Category Archives: Depression

Better Living Through Chemistry

Nothing. I feel nothing. Numb. The intense emotional highs and lows of the Tilt-a-Whirl have been replaced with a pervading calm. Not the sweet calm of the acceptance stage in the grieving process. An artificial calm imposed by a new prescription to treat the depression triggered by the death of my Mother.

I started taking the new medication about a week ago. Some of the side effects were immediate…headache, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting…but have diminished to the point of being tolerable. These side effects were accompanied by a marked increase in fatigue which has intensified over the same timeframe. The fatigue has grown to an overwhelming sense of exhaustion. All I want to do is sleep. When I’m not sleeping…I’m yawning. The least bit of activity requires a nap to replenish my energy reserves.

I constantly feel like I’m in a fog. Thoughts lose their way along the path to my mouth. Perhaps they are drown out by the elevated volume of the constant ringing in my ears. Speaking has become riddled with pauses as I search for words.

Is this existence really better? At least with the pain, I know that I am alive. I feel deep, heart wrenching loss…but I feel. I still want to sleep…curl up in a ball…and sleep while dreaming of Mom. And I can think…of the sweet memories and the things I wish I had done differently.

Medications help us when we’re sick. But is it really “better living through chemistry” when your life is shrouded in the mist? I’m looking forward to the day when the only chemicals in my body are those found naturally in the foods I eat. Until then, I think a lower dosage is in order.

Featured image based on Beakers by Alex, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Frozen in Time

People often use the “seasons” metaphor to describe life. I get it. We we all have images of what each season means. And though its Fall on the calendar, my life is stuck in Winter. Over the past 2 1/2 years, I’ve been experiencing the longest, harshest winter of my life.
Frozen Melody

A blanket of heavy, wet snow envelops my heart. Joy has been suspended…No…frozen in time. The music of my life…silenced, yet again. This time from the pain of my Mom’s passing.

How did I get to this place?
How do I dig out?
How do I move on with life?
How do I end my self-imposed isolation?

After Mom’s passing, I kept myself distracted by all the “tasks” that needed to be handled. I avoided the attempts of friends (and most family) to reach out with words of comfort or empathy. Conversations that triggered emotions had to be avoided… At. All. Cost!!!

Now that I’m back at home and in familiar surroundings, I’m supposed to be moving on with my life. But I can’t get the images or sounds of Mom’s final days out of my mind. The visions fill the darkness behind my eyelids when the lights go out. The interrupted rhythm of her breathing…and then silence…drowns out the otherwise constant ringing in my ears*. During waking hours, I erupt into sobs of despair over seemingly insignificant reminders of Mom.

In the midst of this season (the dead of winter), I feel paralyzed. Frozen with grief. Clinging to a life that used to feel “normal” while a blizzard of emotions swirls around me. I can’t make time move any faster…I’m trapped. Trapped while waiting and praying for the weather to change and reveal the melody of Spring.

While I wait…
Do you have any insights or suggestions on the grieving process that you can share?

*The ringing in my ears started during chemo and never stops. The intensity increases with my fatigue level.