Ack, I can’t believe how long it’s been since I wrote a post.
Well, since I’ve finished a post anyway. I have two partly-written ones that keep spiraling out to ridiculous lengths.
They aren’t finished partially because it’s felt like too much work to write and/or I’m just unmotivated. Instead, I’ve been perfectly happy to spend my nights with the TV, my phone game and Josie.
That’s strange for me.
While I don’t mind a night or two in to recharge, it’s not like me to be so insular four to five days a week. I usually do best with in-person time (at home or going out and about with friends). Normally, people are what recharges my battery.
In fact, I used to joke that growing up I’d thought I was an introvert, but it turned out I’d simply been a depressed extrovert.
But now, I have to really and truly push myself to go somewhere or have someone over.
(Don’t worry, this weekend I reached out to friends to make myself be social again.)
I royally messed up my sleep schedule some weeks back.
We’re talking going to bed at 11:30 or midnight — and it takes me time to fall asleep. To compensate, I was answering the emails already in the inbox, which let me sleep in a bit later the following morning.
I’d swear I’d get my schedule in check the next night and… wouldn’t. And it’s not for compelling reasons. I’d just get absorbed in TV and/or my phone game and not want to quit.
Even when I did finally get myself to bed, I’d sleep longer than usual.
I normally do best with eight and a half hours, sometimes nine hours. But lately I’ve been sleeping more like 10 hours. Nine and a half at least.
I was chalking it up to the crazy sleep schedule. As well as my generally feeling scattered and unable to get going on a few things.
The last straw
At the beginning of this past week I started having vivid dreams.
Those used to be the norm for me; but at some point, I realized that I hadn’t had any for a while. And it occurred to me that those stopped around the time I finally felt mentally stable again.
Thereafter, the vast majority of my dreams have been hard to hazy and hard to remember. Or I’d remember a single moment and emotion from a dream, but it usually felt disconnected from me.
Which was a relief because vivid dreams mean you’re waking to your normal reality, but with the memories of what feels like a second one — and the sense of its reality can take a few hours or even a couple of days to fade.
In other words, they can be exhausting.
(Especially since two of my dreams involved being kissed by someone I have a long-standing crush on. A crush that I thought was finally dying down. But now feels stronger. Ugh.)
All in all
Taken as a whole, these things seemed a pretty clear indicator that depression was creeping in.
One of the many un-fun things about being a depressive is that you still have to constantly monitor your mood and other factors in case they point to a resurgence of depression.
Normally, if the symptoms have been around for a while/seem to be getting worse, I go to my psychiatrist to discuss medication options.
But this time, I kinda wanted to cry at the thought of it.
I know that I’m one of the people repeatedly saying there shouldn’t be any shame around depression, including taking medication for it, but… I still feel embarrassed/ashamed at the idea of more medication.
Obviously, that could be the depression talking. Buuuuut it could also be the fact that I’m already at the maximum dosage of the three meds I take. So we’d have to start a fourth one.
Which, again, I know I shouldn’t feel bad about. As my therapist put it today, these are just medications to make a part of my body function correctly. But I still feel dread and embarrassment, if not actual shame, at the idea of adding yet another prescription. *
* For anyone thinking I’m mentally exaggerating the severity of my pill situation, morning is one mood stabilizer, three Wellbutrin, and a blood pressure med. But also magnesium, vitamin D and fish oil.
Then at night: one and a half of the mood stabilizer from the morning, one other mood stabilizer. And now two Trazodone to help me sleep.
This weekend I remembered that a doctor recently noted that my vitamin D levels were low. Which is an important detail because low vitamin D levels are often found in people with depression.
My issue is that I don’t go out a lot during the day, and when I do, I wear sunscreen. Skin growths run in my family.* So there’s basically no external vitamin D source in my life. Well, except maybe some in the fish oil I take. The label is vague.
Anyway, I already was taking 1000 IUs, which I thought was plenty. I’m pretty sure it’s what a nurse practitioner told me to take when — not to brag or anything — she said I had the lowest vitamin D levels she’d ever seen.
But I did some Internet searches, and it seems up to 4,000 IUs doesn’t seem to have ill effects. Though I’ll talk about it with my psychiatrist when I see him Wednesday.
Unless he says otherwise, I’m going to keep taking 4,000 IUs a day for a week. Then I’ll probably drop it down to 3,000 to be safe.
I’ve taken more vitamin D for the last three mornings. While it could absolutely be the placebo effect, I do feel a bit more energized/like I have more wherewithal.
* Though I just want to remind everyone that we should all be putting on sunscreen for anything longer than taking out the trash. And don’t forget to give it 15 minutes to sink in.
Some things remain
Sunday I was delighted — after two days of not being alone — to know that I could just sit at home and watch TV/play my phone game/pet Josie. All while eating too much junk food. So the insular nature may still be there.
Similarly, even though I got myself to bed at a reasonable hour Sunday night (in bed at 10 p.m. and asleep by about 11 p.m.) I slept for more than 10 hours.
Hopefully, sticking to the schedule will help. Or the vitamin D will.
If not, I need to figure out what’s going on.
A friend mentioned that our hormone levels can change (potentially making us more tired) over time, especially thanks to things like menopause.
I’ll be 45 this year, and the average age for menopause is 51. But some women in my family started peri-menopause not that far into their 40s. So if the fatigue persists, I’ll have my PCP run some bloodwork for me to see if that’s the culprit.
And if that doesn’t work, I guess I’ll talk to my psychiatrist about my medication levels. But good god I hope I can avoid that.**
Anyway, this is a long way of saying to please (and yet again) bear with me. I want to have some actual content up soonish, but I also want to be careful pushing myself, even just mentally, until I can get my brains stabilized again.
Anyone else struggling with renewed symptom (or outright depression)?
Not to mention the glass of collagen/water/squeeze-in flavor I gulp down each morning.
Nighttime: One and a half of my first mood stabilizer, one of my second mood stabilizer and two Trazodone to help me sleep. (The last one is technically an antidepressant, but its soporific effects mean people can’t take enough for it to be very effective on that front.)
It’s… a lot.