One of the more humbling aspects of my ongoing treatment for Major Depressive Disorder (I mean, even the name itself is a total drag) involves coming to terms with its various manifestations that interfere with my day-to-day life. The way in which it affects my concentration is especially upsetting to me. I’ve always prided myself on my ability to single-mindedly focus on a task. Whether it was reading, writing, or some other exercise, I could narrow my focus, eliminate distractions, and get it done. This bout of depression has taken that away from me, at least for now. Staying on task and maintaining my attention span feels impossible at times.
Recent studies have emphasized the historical lack of attention (sorry…) given to cognitive impairments, especially concentration, in patients with MDD. They note that, in the past, clinical studies have shown that the medication I recently restarted, Wellbutrin (i.e., bupropion), can help MDD patients with their cognitive function, including concentration. Because there is a ramp up period with psychiatric medication, the dose I am taking is lower than that proven effective in the research. Still, I am hopeful.
I find the challenge of maintaining my concentration to be among the most frustrating aspects of MDD. It leaves me feeling painfully unproductive. Productivity, measured by my utilization and revenue generation, has been the primary metric by which I have evaluated my worth as a human being for years. It is hard, but necessary, to unlearn it.