I have to admit, I’ve dreaded writing this post because it’s more personal than I’ve ever wanted to put out into the world.
2014 was…rough. I went through the entire year in a state of deep depression. My depression realized itself as apathy: I couldn’t go to my studio, I couldn’t push myself to try, I couldn’t get off of my couch. I certainly could not try to put the effort into this blog, my energy was spent trying my best to get a shower.
I’ve had friends that suffered from depression, and I knew that it could be debilitating, but I don’t think I understood how heavy it can be until I went through it myself. If you’ve never seen this piece from Hyperbole and a Half, I suggest you head on over because Allie is brilliant.
What’s worse is that I knew I had nothing to be depressed about; I have a fantastic and supportive partner, I’m making a living doing what I want to do, I get to travel quite often (last year we went to Madrid), I have love in my life from my family and friends (and cats…well one supportive and affectionate cat, and another cat that holds me at arms length but I love her still). I heard remarks like “how can you be depressed during the summer?” and it would just make me feel worse. I don’t know how I could be depressed during the summer, but sometimes the only thing that got me to go to work was the promise of free air conditioning.
I tried to change my life by taking actionable steps. I began to go out for walks, I tried to change my diet, but my depression could beat those all. It was a waiting game…I could try something new to fight this weight on me, but all depression had to do was wait for a foothold.
My apathy started to affect my life in August. I lost my side job as a writer for a successful blog because I hadn’t written anything or reached out to them in months. I put all of my effort and time into a trade show and couldn’t sell there. I’d put on a smile, but I think I looked exhausted and scared the whole time even though I had done this for years.
But I knew it would get worse. Like Game of Thrones, I knew winter was coming.
Winters have always been bad for me. Since I’ve started MSC, winter is more seen as 2 months that are full of stress and unreasonably impatient people than a lull in sunshine. And I knew I couldn’t handle it. It was September and I knew I needed to stop pretending I could fix this on my own.
I texted my husband and said to him “I think I need to get some help before winter comes.” He wrote back a concerned “okay” and that night we discussed what to do. Looking at my computer screen instead of him, because I couldn’t face him, I explained that I felt like there was something wrong with me. When there’s something physically wrong, you go to the doctor. There’s something wrong with me mentally, so I’m going to treat it the same way and go to my doctor. I emphasized that it was nothing he had done or was doing, that it was something inside of me. So I scheduled an appointment with my doctor.
That visit still haunts me as “bottom.” I sat in her waiting room, passing the time on my phone. They called me into an examination room and I sat on the chair next to the desk, since I knew it wasn’t a physical ailment. She came in, we chatted for a little while and I was able to keep up the “pleasant” facade I had plastered on my face all year. Then she asked me why I came to see her. And it came out.
I wish “I started to cry” explained it well enough, but it doesn’t. Suddenly, this wave of emotion hit me and I began sobbing, like the sobbing where you can’t catch your breath and forget trying to speak coherently. It was as if the culmination of the past year just decided now was the time to come out. I got out that I had been feeling bad for the past few months, and I knew it would get worse in winter and “I…ne-ed…somehelp…” Needless to say, my doctor wasn’t prepared for a 30 year old woman to suddenly turn into a sobbing school girl in 30 seconds flat. She tried to comfort me and asked what I wanted to do. I had done research on antidepressants and had come to realize that Wellbutrin might be a way to help me out as it had the most “okay fine” list of side effects, as compared to other options. I had to get blood work done to make sure my kidneys were good, and after that she would write me a prescription.
The thing about most antidepressants is that they don’t work right away. It took about 2 weeks for me to even get the pills, and then maybe another 3-4 weeks before I started to see results. I’m on the lowest dose, so the Wellbutrin doesn’t “lift” me up, it doesn’t make me happy and cheerful, it gets me back to 0, which is what I wanted. I didn’t want a pill to control my life, I just wanted to get back to a base where I could work on myself and try to work through things without having to dig myself out of a hole to even start.
2015 has been better. January 17th was 1 year without smoking, I’ve changed my diet and have dropped 25lbs in 3 months. MSC has made more money its first 2 quarters than it did the entire 3rd year it was in business. I’ve decided that this year is about building my fan base rather than building my footprint (more on that later) and I’m seeing positive results from that.
This blog has been in my head since I started this journey into righting my life, and I knew explaining my absence would be a long entry that was really raw, so if you’ve gotten this far I appreciate it. I’m hoping to continue to work on my motivation and have it reflect here, as I think having an outlet for my passions can only further my process into “I’m okay.”