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:
- I couldn’t pack a suitcase because I had no clean clothes.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- I should call my husband to come stay with me as soon as possible, or
- I should get someone else to stay with me as soon as possible, or
- I should go stay with someone else as soon as possible, or
- 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.”