On the State of the Steff

It’s official. I’m depressed. Next Thursday, I’m seeing the doc to go back on meds for the first time in a few years.
I started the birth control pill again last October, and it has been fucking with my equilibrium since. (I’ve changed several brands, but the first one sent me spiralling into a deep depression I had to claw out of, but never really emerged from.) I was beginning to get a grasp on it the old-fashioned “I’m too tough for depression to beat me!” trouper kind of way, but then life reared up and got ugly, and I’m losing my grasp.
Depression’s a terribly stigmatic thing to admit to suffering. Just admitting it makes you look like an incapable pussy who’s running from a scary monster. There’s too much ignorance about depression as a disease, and there’s too much misunderstanding of what it can (and does) do to its sufferers.
Me, I hate admitting I can’t cope. I hate admitting that, right now, I’m weak and having a real, real hard time just fighting the good fight. The realization hit me yesterday that, if something else were to befall me in the “happenstance” category these days, I just don’t think I could wage that war. I’m too burnt out. The energy levels, gone.
So, then, what do I do? Pretend? Put on a smilie face and hope it all looks better than it feels? Oh, that’ll work. Or do I give into the agoraphobia and lock the door? Yeah, that’ll work. Maybe I try to find balance? Hey, there’s an idea, but what is balance anyhow? Who says, “Yep, that’s balanced!” Is there a dinging bell I’ll hear when I finally have it right?
And that’s the thing. There’s no tried and true method for beating depression. It still confuses medicine and practitioners. It’s not like the weight loss secret of, “Eat a little less, exercise a little more.” Its roots come from a dark place that’s physically impossible to shine a light on.
Depression is perceived as a systematic sign of weakness and this society has little, if any, patience for it.
It doesn’t matter that I could make you laugh within five minutes of meeting you, or make you feel like you’ve known me for years. It doesn’t matter that I’ll understand most problems you bring to me and be able to give you worthy advice on it. It doesn’t matter that I’ve been through more in my 32 years than most have. It doesn’t matter that I’m about as resourceful as any person you’ll ever meet.
I’m still suffering from depression. I’ve been fighting, and I was winning, and now the tide has turned.
So, I’m swallowing my pride, telling you where I stand, and promising to keep a light ongoing record (I’m toying with a depress-o-meter passage at the end of postings after I get back on the meds, to kind of keep a record of the small but steady changes in mood, primarily for those who are having a hard time deciding if they need help out of their own private hells or not).
I’m not the kind of person you think about when you think “depressive,” but the truth is, I’ve dealt with that demon off and on since my late teens. Most of the time, I’m pretty good. I know what to look for and know how to fight it — me time, indulging myself, exercise, healthy outlets, punk rock music, heh — and so forth, so this is why I’ve suddenly decided to change strategies in my fight, and why you may hear more of it.
Anyhow, great concert last night, but I fear I’m too tired for my party tonight, so I’ll be taking a “me” night in. Since I’ll soon be on meds and won’t be able to enjoy a bottle of wine solo anymore (shouldn’t really drink on meds), I plan to instead cook a mighty meal fit for a king and drink incredibly good wine to celebrate my lowering of my defenses and accepting my humanity. My fight has changed this week in that I’m kicking my ass physically with cycling and working on a healthier diet. I just know I won’t get the results I want soon enough, and who really wants to live in the dark any longer than necessary, huh?
Happy Friday, kids. My week’s looking up.

6 thoughts on “On the State of the Steff

  1. LatLong1981

    Enjoy the solo vino tonight Steff!

    I’ve been a bad boy when it comes to avoiding alcohol on my meds.

    1 beer = 3
    1 night of drinking = canceled effects of meds.

    Beer is just so good.

    Posted my abbreviated depression/adhd story over on The Ditch.

    Please do give us your depress-o-meter results. Would love to follow along.


  2. l'amoureux de KT

    Ignore any shit from anyone who’s never been there. And I know plenty who’ve been there but in denial like you wouldn’t believe.

    Depression in some cases seems to be hereditary. My dad has suffered from it all his life. I started to get it when i was a teenager [shocking, but true!] but it was so up-and-down-and-something else for so long that I never connected the two together.

    Much later, when it became almost unbearable, I finally got some help. I won’t say Zoloft saved my life, but it was useful during a transition period and helped me stay ‘stable’ while i worked a lot of crap out.

    Depression is a combination of a biochemical imbalance and a mental trigger or cause [at least in my world]. I’ve noted that when i’m borderline depressed, junk literally piles up. Stuff doesn’t get trashed and the trash doesn’t get tossed. Food isn’t interesting and my friends are more of a burden than a blessing. All of this is subconscious for awhile, then I notice it. At my advanced age [jab jab!] i can figure it out clinically and start doing something about it.

    It’s a constant battle.

    Like i said, don’t take any crap and do whatever you can to minimize it. Medicate the hell out of it, if that’s at all possible. Fuck Tom Cruise!


  3. Solymar

    Thanks for being honest with your readers. Depression has so many connotations in society, and it takes a brave person to admit to it.

  4. Jane

    great post – been going through the same thing myself after going back on birth control a month ago. I knew it was likely (a history and all) but after years of depression-freedom I forgot how bad it is. And it IS impossible to explain properly, completely misunderstood, and so on.

    thanks for posting about the topic – the more people brave enough to admit and talk freely about it, the better.

  5. scribe called steff

    ll — it was lovely wine. i’ll probably still drink occasionally. usually two drinks is a max for me anyhow, but i’ll see if i can whittle myself down to one. sigh.

    bike — depression is so common, and so unowned. it’s depressing, really, to realize how many people are probably depressed but too worried to admit it. there are jobs, for instance, where owning up to depression can put your career at risk. it’s awful. there’s so much at stake. ‘friends’ will sometimes abandon you when you admit depression, ‘cos they believe you to be less fun, etc. it’s fucking sad.

    anyhow, been there, done that, not concerned about it, just fed up with it. i know it’s chemical. i’m stressed and life’s hard and things are rough, but i’m pretty fucking happy with who i am. once the job shit clicks and this exercising keeps, then i’ll definitely be in a really good place on paper, and my chemistry just needs to catch up. we’ll never fully understand our minds, but if we could at least realize how much an enigma they really are, we might begin accepting mental disorders a little more.

    soly — thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚ it was kind of embarrassing, honestly, to write about it, and i was hesitant to publish it, but i knew down inside that if i had a few good days of bicycling and a brief high from it, i’d cancel my doctor’s appointment, and in a few days the crash would come again — and i need to break the cycle, to be accountable to someone about it, so i’ve chosen to do so publically. [shrug] we’ll see what it does. if it persuades a few people to deal more constructively with their own struggles, i’ll be really proud.

    jane — my doctor was so surprised when i spoke of the mental side effects of the pill. as if it was uncommon. from my experiences here, it appears to be anything BUT.

    thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Curvaceous Dee

    Having been on anti-depressants (both herbal and prescribed – mostly the latter) off and on for the last decade, you have my empathy. I hope they help you regain your equilibrium.

    xx Dee

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