When I started my blog I was at a low point. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m afflicted with ADD and depression. And, I have seasonal depression on top of it all. I don’t remember my SAD being so bad the last few years, but this year has been murder.
Perhaps this is because over the summer I felt pretty good and decided that perhaps I didn’t need to be on meds any more. I had been taking a cocktail of Dextroamphetamine, Zoloft and Wellbutrin. Oddly, I felt fine. So, clearly I didn’t need that stuff any more and tapered off it.
I felt fine for the next few months, though looking back on it now I can see that I wasn’t doing well at all. My ADD, which I had only discovered the year, before came back with a vengeance (not that it ever really went away). I pretty much did as little work (that I was supposed to be doing) as possible. I spent much of my time working on various side projects and sleeping in the middle of the day. Don’t get me wrong, I still got things done for clients, but it was as infrequently as possible. In fact, I hired a contractor to do much of my billable work for me.
The side projects I’ve worked on are actually pretty cool, but I haven’t finished any of them yet. I’ve followed my traditional pattern where I start something, get it pretty far, and then drop it when it gets tedious or I get another brilliant idea that just can’t wait.
So, here I am, not really making money and not really getting any of my personal projects done – certainly not to a point where I could make money off of them. As you can imagine, this is rather stressful and depressing. Any logical and reasonable person would, perhaps, redouble efforts to do billable work and/or maybe buckle down and get one of these side projects to a point where they could start making money.
I. Just. Couldn’t. Do. It.
And then winter came in and smacked me upside the head.
I was at a real low point a few weeks ago. Laying in bed, curled up in a fetal position, nearly in tears. It’s really hard to explain this to people not afflicted with depression. There’s just a weight hanging on your soul. It’s hard to move. It’s hard to think. It’s almost hard to breath. And you can’t stop it.
Actually, that’s wrong. You can manage depression, but it requires you to do something. And then to not stop doing it. For example, (real) exercise is a great way to improve depression. Eating better will help too. Vitamin D and getting outside in the sun can make huge differences as well. Let’s face it, anytime we successfully make changes to better our health, we feel better. But you have to keep doing it. And even those without depression will attest that making these types of positive changes in your like, and keeping them going, is nye on impossible. And failure just adds to feelings of worthlessness and apathy.
I spent the last couple months trying like hell to make some of these changes. I stopped eating intentionally sweet food and lost 20+ pounds from that alone. I also built a desk for my treadmill where I can walk and work. (I’m typing this blog entry on it right now!) I find I can often walk for 90 minutes and get work done at the same time. These things helped to a degree, but it wasn’t enough to pull me out of the depression.
And then I hit my low. I was feeling so worthless that I would often fantasize of dying. I would imagine getting cancer and wasting away. Or getting run over by a bus. Or, well, just getting so damned low that I just shut down and fell over dead. Psychologists call these passive suicidal thoughts. I wouldn’t have jumped in front of the proverbial bus, but I might not have jumped out of the way.
Additionally, I had been hiding the true depths of how I was feeling from my wonderful, loving, wife. But she knew. I suppose it’s simular to what Paul Simon sang in his song, Graceland:
And she said
losing love [depression]
Is like a window in your heart
Everybody sees you’re blown apart
Everybody sees the wind blow
I decided at that moment I really, really, had to get back on my meds. My wife happens to take Zoloft as well and so I started using some of her pills while I waited for an appointment with my psychiatrist. I also took my last few remaining Dextroamphetamine pills. I started walking and working on the treadmill every single day (except yesterday when I was doing some heavy lifting work outside).
So now I’m on Zoloft and Ritalin and a couple of weeks have passed. I feel human again. I feel like I have a big part of my brain back that had been missing in action for quite a while. And, I have a little bit of perspective on what I did to myself over the last half year. It’s not perfect, but I swear to myself that I’m never again going to let myself get the way I was just a couple of weeks ago.