So I’ve mentioned my seasonal affective disorder before, and that this is the time of year that it rears its VERY ugly head. Yuck.
A little over two years ago I started working with a psychiatrist. She diagnosed me with depression, not JUST the seasonal kind, but the all-the-time kind which just happens to get a lot worse between October and December, plus generalized anxiety disorder. Also yuck.
And to think I only went to her because I wanted to discuss going back on Adderall for my ADD. We had a bit of a chicken vs. egg argument. My theory was that if I could just focus and get my shit together I’d be less depressed. Hers was that if I were less depressed I’d be able to focus and get my shit together. She won.
The medication wasn’t intended to be a long term thing. It was intended to help me get to a place where I could have my shit together on my own.
For that reason, over the almost two years that Wellbutrin worked on my brain, I did the same. I worked to become more aware of what I need, to cultivate self-care practices that help me feel my best, and to surround myself only with people who energize and inspire me.
Which is why, with the blessing of my doctor, I stopped taking my Wellbutrin this past March. Probably would have been a less crazy choice to wait until after the wedding to make this change, but I wanted to give myself as much time as I could to adjust and evaluate before Fall arrived and the days started to get shorter again.
And here we are. Last week I made the decision to start taking it again. Womp. Womp. Womp.
It was a tough call. Partly because I feel a million times better right now than I ever have this time of year. But also (mostly) because I’m stubborn and really just wanted to be able to say that I had done it. I wanted to look back in the Spring and know that I conquered something I’ve been battling for my entire adult life.
You know what – I think I could have done it. I really do. And by “done it,” I mean made it through the Fall without spending days at a time with that desperate, empty, painful feeling in my chest. That’s kind off my tipping point. Once I start to feel that way, the chance of dragging myself back to the land of positive people is slim to none. That’s when I just have to ride it out. Up until that point, though, I have a bit more control.
Which is why it’s so cool that the strategies I have come up with over the past few years really make a difference. I was working to combine them all, to keep from getting even close to my tipping point, and was seeing great results. Meditation and yoga, obviously. Getting back in the gym. Cutting back on my beloved wine. Creating and sticking to a before bed routine. Consistently taking all of my supplements. Consciously shifting my perspective when I felt down. All of it helped. And truly, I felt pretty good.
But here’s the thing: I began to feel like keeping depression at bay was a full time job. I could do it, but sheesh, it was goddamn exhausting. And then last week, when I skipped a few steps of my routines for a few days in a row, I felt it start to sneak its way in.
My initial reaction was one of encouragement towards myself. “Come on Girl! Gotta get back to it. Obviously all of that stuff was working, so you have to make sure you don’t skip any steps on any days.” Which is totally true. But dude, let’s be real here. Have I ever done everything I’m supposed to do all the time? I have ADD, remember?? I can hardly be counted on to turn off the lights when I leave the house. It isn’t particularly realistic to assume that I will be on point with all this stuff 100% of the time.
Plus, I want a life, too. I don’t want my entire day, every day, to be focused on how to not be depressed. Its not enough for me to work that damn hard just to feel not shitty. I want to feel GREAT!
So I made the call to the psychiatrist I had proudly parted ways with last March, and asked for her help, again. If I questioned my decision at all, I stopped as soon as I realized the weight that lifted off of my shoulders once I had taken the first step.
I think sometimes we get so focused on one thing, one goal, one end, that we miss opportunities to take another path which could lead to even more Awesome. So yeah, I’m bummed that I’m not going be able to say I accomplished my med-free goal, at least not this year. But if keeping the blues at bay is a full time job, then I’ve got my assistant back. She’s here to do parts of that job for me…which makes me so excited because it frees me up to do all of the other things I want to do, like write this blog post, for example.
So…I guess…this post is brought to you by my assistant, Wellbutrin.
Couldn’t Probably wouldn’t have done it without her.