So why, oh why do I feel so…dead?
In 2015, I was diagnosed with moderate depression and severe anxiety. It was a relief. I finally had a reason why. Why I felt unbalanced, why I had heart palpitations, why my mind was always racing, my hands shaking. Why I would lose it and snap all of a sudden. Why I had zero patience and was always annoyed with everyone and everything around me. It wasn’t just me, who I was, or how I was born. I wasn’t a terrible person. There was a reason for it all, and I finally had a name for it. My doctor asked me if I wanted to try medication, and initially, I declined. I knew I wanted to exhaust other methods first. I started counselling once a week and was also learning about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. I started writing again and taught myself to paint. I had creative outlets and felt like I was on my way up. Until I wasn’t. It was when I found myself at what felt like the bottom of the ocean again, looking up and barely able to see the light, that I realized it was time for medication.
About two weeks after starting my medication, I felt good. Not great, but better than I had felt in I don’t know how long. And I felt even. I no longer had deep dives into the abyss, and I could smile and laugh again. No longer on edge, I stopped snapping at every little thing. I had a new outlook and saw people and situations from a different perspective. I felt compassion and offered others grace. Life was good.
A year later, my husband and I decided to try for a second baby. I knew I could stay on my medication while pregnant, but I was in a good place, so, with the support of my doctor, I was weaned off. Three months later, I was expecting again.
Fast forward 4 years, and somehow, I found myself in the depths of despair. How did I get here? When did this happen? Depression is sneaky. I didn’t feel it, see it, or hear it coming. It was a sudden realization that I was back down in the darkness, the weight of the water pushing me down, and there was no way out. After months of unsuccessfully trying to swim to the surface, I again asked for medication.
The little white pill was added to my morning routine, in between brushing my teeth and getting dressed. Slowly, I felt myself rising to the surface. Aaahhh…Relief. I was almost at the surface. I could see it. But I never got there. Just below the surface is where I remain. When I have the strength, I can breach just long enough to take a breath, but not long enough to relax and feel the sunshine on my face. The constant push-pull of being trapped in nothingness is exhausting. The lows are gone, but so are the highs. There is no laughter or love, no joy or excitement. No feelings, good or bad. Emotional numbness is what the professionals call it. And while I feel slight ease of not being on the bottom, it is still a grey, lonely place to live.
So now what? I guess I’m back at the beginning. Time to try a new medication, a different therapy, a new counsellor. The fight to break the surface and climb on that lifeboat continues. I know help is just above the surface, I’ve reached it once before, and the fight is worth feeling the warmth of the sunshine on my face again. I have promised myself I won’t stop fighting, and I hope that if you are also struggling, you won’t stop either.