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TMS

When I first starting writing about having depression, I had no idea so many people would reach out. The outpour of support was overwhelming and comforting. It can feel pretty lonely at times in the darkness of depression.

But some people – some surprising people – have not been so supportive or they have ignored my blogs and constant talk to normalize depression. One person, who will remain anonymous, said she understood that I was depressed but didn’t think I should always write about it – that it might make my sadder, that people didn’t need to know my business. I felt almost like I was embarrassing her by association. Actually, I’m pretty sure she was embarrassed – even embarrassed for ME. Like I should be ashamed.

But that’s what I don’t get – why people are weird about depression and mental illness. That’s what this blog is for – lending understanding to others and normalizing all mental disease.

What’s shocking the most is the person is my age, a part of my generation. Perhaps her feelings toward depression and mental illness came from her parents and family who considered it taboo or a weakness. Where does it come from?

But I’m not going to stop blogging. I don’t think I’m whining and complaining about being sad all the time. I think I’m telling the truth about what it feels to have depression. What’s weird to me is why it makes others uncomfortable? Why would you feel anything but compassion or even indifference in my journey? I think that reflects more on the people who are judging than it does me. I’m fine with having depression. Well, not fine, but I’ve come to terms with it. But it doesn’t bother me, so why should it bother you?

Why are people so uncomfortable with mental illness?

Before I end this blog, I wanted to remind y’all that I start TMS tomorrow and will blogging about the entire process and how I’m feeling after treatment.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

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I don’t know about others with depression but I have a real problem when it comes to making plans. I usually make plans or commitments when I’m feeling good or whatever passes for good, and at that moment I’m truly looking forward to whatever plans I make.

But then, my depression overcomes my desire to socialize or perform whatever task I signed up for. I’ve taken to doing things last minute or being non-committal. It doesn’t impress my friends or social group to which I belong.

Even if it’s something I know I’ll have fun at (girls’ night, group workouts), I still have to summon up the energy to take a shower, put on a happy face and go. And by now, my friends have accepted that it’s just who I am. But I’m required to go out in public where friends and acquaintances don’t know where I’m coming from and I know I can come off rude or flaky. I hate that.

In the past it’s caused rifts and arguments with friends and definitely problems at work. I don’t know what I would do now if I were working outside the home. My depression has gotten much worse than before I was pregnant and working, I can’t imagine facing workplace obligations, not to mention the drama, again.

I also feel so burdened when I have an obligation hanging over me and I get anxious when I put off a friend because I just can’t even. I’m still supposed to set up a play date from 2-3 years ago. Sigh. Plus, there’s always the drama of coordinating schedules with the kids. That just adds to my problem, hence why I don’t have a lot of mom friends. I want them, I do, it’s just hard now.

Hopefully, the TMS that I’ll start next week will change things: I’ll have more energy, my anxiety will lesson and I’ll feel less encumbered.

Maybe going out and taking on more responsibility will be easy peasy. Who knows? I’d like to do more than barely get by with socializing and start cultivating my friendships.

Let’s just hope TMS really helps.

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Vacation has ended and it’s back to life, back to reality. It has been awhile since I’ve blogged but my last blog talked about how I forgot my meds while on vacation. I was truly expecting a depression storm but actually I feel great. Maybe a little restart was what I needed. It was just three days without my total regimen, so it wasn’t too bad. No breakdowns, no withdrawal symptoms, nothing. I freaked myself out all for nothing.

And I’m still feeling great. It’s weird, but I’ll take it. Nothing has changed except the medicine hiccup. But I’m thankful.

In breaking news, I’ve decided to take the plunge and try transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS. I was recently approved by insurance and while it sounds weird, I am hopeful it will improve my mood even more and I won’t have as many depressive episodes.

So, TMS. In a nutshell, you sit in a chair similar to a dentist’s. An electromagnetic coil is placed against your scalp near your forehead. Next the magnet delivers a magnetic pulse that stimulates nerve cells of your brain – the ones that involve mood control and depression. In people with depression, it’s thought to activate regions of the brain that have decreased activity. It’s not completely understand but TMS is known to greatly help those with depression and anxiety. People like me.

Because I’m treatment resistant and I have MDD, this is the next step. It has fewer side effects than ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), which is a big commitment. With TMS, you do have 30 or so treatments in a row Monday through Friday, but you’re able to drive yourself home and one of the most common side effects is headache. That worries me a bit with my migraines but I’m willing to give it a try.

One of my friends in Dallas is almost over with her sessions and she told me she can feel a real difference. She also said the electromagnet feels like a woodpecker tapping at your brain but doesn’t necessarily hurt.

I’m hopeful.

I start August 15, so think good thoughts for me.

 

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I love when people try to help with my depression. Actually, I’m not sure I really do. What I like is when someone is truly educated about depression, especially MDD and anxiety, and makes a helpful suggestion, i.e. a certain vitamin or therapies I’ve yet to research such as TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) or ECT (electroconvulsive therapy).

What bugs me is when someone has vague knowledge of depression and assumes there’s a cure – there is no cure for MDD, only medication and therapies that can relieve symptoms. What really bugs me is hearing I’m doing something wrong or there is a cure and that I don’t want to find it. Believe me, I work hard at fighting depression and finding things to make me feel better. It’s no fun feeling this way.

And while I realize some people are truly trying to help, there are those ignorant people who fray my nerves whom I’d like to educate.

A while back I met a woman who had overheard me discuss my depression with another woman in my workout group. The woman came over, introduced herself and started discussing how society is overmedicated and suggested that depression was something we did to ourselves. We could heal ourselves. I felt so stupid and sick to my stomach. At this time, I had barely begun to discuss my mental health openly and I didn’t stand up for myself. She also began telling the other woman in our conversation, who had a thyroid problem, that she could heal her own thyroid through holistic methods. Now, I also have hypothyroidism and I want to say for everyone’s sake – NEVER DO ANYTHING WITHOUT CONSULTING YOUR DOCTOR. Going off your medication and trying holistic methods could do permanent damage. I’m not a doctor or a health professional, but please, always talk to your doctor.

Anywho, I was so upset I asked to change workout groups. Then I realized, screw that. This woman needs to see what a depressed person looks like – someone who can work out, someone who can be happy but have terrible days. And she needed to hear me talk about my depression over and over again. She needed to listen and needed to be educated. And hopefully, she has been. But the point of this story was that while thinking positively is helpful, you can’t think yourself happy when you’re depressed. Alternative therapies certainly can help but if you could cure yourself with happy thoughts then nobody would be in my predicament. Suicide wouldn’t be the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.

I also want to address people who pinpoint one thing you’re doing and assuming that’s what’s causing your depression. If you are suffering and reading this, please let this be your takeaway: You are not causing your depression. You are not doing anything to cause it. You are mentally ill because of your brain chemistry and that’s not your fault either.

Here are some things that “cause” my depression, mind you some of them can make it worse depending on the person. These things have also been the “cause” of my migraines, too. What do you know!

Diet Coke, carbs, not enough sunshine, not enough exercise, not eating healthily, not eating enough, eating dairy, too much sleep, not enough sleep, negative thinking, carbs again and drinking out of plastic.

I also need to try crystals(?), essential oils, meditation (which actually does help me with anxiety), thinking myself cured and something about putting a banana peel on my forehead.

I’m always polite with the suggestions and maybe I should just tell people there is no cure. It’s a disease, I keep repeating myself but it’s unlike any other disease. If I had Type 1 diabetes, I don’t think anyone would list any of the options above. Surely, people know that you’re not responsible for causing diabetes, that you need medication to live and it’s nothing you can cure yourself of. Surely.

To sum this up, no matter what you can’t give yourself depression. Nothing you’re doing can cause depression. It’s not your fault, I promise on Diet Coke and carbs.

 

 

 

 

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