Hello, dear friends and readers.
It’s hard for me to break the silence here. Like my physical shrine, this blog has gathered dust and has a thick quiet to it. But like my physical shrine, I can clean it. I can revive it.
And so I do. But first, a little glimpse of my mundane life.
I have experienced SAD (seasonal affective disorder) for well over a decade. I have been able to manage it through spirituality, through self-care, through food and bodywork, through animal therapy, and with my support network. I’ve also experienced varying degrees of social anxiety, which I’ve managed with the same tools (along with, admittedly, a high level of hibernation).
But a year and a half ago, things changed. My migraines had gotten to a frequency that necessitated preventative medication. I was put on a drug that worked brilliantly to knock them down from three times a week to maybe once a month.
Unfortunately, that drug was also used to treat bipolar by flattening out the manic spikes. It’s almost never prescribed without an antidepressant accompanying it, but I was only taking that drug for migraines.
I hit severe depression–clinical depression. The kind of stuff that isn’t ameliorated by sunlight and longer days. The kind of stuff that didn’t give a damn about my personal toolkit and all my self-care.
I didn’t recognize it at first, because my personal life was going through a lot of changes and challenges, too. My partner of seven years and I opened our relationship up when we became polyamorous; we started dating someone; my work was spiraling into a toxic environment with frightening speed. The learning curve for being openly, actively poly was harsh when it’d been years since either of us had been poly (and we’d never been poly together). Coupled with increasing depression, I nearly couldn’t cope.
I stopped taking the anti-migraine meds. My migraines returned, and I expected the depression to lift. I worked very hard to help it lift. And it didn’t change.
I made it to Wep Ronpet, our Kemetic new year, a solid year after I first took the anti-migraine meds. I threw myself into zep tepi with ferocity and a hint of desperation. I had six weeks of a reprieve, wherein which I started dating someone new, adjusted the prior S.O. relationship to something healthier for both of us, and fell in love with my gods again.
…and then the crash. NRE and force of will can only do so much, and depression came back with a vengeance. I got fired for the first time in my life. I was barely able to function; there were nights where I couldn’t manage to feed myself. My imagination constantly, involuntarily served up terrible imagery and terrible ideas. I couldn’t escape my own self-destructive brain, and my body suffered; my immune system faltered, and I got sick half a dozen time in half a year, hitherto unknown to me.
I clung to what helped me through and dropped absolutely everything else. I found a new job and was honest with my boss about my challenges with energy levels. I stopped kicking myself for being unable to do a single project–all I could manage was work, then falling over once I got home. My animals became my only hobby, and they were already my therapy. My partner picked up the slack without complaint.
I decided I had tried enough, worked my ass off enough, and burned myself out enough. What I could do by myself was insufficient. I needed help, and so I turned to a psychiatrist.
Brief tangent: There’s a lot of stigma around mental health and psych meds. I support an individual’s choice to decide if and when they want to try them, and I support education about how much of a process it is to try out different meds and different dosages until one finds what works for oneself. Brains are different; situations are different; meds are different. Meds should not be used as a magic pill, and there’s a lot of non-med work a person with depression and anxiety does to help the process along. Some people can get to a point of getting off meds again, or to the point of only needing them during particularly harsh times; some people need them long-term. There is no shame there. It’s no different than taking insulin for diabetes for the rest of your life or having a cast on a broken leg until it heals.
That said, it’s been five weeks since I started medication, and I’ve begun to experience a higher baseline energy and less frequent crashes. I’m at a strange, alien point where I can actually do things beyond survive–I can manage work, chores, animal care … and maybe a game. Maybe read a little. Maybe write a little, like I’m doing now.
It’s still a process, and will continue to be a process, as we adjust which meds I’m on and their dosages for the best possible effect and the lowest possible side effects.
But I’m getting better. And that feels amazing, given that I had begun to doubt my ability to hold down a job at all not that long ago.
This post is not a promise to resume blogging immediately; I’m still not at a point where I can reliably commit to a consistent anything. But I wanted to write it and share with you my situation, so that you know where I’ve been, and so that you know things are improving bit by bit.