Hey ya’ll. Yeah. I relapsed.
I had determined not to write anymore blog posts for a good long while (or until God prompted me to again) since most of these were to Trent anyway. But I figured this is a depression-related post, not a veiled message to Trent, so I’m writing it. Trent can read it too (Hi Trent. Your Christmas tree looks nice. You could clean the lens on your camera to get a better picture.).
So yeah, two days ago I went suicidal again. This time it was the almost irresistible urge to swallow a lot of pills and go to bed. The liar whispered that that was the only way to get rid of the unrelenting hope.
Being suicidal is scary because I don’t actually want to die. Yes, I do believe that when I die I’ll go to a much better place because I believe in Jesus, but there’s always the niggling doubt that makes me wonder: taking a life is a sin, so would I still get to go to heaven if I killed myself? That uncertainty is not the only reason I try really hard to resist the lies but it is a big one.
I have cried a lot over the past two days. Tears don’t bother me anymore, not after this year. Tears don’t hurt. The lies ripping through my brain is what hurts. The attack of lies Thursday was vicious and unexpected. Yes, there was something that precipitated it, but I didn’t think it was that big of a deal, just a hope I thought was small, but turned out to be the tip of the iceberg. Like the hope was the iceberg and I was the Titanic and as we slid slowly past each other I picked up the snow that fell onto my deck and tossed a snowball at my mentor but underneath the water the cruel cold ice was gouging a hole in my poorly-riveted together serotonin levels and within hours I slid beneath the frigid black ocean of lies.
I’ve been thinking about depression in terms of water a lot lately. I don’t know how to swim very well – I hate putting my head underwater because it messes with my ears so much. I can doggy paddle, but if I was on a boat that sank, I’d go to meet Jesus pretty quickly. And I’d actually go to heaven because I sure wouldn’t have sabotaged the boat. I don’t like water well enough to pick it as a form of suicide ever.
But anyway, back to depression = water. I do like wading in water. I haven’t done it a lot. I’ve only been to an ocean beach once (Pacific; Los Angeles during an 8 hour layover on my way back from Cambodia). I’ve been to the Lake Erie beach at Cedar Point quite a few times over the past year and even though that one can be slightly gross, I enjoyed walking along the water’s edge. It’s come to me over the last two days that depression is like wading in water at a beach. It takes a little more effort to walk in water than on dry land, but once you do it a while you get used to it. I feel like I’ve been mentally wading for the last 20 years, and I’m so used to the resistance that I don’t notice when it’s getting deeper, and therefore harder to keep going. My family doesn’t even notice it. My mentor did. A few weeks ago she brought up going back on medication because she could see the water getting deeper, the “down-times” getting more frequent, and I poo-pooed it, because I thought I was feeling and doing fine. She didn’t bring it up again.
So I didn’t notice as the water came up to my knees, and then my waist. I noticed a bit when it hit my shoulders, but I adjusted my course a bit, exercised a few more times, and thought I was fine.
Another thing about walking in water: it throws your balance off. The water tugs at your toes, the waves and eddies making you sway as you get deeper. The slightest nudge can throw you completely off balance. And if you don’t realize how close you are to the drop off, a slight nudge can be fatal.
A little push can send you in over your head, flailing for anything to grab on to, gasping for air.
And that’s where I went Thursday. In over my head. Flailing for anything solid to hold on to, holding my breath for as long as I could.
A beautiful drop off. Also deadly.
Have I mentioned how amazing mentors are? She was the hand that reached out to grab me, hauling me back up where my toes could just touch the sand. She gave me the talk again how medication is not shameful or bad. After my suicide scare I was more than willing to go back on it for myself, but there’s always the stigma of what will people think? Certain people especially. She said “Anessa, you have a poorly working adrenal gland that directly affects your brain chemical balance. If there is a natural supplement out there that can fix it and make your life drastically better, why wouldn’t you take it and stay on it forever?” My doctor made time for me on Friday, retested me, and got me back on St. John’s Wort and an adrenal booster. My numbers weren’t as bad as the first time we tested, back in August, but they were creeping up there. As I answered the questions again I was a little surprised to see how I answered them. I wasn’t doing as fine as I thought.
I’m in the initial (and for me, only) side effect of taking St. John’s Wort: a crushing headache for about two days. My doctor says it’s detoxing my brain. I’m to drink lots of water and avoid sugar. If you read reviews about St. John’s Wort everything in the US is like “It hasn’t been tested enough!” “It messes with every other medication you take!” “It’s dangerous and poorly regulated!” I’m going to always consult with my doctor to determine my correct dosage and not just pick up a bottle from the wall of vitamins at Walmart and self-prescribe. It’s actually better understood, regulated, and prescribed more in Europe for depression than any other antidepressant. Yes, it does mess with certain other prescription drugs, but if you’re not taking them, St. John’s Wort is fine (This is where I should tell you to consult your doctor, but if you go to a traditional American doctor, they’ll just tell you what the US conclusion is. I don’t go to a traditional doctor). I was already thinking I’d go back on it periodically for maintenance or at times I anticipate being more challenging (like March. I’m always depressed in March. Or to address post-partum depression, should I ever find myself in that position). But now I think I’m just going to always be on it. And that’s completely alright with me, no matter what you or anybody else thinks.
I’m ready to get out of the water. My toes are wrinkly enough.