medication, depression history and life.

I hate my blog now.  I have been re-reading it and it seems to me like I sound a bit insane and lost.  And before that there’s a lot of depression depression depression.  And before that, there’s oh, more depression.

Alert: this post is not going to be any different.

I know I shouldn’t be re-reading this while I’m still down. It’s not good to me.  And I guess I have been feeling a bit insane and lost, so it makes sense that the blog sounds a bit insane and lost, doesn’t it?

I just started the new medication cocktail.  Paroxetine, fluoxetine, and a tiny drop of Seroquel which is meant to be working on helping me control this chronic/recurrent depression (as opposite of being used for mania or psychotic symptoms, which I don’t have, so the doses are very small).  I don’t know if I should say “I hope it works”, because at this point I really can’t hope for much.  “Hope” would mean that I kind of expect it to work somehow.

I remember the first time I got an official diagnosis of Depression.  I was 17 so… fuck I can’t do math right now.  Somewhere in the middle of 2004.  I had depression for a while before that, so the psychiatrist even scolded me on how a person who is studying medicine doesn’t ask for help before that – even though I had not had a psychiatry class back then.  This is not something I wanted to have.  Obviously.

I recently read a facebook status of a girl I know who is still in med school that said someting like “crap, apparently I have been diagnosed with major depression, gotta take some pills. See ya all on saturday!“.  I am aware that all facebook statuses are shallow as they are there for fun, but it just made me go back and think of how traumatic it really was for me, how I could have never said something like that.

Of course it wasn’t traumatic at first, because having a diagnosis meant something good, it meant that it wasn’t me who was broken and useless, it was just an illness.  It also meant that I didn’t have to tell anyone (besides my best friend), because I would take the pills and see the doc and I would be cured, and in 6 months to a year, I would get off the medication and laugh at it.

And yes I would laugh at it, because nothing is wrong with me as a person.  I don’t think my life is particularly bad, I don’t hate the world, I don’t hate people.  I am an introverted girl who likes to think a lot, is very smart and usually thinks the best of people.  At the same time I do have some trust issues – I think people are generally great, but I just don’t get too close to them.  And I have a predilection for exceptional people, but I don’t get too close to them either.

Hey, even when I’m very depressed, I think the world is an awesome place.  I just don’t feel like I can take it.  I would not be happy to die. In fact, I wish I could live 1000 years, then I could see what else happens with everything and everyone, I would be able to learn all the sciences I want and I would make a big discovery about something great, and then, I could go in peace.  Not now.  So you’re going to say “then don’t kill yourself, ever, duh”, but it doesn’t work like that.  Whenever I’ve been so suicidal I think that’s it, the thing that bothers me the most is that I will not be there to see anything else.   But there’s no other way, I gotta stop it, I gotta shut my brain down and not think again.  It hurts too much.

It’s hard to explain, but sadness/happiness and depression/non depression are not the same thing at all.  I know that the people who have depression know what I’m talking about, but it’s sometimes hard for the rest of the people to understand.

Yes, I have problems like the regular person.  The main one: I haven’t been able to graduate.  It sucks but it’s not a cause for depression, actually, it’s a consequence.  I have other buch of little problems surrounding me.  But problems are not it.  I could get rid of all the problems and everything would be the same (Oh, I would be very relieved, but I mean, in relation to my depression).

This is almost like another dimension to me.

Oh but wait, I drifted off.  I was talking about being 17, and getting a diagnosis and feeling kind of good about it because it was a solution.  Well, it all went down when the time passed and I didn’t get cured.  I got angry, I stopped taking the medication (it had been 8 months, and the antidepressant response curve flattens after a few weeks anyway), I thought it was me who was broken and sulked down into horrible depression for months.  Soon after I couldn’t take it anymore and I quit school.

I don’t even know how I managed to get back the next semester, I was then on Venlafaxine, which worked for a while.  I was still only partially functioning, but I’ve always been good with school.  For me it’s a matter of hearing/reading things a couple of times; I did good in exams without having to study much.  So, if my brain stopped functioning for a day, I just would read about it the next day.  No harm done.  I didn’t even have problems of attendance because I could just go and sit during the lectures even if I wasn’t functioning; I have always been considered shy and reserved, so nobody would be surprised if I wasn’t talking; also, we had to wear uniforms and it was great because it took no effort to get ready in the morning.  I just had to shower.  It was like going to university in my pajamas.

Then the classes ended and the internship came.

The problem with the internship is that you can’t manage your own time.  You are expected to work several hours every day.  You are expected to be functioning full time as you have to do several tasks and keep a long list of to-do things, and you have to interact with people a lot, and the residents are over you all the time.  And lets not even get started on the night shifts, which screwed up with my sleep/awake cycles and made it all worse.

This time my ocassional brain shut downs were evident.  There was no concealing in just going to lectures with scattered attention, abnormally antisocial and a really bad hair.  I couldn’t keep up.

It’s been a long time, and lots of medications have been tried.  Doses were changed.  Sertraline came later, then combinations with valproic acid, then olanzapine, then risperidone.  Then Sertraline + VA + Risperidone.  Then I collapsed and gave up.

Because I’m home now, it may seem like my depression has gotten a lot worse.  But it hasn’t.  Depression has been bad for years, it just happens that now it definitely got in the way of living.

And it also happens, that half-living is no way to live.  Living is not just to exist.  There’s so much I want to do.

I don’t know why the meds haven’t worked.  I know there’s biology involved, and I am sure there’s more than one psychological component that is still there, but I can’t put my finger on it.   I think a lot, I keep looking for causes all the time.  I haven’t found them.  Most of the times I am not even sure what the hell is wrong with me, despite the psychiatric diagnosis.

All I can do now is wait.  And think.  And wait.

PS :I mentioned ECT, and it’s still in my mind, but it’s logistically hard to get that for now, and definitely it’s not like I’m dying to get my brain electrocuted – pss, scrap that.  I was actually about to make a blog about ECT, because many people think it’s this medieval procedure that leaves you brain dead.  It might have been before, but now it’s not.  It’s just a procedure.  Really.  I just can’t bother to write a proper post right now, so I’ll just leave it in the air.


5 thoughts on “medication, depression history and life.

  1. Hi Nessa

    I can understand how you feel. To have illness get in the way of plans and goals you had set yourself and not be able to make any plans because you don’t know if it will ever clear enough for you to claim your life back. I don’t have any answers but just to say thinking of you and hoping one day you will achieve all the things you want for yourself. x

  2. so the psychiatrist even scolded me on how a person who is studying medicine doesn’t ask for help before that

    That is ridiculous. I’m a nurse with a Master’s Degree and I didn’t recognize the depession until I started thinking that suicide was a viable option. That doc was a nit wit…and rather offensive. He or she implied that medical professionals are immune to depression. Wouldn’t they have to be if they sought help at the first sign of illness? None of us do, especially in the health care field. That’s inherent in the area of caring so much about OTHERS. Your doc does not seemed to be hindered by such burdens.

  3. First, I hope you will feel better soon. Sincerely.


    “I would not be happy to die. In fact, I wish I could live 1000 years, then I could see what else happens with everything and everyone, I would be able to learn all the sciences I want and I would make a big discovery about something great, and then, I could go in peace. ”

    Exactly same here. If you don’t already know Aubrey de Grey and the work he does at the Methuselah Foundation, you gotta check first his TED talk:

    (just ignore the beard)

    And then, if interested at all, you should read the book that he wrote with Michael Rae: “Ending Aging”. As a med student, I think you’ll love it. It gets decently detailed.

    And if all of that sounds good, consider making a donation (even if small — the total number of donors always helps convince others to take the plung) to the Methuselah Foundation:

    That money goes to fund research in areas of the SENS platform that aren’t well served by the current pharmaceutical research.

  4. haha, your comment got caught in spam.

    That sounds really weird and interesting. I haven’t read it yet but I plan to. Unfortunately, I don’t think you can get much out of me for the donations part.

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