Interestingly the reasons I got behind tie in with this week's Pagan Blog Project post ... likely they are also the reasons why my spiritual practices fell to the wayside during the three years I was in Calgary.
I have always had a tendency towards depression as far back as I can remember. Granted that having been as bullied as I was as a child and into my youth, certainly did not dispose me to being an outgoing or outwardly cheerful child. Whatever the factors that led me to it, I was the child that would deliberately draw apart when there were gatherings taking place. I have vivid summer camp memories of wandering the woods alone in tears while everyone else was having a good time at the weekend dance or some-such.
Being that my father was a psychiatrist, and one of the worlds leading minds in depression research, I possess far greater tools in my mental inventory than the average individual. I have been keenly aware of my own depressive traits and tendencies since I was about 12 or 13 years old and have practised self-analysis and self-management of my inner turmoil since I was about 16.
These are not things that my Father sat down and taught me how to do. Indeed, he had a distinct failing where recognizing when a family member was having issues or something was amiss ... as demonstrated by the lengths to which my grade 9 English teacher had to go to convince him that I needed glasses or by his reaction to his own mother needing a cane to get around. Rather, these are things that I learned to do through reading his psychiatric books and journals and by listening to him discussing his day at the dinner table with my Mother.
This means that I am always consciously aware of where upon a mental scale my moods and feelings are sitting. I routinely take action to counter depressive thoughts, images, perceptions so that I can maintain a contented balance within my own skin ... or rather, I normally do.
Every once in a while, it gets away from me ... and has done twice before in my life. The first would have been when I finally made a stand against my abusive relationship of 10 years and put my now late-ex-husband out of the house. The second was a year later when my Father died. In both those cases, my internal scales became so unbalanced that I took myself to the Dr and requested antidepressants.
Well, approximately four weeks ago now I did it again. The stresses that I am contending with, combined with the fact that I am unable to grieve for my Mother's passing due to my sister's machinations concerning the disbursement of Mum's will, resulted in my approaching the Dr for pills once again.
Honestly, I see nothing wrong with admitting that I need some help getting the brain/chemical imbalance end of the depression back under control once it becomes apparent to me that it's got away from me ... being that my perspective on matters such as this run along the lines of :
anxiety, depression and panic attacks in an otherwise healthy individual (one who does not suffer a chronic condition) indicates that the person has had to be strong too long and has depleted his/her mental and energetic reserves.and to ignore this situation is to invite an eventual physical manifestation of the condition.
It is not weakness to act to correct an imbalance and prevent further harm to the individual.While the depression had control, it was so very easy to sleep past noon and lose an entire day just wasting my time on Facebook and playing mindless games that allowed me to avoid dealing with anything. Depression brings with it not only a sense of mental anguish and low self-respect/self-esteem but can result in insomnia, weight gain, and physical pain or physical manifestation of the issues that are troubling the psyche.
That being the case, there is no shame in my opinion in acknowledging that my mental/energetic reserves are sitting below empty and using whatever other tools I can find (St. John's Wort, Melatonin, Cypralex - antidepressant, etc.) to aid me to get my balance back. Acknowledging that I need this help empowers me to take back control of what's been going wrong inside my own head and, as a result, things are looking up.
As the pills have taken effect (there's a three week loading dose - which means it takes that long before enough of the medication has built up in one's bloodstream to begin having an impact), I am beginning to rediscover things such as focus and an unwillingness to waste my time when I ought to be doing something productive with it. The dark pit of misery and hopelessness is drawing farther away and life is mirroring my outlook as it brightens.
This is what has allowed me to finally want to open the school books and work so hard to get caught up. It is what has made it so very much easier to recognize that I need to reconnect and reintegrate my spirituality and my oh so patient deities back into my day to day living.
I will likely remain on the antidepressants for the next five to six months (counting the near month I've been on them so far) and then I will talk to the Dr about weaning myself back off. This will give my internal chemistry sufficient time to reset itself, develop a sense of what balanced should be and ease me back off them gradually so that I can resume managing my life without them.