» hello darkness, my old friend.
  • hello darkness, my old friend.

    Nov 06th • Posted in health, personal, writing

    Hi, friends–

    I know I’ve been gone for awhile, but I’ve had perfectly good reasons for not posting. I actually have many drafts stored, most of them relating to the same subject. I’ve been trying to craft an entry like this for a long time, and haven’t had the time or motivation to do so until now. It is easy to talk about the nature of this blog post with people in person, in hushed tones, under my own discretion. However, I feel like it’s time to be open and honest about this conversation; because not being genuine about this would be a personal affront to everything I’ve worked towards for the majority of my undergraduate years.

    I have not been practicing what I’ve been preaching for a very long time in my waking life. I might have one entry about mental illness on my blog, yet I am a staunch advocate in my waking life for mental illness and stigma. While I’ve publicly acknowledge my mental illnesses, I seem to have made the conversation about others and what we can do about it all while avoiding my own. I’ve somehow managed to skirt around my own issues, and while I’ve been presented with the option of taking psychotropic medication, I’ve never taken any1except for my ADHD medications, which I’ve been taking regularly since I’ve been diagnosed due to my fear of adding more medications to my already extensive medication regiment.2I am also a Type 2 Diabetic with PCOS.

    Until now.

    Despite this exhausting process, I am proud of myself for taking my mental illnesses on at face value and seeking help. I’ve started medication for my anxiety and depression. It has been one of the most exhausting experiences I’ve ever put myself through, and I’m hoping I come out the other side. I’ve been seeing a therapist (couple different ones, due to moving) every year since I’ve been in high school– but I’ve mostly used them as a sounding board for relationship issues or the stress of a busy lifestyle. I haven’t really utilised them for my ADHD, nor my anxiety or depression. I’ve also had a psychiatrist to prescribe medication for my ADHD, but other than that, haven’t really dealt with it. So I sought out therapy for my ADHD before realising it may also be time to explore psychotropic medication for my anxiety and depression.

    As an aspiring future doctor, yet as a Psychology major who took enough classes, interviewed enough people and has enough experience with psychiatrists to get a general idea of what shit works and what doesn’t– I have mixed feelings about psychotropic medication. For my ADHD, it’s totally fine and studies have shown that medication for ADHD is probably the most effective, and also one of the only disorders where you’ll find progress happening very quickly. For the other mental illnesses? The best analogy is throwing shit at a wall and seeing what sticks. Which is kind of what is happening at the moment. I’ve been avoiding psychotropic medication for the longest time due to my hesitancy about effectiveness and the fact that I’ve read and heard so much about how long it takes to really stick. Mostly, I’ve heard the “it gets worse before it gets better” argument, which did not help my already skeptical self. In any case, my anxiety has been so fucking bad that I decided to take the leap and try it. I am now on an SSRI that is meant for my anxiety, but somehow also helps with the depression. (Or it’s supposed to.) In conjunction with the therapy I am receiving, this is something that I’ve chosen and something that I’ll eventually deal with.

    And all I have to say is that it is exactly like how people said it would be.

    They are not wrong. I understand why people write novels and draw comic books and rant endlessly about the pain of starting up psychotropic medication. It is as difficult and painful as they have described. I have days where I feel like I am okay and I am breathing, where I feel like sitting in the sun to soak up more Vitamin D and I feel like chatting to people and smiling really big. But some days I sit in bed and stare at the ceiling, or out the window. I hear my boyfriend leaving me instructions that I know I won’t follow because I have no energy to get up and out of my bed. My friends have stopped trying to make plans with me because they know I will end up flaking. As hard as I try to make an effort, I am moving in slow motion while the whole world is going at its own, frenetic pace.

    It is difficult to deal with this so late in the semester. Things are picking up now, more than ever. While I try my best to get out of bed in the morning, some days, I acknowledge the fact that I cannot. It is hard being patient with these medications and it is a struggle. I guess the point of this being, I hope you can be patient with me too, everyone. I apologise for taking out my struggles on you and if you’ve been witness to my behaviour, I am sorry. And thank you for sticking with me, even when I haven’t asked you to do so. I am proud of myself for getting the help that I need, even when on the surface, things seem okay. They definitely aren’t emotionally, but I’m dealing with it the best that I can. These medications may not work, but in conjunction with therapy, I’ll find whatever sticks.

    I’m hoping sooner rather than later, but I hope all of this explains my behaviour. Whether it’s because I didn’t make it to class that morning, or because I don’t show up to meet with you for drinks when I was genuinely looking forward to it the other day. I’m just trying to figure out what sticks and occasionally that means hitting a couple roadblocks.

    I might not be OK right now, and that’s OK. I will be soon, and I just wanted to give you all a heads up.

    Thank you,

    Me.

    PS. For those who find themselves (or their loved ones) in a similar situation, I have linked up a helpful masterpost with resources that you may find useful.

    PPS. In the event that you are suicidal or have suicidal thoughts, please please reach out to someone, and call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1 (800) 273-8255. Or, if you prefer a text-based chat, please visit IMAlive at Hopeline.

    Footnotes   [ + ]

    1. except for my ADHD medications, which I’ve been taking regularly since I’ve been diagnosed
    2. I am also a Type 2 Diabetic with PCOS.
    • It’s okay to worry about adding another medication to your list of meds. I feel like we have to pick and choose what we prioritize when it comes to treating ailments with meds. Fortunately, PCOS is manageable with lifestyle and healthy-eating, which you already do.

      Taking the initiative to face your mental illness and doing something about it is a brave act. You should be proud of yourself.

      I’m going through therapy too, but it’s mostly to address my pessimism, anxiety, and low self-confidence. I can’t say I know what you are going through, but just know that it’ll get better. <3 If there's one thing I've learned from therapy, positive thinking does wonders. Ever since I've been to therapy, I've been making an effort to analyze my negative thoughts and then alter them so I can be more positive. It's very helpful and it improved my outlook on life.

      You will be okay and please use your blog as an outlet, you have a community of people that care and wish you the best. Don't hesitate to write whatever that's on your mind even at the darkest of times. It's truly cathartic.

    • *hug*

      that is all. x