From time to time I just like to check in and let those readers who also deal with major depression know how I’m doing. I also like to let regular old people know that having a chemical imbalance that impacts mood is not a lot different than having a chemical imbalance that impacts sugar or iron levels in the body.
I’m facing some big ol’ challenges right now. As regular readers know, I have been trying to rebuild my life, well, for much of my life. Time to stop trying and do it. But damn it, I’m not able to balance everything. I’m in one of my down moods. Before the life-saving introduction of selectlve seratonin-reuptake inhibitors into the bag of tricks used by contemporary shamans, I would be in the middle of a very dangerous major depressive episode. How do I know this? Well, I’m on the edge of teary for no particular reason. It is hard to start “doing” things. I find myself being jealous of the normal lives I see others around me living. I fall into “woulda, shoulda, coulda” thinking. But I notice myself doing these things and stop myself from dwelling on them as as best I can. Stubborn resilience is a saving grace.
That is what my daily dose of Zoloft does for me. It allows me to disengage from endless loops of despair and draw from my strengths. It doesn’t make me think everything is okay. It keeps my neural system from endlessly looping through the negative talk I have heard most of my life, and then repeated to myself. There are many unresolved conflicts in my life; most are from long, long ago. I have worked through most of the actual conflicts, but I can get lost in the feelings those conflicts engendered. Somehow, I short-circuit without the SSRI. With it I can stop and start specific thought patterns that lead to cascading despair .
Talk can do this to some degree too. Pleasant social interaction increases production of chemicals that tell your body things are okay. I think this is one of the reasons talk therapy works. Two years ago when I began in earnest to write a book-length work about being a survivor of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy child abuse I went back into therapy with a therapist I saw for several years between 2003 and 2007. Tuesday was my last session with her. She is retiring. I’m sad. Once a week I have had someone to listen as I talk about what went well and what did not and why, and how it may relate to prior family and relationship experiences and dysfunctions. I no longer have that, but it is okay. I have been shifting my coping strategies for a while in anticipation of this. I will still miss my hour when I can talk out what I’ve been feeling, experiencing, and how to do better in similar situations in the future. But I think I can keep on a more or less functional path with just the normalizing prescription for Zoloft and calm conscious thought, and my inherent strengths.
Here’s to stubborn resilience!