Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Depression #1

[In order to assess my progress on antidepressants and create a symptom-specific record for how depression feels, I've been keeping track of depressive and anxiety episodes. I'll post past and contemporary posts every so often.]

After months of gnashing my teeth and wailing into the wind, I finally convinced myself to return to my psychiatrist to resume antidepressants. My objections were legion and familiar: they would "cloud reality," they would prevent me from adequately empathizing with others, they would make me dependent upon medication to regulate my emotions for the rest of my life, and, perhaps most heinously, they would require even more monetary expenditures solely for the betterment of my self (as if I could ever deserve such things).

But one night last week, I felt an intense anxiety. As if my chest was on fire, as if sandpaper was rubbing against some deep essential part of my self, a conflagration of irritability and unease that erupted inside me. I'd pace the same three yards in my efficiency apartment back and forth back and forth for hours. And I'd have an urge to rend my chest in twain and let all the venom inside me pour out in a brilliant, beautiful, bloody mess.

This is nothing new. What was new, though, was that I could not articulate what I was so anxious about. Always before there have been things I was not doing, ways I was failing disappointing or hurting others, ways I was not As I Should Be. But nothing, at that moment, seemed to merit the feeling. It all seemed so... disproportionate.

And so I made the call. Because, finally, I am accepting that there are some things I do not have to suffer, no matter how much I feel I deserve them, no matter how ardently I convince myself I should be able to beat them. There is no reason to keep hurting as much I do. It's a lesson I will probably have to reteach myself for the rest of my life. But at least I'm more receptive to it than I used to be.

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