Archive for July, 2016

One Week In

Posted: July 25, 2016 in Uncategorized

Well, almost a week.  I’ve had to use the emergency anti anxiety drugs a couple of times, but I’m still only on a starter dose of Zoloft so I suppose that’s to be expected. I haven’t had to use them at work, moreover I’m a afraid to because they make me a little clumsy. Not necessarily loopy or drowsy, but sometimes my feet don’t listen. I guess that doesn’t make a lot of sense but it is midnight, and I’m a little sleepy. So we’ll just go with it.

Thankfully I’ve not experienced any insomnia, and Lyndsay says she notices a slight difference. I guess I notice small ones. She says she can hear a difference in my voice, I don’t sound defeated. I suppose I never thought about it before but it makes sense. I spent a lot of energy pretending to be normal and fight through the worst of my anxiety during the day that by the time I got home I was so mentally exhausted. Even though I haven’t used them at work, just knowing I have something in the event panic takes hold helps. I spend less time pretending.

Admitting all of it helps. Writing it down helps me work through it. Though contrary to what that may sound like I’m not writing these posts as a form of therapy (though it’s becoming a happy byproduct). I’m writing these because it’s important for people to vocalize their struggles. Reading posts from people like Jenny Lawson (aka the Bloggess) helped me realize that. So the more voices out there, the more people will realize they aren’t alone and it’s okay to talk about it.

And that’s the important thing. I’m not famous, I’m not well known by any means but one more voice added to the growing dialogue can’t do anything but help. We have to talk, be honest- even if it’s only to the wide void of the Internet. 

I still have anxiety. I still feel the pull of depression but it’s getting better. Little by little it’s getting better.  That’s all I can hope for.

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Mental Health #1

Posted: July 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

I’ve struggled with mental health issues since I was a teenager.  I’ve been on and off medications , misdiagnosed, rediagnosed and I’ve seen a handful of doctors and counsellors. I’m largely silent on social media about it, mainly because there is such stigma attached to suffering from a mental illness. I’ve always believed that people didn’t want to hear about it or would think that I was talking about it to gain attention or something akin to adulation.  

Why I choose to talk about it now is precisely because there is stigma attached to it. I want to be very clear that every opinion expressed is mine alone. Put simply, it’s because everyone experiences their illness(Es) differently. Depression and anxiety for me may not be the same as depression and anxiety for someone else. Even if I don’t directly say “I”, you can assume I’m talking about myself, at least in regards to experiences and symptoms.

But I feel we need more people to be vocal, to humanize it. Mental illness isn’t something we lock people away in dank institutions for any longer, but the fear and stigma are still there. Even with celebrities like Kristen Bell being open and honest about their struggles, there is still an underlying trepidation when discussing it. 

But it isn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s not something to hide. On the contrary, I’m  proud to talk about it-because of what I have survived. I am still alive, having survived (largely due to a massive stroke of luck I still thank whatever divine creator is up there for) a suicide attempt almost ten years ago. I’ve made it through some of the darkest thoughts, near crippling anxiety and my own fears about telling people of my struggles. 

My official diagnosis is depression,  anxiety disorder with some elements of OCD (which are, according to my doctor, manifestations of my anxiety). The depression ebbs and flows, but the anxiety is always there. That’s my biggest struggle. You know that feeling you get when you are about to fall but don’t? That’s how I feel most of the time. Sometimes it’s worse, and sometimes I barely notice it but it’s always there. Large crowds, loud noises, small spaces and stress can trigger an anxiety attack, which sucks. But I’m lucky in the sense that I’ve not had a full blown panic attack in a long time. 

So I’m three days on Zoloft, and thus far I’ve experienced a tiny perceptible change in my anxiety, which I half consider (thanks to my wife’s astute knowledge) psychosomatic because there’s no way in three days to feel a difference from just a 50mg starting dose. At least I don’t think so. But maybe there is. 

I don’t pretend to be an expert. I know a bit about psychology but this little series I’ll be doing isn’t to meant to be a professional assessment of mental illness, nor is it to be used a diagnostic tool. If you think you are suffering from a mental illness , please see someone. It will be the greatest decision you make in your life.

And that someone doesn’t have to be a psychiatrist to start with, a counselor or therapist are great tools as well. Some people don’t need medications, others do. It’s different for everyone. You have to decide what’s right for you.

And if you’re thinking of taking your own life, please drop what you are doing and tell someone, or go directly to the hospital. You are unaware of what good you have to offer right now, I know that feeling first hand. Please get help if you feel that way. You’ll be glad you did, maybe not right away but once you cut through that darkness you will be thankful.

Until next time.