So, I’ve been trying to figure out how to write this post for the last few days.  What to say, how much to say, if I should split it up into a few posts or just write it all out in one giant post.  Finally, I decided to just start typing and see what comes out.

In the past, I have alluded to the fact that I suffer (and suffer is a key word here) from major depression which goes into and out of remission.  Mostly, I manage to  continue working in lab as though I don’t have a giant, hemorraging, pus-filled, disfiguring wound on my psyche.  However, sometimes I don’t quite manage this.

I have been really not doing well for awhile now.  I can’t find any enjoyment in anything I do.  I’ve stopped knitting.  I don’t watch TV anymore.  I barely read.  Mostly, when I’m not in lab, I’m in my bed hiding from the world.  For weeks now I’ve barely felt any emotions at all.  Mostly, I just felt numb.  My doctor and I are trying to address the depression with medication and talk therapy but the reality is that I am currently in one of the worst possible situations for me to be in, in terms of mental health.  So, it’s a seriously uphill battle.

A couple Fridays ago, the medication situation got a little screwed up.  What happened was such a small thing, but it sent me spiraling out of control into a deep, dark depression and I had what I like to call a mental breakdown.  Friday afternoon, I went to my bed, laid down, and didn’t get out of it for more than 20 minutes at a time all weekend.

Saturday, I was miserable.  I cried.  Buckets.  I made the decision to quit grad school and looked up flights to head to California.  However, I did not book a flight because:

  1. I couldn’t pack a suitcase because I had no clean clothes.
  2. I could barely find it in myself to leave my bed.  Leaving the apt seemed really not doable and going to an airport which had tons of people and sitting on a plane for several hours (also with lots of people) seemed truly impossible in my current state.
  3. I didn’t want to leave my fish to die so I would have to find someone to take care of him and that would mean calling someone up and telling them that I was leaving town and then they would ask why and I didn’t want to talk about it.
  4. I had yeast plates in the incubator in lab and I would have to call someone to deal with them or they would overgrow and then I would have to tell them I was going out of town and then they would ask why and I didn’t want to talk about it (why I cared about my yeast plates when I thought I was quitting grad school is beyond me).

At this point, it’s probably worth mentioning that when you are in a severe depressive state, your ability to think in a normal, rational way goes in the shitter.  You start making decisions based on really, really screwed up thought processes.  And, you tend to isolate yourself so there’s no one around to tell you that you are thinking like a crazy person.

So, because I couldn’t handle the problems with leaving that I mentioned above, I went back to my bed and laid down and didn’t get back up until Sunday.  I talked to my husband briefly on Sat. night and just told him I wasn’t feeling well.  Sunday, I felt slightly better in that I didn’t cry at all, but I still couldn’t face being out of my bed.  I briefly considered calling my doctor, but I had an appointment with her on Monday morning, so I figured I would just talk to her then.  Sunday night, I turned off my phone so that I wouldn’t hear it if my husband called because I didn’t want to talk to anybody.

Now, we come to Monday morning.  I got up and managed to get myself together enough to go to my doctor’s.  After hearing how things were going for me, she suggested that:

  1. I should call my husband to come stay with me as soon as possible, or
  2. I should get someone else to stay with me as soon as possible, or
  3. I should go stay with someone else as soon as possible, or
  4. I should go to the hospital.

My doctor has NEVER suggested I go to the hospital before and it scared the shit out of me.  I wanted to go to the hospital like I wanted a hole in my head (fortunately, those two things are no longer synonymous, cutting into peoples’ brains is usually not considered good psychiatric medicine these days).  However, I was really scared that if I didn’t commit to someone coming to stay with me or me going to stay with someone my doctor would have me committed to a psych ward (although she did say that she wasn’t so much in favor of hospitalization because she thinks it’s not very effective in the short term which is all I would be in for; but she thought I should no longer be alone).

So, the solution I came up with was going to see my grandmother.*  I knew she would take care of me.  I stayed there a few days, then went back home and my husband came and stayed with me for a few days.  The medication situation was fixed, although we’re still tweaking it because, although I feel better, I am not in full remission.  But, I don’t feel numb like I used to and I don’t feel as sad as I used to.  So, things are improving.

Now I have to try to plug back in to the rest of the world.

*The speeding ticket I got was on my way to my grandmother’s which leads me to another possible response: “I’m sorry officer, but I’m in the middle of an actual nervous breakdown and I’m on my way to stay with my grandmother because otherwise they’re going to lock me up in the nuthouse and I’m trying to get there quickly because I’ve got about 5 people who know about this and they’re worried about me driving in my current state and I don’t want them to worry longer than necessary.”


10 thoughts on “Crash

  1. I’m sorry you’re going through this. It sucks. I’m glad that things are improving for you. I think it’s amazing that you were able to pull yourself together to go to your appointment on Monday (and could figure out a solution that worked for you). I hope that the tweaking helps a lot!

  2. Sweetie, I am so sorry.

    I was reading the other day about med students and grad students and the state of their mental health, and how they have higher than average incidences of depression.

    There is a lot of depression in my family, so I have seen everything you are talking about first hand. I honestly don’t know how any of you function. I’ve been medicated, and I just can’t handle it.

    Frankly, you are my hero, because I watch a lot of people use it as a crutch, and you are in a demanding situation, and you are working it out.

  3. I’m so sorry that you’re going through all of this. You are incredibly strong for getting to the doctor on Monday and for making the decision to stay with your grandmother.

    I battle with depression also, albeit on a smaller scale. It’s scary – especially when you just can’t control how you feel and you think you’re spiraling down and down.

    Good luck to you – I hope the new medication situation works!

  4. You’re very brave for posting this insightful look into what you’re experiencing. What you describe is exactly how I feel and how I think when I’m in an episode. What non-depression-sufferers don’t seem to realize is how well we can hide how dire things are.

    If you have the strength to try new medications, and you don’t respond well to SSRIs (which I presume you don’t because of how bad this episode has gotten) then you might want to try out an SSRE, such as tianeptine.

    Good luck.

  5. Hey!

    big huge hugs from me for sticking this out, for talking about it. I wish you all the best.

    My Ex was/is in a similar state of depression but not getting any help. I am always worried about him.

  6. I’m glad your grandma helped you feel better and that your husband was able to stay with you.

  7. Hi.

    I don’t normally comment on blogs, but I will comment today.

    I study science too, which is why I subscribe to your blog’s RSS.

    Even more of a coincidence is that your post describes exactly what I am going through, also. I mean exactly. Last month I tried an adjustment to medication, and what a mess.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that I really appreciate this post. Thank you for sharing it. It makes me feel better to read this, and I don’t even know why.

    I really hope you feel better. I feel like I’m in no position to give advice, but at least I can say that I understand perfectly. I can also say that the ability to make rational decisions in our own best interests seems to be the first thing to go. Thus, I can also say that if your doctor (or other close people) is worried about you, you should listen, even if you aren’t as worried.

    Please please please be well.

    And thank you so much for sharing.

  8. hi!

    I just found your blog today and just wanted to send over some encouraging words. Let your husband and other people in your life take care of you at this point. Be thankful for them and for your adviser. God knows I know how having a great adviser helps after going through a car crash and surgery at different points during my graduate career. Hang in there and even if I’m not sure if you believe in it, I’ll be praying for you.

    my husband is from iowa too!

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