Maybe you're wondering what happened to me. Did my dissertation proposal explode in my face, leaving me in a coma? Did Greta finally toss me off the balcony after I forgot her outside for the 10th time? Did graduate school finally get to me? Yeah, it's the last one. I'll explain.
My whole life I've been an anxious person, tending toward insomnia. I remember when I was seven years old, my baby cousin died of SIDS. There were weeks on end where I couldn't sleep because I was terrified that I would die in the night. Over the years, I've lost sleep and made myself sick over things both big and small, both present and future, both real and imagined.
There have been times when the insomnia has become depression, or perhaps the depression has become insomnia. Several years ago I was diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder. I have used a light box and melatonin, coupled with exercise to help me cope with the gray Midwest winters with a lot of success.
During the last year, however, the anxiety and depression slowly spiraled out of control. It finally reached a breaking point shortly after my last post. I suddenly couldn't cope with anything anymore. I cried about dirty dishes, snuggles from Greta, disagreements with Mr. H-B, and especially about my dissertation proposal and teaching duties. I took about a dozen pregnancy tests before I finally concluded that there was something else going on and that I needed help.
I began seeing a psychiatrist about six weeks ago. He prescribed an anti-anxiety medication as well as a sleep aid. To say that the change has been remarkable would be an understatement. To say it has been easy would be a lie.
The first week on the medication was worse than the weeks leading up to my first psychiatry appointment. The medication made my insomnia worse because it made me so jittery. However, once my body got accustomed to the medication I realized just how rough the last year had been. It felt like a cloud had lifted. I could suddenly focus on my work without flipping out about how much there was to do. I stopped crying about, well, everything.
It was difficult for me to admit that I couldn't talk or even pray myself out of the anxiety and depression. I'm so grateful now for the medications that I've been able to take to help me overcome this. I'm so grateful for my therapist who helps me talk through my anxiety and understand what I can and cannot control. I'm so grateful for my wonderful family who has supported me without judgment. Most of all, I'm grateful for Mr. H-B's kindness to me when I was insufferable.
I hope that I'll continue to feel better because it's kind of awesome!