Since I am now living on the other side of the world to my family and most of my friends this blog is about things I enjoy, things I notice, people I meet, people I miss, history, planning for the future, love and life in general! I guess it's about whatever pops into my head which I want to share with my friends and family... and who knows? I might make some more friends along the way!

29 September, 2006

I have long since intended to write this blog...

I have long since intended to write this blog – but it has been difficult to work out what I wanted to say. The other day, however, my friends and I were posting messages about medication and mental health issues at a wonderful forum I joined at firfelyfans.net and this is, in part, what I described the use of medication to treat my depression: I suffer from depression, which started after a serious illness at the age of 29, and in retrospect I had signs that I was vulnerable to this disease prior to that. I am creative and when I finally had a minor break down, after a year of poor health and ever increasing depression, I welcomed the opportunity to try medication - I have never looked back. As my friend ‘Sir Francis’ said so eloquently “I have not lost any creativity. I still write, design theatre sets, and act. And my personality is more truly my own. When I was untreated for the …(disorder), there were times when I was a spectator in my own head. Not in control of what I was saying or doing. With the medications, I am more truly myself. So if that is a change in personality, I welcome it.”

I am lucky, myself, in that I had few, or no, side effects when I was first on the meds I was put on, and lucky too that the first medication I tried seems to be the one that works well for me - I know people with various forms of depression/anxiety disorders who have tried numerous and multiple drugs before finding one/a combination that works for them. I had a few minor side-effects at first... funnily enough loss of libido was initially one, but that diminished over time and wasn't an issue since I was too ill and 'disconnected' to think about being in a relationship at that time... I have described the worst period of depression as if I was working hard to do a ‘passable impersonation of myself’... trying so hard to look for my ‘cues’, react as I felt was expected of me, and laugh as if I actually enjoyed things! During the weeks of initial recovery I was surprised to reconnect with aspects of my personality that I had forgotten existed prior to my initial illness and subsequent spiral into depression. I still think I look 'blank' in photos of me during this period - whether I was 'smiling' or not... I am still creative, more clear headed, have a better memory (yes, depression affects your memory a lot!) and also, in case you were wondering, I have regained a healthy libido! (though I choose to be celibate at present) I would not return to the bad old days for anything. I recently mentioned to a friend that it was a little like having asthma - if you are asthmatic you monitor your condition, take preventative medication and look after yourself accordingly. With depression it is a lot like that - I exercise my mind to be positive in relation to myself and talk things over when I feel 'stuck' or 'trapped' in a situation... I have lots of good friends in real life as well as on the internet, and I adjust my medication, with doctors knowledge, if/when it becomes necessary. Just as if you had a chronic lung condition you have to be prepared for the 'not-so-well-times' as well as the good ones!

In response to some of my friends who wondered if I had tried alternative therapies to the medical one which worked so well for me, I did gain some relief from St. John's Wort, as is a friend of mine at present, but ultimately it was not enough... also I did, and still do, seek counselling when I need to in addition to having close friends to talk with... I did not take the medication alone - I was thoroughly diagnosed by my wonderful doctor who continues to support me and give me sound advice - both emotional and medical at times, as well as valuable counselling when I really need it. I also have a friend who has been taking St John's Wort and is finding it is not as effective as it previously was, and, despite also having regular counselling she's nearing a stage where she is considering medication. My advice to her is to listen to her doctors' advice, ask lots of questions, raise her concerns and if she feels she is not being taken seriously then find another doctor - I have an awesome one and I am very grateful for that! It sometimes folk that I do suffer from depression, because I hide it really well and generally have a very positive attitude to life... but this is not about attitude alone and that is important to understand. It is sometimes scary opening my mouth and telling people that I suffer from this illness, and the responses are varied, but rarely the judgemental ones I fear! Mostly it's almost relief that they can speak openly themselves about their own/sisters’/husbands’/sons’/daughters’/parents’/friends’…etc. struggles with depression with someone who is open and understanding of the situation... that is when I realise there is a very positive aspect to being able to draw on my own experiences - even though I would not wish them on my worst enemy

I have meant to do this for a long time and this has been a really good opportunity to talk about something that is dear to my heart as I feel 'demystifying' mental illness of any sort is really important in our society!

Also I must say that I have been richly blessed as a result of having had depression. I have made deep connections with others suffering with similar illnesses... and have been privileged to be there for those coming to terms with it too... I couldn’t be there for others with the same degree of understanding if I hadn’t ‘been there’ myself.

Finally I have to say a huge thank you to all those friends with whom I have discussed depression whether in person or on line… I have found some of my most treasured and profound relationships have been those where the honesty and sharing of this sort of information has been taken so well. You are all so dear to me and will always be. I love to be there for my friends – it is one of the greatest privileges in my life, and one of the ways in which I feel most fulfilled… as I often say to those close to me – “sometimes I really need to be needed”.

Thank you Whimsy, Taliena, LittleAlbatross29, Sir Francis, Tristan, Rhax, Kimando and Phoenix Rose for giving me a push in the right direction... and to all my friends for your awesome support! - I love you guys!! x x x x x x x

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8 Comments:

Blogger whimsicalnbrainpan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:24 PM

 
Blogger whimsicalnbrainpan said...

That was beautifully and well writen! I loved the part where you talk about how you were doing an impression of yourself for a while. It really is so much like that. You put on a mask and pray that no one notices because you want to pass for "normal". Thank you for posting this, it was very moving.

7:26 PM

 
Blogger Kimando said...

Thanks for posting this CPW. I appreciate it and it was definately stuff I can relate to. Check out my full response my blog.

4:07 PM

 
Blogger Wooly Thinker said...

Hello, CPW!! Thanks for stopping by my little blog (Mike..errrrr, Kelkhil...told me you'd be popping in). My best friend has suffered from depression for most of her life (same with her mom, sister, various aunts...) and has tried just about every drug out there. She always complained of feeling "disconnected, like I'm viewing life through a window and not actually experiencing it." She always had problems with her creativity while medicated (she's also an artist), it's so great to hear that it's not the same for everyone! Keep writing and I'll keep visiting!! Please stop by Wooly Thinking every so often, too! (and please come take some of our snow away this winter!!)

10:42 PM

 
Anonymous LittleAlbatross said...

I love you too Magda ! Your frienship means the world to me.
Your honesty is refreshing, and I ahte that you've suffered so.But I believe it gives us strength we never knew we had.
You are a blessing.

Bryce

12:59 AM

 
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8:28 AM

 
Blogger Penguin said...

*waves* Hi, dear one!

2:04 PM

 
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7:14 PM

 

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