‘How You Doing?’
This is the number one question I get asked when I talk to someone who knows about the recent bout of depression I’ve been battling. Number two is ‘have the meds kicked in yet?’ asked cautiously as they aren’t sure how you’re going to react. And coming in at number three is ‘how can I help?’, which for me has been the hardest question to answer.
I’m a couple of months on from being prescribed Fluoxetine for ‘low mood’ I have found myself answering these three questions over and over again. Either by text, Whatsappp or chatting to people. At least once a day I get asked one of these questions by somebody and feel that answering them is a bit of a minefield. I don’t mind answering them, it’s nice to know that people care. I just wish that this was the Joey Tribiani version of the question where people are coming on to me but alas it’s not.
Sometimes, I feel the need to say that I’m fine which isn’t far from the truth but isn’t quite the full truth. In general, I feel better than I did but in some way I feel haunted by depression. Right now I feel OK, probably t
he most OK I’ve felt in a long time. Yet, it feels like its all going to come crashing down at some point… soon. I feel more in control, I feel happy most of the time and I have a new found confidence in myself. But I can’t shake the feeling of inevitable failure.
I’m working on it.
‘Have the the meds kicked in yet?’
For the first three weeks I would have said, I have never been on anti-depressant medication I have absolutely no idea of weather they have kicked in. I would have told you that I felt nauseous everyday mid to late afternoon. I would have told you that I wake up 2-3 times a night and feel drowsy
through the day. That’s not to say that they hadn’t kicked in but if they had they sure as hell weren’t much fun to be taking. They didn’t make me feel good in any way, shape or form but i guess that’s just what happens when you take brain altering drugs to balance your head out.
However, a month in I can say that I actually feel… OK. My medication, Fluoxetine ([Prozac) is a SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) designed to release Seratonin into my body. Effectively its a medication to make me happier than I currently am. I guess that’s why it maybe doesn’t have the intended effects for some people who might be affected by a deeper depression than I’ve been facing. It doesn’t fix things alone.
I can’t say that I feel this huge impact in my mind, it’s not like that. After a month of being signed off work, locking myself away and feeling constantly like crap I can now say I feel… OK. I feel human again. I previously explained how I was experiencing the depression in my post Dadsapp on meds so check that out for more info.
The medication kicked in after a month I started taking it. I’ve also taken up more exercise by joining a gym, been out walking a few times and met up with 1 or 2 people and began talking more. All of these have contributed to me feeling ‘OK’ again. I feel less negative about myself and actually laugh because I find something funny without feeling the need to laugh, if that makes sense.
‘How can I help?’
My answer to this is almost always the same ‘I don’t know’. From one day to the next I am unsure of how this is going to affect me so there is no one fits all answer. There are ways each person can help, but I feel ultimately this is something I’m fighting alone. I feel like I’m in a boxing ring and I’m fighting the depression like a world title fight. I have the support of the crowd and my ring crew but I must throw every punch and I must dodge every opposition attack. Nobody can do this for me, I must fight.
As far as how this has affected my parenting. I can say that for a month I felt as though I didn’t exist as a parent. I was still cooking dinner, doing the nursery run hanging the washing out. Yet, I just didn’t feel like a parent. I felt withdrawn from the kids and unable to enjoy any time with them. I felt at times a little resentful of them which I know is a horrible thing to say. After taking a couple of days away I felt a lot better.
I have been lucky enough to have a supportive network of friends and family who have given me the time and space I’ve needed to get through this time. Without that I don’t feel that my recovery journey would be so positive right now. The support even from those who do not know me personally but online via Instagram and Twitter has also been amazing. I’m fortunate enough to have connected with many positive people. Yet another reason I feel so committed to DadsApp. I’m now in a better position to be able to support others.
Speaking of which, if you’re feeling low, depression, not OK or any of the other feelings that I’ve mentioned today i fully suggest reaching out. Whether its to your GP, family, friends or a stranger over social media, don’t be afraid to seek help. I spent far too long trying to cope alone. Trying to survive on ‘self care’ rather than use it as a supplement to the other forms of support and care I needed.