Tag Archive | side effects

Who Turned Off The Lights? – When Depression Hits


“Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before” James Buckham
 
 
 
 
 

 

I think depression is inevitable at some point in any person who deals with a chronic illness of any type.  Being ill or in pain for a long duration of time is taxing mentally as well as physically.  The degree of the depression will vary from person to person, some having much more severe symptoms than others.

 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression may include the following:

  • difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • fatigue and decreased energy
  • feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • irritability, restlessness
  • loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • overeating or appetite loss
  • persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

I know with me, I have had some mild type depression symptoms off and on over the years, but that since my ovary removal surgery that went wrong in 2005, I have struggled with these symptoms to a much higher degree.  I did at some points take anti-depressants, but didn’t feel like they were really helping much and the side effects didn’t seem worth it.  But I know for a fact that some people find these medications to be extremely effective in controlling their symptoms, which is wonderful!

I try to keep a positive attitude, but when I am “losing” my positivity, I find myself getting very down and negative.  Feelings of uselessness and guilt overwhelm me at times. I cry easily and am moody.  I have seriously considered “ending the pain” on more than one occassion, but have concluded that is not the way to deal with it, mostly because I just want to be around to see my kids, grandkids and great-grandkids! But I can certainly relate to those feelings.

Living with several chronic illnesses, as in my case, it is very challenging to stay “happy” or positive all the time.  I do TRY to keep my emotions on an even keel though.  I read alot of self-help books (corny to some I know) but they seem to help me, inspirational quotes and poems are great for my psych, as are reading stories of others who have beat the odds or overcome obstacles in their lives.  I have always used prayer as a huge form of comfort for me, I started “writing letters to God” at a very young age…and still do when I am feeling really down.  Then I started journaling and eventually blogging, and I find that to be very cathartic.  Whether anyone reads me or not, just getting my feelings down, out of my head feels awesome!

Everyone who deals with depression, whether mild or severe, has their own way of dealing with it.  As I said, for some the plethora of medications that are available will help immensly, for others not so much.  Some benefit from professional counseling, speaking to the clergy, self help books, meditation, or just opening up to a good friend.  Any and all of these will help most people.  I also find that if I try to keep a gratitude journal it helps keep me feeling more upbeat also..even just saying things as simple as “I am grateful for the sunshine today!” or looking at how beautiful the leaves on the trees look as they change colors…it releases the good endorphins that make you feel better.

Depression is a battle.  When you are suffering from it, you most certainly feel as if you are fighting some unseen demonic force.  Sometimes it can pull you so far down, you cannot get out of it without professional help. To me it feels like you are underwater, every movement feels heavy and challenging.  To add to the pain of this disease is the judgement you get from others.  Depression still has a stigma.  People are sometimes ashamed of their diagnosis or must deal with others views of what the disease means.  It is nothing to be embarrassed about of course.  It’s an illness, like any other.

So, if you feel you are suffering from depression, no matter how mild…please do not be ashamed to seek professional help.  There are treatments that can help you feel better, you just have to find what works for you. Never ignore suicidal thoughts or feelings, you must get help.  Some depressions are just too deep to fight on your own.  Just don’t ever give up or feel defeated!  You can beat it!  It may not be easy, and you may be on a bit of a roller-coaster at times, but you will make it through, and come out the other side stronger.

I know that with the chronic pain, that when I let the depression take control, it makes my pain levels even worse, and I start to let the pain win.  For me, it’s the never ending pain that keeps the “depression demon” in my head…and when I’m feeling weakest, that’s when he strikes.  I have to try to keep him at bay by keeping positivity near by, my pain medications around the clock, happy movies and music, laughter,  prayer, meditation, journaling, family and friends and of course…blogging!  Some times I win the war, sometimes I don’t…but I never stay down, and I never will, because I am stronger than the pain or the depression!

“Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment.” – Greenville Kleiser

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Another day, Another pill….and so the saga continues:

Soo…had my monthly Pain Clinic appointment today.  Told them my belly pain is out of control again due to the neuromas and adhesions.  Thankfully they are always good about trying to help me with my pain.  They told me to stop the Percocet (which I took as needed for breakthru pain) and gave me an instant release morphine, as I am already on an extended release morphine.  Also, I told them that my elbows are getting worse and worse (even though I have not ran a vacuum or mopped or anything repetitive with them lately) and I told them I couldn’t afford more injections, so they gave me oral steroids.  They also then told me to make sure I take Prilosec or some other stomach aid because my tummy may get irritated.  Alrighty.

So, I walked away from the clinic with the hopes that perhaps the new meds will atleast dull my different areas of pain, even if a little.  Got the scripts filled.  Came home, popped them in my mouth…and waited with great hope!  The faster release morphine did indeed dull the neuroma/adhesion pain more…this pleases me!  I took the 7 prednisones (it tapers down by 1 pill each day, til gone), but my elbows don’t feel better yet…but I didn’t expect them to, I guess.

So, as I was filling up my pill box (M>T>W>TH>F>S>SU), I began to ponder once again, the effect ALL these pills are having on my body.  Especially my liver and kidneys.  It certainly can’t be good, this any idiot knows.  I began to think was it worth it?  Damaging my kidneys/liver just to get some decent days?  To be able to do something other than lay in bed?  Before the meds, that’s about all I could do.  The meds do NOT take away all or even most of my pain…not by any stretch…but they do make it just tolerable enough to have some semblance of a life.  But if you look up all the side effects and drug interractions, it is very scary.  I am very careful with my meds, and look everyone of them up and check out the interractions and all…and it does worry me.  Alot. 

Large View

I have given thought to just slowly stopping all the meds.  But the fear of that SEVERE pain I know is there, stops me cold.  There are many days … even on this plethora of meds, where I cannot move.  I can barely breathe.  I cry, or sometimes cry inwardly, because it hurts too much to cry outwardly.  I contemplate suicide.  I contemplate homicide…(of the quack that made me this way), jk…sorta, I of course would NEVER kill anyone, but boy what I wouldn’t give for that man to live with this intolerable pain for one solid month!!!  That would please me so very much.  I simply cannot conceive of stopping my meds.  I NEED them to continue to function, even if at half capacity.  Even if it takes years off my life, atleast I will have spent some years doing what I want to do, rather than being bedridden.

Therefore I won’t stop my meds.  If my kidneys and liver give out on me, then so be it.  I know some people worry about addiction to narcotics or opoids in general.  I have done extensive research on the subject, and I know if used properly, you will not be an “addict” in the generally known way…you may develop a “need” for them, and yes, you shouldn’t stop cold turkey, but if used as prescribed, you are not gonna turn into a junkie.

If most people look at all the meds I take, they would gasp in horror…but it is what it is…and for me it is my lifeline of sorts.  The only way I can be out amongst the “normals” of society…lol.  So, I thank God that I have a good pain doc that does and can prescribe these meds for people like me.  I just wish there would be something else to help the pain.  Even now, sitting here all drugged…I am hurting very, very much.  I don’t get it.  I cannot imagine what the pain has turned into, since I started the pain meds, for it to still be this intense on them.  GRRR!

This is not what “The Little Girl” dreamed her life was gonna be.  This I know.  Doctor G. C. … I hope you know what you have done to my life.  To my family’s life.  But I know you don’t give it a second thought, as you take your family vacations, go biking, walking, running, play golf, raquetball, tennis, swim, boat…carry your kids around, whatever.  You ARE living your life.  I am surviving mine.  Thanks a bunch asshole.

Tryin to keep my sanity…in an insane world.

watch this funny video about pain and hospitals:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1kuIwXaV5o

Depression and other emotional disorders:

I just saw on the news that Marie Osmonds nineteen year old son has committed suicide by jumping from the balcony of his apartment building.  It is just so completely sad to me that this young man could see no other solution to the way he was feeling, other than to end his life.  Evidently he had suffered with depression for many years, and had been under treatment.  It’s a well known fact that Marie has also suffered with depression.  It seems to me that people who suffer with depression or other emotional issues are so ashamed of it, that they either refuse to seek help or fail to follow through with treatment.

Why is it, that in today’s society, people must feel ashamed to say that they suffer with a mental illness?  It’s not their fault…it is a medical disorder.  Unfortunately it is often times slow to be recognized, especially in teens and young adults.  We blow off the symptoms as “just part of growing up” or the people themselves just hide their feelings, for fear of being “labled” as defective.

Even when they do go for help, it usually takes several attempts with different medications to find the right prescription that will work for that individual, and sometimes they just give up, thinking that they can’t “be fixed.”  Then too, the medications themselves often have such awful side effects, or atleast the reputation as having awful side effects that they do not want to take them.  There are so many mental diseases out there, depression, anxiety, ptsd, bipolar, schizophrenia…many others.  The brain is still a bit of a mystery even to the scientists that have devoted their lives to figuring it out…so, of course how could a teen or young adult figure out their feelings?  Even with a very supportive family, people can frequently feel isolated and alone.  They won’t share their feelings or fears with their loved ones.  They suffer in silence.  And often, unfortunately and tragically…they end up like Marie Osmonds son.

My thoughts and prayers are with that family tonight…and all the other families who have or are dealing with mental illness.  I am pasting below the symptoms of depression as written by the Mayo Clinic.  Please, if you or anyone you know have these symptoms…don’t be afraid or ashamed.  Call your family doctor or go to the hospital.  There is help.  Life can be better.

Symptoms

By Mayo Clinic staff

Depression symptoms include:

  • Feelings of sadness or unhappiness
  • Irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Changes in appetite — depression often causes decreased appetite and weight loss, but in some people it causes increased cravings for food and weight gain
  • Agitation or restlessness — for example, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Indecisiveness, distractibility and decreased concentration
  • Fatigue, tiredness and loss of energy — even small tasks may seem to require a lot of effort
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself when things aren’t going right
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
  • Crying spells for no apparent reason
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

For some people, depression symptoms are so severe that it’s obvious something isn’t right. Others people feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why.

Depression affects each person in different ways, so depression symptoms vary from person to person. Inherited traits, age, gender and cultural background all play a role in how depression may affect you.

Depression symptoms in children and teens
Common symptoms of depression can be a little different in children and teens than they are in adults.

  • In younger children, symptoms of depression may include sadness, irritability, hopelessness and worry.
  • Symptoms in adolescents and teens may include anxiety, anger and avoidance of social interaction.
  • Changes in thinking and sleep are common signs of depression in adolescents and adults, but are not as common in younger children.
  • In children and teens, depression often occurs along with behavior problems and other mental health conditions, such as anxiety or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Depression symptoms in older adults
Depression is not a normal part of growing older, and most seniors feel satisfied with their lives. However, depression can and does occur in older adults. Unfortunately it often goes undiagnosed and untreated. Many adults with depression feel reluctant to seek help when they’re feeling down.

  • In older adults, depression may go undiagnosed because symptoms — for example, fatigue, loss of appetite, sleep problems or loss of interest in sex — may seem to be caused by other illnesses
  • Older adults with depression may say they feel dissatisfied with life in general, bored, helpless or worthless. They may always want to stay at home, rather than going out to socialize or doing new things.
  • Suicidal thinking or feelings in older adults is a sign of serious depression that should never be taken lightly, especially in men. Of all people with depression, older adult men are at the highest risk of suicide.

When to see a doctor
If you feel depressed, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as you can. Depression symptoms may not get better on their own — and depression may get worse if it isn’t treated. Untreated depression can lead to other mental and physical health problems or problems in other areas of your life. Feelings of depression can also lead to suicide.

If you’re reluctant to seek treatment, talk to a friend or loved one, a health care professional, a faith leader, or someone else you trust.

If you have suicidal thoughts
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, get help right away. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Contact a family member or friend.
  • Seek help from your doctor, a mental health provider or other health care professional.
  • Call a suicide hot line number — in the United States, you can reach the toll-free, 24-hour hot line of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to talk to a trained counselor.
  • Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone in your faith community.

When to get emergency help
If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. If you have a loved one who has harmed himself or herself, or is seriously considering doing so, make sure someone stays with that person. Take him or her to the hospital or call for emergency help.

Of course the other illnesses have their own symptoms, if you have any feelings of suicide, anxiety, depression, worry or stress that seems out of control or is affecting how you live…please call your doctor.

Thank you for reading my blog.

Never give up hope…Life can be better.