No one lives in total stasis forever. Everyone has a period where change is gradual. Maybe you finally graduate from school and look back at how far you've come. Maybe you're a parent and you look back to see how your family evolved. Sometimes you go to work day after day, not feeling the changes for years. Everyone has those times.
Everyone also has times when life changes seemingly overnight. One day you're cruising through life, the next you're dealing with a major tragedy. Sometimes it isn't a tragedy. Maybe you finally get pregnant after years of trying. Or maybe you get that job that will finally free you of call center life. Some changes happen in an instant.
Change can be great! or really terrible... But no matter what kind of change you experience, you adapt. So you're going to move out of state to attend that dream college, you pack up and adapt to the new world around you. Maybe you break your leg and have to reschedule that boating trip. We constantly adapt.
When you have depression, adapting seems impossible. It feels like you aren't capable of adapting properly. Even with medication. Heck, even the medication itself feels impossible to adapt with you. The key with depression medication for a lot of people is consistency. Find what works, do that...forever. You take it the same time everyday, with the same drink, followed by the same meal. It's hard to want to mess with the flow of things. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?
Sometimes, that's not possible. And it can feel like you have to choose between your medication and living the life you want. I've found that a lot of people with depression put their lives on hold because it's not easy to find a new solution when you have one that works. Sometimes it feels like once you find a sweet spot that you cannot stray for fear of falling back into the same difficult spot as before.
I feel ya. I take a medication that is also used as an appetite suppressant. (I just use it as a depression medication.) Lately, I've noticed I haven't been putting on weight when I really need to be. In fact, when I should be gaining around a pound a week, I've actually lost a pound. (Not a pound a week, just a pound over the past few months.) I don't have those pounds to lose. I need them!
This week, I've had to really think about what could happen in the next few months if I don't gain the pounds. After Google searches and WebMD articles, I was beginning to think that I had to make a choice: be depressed and gain the weight, or continue the medication and suffer the physical consequences.
With the sudden spike in celebrity (and non-celebrity) suicides, mental health seems to be on everyone's social profiles. People are pleading with one another to seek help, to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel that allows you to accomplish your dreams. I have one friend in particular that draws to visually express what depression and anxiety feel like to him. I was looking through some of his images and laying in bed when it hit me.
I've said it multiple times that there isn't one solution that fits all. There isn't even one solution per person! There are many solutions per person! I really like the solution I had been using: Citalopram, BuPROPion, Ginger and B6 in the morning with the milk left from my cereal. I remember to do it if I follow the same routine daily. I know exactly how my body will react. It's comfortable.
It stopped being comfortable when I got dizzy every time I stood up. It stopped being comfortable when my pants were getting loose when they should be getting tight. It stopped being comfortable when I felt like I had to choose between even taking the medications or not.
I don't know what thoughts got me to realize that I don't HAVE to do it that way, but I did realize it. I don't have to take the medication in the morning. I don't have to eat cereal with it. (I do prefer to drink milk with the pills though because the taste of the ginger makes me gag.) I can take the pills at night! Would that solve the problem? I didn't know. What I did know was that with modern medicine, if this didn't work then something else would.
By taking the BuPROPion at night (and all the others because it's a habit to do it all at once) I was hoping my appetite would return by morning and I could spend the day eating everything in my sight. I've only done it one day. So far, it's worked. I woke up this morning wanting ALL the food! I wanted toast, and cereal, and milk, and hot chocolate, and crackers, and soda, and bread, and water. In fact I still want all those things.
Even better than just getting an appetite back, I'm not depressed. The depression didn't return just because I created a new routine. My brain doesn't care what time of day I take it as long as I take it each day.
The point of this story is, depression is difficult. It can make you feel like you need to choose happiness or life. That's not true. The truth is, modern medical knowledge has given us the chance to create a plan that works with our lives, not against them.
You still should probably cancel a boat trip if you break your leg, but you don't need to hold off on applying to that college or job just because you have a comfortable routine. It's scary because you know what's at stake, but in truth nothing is at stake except your happiness. I don't mean the opposite-of-depression happiness. I mean the happiness that comes from living the life you want. You can live in a comfortable stasis if you want, or you can adapt your plan (with help if you need it) and you can live the life that inspires you, that brings real joy to your day. The life that you are here to live. Don't settle for "comfortable."
With that being said,
Here is the last picture of M I had on my Android phone. (My husband switched us to Apple for security purposes and I haven't taken the time to find my pictures to use them here.)
This is the life that brings me joy. He is the life that brings me joy. His excitement, his love, and even those rare fits. They are my happy. and I don't want to have to choose between that and "comfort."