It’s amazing the different ways different friends will respond when I’m not doing well.
I’m in another depressive cycle, but this one feels different than others. It’s deeper and darker, and I’m not fighting it as well as I’ve fought the others.
Something has shifted. Depression is fighting harder. The battle has changed. I can feel it.
I recognize I need reinforcements on the field.
I’ve decided to try pharmaceuticals. My therapist first suggested I do so last September. I heard him, and decided to try natural remedies first instead. It’s been over nine months since then, a long enough trial to recognize what’s working and what isn’t.
While the natural solutions have kept the darkness somewhat at bay, I’m not thriving. I’m getting by, but only barely.
When I met with my therapist this week he suggested some people to call who I might be a good fit with. I called every one of the psychiatrists and nurse practitioners he recommended, and a few others from my insurance provider’s website.
Not a single one has called me back. I knew we had a mental health care crisis in this country, but I didn’t understand quite how bad it is. Every provider is full. They aren’t accepting new clients (they say so on their outgoing voice mail) and they’re either too overworked or simply fed up to even bother returning phone calls.
Everyone says to reach out and get help when someone is feeling the exact way I am now, but the appropriately trained help isn’t there.
Thanks to the suggestions of friends, I made an appointment with my primary care provider to see what she can do, simply because she will have the ability to write a prescription even though she isn’t a mental health specialist. It’s better than nothing. Today is Sunday. My appointment is Tuesday. I’ve been feeling like I’m in a bit of a crisis since last Sunday. This isn’t something I can wait on.
It’s been a trying week. I’ve gone to work every day and have kept myself busy. I’ve reached out to parents and friends and let them know what’s going on and have made sure to be in touch regularly.
And yesterday, I got in touch with two friends and asked them to take shifts with me so I wouldn’t be alone all day. One came over in the morning and one in the afternoon.
That was the hardest part. Asking for help that I knew would inconvenience others and dramatically alter their day was hard. They were there for me in full force and I am so grateful.
One friend this week congratulated me for advocating well for myself. Usually I brush off compliments and am ashamed by them. Usually I think myself undeserving.
Not this time.
I know what’s happening in my head is scary and I know I need help. I know it is hard to stand up for myself and be vulnerable. I understand how hard it is to tell my PCP, my parents, my friends, “I don’t know what and I can’t describe it, but something in my brain isn’t right and I just need you to believe me even though you don’t have much by way of details.”
It’s terrifying. And in 90% of the situations, there was no reason for it to be.
Almost everyone heard me and understood. There were only two exceptions. Two of my people were empathetic but simply can’t fathom the magnitude of what I’m dealing with right now, and seem to think if I just try hard enough or think positively everything will be okay.
It’s frustrating but I will have to accept it and let it go. They mean well and I will continue advocating for myself and understanding I am not failing at something because the light at the end of the tunnel feels too far away to see right now. I know I cannot just “try harder” and make depression go away. I know I need help.
I am so grateful to the friends who came and kept me company yesterday. Another friend has invited me over for lunch today, and I’m getting together with a few others this afternoon. Tomorrow, work will distract me through most of the day, and then on Tuesday I’ll have my appointment and hopefully move a step closer towards solutions.
I’m still fighting. I haven’t given up. But I acknowledge that the battlefield I’m on right now is making all my previous battles with depression look like cute little skirmishes.
Depression has upped it’s game. It’s time for me to follow suit. There is no alternative.
Depression will not win. Not with me. Not ever.