I sit here at my computer getting ready to write this week’s blog and my mind is a complete blank. I read back through my recent posts to see if there is something that needs a conclusion, read back through the end of last years for inspiration, and I think about the week that has been and realise that I have covered all that has needed coverage. It dawns on me, however, that I have not written about how life is post treatment, with a stable medication regime, and all things considered a reasonably stable and improved mood with no suicidal ideation. So now I am.
I completed my course of ECT a couple of months ago and since then I have been on the upwards trend regarding mood and suicidal ideations. I haven’t had a suicidal thought in over two months, my mood has improved, my anxiety is under control, and I can continue with life in a reasonably normal fashion. ECT has left me with a rather large memory hole covering the period of treatment and several weeks preceding in following. I consider this a small price to pay considering the alternative. The other negative side effect that I have noticed is the occasional inability to remember a word or name. Now I don’t mean in the sense of I haven’t seen someone for years and forget their name, I mean I was actively talking to the person and their name alludes me. But still, a small price to pay.
I conjunction with the ECT I have been in regular contact with my Psychiatrist who has both been monitoring the outcome of ECT and also the effectiveness of my medication. I have seen a significant change to my medication over the course of the year, but we have finally found a combination that works and is achieving the results we are after. These medications have now remained unchanged for nearly two months with minimal side effects. The only side effect noted is a bad case of the cotton mouth with is caused by the Alpha Channel blockers I am on. But, again, considering the alternative, chewing a bit of gum every now and again is a small price to pay.
Medication and ECT are both great physical treatments for depression and anxiety, however, talking therapy is still important as we need to process the thoughts that led us to this point to avoid the same thing occurring in the future. Hence my regular visits with the Psychologist. Together we have been talking through present thoughts, the effects of treatment, and current mood. Since the recent stability we have been able to move towards processing trauma and memories in an effort to minimise the risk of a decline in depression again. The Psychologist has been using a process called EMDR, which utilises rapid eye movement and a scripted approach to process memories and emotions. So far I have found it to be really useful, even though I was quite sceptical at first but have since been corrected, and look forward to the future sessions.
The actual day to day living with depression is fairly manageable. I know most of the time when a situation arises that is likely to push me into a reclusive depressive state, so I try to either avoid them or mitigate the outcome. I have had the classic lack of motivation moments ranging from not wanting to go grocery shopping to not attending that party to not wanting to get out of bed. Thankfully I have an amazing wife who is there to encourage me and sometime give me the kick in the behind I need. Financially my medication is currently costing me $2.15 per day, which doesn’t sound a lot but adds up pretty quickly.
I don’t feel that I am any different than anyone else who is going through depression or is dealing with anxiety on a daily basis. I just encourage those who are out there reading this to reach out and get the help you need to live a “normal” life and not live with the constant heavy downhill of depression or crippling fear of anxiety.
Maintain the Rage
Addit: If people could please pray for myself, my family, and my immediate friend circle it would be greatly appreciated. We have had an illness of some varying description or another doing the rounds for months. We have had Influenza, Gastroenteritis, Conjunctivitis, Sinusitis/Rhinitis, Bacterial Skin Infections, and Bacterial Tongue Infections all do the rounds. We are all sick and tired of being sick and tired, so your prayer would be appreciated.