking things off my to-do list instead of eternally adding to it.

In short, it worked.

It sounds crazy (of course it does) but I’m actually of two minds on Vyvanse and my success with it.  On the one hand, I see it as an effective medication and part of my overall daily treatment for a clinical disorder.  But for whatever reason, there are other times when I see it as yet another addiction, my daily fix of amphetamines.  I know this is what I do (beat myself up unnecessarily) but feeling guilty about taking medication that works is, well…crazy.

* Note: (B2C above refers to “bed to couch,” where I spent Monday and Tuesday)

How do you say “crazy” in Nigeria?

31 Jan

It’s Saturday today, and so far it’s shaping up to be a day of bare minimums: putting garbage out, running the dishwasher, driving the boy (late I should add) to soccer, turning off the TV.

Continuing the trend, for my daily #just5 minutes of writing I’m taking a passage right out of the book I just finished, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It’s a vivid and beautifully written story of love, loss, race and identity. There was much in these topics I found very relatable, but this passage struck a particular nerve:

“Depression was what happened to Americans, with their self-absolving need to turn everything into an illness…

…she refused to accept the diagnosis of panic attacks because panic attacks happened only to Americans. Nobody in Kinshasa had panic attacks. It was not even that it was called by another name, it was simply not called at all. Did things begin to exist only when they were named?”

What do you think? Are my anxieties real, or merely a luxury of my privileged (and white) Western upbringing?

Either way, look out for Americanah and other great reads for crazy people on goodreads.com or the widget on this page.

That’s 1 in a row…and small victories

11 Jan

In my last post I talked about feeling afraid and overwhelmed by life, and the coping strategy I’m really trying this year of breaking every challenge down to very small, bite sized chunks. Along with setting manageable expectations I’ve already experienced pleasantly an unfamiliar fringe benefit or two.

I’m actually accomplishing what I set out to do. I’m winning small victories, but I’m winning. And in my own quiet way, I’m celebrating.

That’s my #just5 writing for the day. I look forward to checking in (yikes, another therapy term) tomorrow.

In the meantime, beware the mad ravings of a man one day into a lifelong journey.

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