What Might Help

January 2006
I realized this morning that the search for the right dose of the right medication may take a long time, in which case I’ll have to live with depression for quite a while.  So I’ve let go of my hope of getting better quick, tho I still have hope of getting better eventually.  So I’m feeling a very little better, more solid, not so freaked out.

Sent 1/9/06
Dear Jesse,

I’m sorry to tell you that I’m not doing very well.  After feeling better in the fall — I was doing well enough to go off my anti-anxiety medication — I plunged down into as bad a depression as I’ve ever had.  My best guess at a cause is that my Somatic Experiencing therapist, with whom I’ve been doing the healing trauma work, has gone to the west coast for 6 months.  I raised my medication nearly two weeks ago, but it hasn’t worked yet. It’s possible that after 8 years Imipramine isn’t working for me any more.  The idea of looking for another medication is scary – I had a very bad experience the first time (what happened to me on Paxil was literally traumatizing I understand now) and the worst is having to wait several weeks to see if any medication will work.  I have a call in to another S.E. practitioner, and I can also go back to the man I was seeing in Concord, and that will probably help.  But I’m feeling very discouraged at the moment.

If you want to help, little notes with kind words would be supportive. I’m not answering the phone because I tend to burst into tears very easily.  I’ve had too many experiences of calling for help and getting invalidated by people who mean well. Please DON’T give me advice, it’s usually something I’ve already tried, or else makes me feel like here’s another assignment I’m failing at.  Please don’t tell me any new age bullshit like “You create your life” or “You’re choosing to be depressed”.  Such comments make me literally want to die.  Don’t tell me about any books you think I should read, unless they’re a first person account of someone dealing with depression.  (Julian Simon’s book was a big help, but only on the cognitive level.) What I need is people to say “I’m sorry you’re feeling so bad.  I hope you feel better soon. I care about you.”

Sorry to send bad news, I hope it doesn’t bring you down.

It hardly seems possible but I’m feeling better.  Accepting that I might be depressed for weeks seems to have been what was needed.  It blows me away.  I started writing a letter to my brother Jesse and I think it functioned as observation without evaluation, which also seemed to help — I started feeling better while I was writing.

Good Mood by Julian Simon is a book I found very helpful, though only on the cognitive aspect of depression.  It’s one Jesse recommended.

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