I’m lying awake in the middle of the night writing this blog on my phone because my dreams are that vivid that I don’t want to go back to sleep even though I feel exhausted. Every night I experience surreal dreams which seem more real than life itself and they are not “nice” dreams. So, why the dreams? Depression and antidepressants.
Depression has become a daily battle: it makes getting out of bed the hardest task I face in a day. Some mornings I can’t move fast enough and feel like I’m wading through treacle. Depression is the little monkey on my shoulder telling me things are going to go wrong, I’m not doing it right, someone will complain. Depression is a complete lack of hunger, until I feel so ill, exhausted even and realise I need to eat. Depression is a numbness from the outside world and feeling like I’m peering through fog to see those around me. It is bursting in to tears while walking to work for no reason, or feeling so exhausted that I have to go to bed. However I still don’t see myself as “depressed”. I don’t feel sad, I don’t think I’m “down” so why is it a word that’s used in creative writing as a synonym for sad? Search google and images of people sitting on their own with their head in their hands, or the typical ‘Eeyore’ will come up. I don’t wander around like a black cloud is following me. I don’t mope like Eeyore, I’m really optimistic, yet the word depression conjures those images.
Currently, I am trying to reduce my antidepressants and my symptoms are getting worse. On my full dose I feel ‘normal’. I don’t have to force myself out of the house. I want to do things and I am my “usual” self. Those little tablets really are magic. However at the moment I seek the seretonin highs from exercise, yet I can’t bring myself to do it. I’m too tired, too exhausted, I need to rest. Although after exercise, I feel amazing, I feel like me again. My poor chemically imbalanced brain is happy again. Moving forwards I know I need a plan. I need to timetable to force myself out of the house to exercise. Throughout my adult life I’ve always found I have to exercise a lot of make my body “function normally”. Has my brain craved seretonin for that long?
Mental illness is something which is shunned and kept quiet, but why? Are we all afraid to admit that we are not feeling great? Occasionally I realise how many other people are taking antidepressants. How many other people are struggling through a day, yet because it is your brain it’s not acceptable to admit there is something difficult. Mental illness does not affect my ability to do my job, my ability to be a good friend. It makes things harder for me, but surely that’s ok? A cold makes things harder for you!