Friday, May 11, 2012

Riki's History Part 5: Living & Loving

I won't pretend that things were smooth sailing after the "Shane" incident.  I dated a few guys (using the term "dated" pretty loosely here) between fall 2005 and summer 2006.  Remember the old friend from my middle school days who would later introduce me to my husband?  Yeah, I was "dating" him when I met Hubby for the first time (six years ago this month... wow!). 

Hubby and I started dating in September of that year, and things were (usually) great.  He treated me like a queen, and I loved every second of it.  In early 2008, we got an apartment together, about an hour and a half away from where I had grown up and lived for my entire life.  I had very few friends out here, and Hubby had lots of them.  I would get lonely, feel unwanted, and cry.  It sort of sucked.

There was one time when I dropped the box of mac and cheese I'd been planning to make on the kitchen floor.  I started yelling and swearing, saying dinner was ruined and I had fucked it all up.  Much as he tried, Hubby couldn't convince me otherwise.  I wound up sobbing on the kitchen floor for awhile.  Same thing happened when a vase broke.  These are normal occurrences, but I was completely incapable of handling them normally.

In late July, I decided it was time to try the meds again.  I contacted my doctor (who is quite possibly the most understanding and least judgmental doctor I've ever met) and she put me back on Fluoxetine.  I started taking it again beginning in August, and I was already feeling happier just knowing that things would get better soon. 

Then came The Break-Up.  (Dun, dun, dunnnnnn.)

In August, Hubby and I were planning a camping trip, so I had worked "summer hours" that week (9-hour days Mon-Thurs, half day Friday) so we could get a head start.  Instead of trying to recall all of this, I'm going to copy/paste from my journal entry a few days after it happened.

We packed, we had lunch, we packed some more... He seemed a bit strange, but I wrote it off as lack of sleep combined with 3 cups of coffee in less than 3 hours (he stayed up late to play video games and drank a lot of coffee at work just for fun).

Then, when I asked him if he was OK again (I'd already asked, and his arm hurt, so I'd given him some ibuprofen), he said he had a lot going on in his mind. He seemed serious, so I took his hands and encouraged him to talk... He started with some stuff about how there was a lot of talk about marriage lately... and apparently he decided that he really couldn't see marrying me. I told him I wasn't looking to get married right now or anything, and we talked a bit more.

I asked at one point if he still loved me, and he took a long pause. Then he said, "I guess my silence sort of answered that..." He didn't say it in a mean way, just said it. I remained as calm and collected as I could, and continued talking to him about how we could work on things. He would say things that I found encouraging, that I thought meant we could work through it. Things about if we had hobbies together (I had recently told him I'd be happy to come out and hang with him while he worked on the car, and reiterated this, and agreed that I'd even try getting my hands dirty in the process), or if I had friends to hang with (I told him I could try being friends with [insert she-who-will-not-be-named here], and that once the meds kicked in, that I could look for a new job and have new coworkers to hang with)...

But all in all, he just wasn't sure he loved me anymore. He'd had doubts for weeks, he said. Did he still care about me? Yes. Deeply. He even said he "likes me a lot". At some point I started crying a bit, but was still trying to reason with him. Neither of us knew what to do. I told him that the logical thing might be to see if things get better with the meds, you know? But, there's nothing logical about love.

And so, I began to pack. He helped for awhile, but I couldn't stop myself from crying and saying the stupidest things. Things like, "I can't believe you went on vacation with me and didn't love me!" and "I just want you to love me again..." Lines that happen in a bad book or movie, but I just couldn't help it."

It was the worst pain I've experienced yet, and thankfully my sisters were there for me and I flew out to Las Vegas for a few days to recover. 

In my opinion, that break turned out to be one of the best things that happened to our relationship.  I got to spend some time back in my hometown, reassuring myself that I wasn't completely dependent on him, and finding that my meds were making things I normally couldn't do seem much more possible.  His time away from me made him realize that he truly did love me, depression/anxiety/insanity and all.  We were back together soon, and have been together since. 

As of this post, I'm on 40 MG of fluoxetine and 150 MG of bupropion (generic Wellbutrin), and I'm doing really well.  I used to think that being on anti-depressants meant I was dependent on them, and I hated that thought.  My mom put that into perspective for me.  She asked me, "Well, are you dependent on your glasses to see?"

"Uh, yeah..."

"The glasses don't change your eyes, they just make it easier to see.  The pills do the same thing.  They don't change who you are, they just make it easier to be you."

I still have my moments, and some days are harder than others, but it's mostly within the realm of normal emotions.  When I get sad, it's usually because something sad has happened instead of just out of the blue.  When I get frustrated, I don't yell and swear as much anymore.  And when I do have a particularly bad moment, I use some of the techniques I learned back in my days of therapy and some other relaxation methods.  I'm a nicer person to be around overall.

I've been back in school since August 2009, and am on track to get my BA in Psychology (go figure, right?).  I'm married to a wonderful man, and have a great house and an adorable dog.  I have friends who love me and family who always has my back.  I even have a hobby that I'm passionate about (photography is the most therapeutic thing I do)! 

A lot of people have contributed to my happiness and well-being.  I don't have the time or space to thank them all individually, but more than likely, you know who you are.  Thank you.  From the very bottom of my heart... Thank you.

The bottom line is something like this: Depression (and other mental illnesses) sucks.  It's trying for you and everyone around you, and some days (many days... sometimes every day) it feels like nothing will ever get better. 

It will. 

If you give it time, it will.  If you work at it, it will.  If you allow your friends and family to help you, it will.  If you find goals you want to achieve, it will.  And eventually, those days will become rarities, and when you slip back into old ways of thinking, just remember that it did get better.  And it will again.  Don't give up.


1 comment:

  1. I know its been said over and over again through this series of posts, but I'd like to say again that it was SO brave (and I'd imagine therapeutic) for you to write about such an often taboo subject. These posts will no doubt help people that have the same feelings that you had, and hopefully help them realize that things do get better. You are such a strong and amazing person for getting through all of that Erika!