From my online presence, most of you know that I’m not afraid to talk about mental illness and my trials with depression and anxiety. Last year around this time, I was able to safely wean myself off of Cymbalta, which I had been taking since age 17 (about 12 years) and was really happy over that. I felt like with a regular yoga practice, things would be manageable and the depression wouldn’t resurface.
But it did, triggered by not being happy with where I am financially, and a traumatic incident that shifted my sense of home. Below is something I wrote last night after returning from the doctor’s. It appears on Medium.com as well.
And I can’t say it’s good to see it you again.
It’s here, and I have to see it, acknowledge its existence, and I have to manage it.
I’ve been free (if I can call it that) from depression for about a year. I was optimistic of the liberation and feeling of freedom — that it would last. But I was never open to acknowledging what is inextricably connected to me for life. No —this just happens. Trauma happens. Anxiety happens. It occurs and it builds up until it looks you square in the eye and demands that you to pay attention.
I wanted so badly for this to not be true. Twelve years of swallowing pills to manage the high periods of anxiety, the times I didn’t want to talk about myself to a therapist and I have to face this reality that I am back in the throes of it again.
If I’m going to be honest with everyone, I have to start with myself. It’s hard to admit that this is happening again. I know the trends: the anxiety, the constant feeling on edge, the stories I tell myself to make things temporarily okay, and trying to go about things to maintain some kind of normalcy.
Depression shows up in this way: the anxiety builds (uncontrollable crying, sleeplessness, fixation on things outside of my control, irritability, carelessness, and it goes on) and it continues to build. Once it compiles high, there’s nowhere else to go but down, down, down.
My biggest resistance in all of this is taking antidepressants again. I took Cymbalta for 12 years and was up to 60mg in the thickest of it. For many years this drug helped me to function and lead a somewhat normal life. But it always had a grip on me with this feeling like my head was physically three feet behind where my head actually was in space. Body shocks were the worst — feeling a sense of mild vertigo, lightheadedness, and electric currents all at once.
The frustrating thing about antidepressants no one tells you is how it’s all a trial-and-error game. Each drug takes about 6 weeks for any efficacy, and if it doesn’t work, onto the next. I anticipate I’ll stay with what has worked for me in the past, but I can’t say I’m excited either.
This will always be a part of me. I can get upset at this all that I want, but I can’t change anything about my brain chemistry. It is what it is, and it’s time to manage it.