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Depression

Writing is supposed to help depression. So, I'm writing. This bout of depression had been a whopper. It started when I stopped my amitriptyline after my hysterectomy. My gynecologist didn't want me to go back on it because it caused urinary retention. But, I have been through two other antidepressants and they had intolerable side effects. So, I'm back to the amitriptyline and am probably up to the highest dose that I need. I just need to give it a couple of weeks to get all the levels in my brain correct.

Depression is exhausting. Some days I sleep too much, others I sleep too little. I try to stay on a steady sleep schedule, but it's hard. And then there are all the other self-care items. I follow a low-carb diet which isn't that hard to follow, but does require some effort, especially to get all my veggie servings in. And, exercise. And journaling and keeping up with my headache diary.

But, depression makes those "simple" things seem impossible. On a bad depression day, I've been known to stay in bed until noon. As my medication dose has increased, I'm doing better on that front. I'm getting a shower regularly now and getting dressed soon after I eat breakfast. Getting up to take a walk on the treadmill seems just about impossible on some days.

I've learned to adjust my expectations on my bad depression days. For example, I can have groceries delivered to the house! That's one of the chores that I find most difficult when I have low energy because of my mood. I also don't worry about ordering in burgers on a bad day.

I don't like how inward focused depression makes me. I feel so awful and I end up spending my time caring for myself so try to improve the depression. I don't think this is a bad thing! It's just frustrating. I'm generally an extrovert, and the twin illness of migraine and depression have conspired to isolate me. Taking my meds and doing appropriate self-care is the best thing I can do to be able to get out and interact with the world and love my neighbor again.

What I wish people who don't have mental illness knew about those of us with mental illness is that the illness is real and we didn't cause it. And, generally, we're trying to get better! Much mental illness is hereditary (you should see my family tree - it's a disaster) although social and physical factors enter in to how it is expressed. Most of us with mental illness know all the correct self-care things we are supposed to do: eat right, exercise, sleep hygiene, social interaction. We aren't always successful carrying them out.

God is with those of us with mental illness. I don't know why he allows this to happen, but he walks through it with us. Many Christians with mental illness continue our spiritual disciplines of prayer, devotion, and Bible study through our illness. We appreciate the prayers of our friends and family. Generally, suggestions for us to do more prayer are not helpful. If we believe in prayer, we've already done it and we're still doing it.

If you are dealing with some mental illness, I'm so sorry. I'm happy to interact with on Facebook or through the comments. Sometimes, life just sucks.

 

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