Relapse was not on my bingo card

I have gotten many messages and texts over the last few weeks asking about my lack of blog posts and checking on my wellbeing. All have been appreciated. Although I wish that my pause in writing was the result of significant improvement in my overall mental health, it was not. It is the manifestation of a decline that began about three weeks after I stopped the last of my medication. Unlike the last time my depression reoccurred, this was not an immediate slide into darkness. I struggle to articulate how I feel exactly, because my moods oscillate and vary. My mind feels heavy, like I am perpetually waking up from a deep sleep. I recognize that I am conscious, but I would not consider myself awake enough to operate heavy machinery.

Sleep itself is a challenging subject as I am not sleeping well. I have trouble falling asleep, struggle to stay asleep, and often wake up feeling tired even after what would be considered an appropriate period. During the day, I am more aware of clenching my jaw, but at night it turns to full on teeth grinding. I wear a guard when I sleep. There is also an overwhelming sense of vulnerability that I was not experiencing before. I am more anxious.

What I find most ironic about my experience, particularly this relapse into depression, is that I have unquestionably made tremendous progress in therapy. I can name feelings and have come to terms with experiences that I had minimized to the point of erasure. In particular, I have identified situations and patterns in my life that have done serious harm to my sense of self. [The instances I am talking about are not related to my family.]. In some cases, what I experienced was traumatic. However, I never recognized it as such and, in many cases, blamed myself for what happened to me.

This intense personal work is dredging up anger, hurt, sadness, and fear. There is no pleasure in it, despite knowing how necessary it is for me to do. On some days, an hour of therapy takes up all my mental energy. As I said, though, I am seeing progress toward becoming a healthier version of myself.

“How are you?” is a question I still struggle to answer authentically. I am okay, in the sense that I am physically well, but I do not feel well. Right now, I simply “am” and that must be enough.

6 Comments

  1. Liz,

    You are amazing. Thank you for helping me as I transition in my professional life. Thank you mostly for your authenticity, it helps me on my personal walk in life.

    Ed

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  2. Thank you for sharing this. I struggled with depression for years. I can say that therapy saved me but depression still lurks in the background. The difference is it holds no power. I’ve just made friends with it on the rare occasion it pops up to say hello. What I really want to say is keep going. Keep believing in the change. Change you’ve already seen. Sounds like you’re doing really well. I wish you all the best on your journey.

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  3. What they ^ said. I was just getting to the point of writing to check in with you, and hoping the news was better. However, you have my prayers for continued healing, and all my admiration for your courage and stick-to-it-iveness (or ‘dogged perseverance’ as the Google entry would have it) in grappling with this slippery foe. 🌺🌞 🌹⛅️🍎🍫

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  4. I’m sorry to hear things have not been well. If you ever want to talk I am happy to. I know reaching out can be difficult. Please know that I truly mean it.

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