Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Depression

I love Fall.  It is my favorite season of the entire year.  I think it's because I grew up in Phoenix where there is hot and then not as hot and there is no real change of the seasons.  We had grass in our yard that would die off in the winter and I believe the trees we had eventually dropped their leaves around November only to return by February but it wasn't beautiful.  I would read books that would include beautiful descriptions of Fall and I remember asking  my mother why our leaves didn't change pretty colors, just brown.  Then I moved to Utah attending BYU and there experienced my first real Fall, Winter and Spring.  I thought it was heaven.  When it comes to Spring I still wish that it would automatically warm up like it does in Phoenix.  But I am content to let Fall take it's course, changing the leaves, cooling down in increments, the frost, the beautiful colors, etc.  And of course the clothes!  And shoes!  And boots!

I decorated my house today for Fall.  On October 1 I will put up Halloween and then on November 1st, Thanksgiving.  However, the Fall decorations stay up through all of this.

While decorating today and over the past several days I have been noticing the change in my ability to function--sleepiness during the day, insomnia at night, and neck pain are my signals.  I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which I think is a stupid name and have wondered many times if someone made up the disorder just so they could name a type of depression "SAD".  Stupid.  Anyway, it is a type of depression that fluctuates with the seasons and the amount of sun that is shining.  Around the 2nd week or so of September I start to feel sluggish and start thinking about  what I call "upping my meds".  Which I did today.  I should feel better by tomorrow and even more so the next day.

I take medication year round, though, because it never quite goes away.  You know how there are people who get drunk and they are angry drunks?  Yeah, I'm an angry depressed person.  Apparently, I used to be mean(er).   Now I'm just slightly sarcastic and cynical whereas it used to be quite off putting.  And that's mildly stating the fact.

I think I've been depressed since I was a little kid.  I know now that it runs in the family so I'm pretty sure I was depressed when I was a little kid.  I remember sometimes being barely able to drag myself around, crying fits, being mean to my sister and ornery to my parents.  I couldn't figure out why they wouldn't accept me like I was.  I was a brat!  I've got one now just like me that I often times say to my husband, "How much longer do we have to wait to medicate her?"

When I got married.....it was bad.  My poor husband.  I just don't know how he stood it all those years.  I remember one time he said to me during an argument, "You're always yelling!"  Which I took immediate offense to and brought it up time and time again.  Because I was a bitch.  But it was true!  I WAS always yelling. 

One summer was particularly horrible.  I yelled all summer long.  From the time I got up in the morning till the time I went to bed at night I yelled and screamed and was just angry.  I asked if I could go to Girls Camp and the whole time I was there I had so much fun.  But the minute I came home it was back to the norm.  About a week later I called my husband at work, frustrated with my situation, and told him that it was true.  I WAS always yelling and I couldn't stand myself anymore.  He said something that changed my life, "Well, you know, you don't have to yell. "  And right then I realized that I was making the mistake of thinking that yelling was my only recourse.  Changed the rest of the summer for me.  Which was about a week before the kids went back to school.

I can't remember if it was that winter or the next that my SAD started to get really bad.  I was good until about January then I was a mess.  I'd lay in bed for hours every day just staring at the wall.  I'd become totally reclusive until the end of February when I could go out and start working in my yard and soaking up the sun.  Then next year it started in December ending in March.  And the next it went from December until June.  JUNE!  That Fall it started in October and I finally, finally!  said to my husband, "I can't do this anymore.  I'm calling a Psychiatrist to get some meds."  He didn't say anything then other than, "OK."  But I'm sure he was the happiest man in the world.

Since then I've been on Celexa.  It is a miracle.  For me at least.  I adjust it up in the winter, down in the summer and when the need arises.  I do have to take more now than I did when I started but that's fine with me.  I will never not take medication again.  I'm not saying that anti-depressants are a panacea for the masses but my hell, if you need them, take them and stay on them.  In the case of my family it is the greatest gift I can give to my family.  I just wish that I had done it sooner.  


  1. I love my anti-depressants. I'd marry my Prozac if I could. But, I could never self adjust. The last time my psychiatrist upped my Prozac I was suicidal for 3 weeks. In the middle of July. That was not cool.

  2. I can completely understand the weather moods. Living in AZ has been good for me and all the sunshine. I can remember my last February living in Utah...it was cloudy and foggy the whole month in Cache Valley I thought I would die. (I do miss fall leaves)

    I completely agree...if someone needs meds to feel somewhat normal...take them!

  3. Celexa changed my life. When my life became a disaster I was in such a low, the lowest I have ever been. But I think I have always suffered with depression, and like you, it runs in my family. I spent 10 days not getting out of my bed when things hit the fan and I was "on watch" the whole time. Those were dark days. But even after that, it became to a degree that I wouldn't leave the house. Not ever.

  4. I am not a doctor (surprise), but I recommend asking your doc about Prozac for the kids if they need it. Nothing worked for my daughter until we tried Prozac, but then again she was 16 when we finally made this move. Miraculous!!! I guess one reason Prozac is good for kids because it doesn't matter if they miss a day, and they are always forgetting here and there. Anyway, she takes more in the winter as well. Our lives are all so much nicer. I'm so glad you found an answer. I do think it's important to take advantage what's available if you need it--and some people can't really find relief any other way.