the thaw

I know, I know – winter has been finished here for a LONG time. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about me. I am finally noticing a thaw in my brain – for most of the fall, all of the winter, and a portion of spring, my head was full of cotton and my body was full of lead. Due to my freakishly optimistic temperament, it took about six months before I realized that it wasn’t something I would “snap out of.”

A medication I had started taking in the fall had caused all of this, and I feel like it cheapens the word to call it “depression,” but in my own way, that’s what I had. I know that so many people deal with depression, that it’s much worse than what I experienced, and most of them can’t blame it on a medication – I know that I’m lucky. But, for a season, not only was I dealing with exhaustion and apathy, but I had become painfully insecure, introverted, and angry at the world in general and myself in particular. It was an ugly time, especially because I knew that most of my thoughts came from something “not me” and from a paranoia of sorts, and that to act on them would bring about drama and longterm negative impact – so I tried to investigate my own mind, knowing that there had to be a source, and that I could find it and reason with it. But then, after months of introspection and isolation, I had reached a point where I no longer trusted there was a source – my perception of it turned from “not me” into “what I’ve been along” and I seemed to be incapable of reasoning.

And that sucked.

It took me a few weeks to work up the courage to find a counselor. And another few weeks to actually call her. With the initial paperwork, there was a questionnaire – it wasn’t until I filled that out that I realized how bad things were, that most of my responses were exactly the opposite of what they would have been a year ago. And I just sat there crying, realizing that I had been too stubbornly optimistic to get help sooner.

After the first appointment with my counselor, during which she said that I wasn’t crazy, we turned into two little detectives, searching for reasons why I was suddenly so different. The medication came to mind, so I spoke with my doctor and we decided I should stop taking it immediately.

Since then, I’ve been benchmarking. Every milestone (“Hey, I haven’t wanted to punch anyone today! Or cry under my desk!” up to last week, when I attended a party where I knew only one person and actually enjoyed meeting new people) is something I hold on to with glee, partly so that I have something to say to my counselor now that she’s listened to all my problems and assured me that they’re perfectly normal, and mostly so that I can remind myself that I’m not who I thought I had become during that ugly time.

Part of the thaw is finally wanting to blog again, and I opened wordpress with two ideas in my head. I just let it flow, and out this came – which was neither, but must have been exactly what I needed to say.

4 thoughts on “the thaw

  1. depression is so ruthlessly ugly because it takes so many different faces. When I was your age (*finger shakin’*) I became depressed and i didn’t recognize it, because I wasn’t “sad”, just angry, tired and afraid of bridges (!?).

    I know it’s difficult. I’m proud of you, meetin’ new people or not, and good on ya for being courageous enough to talk about it.

    xoxo Joce

    PS Running to the movie store RIGHT now! YAY!

  2. yeah, sweetie, I’ve been there too. In fact, you saw me in person right during it, but not nearly as bad as one year ago this week. In fact, I’m pretty positive (I could check my 365 but I don’t really want to) that it was exactly one year ago today that I had my one true breakdown, where, in a string of months when I burst into tears randomly, I had a day when I could just NOT stop crying, when I called my therapist and got in to see her that day without an appointment. It’s been great fun to see her now, post-depression, and think together about what could lead me there again. But I know that sometimes you just can’t find a source. I’m so happy that you’ve identified one, and can take steps toward a happier you.


  3. sorry i’m late to this. this was a lovely piece of writing–very honest but also very articulate. i’m so sad to hear of your difficult time and i’m so happy and relieved to know you’re making your way out of it. big hugs!

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