Thursday, May 16, 2013

My Struggle

Day 16: Something difficult about your "lot in life" and how you're working to overcome it.

I have struggled with manic depression since I was a young kid. It was really hard to know you were different from the other kids. I struggled to appear to be a normal kid, but it all got to be too much for me to deal with on my own. I started to see a therapist in middle school and it really helped. I continued to see this person throughout college.

I have been on nearly medication on the market for depression. Some helped and some did not. It took the work of my psychologist and a psychiatrist to find the right mixture of medication and therapy. I have been taking pills since middle school and it has always been a dream of mine to get off the medication.

I am happy to say that after a year and half of slowly reducing my dosage and watching my moods, as of February 2013 I am now 100% off any and all medications. Seriously, the medications I were taking so powerful and I was taking such a high dose that I had to slowly come off them to avoid withdrawals. Here is a list of the withdrawals (I have experienced all of them...)
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Nausea (was terrible for me, one time I had to ask the bus driver to let me off in between stops so I could throw up in the bushes on the side of the road at 7:30 in the morning. Not Fun.)
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Vertigo
  • "Brain Shivers" (like my brain was hiccuping)
  • "Sleepy Brain" (like my brain was delayed or asleep)
I still struggle from time to time with depression. Some days I will just in be a gray funk that I can't come out of. But I am getting better at communicating this with Joel, so he knows that I'm not angry with him, that I'm just having a gray day. I am careful about what I eat; lots of junk food can make me feel lethargic and bring on depression. I am careful to stay active and get outdoors. Doing so helps increase natural production of serotonin, which keeps me feeling normal. I am careful not to overwhelm myself when stress levels are high. I am figuring out what are my triggers are and how to prevent them from interrupting life.

Manic depression is something I will live with for the rest of my life. This is my lot in life, and this is how I am working to overcome it.


  1. I used to take meds for depression, too, but I hated how they made me feel so much... just dazed and dead inside or something. No ups and no downs. I went off them toward the end of college and I remember having terrible withdrawls, too. I'm glad you have found a way to deal with your depression that works for you. And I think of you as a very cheerful, happy person, so you're definitely handling thing well I think!

    Sarah @ Life As Always

    1. Thanks Sarah! Isn't it odd that medication for depression almost makes you feel more depressed? Thank you for the kind words and encouragement!

  2. You are so strong and wonderful! You work so hard everyday at everything you do, Joel and your family has your back!! No grey day will get the best of Jess :) So proud of my big sister!

    1. Oh Julie - you are too sweet. I am very proud of you too! You have also overcome some challenges. It is good to know we both have such a great support system - our family!