The Pressure to Not Backslide With Depression

Creative Commons photo.

Being good to yourself is harder than it ought to be.

As I’ve said numerous times on this blog, the trifecta to becoming depression-free and rewiring my brain to no longer think about killing myself — I honestly can’t stress enough for those who don’t know what this is like to go from thinking about death not merely on a daily basis but multiple times throughout the day to not thinking about it … at all; that new normal feels so darn radical — are the following:

  • Finding the right antidepressants for me. I take 75 milligrams of venlafaxine (or more commonly known as effexor) each day. I don’t recall the name of the prior medication, but it was something else at I believe 10 milligrams, also daily. It wasn’t working. I was sleepy and felt as depressed and suicidal as ever. Once switching to venlafaxine, it was like a proverbial light switch went on in my brain, brightening the cobwebs up there. It’s been great and I can’t praise it enough for not only being life-changing, but most certainly life-saving. I think if I hadn’t taken that initial step to get onto antidepressants (even the first ones that weren’t right and/or the right dosage for me), I probably would be dead by now. Or at least, still suffering an enormous amount.
  • Finally getting into therapy on a weekly basis. Unlike with antidepressants, I was fortunate that my first pairing with my therapist, Chris, worked. Heck, even just taking that step to seek help and talk to the screener at the psychiatry office was similar to antidepressants in terms of making me feel better. Because it was a step. A very scary step, but a step in a positive direction. I know others have had bad experiences with therapy (just as they have had with antidepressants), but for me, within a month, I noticed the change. Therapy was especially a game-changer when it came to my anxiety and social anxiety.
  • Dieting and exercising again. Right around when I started therapy and about six months after being on antidepressants, I finally put the final piece together: I needed to start counting calories again (the more surefire way I know of to drop extra weight I don’t want) and to couple that with adding more movement to my sedentary lifestyle. I can’t recommend enough the apps MyFitnessPal and FitOn, respectively. They’ve also been game-changers for me. I’ve dropped nearly 30 pounds and more importantly, I mentally felt better.

However, my issue as of late is feeling the pressure with the third item there. Not for the physical reasons (although I certainly don’t want to go lose ground on that by gaining weight), but for the mental ones. I’m worried that if I allow myself to slip too much on the diet and particularly, the moving, that I’ll regress back to depression and worse, suicidal ideation.

Because I know how important daily FitOn activities and clean eating were to my mental health recovery, but despite that knowledge, admittedly, I have slipped some. Instead of a daily activity or activities of some kind, it’s more often the case that I’m doing an activity or activities maybe two to four times a week? So, sure, I’m still doing something, but it’s not where I was.

As for the food front, my darn sweet tooth is a heck of a thing. I can’t avoid cookies, Reese’s cups and things of that nature I love munching on. They’re not breaking my daily calorie counts or anything, but I’m certainly not as strict calorie-wise as I used to be.

And I can notice the difference. That’s what’s scary. I don’t think my depression is back or anything, but I can notice the despair lingering around again, loitering at the edge of my brain in a way it wasn’t two months ago.

I’ve talked about this prior on the blog when dealing with the coming knowledge that I would plateau with my dieting and exercising. Welp. Hello, plateau, you bastard.

I’m not going to let it discourage me. In fact, I’ve started diving into the meditations category on FitOn and I’ve really found that interesting. I’m going to post more on that soon.

But as always with the blog, I like to use it as both a catharsis and organizational structure for my brain and to of course, share my journey with others to see if they can relate, or have thoughts of their own to share from their own individualized journeys.

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