I’ll start by saying that I’m mid-40s now and first began experiencing depression after my father died when I was 8.
Sought treatment myself at 16, and was on/off meds throughout my teens until my early 20’s. Ever since then it’s been a never-ending cycle of one med after another, one therapist after another, one new diagnosis after another.
I have a family, a home, a career…yet I can’t find ‘happy.’
A med will work to keep me functioning for a few years, then just tanks; the search begins anew.
About 5 yrs ago was the lowest I’ve ever been. My therapist was recommending I find a way to stay at a residential treatment centre, but there was just no way. I am the main income in our home, with 2 young kids at the time. My doctor, who just throws meds around, asked me if I wanted to try a med I’d been on before; neither of us knew why I’d come off it earlier, nothing in the notes. Within 3 days I felt like someone had picked me up off of the floor. I could suddenly function. I’d never had that feeling before.
With that came a change in my senses, especially a dulling of my taste buds. I could barely taste the things I loved before, but the trade off was…life.
I’ve had so many changes in the past year and my meds had already been starting to tank. I now take a mitt full of pills daily - 5 different meds - in order to function at slightly above ‘bare minimum’ most days. My executive function skills are non-existent, yet my job depends on me being organized. And most in my field are ‘highly’ organized. I can’t plan long term or short term, I’m messing up dates, appointments, meaning to return emails for weeks. Sometimes it’s because I forget, then worry about how forgetting makes me look. Sometimes I just can’t face it, I’m too tired, I have to be too ‘on,’ and I regularly ‘hit that wall.’
For a long time now I know people have seen the cracks in my façade, and some have used them to their advantage. I took a part time leave in the spring; I only wish I could have stayed part time.
I’ve had to change job locations recently and, for the most part, things are good. But I look for confirmation bias everywhere: that I’m falling apart and people can tell, that people have ‘heard things’ about me, that I’m not going to be able to keep going this time.
Then, a referral to a psychiatrist game me hope. I qualify for ECT, or rMTS therapies, but only ECT is covered, and I wouldn’t be able to continue working during the time I was receiving treatment.
I made it in to a 3rd or 4th round study (depending on my start date) for mega-dosing psylocybin, which came with major follow up and a high-level therapist. Only caveats being that my psychiatrist must agree, and I must come off ALL of my meds to participate. That means I’d be unable to work at all until (if) the psylocybin worked for me.
The psychiatrist would not sign off however, as he is part of an agreement to be a main referral practitioner for local clinical studies of esketamine dosing. Which he had also advised that I qualify for.
Hopes were completely dashed when, a benefits plan I pay a lot of money for, declined a predetermination of treatment outright. Only to be followed 2 days later by a confirmation of benefit qualification for reimbursement by my husband’s plan - which he does NOT pay out of pocket for!
Scheduling and planning for this treatment will be difficult; I will need to take medical leave for the treatment dates, which I will also need coverage for at work. The treatment schedule does not allow for a part time hire at work, and will have to be day-to-day casual, which is difficult for everyone. Work will not be happy.
I feel like this is a last shot for me. I don’t know if this chance will be given again. I have to try it…I have to.
But what if I’m one of the ones it doesn’t work for?
I mean, given my past record of drug treatment success, it must be more likely that it won’t work for me? I have lost count of (and fingers to count with!) the different meds I’ve been on for longer than required for therapeutic effect, that didn’t work. There is always a nagging part of me that wants to beat down any hope:
“As if this one is going to work! And if it does work, what will you do when the benefit company won’t pay after a year, hmmm?”
I have persevered my entire life, with ups and downs, but no ‘happy.’
I desperately want a bit of ‘happy.’
When I know circumstances I find myself in are the ‘happy’ kind, I can’t feel it.
But man, can I ever take on the deep, dark, negatives in my life, in everyone else’s life, the world….
I just want a taste of happy. Some happy of my own for a while.
And I’m terrified that if I can’t make myself believe it will happen for me, that’s exactly what will make sure that it won’t.