Tag Archives: healing

Self-medication and depression

Depression is creeping back in through a side door.  I should have seen it coming.  Even reading my most recent posts on this blog are clues that it was making a reappearance.

Ruminations.  Negative self-perception. Exhaustion even without alcohol.  Hating my husband and my life.

I saw my therapist on Saturday and she raised the Wellbutrin to 100 mg. and lowered the Klonopin to half a 0.5 mg pill.  I continue to take 20 mg Celexa.  Lynn must think my depression is worse and the Klonopin is making me tired.  It’s been 4 days with a higher dose of the SSRI and still not feeling better.  My plan is to continue lowering the Klonopin but since I use it to sleep I fear insomnia so I’m tapering off gradually.

My resolve is down and I am weak right now.  I broke my 100-plus streak of sober days and drank on Saturday night.  It’s odd how I really don’t feel that bad about it.  In fact, I liked the tranquility.  Sad but true, self-medication is what I know when my thinking turns against me.

♥ Daylily ♥

Feeling vulnerable without alcohol

Telling Lynn my marital woes didn’t have the desired effect. I thought freeing my pent-up resentments to an objective therapist would help; but, strangely, the opposite happened. I walked in feeling confident and full of self-righteous anger and I left anxious and distraught. My original anger was directed at my husband for choosing the home and town we’ve lived in for 20 years. I was forthright with Lynn, divulging my frustrations. All that sanctimoniousness disappeared when Lynn asked a simple question, “What would your life be like if you had made the choices in your marriage?”

Lynn touched a sore spot and the truth hurt.  Fear crept in and I couldn’t speak of my own needs. Quietly, with eyes cast down, I sullenly spoke, I don’t have goals. If I had things to aspire toward I would be disappointed and let down. With tears and sadness I realize the reason my life is not different is because I haven’t spoken up about my needs or desires. I own the problem in its entirety.

Okay, so let’s get this straight. First my anger is directed at my husband and I see myself as the unappreciated and unloved victim and when that assertion is challenged I retreat to the safety of believing its my fault that my needs are not met.

Which the fuck is it? The answer to that question isn’t as important as how to stop my mind, no matter what the scenario, from arriving at the same conclusions. I constantly blame myself. I either don’t get something because I’m not worthy or it doesn’t happen because I’m weak.

This is hard shit to swallow because I reject either of those things. I stuff this down with my alcohol consumption and rarely do these feelings see the light of day. My wine signifies a glass of straight up denial.

Where do these ideas originate?

The obvious answer is survivors of childhood sexual abuse learn to feel unworthy. I assumed my mother didn’t stop my brother from coming into my room at night because she loved him more. With every nice gesture or favorable event that happened to this brother, I became more certain that he was worthy of good things and I wasn’t. I didn’t speak up about the atrocity that occurred against my prepubescent body; instead I stifled my voice and learned to endure life.

My therapist reiterated that my childhood left behind a belief that no one loves me but she stated, “You are not a child anymore.” She reminded me I have a voice and people around me do care what I want and need.

I wonder why I’m so stuck in my old ways.

I hate myself for turning the entire resentment issue into something bigger than it is. We “depressives” know how to blame ourselves about everything. It’s true my husband makes a lot of the major decisions but the reality is I don’t speak up for myself; I’d rather suffer in silence and allow resentments and anger to fester. How fucked up am I? I’m not a child anymore; what’s my problem that I wallow in self-pity instead of making changes to get things that I want in my life?

So, I pretty much left therapy feeling angry that my husband doesn’t do or care about my needs and, ultimately it’s my own fault because I don’t speak up.

I have always thought that no matter who I’m with I’m still stuck with myself.

Ideally I would like to learn to speak up for myself without shutting down with anger, resentments, shame, and self-blame locked inside and so, I had the best of intentions to not bring my befuddled feelings home from therapy. I didn’t want to be angry with my husband or have a pity party for myself.

Let’s just say, that didn’t work.

All day long I was a quiet, hateful, sulking angry wife. I tried to manage my feelings, but eventually I headed for the door to buy a mood altering bottle of wine. I honestly felt the need to drink was as strong as the desire a suicidal person may feel while they prepare to jump. I saw no other options to relieving my anxiety. The self-berating thoughts that play in my head were overwhelmingly strong and I did not know how to calm myself. I had no coping skills or tools in my tool box.

Husband stopped me from blowing my 90 days of sobriety by talking me down off the cliff I was dangling from. When he asked, “Where are you going?” and I replied, “I need a bottle of wine.” He responded sympathetically and was very calm as I’m sure he did not want to upset me further. During this interaction I was unsettled and anxious but not angry.

My husband listened to me complain and then he heard me berate myself for not speaking up about things I wish for in my life. He said I haven’t changed or gotten better in all the years I’ve been in therapy. He meant I continue to give myself a psychological beating. We’ve been together for 30-plus years and I didn’t want to believe him but a part of me felt he was right. I thought I was making progress in my life but he thinks I live in the past and can’t let it go.

My husband reassuringly told me everyone has pain from their past but it doesn’t define them or continue to be the driving factor in their lives. His words were like a gentle caress to a baby bunny. They felt compassionate and forgiving.

I had backed off the ledge by this point and my anxiety was reduced to a manageable level. My husband hugged me and whispered, “I love you. I want you to be my wife and tell me what you want.” I shrugged and stood limp and lifeless, drained of all emotions.

I didn’t drink, though and I’m grateful for my husband who helped me through a tough time.

I’m afraid I still won’t know what to do next time. I need tools in my toolbox. So, I called Lynn and asked if she was available for a session on Saturday. This is monumental in my life. Me asking for help. Lynn agreed and said it would be good to talk while the conversation and events were still fresh in my mind.

Daylilyœ 

Aside

The decrease in Celexa did the trick.  I’m not as tired which translates to not feeling like a freaking zombie.  When I’m numbed out on antidepressants it’s the worst feeling to forget half of what I or other people say.  I’m so glad that … Continue reading

Sobriety and depression

I took a reprieve from My Depression Chronicles and focused on a second blog to address my drinking problem http://emotionaldrinkingdotcom.wordpress.com. You might call me a “high functioning alcoholic” and when I hit bottom (as they say in the world of alcoholism) DUI’s, prison, divorce and child protective service were not involved. My bottom was high. Drinking was a problem for me but to people outside my immediate family, no one knew. I did my excessive drinking at home, mostly on the weekends between 6-10 pm.

I am feeling slightly depressed and don’t want to confuse my followers on my drinking blog so I’m back.

I’d have to say that quitting drinking has not had a positive effect on my depression. You’d think it would. I expected as much given alcohol is a depressant so if removed shouldn’t I feel better? Less depressed?

Quit the opposite. I feel dreadful. It’s been 3 weeks and a few days since my last drink. I’m lifeless. Everything is dull. No color. I want to sleep more than I did when I was hung over. It’s strange indeed. I couldn’t explain it so I did some research.

There’s a test one takes to determine the severity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms called CIWA-Ar. I took the test yesterday because of the way I’m feeling.

The test is based on a rating scale of symptoms and my results showed no signs of physical withdrawal. I’m not having tremors, hallucinations, sleep disturbances, memory issues, or visual disturbances; the only thing I feel is cloudy in the head and tired. I guess that is a symptom but certainly not enough to warrant a detox facility. No impending seizures or heart attacks.

Researching further I discover there is this term “PAWS” which stands for post-acute withdrawal syndrome. The PAWS symptoms come 7-14 days after detoxification. These are more subtle but no less bothersome.  PAWS is “a bio-psycho-social syndrome. … It results from the combination of damage to the nervous system caused by alcohol or drugs and the psychosocial stress of coping with life without drugs or alcohol.” http://www.drugalcoholaddictionrecovery.com/?p=37

The way I feel is as if I were depressed. But, I wasn’t depressed before venturing into sobriety. On the contrary, I was holding steady and my depression symptoms were at bay. I was and continue to take my Celexa, Wellbutrin, and Klonopin as prescribed but they aren’t working like they were. My lethargy is remarkable and I recently began consuming large amounts of diet Mountain Dew and chocolate, purely for the caffeine. That can’t be good for my biological system but I have to do something for this malaise. I’m still wiped out even with the caffeine.

I don’t miss alcohol. The idea of drinking makes me feel ill. Truly. I drive by the liquor store and feel glad I’m not self-indulging because it leads to feeling crappy the next morning. I seriously don’t miss it. In a dream I envisioned having to drink after a Saturday afternoon nap and when I woke up I was glad it was only a dream because I no longer want alcohol. I’m sure you are all saying that is weird. I think so too.

In the early days of sobriety I jumped full steam into A.A. literature and meetings. I shared my feelings with strangers and cried in my car after hearing the stories of alcoholics hitting low bottoms. I openly shared my struggles with my family. It’s as if I purged myself; now I’m either exhausted or shut down. Which is it? I don’t know. I have a sponsor who I have avoided in the last couple days. I don’t want to talk about drinking and praying and A.A. meetings. I have separated myself from that struggle because I’m tired of all of it. Is it normal to want to get away from the problem? Or the perceived problem? Or is this depression rearing its ugly head and my pattern of isolating myself when I feel low and lethargic?

I’ve not seen Lynn (my therapist) for a few weeks and I don’t want to. I have this negative attitude of screw her. When I was at my lowest I shared my feelings and she told me to stop drinking. Where was the empathy and support? Nowhere on that day. So, now I’ve stopped drinking and I’ve also lost the sense of safety I was developing with her. Emotionally separating from her can’t be good for me. Having just quit drinking one would expect this to be the time when a therapist is most needed.

I pull my hair in front of my face and take a deep sigh. I don’t have the answers.

My history of childhood sexual abuse taught me to be selfish when I feel physically or mentally distressed. I can only share my state of my mind with others for so long. Inevitably the time comes when I need to shut my feelings and thoughts inside myself. Okay, I shared how I feel and think; I learned how other’s suffer with painful feelings and thoughts; now let’s go to our separate places. 

I need alone time.

This chosen inaccessibility is where similarities with others end. I notice most women can reach out, express their troubles, and accept the assistance of others. These people join self-help groups, make lasting connections, and grow to have a broader support system. They actually appear happy and socially adjusted. Not me. I’ve been in this exact place before. I rationalize that it’s in my best interest to share painful emotions and so I force myself to do it. Then, like a turtle I retreat into my shell; returning to the safety of my private life.

Is this wrong? Have I not made some progress? I would have to say I absolutely did. Now, people in my real world, leave me alone for a while. I need time to process my newfound sobriety.

♥ Daylily ♥

The next step in healing…

Why have I’ve moved on from My Depression Chronicles to the new blog about emotional drinking?

Simply put: the depression is under control.  If I were to take a self-test for depression, I would pass. That doesn’t mean I don’t have depression; it means I am asymptomatic.

What’s the magic? My therapist is a prescribing registered nurse and experimented with dosages to find the perfect cocktail.  I take Wellbutrin, Celexa and Klonopin. (I am one of the lucky ones who respond well to antidepressants).  They have calmed my negative thoughts and allowed me to feel in control of things. The benefits of depression being properly treated reach into all areas of my life. I feel in control and I was able to lose weight, lower my blood pressure and reduce my drinking.

So, what’s the problem? Why the new blog?

My therapist rightly said that once we have one piece of our lives in order we are ready to tackle another area. How true that is. I’m ready to take the connecting flight to the next item on my list of personal areas to heal.   The next stop is to look at my drinking habits but first a walk down memory lane…

The beginning of my healing journey, back in my twenties, was focused on reducing the effects from childhood sexual abuse and learning to let go so that I didn’t continue to suffer PTSD and dissociation. Living in constant “fight or flight” with a wall up was exhausting. During this time, I developed the eating disorder anorexia. I exercised obsessively and ate barely anything. Reliving the pain of CSA was hard work and an eating disorder gave me a sense of control. I was in talk therapy but hadn’t been diagnosed with depression. The therapist told me I had PTSD and later dysthymia.

I quit smoking and starting eating healthy again when I turned 30. A few years and 2 kids later, the stress level grew and I suffered with insomnia and little desire to eat again. At age 37 my doctor diagnosed me with major depression. Paxil improved my mood and so began my adventures with antidepressants, experimenting for the next few years to find one that didn’t make me tired, hungry or dispassionate about sex. Nothing worked like Paxil for my depression so I went back to paroxetine about 5 years ago. The trouble with that drug is its side effects make me crave carbs and alcohol. Fortunately, I wasn’t depressed so I landed a decent job and made some positive connections in my community. However, from age 35 to 38 I ate too many carbs during the day and drank too much wine at night. I sincerely believe the antidepressant caused my 60 lb. weight gain.

This blog began when my weight was up, my drinking was what I call “self-medicating” and my health was beginning to suffer, with the most obvious signs high blood pressure, perceptible changes in my blood sugar and the beginnings of an ulcer.

One year later I’ve lost 30 lbs., resolved my stomach issues and reduced my blood pressure and most importantly I’m not depressed. I still have a good job and many social ties. BUT, I am still drinking to “self-medicate.”

It’s like the curtain getting pulled back to expose the wizard. What’s left is my drinking. Why do I drink? What am I so afraid of? I know the answer in its simplest form; I don’t want to feel any negative emotions. I drink to numb my feelings. That’s where the “emotional drinking” name for my blog comes from.

I stopped drinking 11 days ago and I’m prepared for the fallout. I’m not going to run to a wine bottle. I plan on facing my emotions. My head is in the right place and the time has come to uncover all that I am and discover all that I can be.

Now boarding for www.emotionaldrinkingdotcom.wordpress.com.

♥ Daylily

Emotional Drinking

Thanks to all my followers who have offered me kind words and support.

Join me on the next part of my journey.  I am moving away from this blog and beginning a new one.  I’d like to think of it as a step forward.  My depression is under control but I have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

I want to focus on that issue and not blame my drinking on depression.  Maybe it’s time I blame my depression on drinking?  I’m not sure where I’m headed but I know my journey of healing is not over.

It’s just beginning…

http://emotionaldrinkingdotcom.wordpress.com/

♥ Daylily

Shop for lingerie

What’s a better pick-me-up? I’ve been riddled with depression, anxiety, feelings of shame, anger, and guilt; really, you name an emotion that attacks from the inside and I’ve been feeling it.

Tonight I went to the mall and bought myself a present: panties, bras and camisoles. And no cheap Hanes briefs from Wal-Mart (which I wear everyday so don’t get me wrong about that). My recent weight loss boosted my self-image and I don’t feel like an obese sea cow swimming in the lingerie department. I went all out and bought the softest Jockey panties and camisoles I’ve ever felt. No, they aren’t satin and lace or very sexy but they are stylish and comfortably cotton. I know I will feel happier tomorrow just knowing I did something nice for myself.

My mood was so low today that I almost shut down my blog and cut myself off from my therapist. The only way I can explain it is when I feel judged or criticized I get defensive. For some reason when others are disappointed in me I take on their condemnation as my own. I feel utterly worthless and push others away because I’m not worth their worry or care. The pattern goes like this: someone I trust hates a behavior of mine; I can’t change it so I hate myself equally as much.

I woke up feeling so bad I fantasized about suicide. I thought just get me the fuck out of this world. I didn’t plan anything or take the idea any further than wishing I wasn’t alive.

I called Lynn, my therapist, and we talked things out. She made me realize that I focused on one tiny part of our session and blew it way out of proportion. Lynn assured me she is committed to working with me. She observed that all of my relationships have the same dynamics and if I work on how I feel with her I am helping my other relationships too. She’s right.   I can get so stuck in inner turmoil.   The conversation was pretty long and it helped to be able to express myself to someone who was reassuring. I won’t go into the whole binge drinking thing except to say she explained her position a little better and I understand where she’s coming from. First of all, I did choose a therapist who is a prescribing doctor so of course that person would be concerned if I mix alcohol with her medications. What really made me see her point was after I asked “Would you tell a patient who self-harmed through bulimia or cutting to just stop the behavior?” Her answer was, “Alcohol is a form of medication and I am a prescribing therapist. I have a responsibility to be concerned about mixing the two.” I calmed down after that and said, “I can understand that.”

What I know is this blog is about my depression. Lynn has her eye on that when I lose my focus. Of course, she’s right that I’ll never be well until I stop drinking. It does not mix well with my medication nor help my depression.

My perspective is slowly changing.

♥Daylily

Being married to a survivor of childhood sexual abuse

There are two sides to every coin

Good Evening! If you read my last post then you know I emotionally broke down over the weekend. What a crying mess I was. I spent all Sunday in bed, restoring my equilibrium. I am feeling so much better. It is not hard for survivors of sexual abuse to fall off-balance. Fortunately for me, time settles things and makes all the difference. As I go deeper into my issues there is less recovery time – which is a relief! 

My husband took the brunt of my rage but in truth I was triggered by seeing my brother who abused me, telling my step dad about the abuse and then re-telling Lynn in therapy. Only a person with trauma would know how bringing too much to the surface can put a survivor into a tail spin.

I regret how hard I was on my husband. Admittedly there are issues in my marriage, any marriage, really. What does it do to a guy whose wife wants to run away every time she feels slighted? Either physically run or mentally check out by drinking wine. Yes, he said some mean things but I didn’t tell you about how I told him, “Fuck off” and “You don’t control me.” When he didn’t want me to walk on the road at night it was because he cares. Our road is rural with no lights, no sidewalks and right now there is snow up to the edge. I was being stubborn and felt trapped and wanted to do something stupid like stumble down the road. He was angry that I was drunk. We were both at fault but I have to concede my part, that life with a survivor of sexual abuse is hard on the spouse. I can be unpredictable with intimacy and trust and half the time I don’t even know why I act the way I do.

I met my husband when we were in college and we’ve been married for 24 years. Although the relationship seems especially strained right now, most likely it’s because I am trying to grow, change and improve. There have been a lot of backslides during the past year. My emotions are up and down, left and right. My husband does try to get some control and it’s not always been that way. I have directed our relationship by pushing him away or needing him so desperately that it’s overwhelming for him. He has stuck by me through years of a tumultuous relationship. I give him credit and I recognize everyone has their limit. He hit his limit when I was drunk (again) on Saturday night. Even though I “only” drink on the weekends, I keep saying I’m going to stop. He’s tired of hearing my promises. I don’t think he’s a bad guy, I think he’s stuck in a tough position.

I’m still going to work on our relationship issues. I want to track when situations trigger anger. That is when I disassociate. I may find my husband is over-the-top with his criticisms and controlling ways but I must also see my part in our marriage dance. I’m a real bitch most of the time. I complain about everything. The house, the chores, his lack of help, the long list of things that need to be fixed, how I need help with the children’s busy schedules and that I hate to go food shopping and I wish I didn’t have to cook meals and clean up afterward. I am not the easiest person to live with. That’s the reality.

Yes, my husband is showing frustration and impatience. In some ways, I think it is his right. I’m not the warmest wife or happiest homemaker.

Thanks for reading this one. Journal/diary blogging has a way of being partial and imbalanced. I needed to try to show both sides of the coin. I know this side doesn’t make me look good. In order to make changes I must be rational and balanced.

♥ Daylily

Same issues; new year.

FAITH

Greetings to all in this new year!

I begin 2013 with the same issues I had going into 2012. I’d like to think I am getting closer to healing but it sure isn’t happening at lightning speed.  This is where mindfulness and compassion come in.  I must have faith, focus on my life now and not judge myself harshly in my haste to get well.

Follow the link to a post from the early days of my blog that succinctly explain why I’m in therapy and what I have to work on.  Warning:  detailed account of incest.

https://mydepressionchronicles.wordpress.com/2011/12/04/the-effects-of-childhood-sexual-abuse-or-what-i-have-to-work-on-in-therapy/

♥ Daylily

Bedroom secrets — antidepressants and sex

My blog gets many inquisitive hits about the use of antidepressants and sexual satisfaction. From time to time I do write openly about this topic. Here’s one of those times so be forewarned; exit now if you don’t want to read an honest post with regard to my sexuality and depression.

Many antidepressants have made it nearly impossible for me to achieve orgasm. All I can figure is antidepressants mess up my hormones and they don’t allow the tension to build to the point of being able to climax.  On Paxil I enjoyed manual stimulation but I couldn’t come. This wasn’t satisfying because sex didn’t feel right to me if I couldn’t complete the act. I would frustratingly try to get-off and all I would get is sore from trying too hard.

I took my prescribed medications and suffered with a poor sex life for a couple of years because I understood the benefits to my depression. During this time, life evened-out for me.  I learned to not be in a constant state of flight or fight.  I didn’t have to disassociate my feelings from my thoughts because they were basically under control.  Eventually, I missed the enjoyment of a healthy sex life so I sought out a psychiatrist to help me find a medication that did not have negative sexual side effects. During this time I was able to achieve orgasm but Lexapro, Effexor, Pristiq and Zoloft decreased my desire and having sex was more of a chore than something I desired.

I should mention that prior to getting on antidepressants, my sexual desire was strong. In fact, so much so that early in my marriage I was the aggressor and my husband would turn me away because he didn’t have the same level of desire. I could get off pretty easily with him and I wanted sex often. Because of these differences, I learned to use a power massager to have an orgasm on my own. The massager was made for sore muscles but I found it was useful in other areas.  Talk about quick. When I’m in the right mood I can come in less than a minute.

Husband started showing more interest in me once I didn’t “need” him anymore. He joined me in the bedroom and overtime bought me a couple of different dildos to complement the pleasure from my massager. Truthfully, I was embarrassed by these gifts but also intrigued. Husband continues to like to satisfy me with my “toys” before he and I take care of him. I used to feel embarrassed that he was watching and helping me masturbate because it was ingrained in me that good girls don’t do that. Husband made me feel sexy and loved when I played with my toys so it began to be a part of our love-making. Ironically, Husband initiates sex more now and the tables have turned and he has the stronger sex drive.

This change is probably because of the nasty effects of antidepressants. They definitely lowered my sexual desire and my pleasure.  I began to feel like I could take it or leave it. Last November I sought out another prescribing professional to help me find a better antidepressant. I wasn’t as concerned about sexual function as much as my obsession for carbohydrates. Paroxetine worked best on my depression but it caused excessive weight gain and a desire to drink too much wine. I wasn’t sure if the wine was a craving or a way to self-medicate depression. (That’s another post but basically it was both plus a habit that is difficult to break). My newest therapist writes prescriptions and she currently has me on Wellbutrin and Celexa. This is a good balance of medications that treats my depression, lessons my craving for carbs, gives me more control over my drinking and allows me to be multi-orgasmic once again. My husband is initiating sex almost every night (we’re both on vacation) and I am eagerly responding to his advances.

I believe couples have to get creative when our bodies do less than what we want. My husband’s high blood pressure medication makes it hard for him to sustain an erection so getting-off by making love is nearly impossible for both of us. He helps me use my toys and I help by jerking him off and giving him oral. Even a guy with erectile issues can usually get hard if the woman doesn’t pressure him to penetrate her. (This is where my toys come in handy). No two people are the same so I can’t promise the medications I take would work for anyone else but my advice would be to keep looking for the ones that have the least amount of negative side effects.

I hope this post was helpful to those that visit my blog looking for answers about depression and sexuality. I recognize it’s unabashed and bold but in reality we are all sexual creatures. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse I can honestly say I have healed from how the early trauma affected me sexually. It didn’t happen overnight. I became confident and self-assured in the bedroom because I have a great guy in my life who sincerely wants to give me pleasure and sex usually begets sex.

♥Daylily