Sunday, 28 September 2008
Depression - A Life Of Vicious Circles
Just when I think things are settling down nicely, everything goes pear-shaped again. I had some trouble sleeping last weekend so I took one of the pills that help me to get off to sleep (not a sleeping tablet I hasten to say). As a result of taking that I slept almost continuously for 48 hours. Then I had a couple of quite good nights, not brilliant but good enough, so when I went for my psychotherapy session of Friday I was feeling ... okay.
The psychotherapy session went quite well I think, at least I managed to get through it without having used a box of tissues, and I spent Friday afternoon doing some studying. I felt pretty good, the sun was shining, and I thought that things might be on the up. Then I went to see my GP for a check on how I was doing. Having started medication for my blood pressure, he is keeping a close eye on me at the moment with fortnightly checks of that and my mood.
While I was with my GP, I raised the subject of my sleeping pattern. As I am concerned about going for days without sleep, then when I take medication ending up sleeping for days, I asked if I could have a lower strength of the tablets. GP said he was just going to suggest that, so the problem was going to be solved. By having tablets of a lower strength, I would be able to take one when sleeplessness was becoming a problem, and hopefully get to sleep, and stay asleep, for a normal period of time, and not end up wanting to sleep all the time as is the case at the present.
At this point we moved on to checking my blood pressure and discussions of any side-effects from the medication that I have for that. One of the problems when you have to take medication for a number of different problems is the way that the different drugs can interact and cause some pretty spectacular side-effects. I have been reasonably lucky and not had too much of a problem with things like that over the years, except as far as antidepressants are concerned, and there I have had some really nasty reactions.
Anyway the consultation progressed, I got a repeat prescription for all my regular medication, and left with a rejoinder to come again in two weeks time. Everything was fine. Well it was until I went to the chemist (it's just round the corner from the surgery) got my prescriptions filled, walked home and opened the bag of pills. I had all the regular medication okay, but the requested lower-dose medication wasn't there. Because we had moved on in the consultation, GP had forgotten to put it on the prescription. Never mind, thought I, you're feeling pretty good at the moment, it's not going to be a problem. Oh boy, was I wrong.
I couldn't get to sleep Friday night; I finally dropped off about 5am yesterday morning (if you check out my last post about being an OU student you will see what ridiculous time in the morning I was writing that). Okay, so it was Saturday, and I don't work so it wasn't really a problem. Yes, it was; I was awake again by 7.30am. And I couldn't get back to sleep. And I was soon feeling like death warmed up, without any strength to do anything except just sit there. So I made the best of it, pottered around doing little tasks, and planned to have an early night. Wrong again. I was still awake at 3am this morning, but I must have dozed off shortly after that. Then I woke up at 4.50am. So less than two hours sleep this time.
I have tried wrapping myself in the duvet and snuggling down to get a couple more hours, but it hasn't worked. I am hoping that writing this will mean that when I try again in about half an hour, I might succeed, but I am not overly confident of the result. I could take one of the tablets (higher strength) that I have at home, tonight, and then see if I can get a prescription for the lower strength ones tomorrow, but I am worried that if I do that I won't be able to drag myself out of bed in the morning. Or I could manage without taking anything tonight, hope that I can get some sleep and see how things look tomorrow.
Having depression can really lead you into a series of vicious circles. They are something like this. You start to feel very low; you stop being able to sleep at night; you are given medication;you can't stop sleeping all day and all night; you stop taking medication; you stop being able to sleep at night; it starts to make you feel very low again. That's one circle, the other can be even more difficult to cope with. You start to feel low; you stop eating properly; you are given medication which helps to raise your mood; you start to eat again; unfortunately the medication that is making you feel better is also causing you to put on weight; you cut down on what you are eating, but the weight keeps piling on; you get even more depressed; you stop eating; you still put on weight; you get to the stage where life just doesn't seem worth living; you get put on a different medication; you start to feel a bit better again, you start eating, but you have put on a lot of weight and you can't seem to shift it; you start feeling low again; you stop eating ... and so it goes on.
I seem to have been suffering from both of these vicious circles either one at a time, or more often, both together for most of the last 10 years. Every now and again I get a period when both seem to fade away, and I can live an almost normal life, but then some little thing starts it all off again, and I start the slip into blackness again. I've been suffering from both circles over the last couple of months, and I had hoped that I was coming out of it, but I think I may have been just a little bit premature. However, just recognizing what is going on can make it easier to cope with, and by setting myself small goals to achieve each day, I seem to manage to survive.
As long as I can get through each 24-hour period, I shall manage to survive.