First up. WOAH. Bongiorno. I had three view from Italy yesterday.
Viva la Italiano!
Now down to business. It’s serious times…
Nothing is helping with my drug side effects right now. Not Valium, nor Omega 3, nor exercise. I’m sure this is the way people must feel on illicit drugs… my concentration was significantly lowered, in fact I’m not sure I should have been allowed to drive today.
But there’s something that I think very few people realise about depression. It is a crappy damned if you do, damned if you don’t. So obviously antidepressants have been designed to help minimise the deep lows, lack of motivation and myriad of other symptoms that come with depression from weight gain to weight loss, over sleeping to insomnia… it can be very vague like that. However there is absolutely, positively no cure for depression. You can’t remove the dodgy part of your brain. You can’t get a mood transplant. You can’t kill the depressed cells. Unfortunately for sufferers, there’s a fairly significant genetic factor to the illness and many many people will have to deal with it to their dying day. This means dealing with the symptoms the best you can, and modern medicenes answer is antidepressants.
But is it that easy? Oh no! Just about every antidepressant has significant side effects. The gem of a drug I’ve been on recently is designed to keep serotonin in the right parts of the brain without it being reabsorbed. But the price to pay for this? Initially nausea, headaches, tummy upsets. But these are mostly temporary. But Cymbalta is a little too well known for packing on kilos, which of course really helps ones self esteem to suddenly find padding where there wasn’t padding before! Another very common side effect is a complete and utterly devastating change to ones’ sex life, presenting in either a loss of will, or loss of ability. And no, this isn’t restricted to just a few antidepressants. These two side effects seem to be common factor in the vast majority of SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) and SNRI (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) drugs, and some of the tricyclics too. Unfortunately there’s a whole list of other possible side effects, everything from muscle spasms, irregular heart beat, Restless leg syndrome… the list goes on. My favorite side effects so far (and I have found this with a few drugs, including my most recent one and I think that Valdoxan might be an even stronger advocate of this!) is really bizarre, vivid dreams. Last nights’ gem involved something about creating this new rollercoaster like railway between a castle and somewhere.. but having to contend with zombie like creatures at the same time.
So as you can see, in many cases it seems like it’s a matter of swapping one set of problems for another. The real key is trying a few until you get one that gives you the best relief with the least disturbing side effects. But to top it all off, trying drugs and switching to new ones lead to a whole new ream of withdrawal side effects! Just like the ones I’m currently having the joy of experiencing…
But as you can imagine, having depression is a real balancing act. Do you life with the deep blues, or trade them for weight gain, a crappy sex life and the chance that it will wear off and you’ll have to go through the hell of withdrawing and starting all over again??
I don’t know how the hell I did it, but my very first major depressive episode I managed to work my way through with music. Somehow, by the grace of God, I surrounded myself with music that kept my spirits up just enough for me to get through it. And bloody lucky I did. I feel like this part is fodder for a post all of its’ own… but that episode could well have turned into a wholly dangerous one. But I suppose my thought is that there so desperately needs to be a more wholistic approach to mental health. Music is commonly identified as an emotional release, as is ‘getting back to nature’, involving one-self with something that inspires passion or enjoyment… there is really an endless list. And yet our society still struggles to even accept mental illness as true, so how can we even start to look at best courses of treatment!!
I’m getting to the point where I am really struggling to think of who else to share this blog with; all my ‘safe’ people, those who I know love me regardless, have had this shared with them. So now comes the hard step – sharing it with those who may end up judging me. But the point of this blog is to say stuff the stigma, stuff the judgement. The world needs to change in the collective opinions of something that affects just so bloody many of us!!