I have been spending the last few months filling holes of many kinds and in many ways. I have mentioned in the past the "hitting the wall and falling down the hole" is a good description of how depression hits me... well, I hit the proverbial wall and fell down the hole... and it was a very, very black one.
Depression sucks the life out of you. It takes over everything and masks itself in many ways. I don't always recognize it until I am very far gone; it doesn't happen suddenly, but slowly and stealthily. This time it started with a loss of energy, followed by what seemed to be chronic pains that needed more and more ibuprophen (which can actually make depression worse) until even sleeping was difficult. Crawling into my overheated waterbed and turning until the most painful muscles were against the most warmth helped. But you still have to get up eventually because life has to keep going... whether it's work, or cleaning clothes, or taking care of my dogs I still needed to be functional, but it was minimal at best. At it's worst I lay in bed most of the day, wearing polar fleece pajamas, wrapped in extra blankets, full of naproxin until my legs and arms bruised at the slightest pressure and was only motivated by my Daisy's latest litter of little pups... making sure they were clean, fed, played with, socialized, and eventually sent to their forever homes with minimal fuss... however, once they were gone I lost all the "care" I felt about just about everything.
My youngest son and his roommate gave "notice" on New Years' Eve, so I knew I had to repaint and refurbish the downstairs suite, but I just didn't care. Finally, I went and spoke with my therapist - who is a very wise man, aside from having a great sense of humour - and I was placed on a new medication to bring me out of the depression. So, on top of the Zopliclone for sleeping and the Citalopram for anxiety and depression I began to take Wellbutrin. Side effects; loss of appetite (bonus, sign me up! Lost 15 lbs pretty fast!), short term memory "fog" (oh crap, where in hell was I going with this?), large consumption of alcohol can cause seizures (no worries... ) and I had to take them in the morning or I wouldn't be able to sleep at night. Also no coffee, tea, chocolate or caffeinated cola beverages, because caffeine consumption can cause anxiety to spiral and bring on manic episodes.
And that was the cruncher... After being on them for about three weeks I had to head into the lawyer's office to prepare more documents for court and made the mistake of drinking tea... after all, it was my day off and what could happen? But after three hours of picking apart the "stuff" I was going into a manic spiral. I "found" the old me that I really don't like in those moments. The angry person, who needs the world to know what is happening... so I medicated myself and tried to sleep... but at 3 a.m. I was still waking every 20 minutes. I knew I needed to stay as calm as possible, because being angry and tense and full of adrenaline would have me burned out fast.
I was still shaking from the adrenaline two days later, and my daughter K went with me to court as my shield. She is my champion and I cannot tell you how deeply grateful I am for it, because it would never be enough words in the world to express that. And to add even more joy to that reunion she and her little family came to me a few days later and wanted to move into the suite her brother was vacating... that moment, just that one moment, when I held her in my arms and squeezed tight while my body shook with emotion and love was worth all hard work I have done, even when I thought it could never heal those wounds, and I found some of the myriad holes in my heart were filled with a soft and fragile joy. I wasn't even sure it was real for a long time... in my depressed state I feared that those moments I was looking forward to would be derailed by my own stupidity and foolishness.
However, there were other "holes" to fill as well... like the holes in the walls in the suite! And again, foolish me, I "delved" into a single cola... sip and sip... until I was once again spiraling into mania, this time pulling an "all nighter" cleaning the suite and finishing paint. If it hadn't been for my buddy G, who came over several times to paint and prep and work on the walls with me, I would NEVER have done as much as I did, and even then I didn't finish everything. But the carpets were cleaned, the walls washed and painted, the floors scrubbed with tons of elbow grease... and dear gods and goddesses! The grease behind that damn stove was enough to make me weep!
But somehow I still didn't think the medication was helping, so after being on it for just over a month I decided to stop taking it. Within two weeks all the pains (which had been absent for the most part) were back, and I realized that my favorite cup of tea, my favorite cola, my favorite chocolate and my all time favorite Starbucks didn't taste as good as being pain free feels. Depression and the pain that comes with it is an insidious bastard. Like the dark spirits in recent movies it feeds on all the happiness in your soul and sucks it out of you. I have heard many times you choose to be happy, but with depression there is a lot of short spurts of very hard won "happy" overshadowed by seemingly endless feelings of hopelessness, fear, tiredness and chronic pain. So it was time to go back on the Wellbutrin, suffer through the caffeine withdrawal, find alternatives to "soothe" that part of me that missed my daily "cuppa" and wait until the pain faded enough so I could be functional.
So, at long last, I have found something that will fill the hole that I fall into when I get to the wall. It's still a nasty dark hole, but it isn't so deep that I can't look up and see the stars...
And although I am a bit broke, since the weather is fine for a short while there are some holes I can fill that don't cost me anything but my time... like the holes of time I fill with all three of my children, my dear little grandson, and my very good friends, as well as the holes in the back lawn that my darling (bad little Shih Tzu) Penny has carved while digging for her "bouncy balls" in order that I may break an ankle or two for her doggy pleasure... and like those small holes I will keep filling up the big one, building it into a strong foundation of "self" until I can "grow the lawn" over top so I never trip again.
So no more Caffe Mocha, no more Vodka, no more Latte... and instead of Valium I have another tiny anxiety reducer for those really bad moments - and even after standing in front of a judge and swearing to tell the truth on the witness stand I didn't need them.... so it looks like, for the moment, I don't need to go anywhere but home... where my heart is... and I say to myself and my little family... "Welcome Home"....