Here we go again. Me and my disease. This process seems to be never ending and I wonder if it really is. I have lost perception of time, it seems that time is stuck at this very moment for the last 34 years. I canít remember how it is to be happy. I donít think happiness exists. When other people look happy I tend to believe that they are faking it somehow. In any case, seeing them gives me a feeling of distress and jealousy. Yes, not only am I jealous but I too wish that they soon suffer from the same thing.
I canít live like this anymore. This is the most absurd disease ever. And the most self-referential. What do I really suffer from? All I feel is a constant fear and depression. Both for the same reason. That I will be ill for the rest of my life, and this will debilitate me, not allow me to live normally and rob me any chance of happiness. But what illness will I be suffering from the rest of my life? This. The constant fear and depression. But for what? This cycle.. How can I break it. Why doesnít anything I do improve it?
If I knew that this would last 1, 2, even 6 months, I could take it. But I donít know this. Even if I have some bright moments sometimes, these are not enough to keep me going.
What did I do wrong in my life? Where did things take the bad turn? Apart from losing my father at 10 (I know it is not a small thing, but I refuse to attribute my current situation to this), I had a happy childhood. None raped me, nor abused nor beat me. On the contrary, I received a lot of love, attention, had happy holidays, experiences, trips.
Why was I able to get over this the first time it happened, without medication? I was only 22, much more immature and inexperienced. I should be able to deal with it better now, 12 years later. But it seems that I canít. Every time I am quitting medication, same thing happens. There is a slow downwards progress. Initially I feel fine, and get over the occasional blues. Some non-severe panic attacks happen, but I say that I will train myself to deal with those too. After, more depression comes. Depression comes in waves, throughout the day I might feel blue for sometime and then be fine. Slowly, within weeks, it becomes more severe. This time, I had some full blown panic attacks, which led me to be have panic symptoms the whole day. I did not sleep for 6 days. I feel asleep and after a few minutes my body was awaken by my own sudden shake. This lasts throughout the whole night. Every night. For 6 days. I am not sure, but I might have had panic attacks in my sleep, waking me up in this violent way.
I then start to feel completely restless, being throughout the day in a constant panic attack. I donít have the usual feelings that come and go. I am like this constantly, for hours, even days. My body is tense, my jaw is in pain, my throat has a lump, my heart is pounding (although not going fast, just pounding loudly). The worst is the mental feeling. I donít feel I am going crazy or anything like that anymore. But I feel that I canít take it anymore. And I donít know what it is to take. My brain is working slowly, there is something that prevents me having the clear vision of things around me. My brain is numb and I seem not to be able to concentrate on anything. All I am having is these repetitive thoughts. That bring me to the edge. And I canít stop them, as if they have occupied my brain and are there to stay. They say, you are ill, and you will be ill for the rest of your life. Forget the things you have dreamed about. You wonít get them. You wonít have a boyfriend, you wonít have a job, you wonít have children, and maybe for the best. Why should children suffer because of you? If you canít take 4 months without medication, how will you manage the 9 necessary months? And how will you be able to take care of them, if you canít take care of yourself?
I am not sure it is a panic attack either, other than the feeling I have is so intensively scary. I donít know what I feel exactly, which is really frustrating. I feel stressed, I feel depressed, I feel uncontrollable, tired, scared to death, unworthy. No, I donít get into that trap, saying that I feel unworthy of anything that life has to offer me. Because I know my value, somehow in all this mess I can still feel my value and appreciate the things I have done. I have studied, worked at the university, did my mastersí degree, worked in various academic projects and now finishing my PhD thesis. I lived in 4 different countries, had 5 long term relationships where I received probably more feelings than any other people and made friends that I love and they love me too.
But I still feel worthless, for not being able to get out of this absurdness. Because it is absurd. Nothing is stopping me from conquering the world, still, my own self is creating this great trap. And I feel guilty for not being able to control and get over it.
I think about my grandmother and people of those times. How on earth did they face life and all the misery that came with it at those times? Illnesses, poverty, wars. How were they strong for this? Why the only thing I want to do is stay in my bed, why do I feel small, fearful and unmotivated? Where has my bloody motivation gone? Is depression like this, or is this a symptom of my anxiety syndrome?
I feel that people complain a lot these days, especially about the blues. We all get the occasional blues. The problem with depression is that it is never clear to which extent each person is depressed. A doctor, as good as he might be, can never objectively estimate the problem. All he can do is feel and hear the suffering within the person and measure his level of functionality. Yet, there are people who are depressed and still highly functional (has anyone ever given them an award?). I consider myself one of those. Being on the verge of collapsing, I did a 12 hour trip (2 airplanes) and came to a foreign country to work on and submit my PhD thesis. So, here I am, at this city, forcing myself to go to the university, to work on the document. I feed myself by force too and sometimes throw up. I force myself to get out of the house, because I know that it is not healthy to stay in. I force myself to see some of my friends. I pretend I am fine and just feeling a bit stressed. But inside, I am melting. I force myself to concentrate on our conversations, force myself to respond, act normal. So that I feel normal, functional and so that when I go home I have something to remember, a feat that I achieved besides my condition. I am not sure if this is therapeutic. Because the next day I have to face the same all over again and I donít see any great improvement. Or maybe it is too little to notice in one day, but I am so desperate that I ignore it.
Medication (Escitalopram/Lexapro in even small doses like 7.5 mg) definitely works on me. But with its toll. I gain weight and I still feel that I have just patched the symptoms and not the problem, feeling still some small-scale occasional symptoms of depression because of this. But then, is it organic? If it is, why do I still feel responsible for it? Why do all these people benefit from the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and I did not? And why does this therapy even exist then if it is a purely organic problem?
I started medication 10 days ago again. I got really scared of my condition. Initially I was resisting. I said, once more, I will battle this. And I kept getting worse, day by day. And even then I was saying I will beat this. Until I got really scared about the trip and the consequences of not being able to make it. No real external consequences, but I would feel much worse if did not take it, I would feel that the disease had beaten me and kept me from going. So I took the medication and after 5 days I cut it in half, thinking still that I could beat it. And today I felt worse. So I augmented again to the full dose.
It is not clear what it is for me, it is such a strong mix of anxiety, worries and depression that it is impossible to distinguish what brings what. And that frustrates me because I donít know how to handle it. If I assume that it is anxiety and generalised anxiety disorder or panic disorder, then I would focus on breaking the cycle of fear/worries. And I sometimes do, trying to think of the nature of the problem, which is self referential and that in reality it is a big nothing. But then the feeling of depression hits in. And it brings me down, with an absolute apathy for anything. I have a boyfriend, a lot of potential, I am healthy, I have some financial background to sustain me, I have people that love me and surround me, a good academic background. And still, nothing is able to bring my perspective close to the truth. I recognise all this as the objective truth, but I am so self absorbed by this that I canít get any satisfaction by the above. And I feel I should be grateful and this is provoking me even more depression. I am afraid I am slowly shutting down.
I need to get out of my brain. I really want it to slow down, stop repeating itself. This thought process is so stuck to the same things that it is wearing me out. It goes like this, I feel ill, I feel weak, I feel scared, I feel depressed, what is happening to me, is it going away, I will be like this all my life, last times I ended up getting beaten, taking medication, I have officially a disease, I canít accept I have a mental illness, I will be stigmatised, I will never get a boyfriend and have a family, I will always be suffering the consequences at my work, I will be burdening my family a whole life with my problem. Why not just get over with it now?
If I could just for say half of the day feel normal and have the normal thought process, e.g. what to eat, where to go tonight, think of my past holidays with my boyfriend, calmly read a book and be able process it, then I would be happy. I would be happy to see that my mind can get unstuck at least some time and function properly. But it is refusing to do so even for small periods of times nowadays. Which is really worrying.
Of course, while at this state, comforting as it may sound (not because I really want to die but because I want to rest, get out of this agony), I do not really consider harming myself. I know that I just have to hang on and wait for the medication to act. Still, medication of these days has not convinced me that humanity has done its best for my case (or similar ones). Having read about anxiety disorders and depression, I realise that medicine is not even aware of the exact brain spots that are dysfunctional in each case. How many times have I desired from the bottom of my heart for a brain scan to be able to tell me and the rest of the people who know me and hear me complain all these years, that there is something terribly wrong with my brain. How many times have I wished for a blood test detecting the exact nature of my disease existed. I want to believe that till the end of my life, progress will have been made and that I will die knowing what I suffered from all these years.