It’s been a constant balancing act for my doctor between keeping my emotional health a priority and looking after my weight. Generally those two are in opposition - when we focus on just the emotional side, I lose weight, but when we focus on bringing my weight up, I become even more depressed. She’s trying to make sure that we always keep my personal safety as the forefront goal, and as drastic as it sounds, be realistic about which is more likely to kill me at any given time - the depression or the anorexia.
This is pretty uncharacteristic for an antidepressant. Most will make you drowsy, and cause you to put on weight. But this particular one affected me very differently, leaving me with so much energy regardless of what I ate. You can see how dangerous this could have been, given I already had issues keeping myself at a healthy weight. My doctor had to weigh up carefully the benefits on my mood and overall emotional health with the effects on my appetite.
The new antidepressant hit me so differently from my first. I felt invincible. I couldn’t believe a tablet could make such a huge difference. It just shows that everyone’s body chemistry is different, and when you find a good balance, it can do wonders for your depression.
For the record, I don’t customarily throw my pills Ellen-style into my mouth. I’m not that cool.
Stories of discrimination and mental health struggles from gay, lesbian, trans*, bisexual, genderqueer and intersex Australians. A Beyond Blue Left Hand Campaign initiative.
I DO NOT HAVE AN EATING DISORDER - Page 104
I was so terrified to show this woman my comics - I only took a couple of pages along with me, but somehow I thought my drawings could explain more than I could in words. I am so grateful that comics are available to me as a tool, because I think I’d be lost without them.
The thing that’s really fucked up about depression* is that your social support system never actually goes away, you just can’t bring yourself to utilize it after a point (out of fear for overburdening**). So you end up feeling even more isolated and more depressed.
*This is ignoring the larger problem about depression that, no matter all the things you do to combat it — diet, exercise, therapy, etc., whatever — it can still show up and kick you in the ass whenever it wants to without reason.
**And, truth be told, even if people will always be there for you, everyone has a threshold where they will finally say “Jesus, just Get Over It,” unable to take the previous addendum into account.
Patience is really the key here. With oneself and with others.
It’s so sad to realise that people do actually wear out after being support people for while - I think that’s why it’s so important for people who are supporting us to get support themselves.
I DO NOT HAVE AN EATING DISORDER - Page 95 TRIGGER WARNING Suicidal Ideations
I really need to recognise how much strength it took to go and see my counsellor during this time. I felt so lost and apathetic, all I wanted to do was curl up in bed and sleep forever. Every moment of being awake felt excruciating and exhausting. Despite this, I still went and saw her, and it helped. She was able to give me some perspective on what I was feeling, and just as importantly, some validation that what I was feeling was OK. I can’t stress enough how important this is. It’s so hard to talk to someone when you feel depressed or suicidal, because there’s this huge looming question of ‘Whydo you feel this way?’. You’re dreading another one of those responses where you’re told that it’s really not that bad and there are starving children in Africa and what right do you have to be miserable when your life is so good? As if you’re not already carrying guilt and shame about what you’re feeling. That’s why it’s so important to have a support person you can call - a non-judgemental friend, a counsellor, or a hotline. You need to have your feelings heard, rather than having your situation judged.
For anyone struggling with suicidal ideations, you can chat to someone online on IMAlive, or try calling a crisis hotline. You deserve to be heard.
This happened recently. Tonight instead of using negative coping strategies, I drew this comic. I call that progress. My cats have been my saviours in so many ways.
I DO NOT HAVE AN EATING DISORDER - Page 94 - TRIGGER WARNING Suicidal ideations
One of the hardest things about this feeling of complete hopelessness was that I didn’t know where it was coming from. From an outsider’s perspective, my life was great - I was surrounded by loving people, well employed, social, creative and every reason to be happy. I just had such an overwhelming feeling of despair, such an inability to cope, and these constant whispering voices in my head that I’d feel so peaceful if I just ended my life. I didn’t want to do anything as violent or drastic as killing myself - but there was this gentle idea in my mind that to just go to sleep, to just never wake up, never face another day, would finally offer me some rest and relief from this constant exhaustion of life.
What’s so important to remember when we feel this way is that it is just a feeling. I’ve recently had to start thinking about my recovery differently. My efforts up until now have been so focused on avoiding any kind of stress or sadness, because I feel so incapable of dealing with those feelings. But we can’t live our lives just avoiding any negative feelings whatsoever. We have to learn to be in those feelings of grief or stress, to experience them, and to still find ways to cope in the moment and come out the other side. These immense things we feel are just feelings, and in time, they will pass. The best thing we can do is reach out for support to get us through until we’re able to cope again.
For anyone struggling with feelings of hopelessness, or temptations to use unhealthy coping strategies, please check out the resources page for some support services and alternative coping strategies to get you through. You are so important. Please take care of yourself.
I’ll say it once again: do not disregard your doctors advice and drink whilst on antidepressants. Certainly do not make yourself fun little drug cocktails with whatever you have lying around (and after many years of ‘collecting’ pills from various sources, I had quite the assortment). This was not me at my best, and all the while, my poor buddy thought she was only helping.