“One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide,” according to the World Health Organization.
Those are some pretty staggering numbers, and that statistic is from 2001. In the current toxic and volatile political and economic climate, those numbers are likely tragically low. Even though mental illness is that prevalent there is still so much stigma around living with one.
I’ve battled with many forms of mental illness in my life: OCD, PTSD, and old, reliable depression, and anxiety. They’re all always present, but at different levels of intensity. For the last couple of months, my depression is rearing its ugly head, and the delayed arrival of spring, and living in ~300 ft2 of space aren’t helping the situation.
My depression manifests as a negative voice inside my head that tells me I’m not good enough, that no one likes me, and to stop talking because I’m annoying and no one cares. Its name is Ron. I was bullied by several different Rons growing up, and so I imagine one Ron in particular when that voice in my heads gets too loud to drown out. It was your classic tale of popular, athletic joke-ster, his rich, jock friends, and even the teacher pick on the poor, fat theater girl who loves to sing, and eat her feelings.
I cried more often, and gained more weight junior year than I did either of those things throughout the rest of high school. Believe me, my chorus teacher never let me hear the end of it. (My high school experience summed up in one sad little paragraph.) There were many other kids I went to school with who picked on me over the years, but that inner monster voice is named after Ron.
When Ron gets too loud, I hide in the house, I consume waaayyyy too much sugar, I don’t go to the gym because I have no energy, and I can’t ever seem to get enough sleep no matter how long I stay in bed. It’s your pretty typical, run-of-the-mill depression.
I’m back on meds again, going through that whole human guinea pig thing. Zoloft was giving me near-constant nausea, but this time the nausea was coupled with flashes of sudden, intense flashes of nausea where I had to excuse myself from several restaurants (and no, I’m not preggers).
The sweaty palms and horrible fatigue were brand new symptoms this time around too. So, onto the next one! Let’s do this, Prozac.
It’s easy to get discouraged during this process. In a perfect world we could take a test that would tell us exactly which medication will do exactly what we want it to do without a lot of side effects, but that’s unfortunately not how it works. It would be easier in a lot of respects to just wallow in my miserable mindset, listening to Ron’s words like they’re gospel rather than nonsense, but I keep going to therapy and trying a new medication or dosage, because there are no prizes for “sucking it up” and it’s not worth it to me to potentially damage my relationships, my work life, or my physical health to continue to wallow and “tough it out.”
This weekend Tom and I will be working on the yard and prepping for our tiny marathon gathering, since our kitchen won’t be finished in time. It’s moving along quite nicely though. I’ll post more on that this weekend.