Recovery is a total oddball. Back and forth, to and fro, up and down. It just can’t seem to make up its mind. Or maybe that’s just the nature of depression. Who even knows any more?
What is for certain though is that recovery is not black and white, certainly not with mental illness at least. You do not wake up one day and everything has fallen into place and hey presto, you’re fixed. It ebs and wanes, coming and going. And that’s tough, because it can really knock you back when you’ve had a couple of great weeks and you feel strong and stable in yourself, and then it turns out that you’re… not quite there. And you’re back to spending days in bed staring at the clock with no energy or motivation to even get yourself some water. It really tests your patience, and your faith in yourself.
I haven’t written for a while because I just went through one of those up periods, set off by a change in medication, from Escitilopram to Sertraline. In this up time, I got enough energy to get myself a job and get back out into the real world, started writing for YogiApproved.com, and began my yoga teacher training course.
Changing medication seemed to be a great decision, and I felt so much stronger. It was utter relief. After so long, I felt like I had come up for air and was taking my first real breath in months. Food gained its taste, I recognised my friends faces again, the world was full of colour and beauty, and I didn’t have to think about trying to look after myself all the time. Life felt so light, and simple, and happy.
And now… things have started to take a turn again. I can feel that old exhaustion creeping back into my bones and the negativity and self doubt wrapping around my thoughts.
Now, I don’t know whether it is some sort of initial placebo effect, but I remember feeling this same mood boost when I first went on Escitilopram too, way back in January 2015. In that up period I managed to get out of bed, started this blog, began my yoga practise, and started looking after dogs. It did me a world of good.
But then, slowly but surely, the up phase started to fade away, until I was even worse than before. Although I was spending less time in bed, I became engulfed with suicidal thoughts which I had never had before the Escitilopram.
So, I made the decision to switch to Sertraline, to see if this would work any better for me long term. Yet again, fantastic initial up period. But once more, I feel it slipping away from me again. It is worrying. But I guess I’ve just gotta keep on.
Maybe medication will never be a long term solution for me, but it’s nice to get a relief from my head, even if it’s just for a few weeks. It helps me remember what it feels like to live, and be healthy and happy, and what I am capable of. It gives me hope that I can feel like that again. It is possible.
I am sure that my recovery will continue to swing, and there will always be better times and worse times. It might be cruel, or frustrating at times, but I guess that’s just the nature of it, and so I must accept it for how it is. One thing that I do try to remember in all of this up and down, is that no matter how bad things get, I am part of a process that can only go forwards, constantly moving and learning and growing. I can never go back to how I was at the start, even if I find myself returning to bed for weeks again, because it’s progression. It’s dynamic. And I have learnt so much.
I hope you’re all well,