Month: March 2014

Can I Just Say? #2

I want to talk for a second about chain reactions. When an antidepressant gives you a racing heart, that’s not just about a racing heart. The racing heart makes it hard to take a deep breath, it makes you lightheaded and afraid to bend down to pick something up. It makes it even more difficult to exercise. In quiet moments, it reminds you that you’re sick and you don’t have control of your body or (at least in part) your mind. Which, of course, can give you racing thoughts and, very likely… a racing heart. Ooof.

Night sweats are the same way. Your sleep suffers. Your laundry situation suffers (the humanity!), you wake up freezing and clenched up in a ball, leading to muscle tension, a wicked headache, and a head cold the next day. You’re even more lethargic than the depression alone has been making you and you know why? Because you did a fucking fashion show of pajama tops in your sleep!

If you feel like you’re dealing with a shitstorm, it’s probably ‘cause you are. Be nice to yourself. We’re behind you.

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Can I Just Say?

This is the first in an occasional series called, Can I Just Say?. I try to keep the regular posts kind of positive, but sometimes positive is annoying. This isn’t a blog about feeling good. It’s a blog about dealing with depression. Not everything is progress, and that’s ok. This is a place to commiserate, a place to bitch.

And can I just say, the hold music at my psychiatrists office sounds like a fucking horror movie. It’s terrifying.  Like calling your psychiatrist isn’t hard enough, they’ve got me checking my fucking blind spots from my living room couch.

That is all.

The Cozy Beast

Guys, I gotta tell you about the newest technology in night-sweats management.

I have discovered a Hot Water Bottle Solution.

Many antidepressants, including SSRIs (lexapro, prozac, zoloft, etc.) cause night sweats and MAN is this shit annoying. I’m not talking about waking up with a damp hairline because your bedroom is too warm. I’m talking about changing your shirt three times (that’s four shirts!) in a night because you’re drenched and freezing.

First I freaked out. Then I felt extremely downtrodden (nightmares aren’t enough?), then I stopped using a space heater or my hot water bottle. Then I did some googling and my unemployed ass bought 100% cotton tank tops, sheets and shorts. No success.

THEN I thought screw this. I’m going to run straight at it. Real night sweats are not due to overheating. I don’t know what the fuck they’re due to, but it’s not a temperature thing. I wake up freezing because I’m drenched, so why not just fight fire with fire? I now sleep WITH my hot water bottle (the best hot water bottle in America, courtesy of my Aunt Nell in England, a hot water bottle aficionado).

The Best Hot Water Bottle in America

I leave the cozy beast by my feet and when I wake up freezing I just hug it close.

BAM. The Hot Water Bottle Solution.

It heats you up, let’s you go back to sleep, makes you feel like you’ve conquered the SSRI demon.

(Hot water bottles can be hard to find in the US, but they are hidden in many a CVS, on the bottom or very top shelf, folded up into a cardboard box that looks nothing like a hot water bottle. They come without covers, so I recommend plopping them into a pillowcase.)

Remember, kids. We’re behind you.

ps. A note to a terrible psychiatrist: “Thanks, My-First-Psychiatrist-Ever, for telling me, a thirty year old single woman who wants to have kids one day, that my night sweats were probably early menopause. Surely they couldn’t be a common side effect of a drug YOU prescribed! What else could they be? Cancer? A brain-eating parasite???” Lord this disease requires even more patience than it robs from us.

The Incognito Cozy Beast

That Loving Step

That Loving StepSometimes I get so sick of depression metaphors. I really wish we could just call it what it is. Then I try to do that, and I’m back to the metaphors.

Is your depression a black dog? A mean voice? A wind tunnel? Are you over a cliff? Treading water?

A good friend recently told me about his evolving relationship with the “mean voice.”

Once upon a time, he agreed with the mean voice. He let it guide his thoughts and didn’t fight when it shaped his dreams. Yes. I’m worthless. I’m pathetic. Look at me now, fucking it up again.

Then, after a good amount of time in therapy, he began to hate it. He still often lacked the fortitude to fight, but he saw himself in an epic battle. A hopeless battle, because the voice was just as smart, just as patient, just as powerful as him.

Then, after years and years, he began to see the voice as scared, sad, angry, and childish. Where he’d once seen righteous strength, he now saw temper tantrums.

Eventually he realized that he could love the voice. He could love that poor kid who got a shit deal and was left confused and angry. He realized that, in fact, loving it was the only thing to do. Love the anger away.

I’ve known this friend for a long time, and I’ve loved him since I met him. I don’t actually know when it happened, but I think that that last step, that loving step, that’s when he became a man.