Depression is my life now

My good friend Kate shared a link on Facebook to a post about being depressed and on medication which gave me some interesting things to think about:

I have depression. I know this. There is also some anxiety that comes with it, to a lesser extent. I’ve been consciously aware of the depression since 2008-ish, and have probably been actually suffering from it since 2006. It has been recurrent and consistent in its symptoms. It comes and goes in months-long periods of time.

I attempted therapy in 2008 and decided that it probably won’t help all that much. I’ve known for a while that I should be on medication, but haven’t ever really taken the hard look at my illness until this past year.

Given the chronic, recurring nature of my depression, I can safely say that it isn’t situational and that it probably will be with me my whole life.

When I did finally get the ball rolling on medication, I guess I had the idea in my head that being on pills would be the major factor in making me feel better. It has helped a lot, with perhaps the assistance of the placebo effect and the usual hormones and excitement and such that go along with getting married.

This last month or so has seemed to be a backslide into my pre-medicated state. I didn’t even really notice until about a week ago–feeling like shit is pretty much the default, and feeling good stands out as abnormal. I have a doctor’s appointment today and I was thinking that perhaps this medication isn’t working any more, or it wasn’t working in the first place and I’m just now figuring that out.

Reading Sara’s article made me realize that my medication is probably doing exactly what it’s supposed to. But it isn’t a cure-all. Sara takes medication and sees a therapist. There are other things besides taking the pill that need to be done to contribute to overall recovery.

My whole routine will have to change in various ways to cope with and prevent depressive episodes and anxiety attacks. Just like a paraplegic has to completely deck out their house with handi-accessible versions of everyday things. Just like a diabetic has to watch what they eat and take their shots.

I have to make changes to a lot of different things to effectively handle my illness. Exercise is now mandatory, a consistent and wholesome diet needs to be implemented, and my living conditions need to be at least mediocre (if not exemplary). I will have to consciously and intentionally shift things around to facilitate my wellness. I will have to give myself positive reinforcement and set reachable goals.

This will definitely not be easy. It will be a struggle, just like everything else is for me. But after a while, it will be habit. Exercising will be a habit. I’ll brush my teeth while in the bathroom and maybe not even think about it. Doing dishes will not take some massive force of will to compel me into the kitchen. And, in addition to all of those things, I’ll probably be on medication for the rest of my life.

But that’s okay.

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