I could lie my face off and say I don’t know how three months have flown by without writing a single word on here. But I know exactly how it happened. I’ve debated for quite some time about whether or not to share my experience from the last 90 days. It’s super personal and I am sure many will feel I am just looking for attention or being dramatic. If that’s how you feel, so be it – you get your opinion. Otherwise, I’ve always believed if sharing my story helps even one person, especially as we have an increasing awareness and concern for mental health, then it’s worth facing judgement and criticism.
In previous posts I talked about being in a pseudo funk I couldn’t really shake off. I would have several fine or even really good days, then it felt like someone had kicked one of my dogs for two or three days. I tried everything I could to get this mood to permanently fuck off, but she stubbornly dug in her 6-inch heels and poured another cocktail.
And then my grandmother died. For reasons about which I won’t go into too much detail, I’ve dreaded her passing for quite some time. Not only because it meant the loss of my last grandparent, but also because I knew very well it was going to have quite a bit of uncontrollable collateral damage within my family.
Not too long after that inevitable shit hit the fan, I encountered some repeated issues at work. AND I lost my mind and decided to try dating again. I don’t think I need to explain why that was a terrible fucking idea. Mix in the ever present, albeit annoying, issues and struggle with my weight, and well, I kinda went violently downhill. At first, the indifference set in – the hours at home alone with Netflix because leaving the house for anything other than work sounded horrible and required entirely too much energy. Then the sadness took over and the physically exhausting crying started. Unfortunately I’ve seen and lived through this show before.
The bottom fell out when I had to watch Beautiful Boy for work. I started crying 10 minutes into it and didn’t stop until two hours afterwards. While bawling in in the drive-thru at Whataburger afterward, I realized I had officially lost control. Because who cries at Whataburger?! Luckily, I had a therapy appointment the next day, at which I quickly discussed the need to go back on meds.
I was diagnosed with depression for the first time when I was in middle school. It manifested itself as physical pain in my right knee. After several rounds of doctors who obviously found nothing wrong, I was referred to a psychologist at Scottish Rite. I couldn’t tell you how long I saw her (most likely not long enough), but I ended up missing so much school I was home-schooled – if I remember correctly – for a good portion of seventh grade.
The second time was in my late 20s. I went through my divorce and started dating again in 2008. My head was not on straight whatsoever. I look back on those days and want to crawl under this desk and stay there till all the memories go away. Don’t get me wrong, there was some amazing times that year. I mean, I was only 28, lived in LA, had some fantastic friends, and did my best to drink all the vodka in Southern California. But my god I made some horrible decisions when it came to boys.
That Christmas I started dating someone I had known for awhile from Texas. It was super fun and provided a much needed distraction during what was a very emotional time. But it was not meant to be. My divorce was final in April 2009 and the new relationship ended about a month and a half later. I was heartbroken. I think it brought up about 10 years of all sorts of additional issues with which I hadn’t wanted to deal while going to college, starting my career, mistakenly getting married, and finally fulfilling the dream of moving to LA.
Luckily, I had a terrific therapist in Woodland Hills, close to my office. I worked with her for awhile before the aforementioned breakup happened. When it did, I emotionally fell apart and she alone couldn’t put all my pieces back together. She referred me to a psychiatrist and was brutally honest with me that our work together would do absolutely no good unless I was chemically balanced. This was the first time I went on anti-depressants and the only time I went on a mood stabilizer. I didn’t hesitate to take them; no one should feel the way I did at that point (or ever eat that much Chinese food).
I eventually came off the mood stabilizer, but due to my history and genetics, I stayed on the anti-depressant pretty consistently for several years. I came off it when I lost insurance (yay for the American healthcare system!), and in 2013 faced my third depression; it was a pretty nasty one. I was unemployed for the first time in my career, as the company for which I worked and helped build sold. And I had gone through yet another horrific breakup, which, I found out later included being cheated on for the first time.
Once I was re-employed, I went back on meds but because I am dumb, stopped taking them about two years ago because I didn’t think I needed them anymore. Don’t ever self-diagnose, friends, especially when your DNA makes you prone to any sort of mood swings and/or depressive episodes.
Thankfully, I’ve not been officially diagnosed as depressed since then. However, I’ve definitely had a couple of mild episodes. One late last summer and then recently. I knew the signs this time and just did not want to believe them. I ignored it for entirely too long. When my therapist and I decided I should go back on meds, I sadly felt defeated. I felt like I had failed myself, my friends, my life. I felt like if I had just tried harder and done better, I wouldn’t be forced to go back on those pills.
It took me until now, about four weeks in, to get over that feeling. The crazy part is, I don’t see anyone else as a failure for taking anti-depressants; I applaud them for it. Except myself, of course. Cause why would I ever feel good about myself, right? Who would do such a thing?
I am a lunatic, I know.
I’ve taken other steps to put myself back on track. Ultimately, lack of consistency is my biggest downfall. I get to a good place and I completely self-sabotage. Therefore, I started working with a trainer to stick with my health/fitness goals; a transition coach (who trains with Gabby Bernstein) to work on my writing/career goals; and of course, consistent therapy appointments to work on my insanity.
I must mention, as an expression of pure gratitude, seeing so many of my favorite humans this week in Miami helped officially turn the corner, as well. Ridiculously, I actually dreaded that trip. I didn’t want to deal with clothes and feeling horrible about myself and my weight every day. Didn’t want to know if the long hours and having to be “on” all the time was going to turn me into a crazy person. But in the end, it’s exactly what I needed. But it would be a lie to say I would have gotten to this point without the meds.
No one should be ashamed to take care of themselves, whatever that means, not even me.