I’ve been on the antidepressants for three weeks and two days now. Everything improved very fast initially – but today I’m having a bad day. I’m making a lot of progress, and I’m feeling a lot better overall. When I feel bad about myself, I can easily see I’m getting things out of proportion, and just stop. I don’t feel despairing. I feel a lot less anxious than I used to (I didn’t realise how badly I suffered from anxiety until now). I’m capable of enjoying things, making plans for the future, at least vaguely, and generally feel more stable.
Unfortunately, some of the underlying faulty belief systems are now coming to the fore and demanding to be dealt with. I’m considering taking tomorrow off work and having a bit of a pamper day, but as soon as I do, I start feeling guilty. I’m a contractor, so a day off means a day’s less pay, and I’ll be spending money as well as not earning it. I feel as if I need someone’s permission to do this, but even though the husband is all for it, I still feel guilty. So it’s probably time to start addressing these niggly, hidden feelings of unworthyness…
It’s occurred to me that I’ve probably been depressed to some extent for years. I took antidepressants for a while after my youngest was born, and stopped taking them around mid-2009. And since then, I have been spending a load of energy managing my depression – doing the holistic things that make it better, putting a brave face on it all, keeping optimistic, blaming environmental factors for a negative mood. And I’ve been busily ignoring the anxiety, the underlying worry that I’m not good enough, that I can’t cope, that bad things will happen to myself and my loved ones… all the time trying to function – no, be honest, trying to be Superwoman… No wonder I’m exhausted all of the time.
It’s not as if I haven’t done plenty of work on myself. And I am a lot lot better than I was… more self-confident, higher self-esteem, more able to stand up for myself and figure out what I want rather than pleasing everyone else. Able to make judgements about my moral stance and stick to them. But clearly the work wasn’t finished and there’s some more to do.
The medication is making it better, and I know it’s early days yet. But today, I’m exhausted. Today I had trouble getting out of bed, didn’t have the energy to put makeup on, generally feel quite unhappy with my life and myself, and totally unmotivated.
And I wonder whether, although there is a genetic component to this depression, there is also a psychological issue in all cases? Whether if I do this work on myself, the depression will ease? My energy levels will rise? And my biggest issue of all – will I find out what I actually want to do with my life?