Thursday, 22 December 2011


My Grandmother and beloved cousin died this week, and I feel nothing.  I haven't shed tears or felt sad.  Just neutral.  Well, other than some 'pissed-off-ed-ness' (is that a word?) at relatives... I feel NOTHING.

It's like I'm coping by not coping??? Does that make sense?

And, with the Christmas season now here, I still feel nothing.  No twinge of joy looking at Christmas lights, or hearing my little guy sing the Grinch song and other Christmas carols.  Baking, wrapping presents, making presents... none of these fill me with joy... It feels like 'something to do' more than an occassion...

When will I get positive emotion back?

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

December Update

Sadly, there's not much to update.

I've been seeing my psychiatrist twice a month for the last little while, and now I'm taking Effexor and an anti-anxiety pill.

I am sad every day, and I cry from time-to-time.  Anxiety makes going out a challenge, and I am filled with fear.  Not a great thing when you're trying to prepare for the holiday season.  I try to face my demons, though.

I still feel nothing positive.  NOTHING. POSITIVE.  Just that layer of angst.

I wish I could have my life back.  The one where I was more care-free (I don't think I was ever care-free).  I worry about being unable to regain my status in my career. I dread the thought of my worst fear since childhood being realised... that I would not have a successful career.

Of course, I haven't been able to go workout for the last few weeks... Circumstances and  laziness on my part. I think it's been having an impact on my energy levels and potential for recovery.

Christmas is almost here... and I'd love to feel some holuday spirit.

Sunday, 6 November 2011


Yesterday, I saw a photograph of my sister, son and I at the swimming pool from this past summer.   We were all smiling.

Looking at it, I didn't recognise the person in the photo.  She was smiling and appeared happy. That person was me, but the outer me. Not the inner me.

I know I smile... it's a reflex... but the lack of happiness is frustrating.  The smile was hollow. Empty. Meaningless. 

Friday, 21 October 2011


I am a ghost.  Floating through this world.  Never quite connecting to anything or anyone.  Only uncertainty. Fear. Anxiety. Veils of fear and anxiety everywhere I go.

I don't feel. Even when I touch the people around me, I am not making contact.  Everything is hollow.

I am not a part of this world.

I am alone.

I am in a trance.

I am amongst the living dead. Existing. Not feeling.

A ghost.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Swimming Pool

Here are a couple of observations from today's visit to a waterpark:

1) No matter what you're body looks like, public swimming pools are great for making you feel okay in a bathing suit (okay... this could be the anhedonia talking). There are people of all shapes and sizes, and you realise that even if you don't have the best bikini bod, you don't have the worst.

2) My adrenaline is off. Intellectually, I was scared to go on a waterslide - always have been.  Even my husband felt his pulse rate go up.  Mine did not... Not only did I not feel excitement, I felt no fear (despite a terrible fear of waterslides/swallowing lots of water by surprise/drowning).

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Narcisistic Behaviour

"Why do some people not realize how obnoxious they are?
I guess it's because of their inherent obnoxiousity."

One of my Facebook friends posted this as an update. This person is notorious for either the 'my life is miserable; please pay a lot of attention to me' or 'my life is so perfect; don't you wish you were me?' posts. For some reason, this person's updates are the only ones that irk me... Maybe because she irks me in person as well. It's like she's too needy in her posts - always wanting to be the centre of attention - even when she's writing about someone else.

Although it might not seem like it... this blog seems to be a lot about me... I usually put everyone else first.  It wasn't until I became sick that I started paying attention to myself... Sad but true.

Of course, when it comes to blogging and Facebook status updates (especially Facebook updates), I also tire of those who use the medium to continuously cut-down others or do the 'woe is me' thing. (Kind of ironic, given the nature of this blog). My Facebook status tends to be more optimistic, and I hope these updates aren't always downers to those who read it. Yes, I know my life is a challenge right now, but I don't complain about it or advertise it everywhere, every chance I get. I don't need to provide every a play-by-play of every 'crisis' I experience. If I did, things would get awfully boring (like they have been in recent updates... sorry).

Maybe that's why I'm sick. Perhaps hiding in the background means I don't share enough to get better.  But, I don't think that Facebook is the medium for griping about everything. Does the world need to know and pay attention to you every time things don't go right? What ever happened to meeting with friends and having a bitch session? At least you end up laughing or eating.

I know that when you post on Facebook, you can get the support you're needing - which is positive. Very positive. Especially when it is a real crisis - like being really sick, having a sick child, facing a huge challenge you need advice or sincere support on. To me that makes sense.  But complaining because you're in pain after a workout, each time you workout, not so much (if I did that, people would REALLY be annoyed). 

This Facebook friend is notorious for complaining about doing something positive, like the pain she's in after going skiing or cycling with her kids.  Why can't it be about enjoying the time with them... and not about her? 

The biggest challenge for me and this particular Facebook friend is that I don't need things to be all about me all the time, while she does. This difference in attitude creates inner conflict (I would never tell her). I wish it didn't. I just can't understand it.

Back at Square One

Okay, I've been off of anti-depressants for a while, and I question my decision.

I still wish to be invisible - hide from everyone, to not exist.  When I go places, I pray that no one tries to interact with me for fear of creating panic later on or for saying or doing the wrong thing.

I am feeling panic and anxiety.  The panic attacks and feeling like I need to not exist have returned.  Today, after a relatively quiet day over at my brother's, all I wanted to do was go home, cry, and hide.  My entire body - my heart, my chest, my soul, my feet, my hands - was overcome with fear and sadness.  Why?  There is no reason for it. Nothing traumatic happened today.  In fact in was pleasant.  I don't understand why I am so weepy, hysterical and upset when nothing bad happened today.

I've also been waking up in the middle of the night in sheer panic and terror about something or other (I don't remember what I've been upset about, but I know I usually wake up at around three and can't get back to sleep for a couple hours because of this hysteria). This is VERY out of character for me.  I normally sleep at the drop of a hat all night until morning.

I still live in a trancelike state.  I am not present; I am extremely distracted, can't concentrate, can't feel anything positive - only negative, forget everything (and I mean EVERYTHING), and speak in circles. I can't do anything. My focus is gone. Sometimes I start a sentence (even when writing), and can't remember what I was going to say. (Unfortunately, this happens more often than not).

I am ANGRY... perhaps even enraged. I find myself angry, really angry, some of the time.  All of a sudden I completely blow up at my Mom, and occasionally my sister, with no warning.  I go from okay to livid in a heartbeat.  I wish I didn't. It's not fair to either of them.  It's like I will be angry at something one of them did, not say anything at the time, then EXPLODE over something smaller.

I cry at the drop of a hat. I just cry and cry and cry and cry (you get the picture).  I can't stop sobbing at commercials, The Muppet Show Song (really) and Moving Right Along song (once again from The Muppets...HORRIBLE, I know)... etc.

I still feel nothing positive. Stupid anhedonia. 'Nuff said.

Of course, my visit with my psychiatrist was NOT helpful.  He basically dissed the group therapy team for agreeing (and not even questioning) my desire to quit the anti-depressants.  He said that by making this decision, I will regress making it much harder to get better. I am so confused. So frustrated... and of course, back at square one.

Monday, 19 September 2011


Okay, it's been a while since I've posted, and lots has changed.  Well, not emotionally, but with respect to treatment.

I'm no longer attending group sessions.
I'm a bit choked about this.  The way the program is run, participants can only be in group for a maximum of two months/eight weeks.  My morning routine is gone; my opportunity to share and learn is gone; and I have no formal back-up plan to go to. 

Normally, people who 'graduate' from these sessions have a formal action plan, where the therapists and the psychologist help decide your next steps - other counselling options, organisations to contact etc.  Of course, I'm special.  Apparently, my lack of emotion has made it difficult for them to create an action plan. I was told one of the reasons I am stuck is my intelligence and 'sophisitcated thinking' which prevents me from experiencing emotion. They suggested I wait until I experience emotion again, then talk to my psychiatrist who will put me on a waiting list to see a psychologist. Huh? This pissed me off on some level... generating some degree of passion... well as much as possible in the given circumstances. 

In order for me to progress, I am supposed allow myself to experience emotion.  I said if it was that easy, I would have done it a while ago.  It's not like it's a tap that I can turn on and off.  I blame - at least in part - the anti-depressants for my flat mood.  Before the anti-depressants, I at least had extreme panic attacks, tears, rage, fear etc.  Now, it's virtually nothing.  Without any emotion, it is difficult to work on issues and move forward. So... with therapist and psychiatric approval...I decided to stop taking the anti-depressants.

No more anti-depressants.
It's been almost a week without anti-depressants, and I feel nothing.  I felt on the verge of tears at the Lion King this weekend... But no real emotion.  Grrr.

Losing my keys, losing my mind?
I'm so absent minded lately that I keep locking my keys in my car. State of mind???

I feel like I'm regressing.  I can't seem to set goals and follow-through with them.  My attention span is aboutthisbig. Sigh.

Next step?
I have an appointment with my psychiatrist next week, and I hope we can come up with more of plan.

Thursday, 25 August 2011


Today in group session, one of the counsellors said we should be conscious of pushing depression away.

I try.  I do things like drag my kid to the mountains or a park, and I wander around before I crash.

However, I realise that despite all this 'movement', I try not to interact anyone.  Preferring to be invisible.  To hide from everyone around me... Even in my 'busy-ness'.

I find it painful to talk to most people.  I feel awkward and shy - like I don't belong.  I don't know how I'm going to return to my business world - where talking to people is integral.

Part of me thinks I'm a misanthrope.  I don't like people.  But, I realise that it's not people I dislike, but being judged or the cruelty that exists in some people.  People who don't seek to understand.  People who intentionally hurt others.  I just don't get those kinds of folks.  And, I don't want to be a part of that... I never did. Even as a child, I protected those who were subject to the ridicule of others.

Where I am I going to find my strength from? How am I going to get back to who I was?  Without emotion, I lack the ability to recall anything - create memories.  Without emotion, my intuition doesn't exist... And, my intuition is one of the character traits that made me who I am... My intuition has helped me connect with people.

I've also been so good at isolating myself, that I haven't made contact with the folks I really want to... including my dear friend Calamity Jen (sorry... I've really been meaning to touch base and catch up). 

How can I bring about the changes I need to make in my life to regain my life?

Sunday, 21 August 2011


This morning, I woke up early and worked out at the gym.  I spent a fortune on a membership about a month ago, and the dollar figure alone is a motivator to overcome my desire to hibernate.

As I was working out, I realise the happiest I've been in my adult life was when I allowed myself to focus on me.  At one point in time, I lost about 65-70 lbs and felt great.  I wasn't super-skinny, but I was healthy.  I felt strong and confident.

I want to regain that feeling. Perhaps if I could lose some of the weight gained while I was pregnant, I might feel less sluggish (I gained about 90 pounds... Thankfully, 50 lbs came off shortly after I had my baby).   I need to value myself more.  Treat myself like I am important, rather than dismissing myself.

I know it won't be an overnight process, but I have to work towards finding myself again. Who am I?  Where is the woman I was five years ago?  Maybe if I can reconnect with her, I can find my emotions again.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Another why

While listening to others in group session today, I realised something quite profound.  All of the people in our circle are really good at giving to others. Helping others. Respecting others.

What we fail at is being good to ourselves. Kind to ourselves.  Respecting ourselves. 

Why is it easier to give what we can't give to ourselves? Unconditional love and understanding.


The word 'why' doesn't seem intimidating on its own.  Just three letters, asking a question. But the 'why' questions can be very heavy.

Questions like: "Why am I not feeling any better?"; "Why aren't I smarter/cuter/richer?"; "Why can't I or didn't I make better decisions?"

These questions imply self-guilt. An inability to change.  It's the word that gets people stuck... stuck in the past and unable to move forward.

But how can I change the 'whys' in my life, so I can move forward?

Tuesday, 16 August 2011


I am lost. I don't recognise myself anymore.  I am just a shell.  I don't live. I exist.

I was hopeful the switch to Celexa would make a difference.  At first, I started to feel anger.  True rage. Anger bubbled out of me and exploded over little things.  I cried for  quite a while.  This lasted two days.  Now, I'm back to nothing.

Today in group we talked about me (I know, "That's enough about me; let's talk about me.") 

How do I open up channels of emotion when I don't feel anything?  One suggestion was to set up boundaries.  Not boundaries over everything. Just small things.

The other was that perhaps I am so afraid of experiencing emotion that I've blocked it off entirely.  It's my 'I stopped stopping to smell the roses, and now the roses don't exist.' philosophy. 

Then - to address my flurry of activity and collapse... It's a way of avoiding emotion.  If I'm super-busy, I don't think. And, if I crash and fall asleep, then I'm avoiding emotion too.  Hmm...

So many thoughts.

But I'm also experiencing a fear of writing.  On a good day, I'm not a bad writer.  I won't say I'm brilliant, but I enjoy - actually LOVE - well-crafted sentences, paragraphs and stories.  I have been afraid to write.  Has it been, as my fellow group member suggested, avoidance out of fear?  Avoidance because my emotions will show through?  Avoidance because I fear not being perfect in my ability to communicate?

You might be saying to yourself, 'This girl can't write.' And, based on this blog, you might be right.  I'm just randomly putting thoughts in, trying to share experiences without editing my thoughts too much.  Sometimes it's better to put thoughts on paper (or this blog) without worrying about judgement.

Lot's to ponder.  Lots to discover.  Lots to let of.  And, lots to learn.

Monday, 25 July 2011


After months of medication and therapy, I'm not feeling ANY better. 

I've tried everything can think of:
  • Trying a gluten-free, dairy-free, beef-free diet
  • Exercising five days a week; sessions last anywhere from a half hour to an hour (most of them last an hour)
  • Getting as much Vitamin D as possible
  • Participating in group therapy sessions for an hour each week day
  • Taking my medication as prescribed
  • Meditating when I can
  • Practicing being 'present' in the moment
  • Going out with my son as much as possible
  • Maintaining a routine, where I still go to the Market, run errands etc.
Unfortunately, I'm still sleeping excessively and feel NOTHING positive. Now, thanks to my medication, I'm also not feeling anything negative - just ongoing apathy.  At least the panic and social anxiety isn't bad.  It doesn't exist.  I just feel ghost-like.

I met with a team consisiting with a psychiatrist, a medical doctor and the nurse who leads group therapy today.  We've decided to switch medications to see if there is any difference.  My fingers are crossed that it will make a difference.  I'm extremely frustrated by the lack of progress.

Sunday, 17 July 2011


I just got an android phone and discovered a couple of motivational quotes aps.  Here are some of the ones that stood out today:

"Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced."
Soren Kierkegarrd

"Everything that is happening at this moment is a result of the choices you've made in the past."
Deepak Chopra

"Live out of your imagination, not your history."
Stephen Covey

"There are no accidents... there is only some purpose that we haven't yet understood."
Deepak Chopra

"Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the ris to be alove and express who we really are."
Don Miguel Ruiz

"You can have anything you want, if you want it badly enough. You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish if you hold onto that desire with a singleness of purpose."
Abraham Lincoln

"No matter how hard the past, you can always begin again."

"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the futrure, nor anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly."

"Some complain that rises have thorns others rejoice that thorns have roses!"
Author Unknown

Wednesday, 13 July 2011


Numbness is amongst one of the worst parts of anhedonia... or whatever I'm experiencing.  I'm not engaged in my own life; I'm just watching it, not experiencing it.

It's frustrating.  The greatest gifts I could ever ask for - my husband and my son - lack emotional meaning.  Why???  It makes me angry. Extremely angry.  I finally have everything I've wanted, and now I am not a part of it.

I am alone.

Monday, 11 July 2011


Today in group like they do in every session, they asked us to describe how we were feeling.  I said I felt like hibernating.

Too much stimulation over the weekend meant that I needed a break.  A break from talking. A break from being.  Unfortunately, as soon as I explained my feelings, they started asking questions. I couldn't hibernate like I wanted to.

I know I'm an introvert. So, when things are busy, I know I need a break from people.  I don't get a break very often.  In fact, it hadn't happened regularly for about a year.  If I don't get a chance to recharge my batteries, I get sick... and become unable to do anything.  Unable to function.

Despite my need to hide today, I did meet a dear friend whom I haven't seen in a couple of years.  I was tempted to say no to her, but I knew that our visits are few and far between now that she's living in another part of the country.  She was as lovely as usual.  I didn't feel anything.  I didn't feel the connection.  And, that made me sad.

Then, I decided to go swimming, something I haven't done in more than four years.  Truth be told, I swim like a hammer.  I did it though.  I swam eight entire laps.  Not an accomplishment for most people, but for me it was, especially given how I am feeling today.  Thankfully, swimming can be very solitary, and that's exactly what I needed today.

Not sure what tomorrow will bring. My Mom suggested we go shopping after my session.  I thought it would be too much, so I suggested we do it on Wednesday instead.

I wish I could hide.  I wish I could vanish for a little while and not worry about anyone else for a day. Unrealistic... Sigh.

Saturday, 9 July 2011


Crowds make me anxious and afraid... especially lately with everything I am experiencing.

This morning, my husband, son and I attended an event with approximately 1,000 people.  I was scared, and now that anxiety is radiating through me, filling me with dread as we're about to go to a festival in our city which 10's of thousands of people are expected to attend.

Normally, I look forward to this event.  It's usually way too expensive, very loud and very crowded, but lots of fun. 

I know I need to be strong for my son... as my childhood memories of this event are filled with happiness and excitement (not that I can recreate this in my soul right now... I just remember I was happy...).  And, I want him to feel the same way.

I am scared.  I hope we don't bump into anyone I know.  I hope to remain quietly anonymous... just another face in the crowd.  I don't want to say anything to anyone.  Just be.  Please let tomorrow be okay.


The word 'feelings' brings to mind a song from the seventies that was oh-so-popular with beauty queen talent-shows.  Sigh.  But, feelings are so important.

It's odd... When it comes to expressing gratitude towards other people, it's easy.  I'm the one who always notices new haircuts, outfits and remember special days.  I even recognise the positives in strangers. I always say 'thanks', and I have an outwardly positive attitude.  And, I'm - for the most part - sincere in my words (not that I feel them anymore).

However... and this is a big HOWEVER... I have significant difficulties talking about my dark feelings... expressing sadness or any negative feelings.  They become buried in my body... trapped.  It seems inappropriate to share my sadness... out loud...with folks.  I never want to be a 'Debbie downer."  Even my brother noted I never talk about my inner darkness - only the positives.

So, where does this come from? Well, it could be that whenever I try to express anger or frustration to my Mom, she interrupts me and tells me what is 'good' about the situation.  Basically, I'm not 'allowed to share anything bad that I'm feeling.  I often joke that if she came face-to-face with the devil, she would find something nice to say about him.  This means that I've been conditioned to not share more negative emotions with my mother - or others.

There's also the bit about socialising... People want to be with people who make them feel good, not energy vampires. So, I don't bring stuff up because I don't want to scare people away.  This also means I find it difficult to be around people, for fear I'll share something that makes them not like me.

It's also this feeling that I don't want to be perceived as imperfect... flawed... and talked about.  This probably comes from my Mom as well.  This fear of  "What will people say?" has been embedded in my brain.  (When I talk about being on sick leave, I usually blame another one of my medical conditions and don't mention the emotional toll - for fear of being stigmatised).

So, I am in this shadow of darkness... hiding my true feelings... and trapped.  I am grateful for the ability to share anonymously through this blog, where I feel safe and invisible.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Group therapy

My psychiatrist recommended I try group therapy.  So, every weekday this summer, I'll be spending an hour as an out patient attending a therapy session.

It started on Tuesday, and the participants seemed nice enough.  It made me sad that so many wonderful people are experiencing such darkness.  I sat and cried as people shared their stories.

Today, the facilitators asked me to share some of my experiences.  It was easy at the time, but afterwards I felt bitterly sad.  I am terrified of tomorrow's session.  I don't want to talk. I'm content sitting in the background, listening to the others.

I worry that I'm the worst off in the group.  That my dark side, which remains hidden for the most part, is more dire than other members can ever dream.  My thing is that I 'project well'... I've become so adept at hiding my feelings that I seem to be very normal... even cheerful.  Of course, that makes it difficult to get help or show that I need help.

The one thing I can say is that I'm very grateful I'm not alone... but devastated that such wonderful, hard-working people are experiencing similar things.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

I can't sing anymore...

Singing once made me incredibly happy.  I would sing and connect to music, and it was amazing.  Amazing not because I had a good or even passable singing voice, but because I loved music - the subtleties that make a great song.

Not anymore.  After being unable to experience any positive emotion or any connection to joy for several months, today I realised that I don't even want to sing.  It's almost like I can't sing any more.  My voice is gone.

Perhaps its the frustration of not connecting to music any more.  If I can't feel it anymore, why bother?

None of this is a concious choice.  It's all unconcious.  When I try to sing, it feels strange... like singing on Good Friday.  I don't understand.  When will I be back to myself again?

Tuesday, 28 June 2011


Not feeling ANY positive emotion (i.e. joy, love, pride, happiness... you get the gist) prevents balance in life.  This means that every real or perceived slight or negative comment suddenly becomes amplified so much that it becomes traumatic.  Things that normally wouldn't phase me, now seem like the end of the world - literally.

Yesterday, I was chatting with my dear husband, and he mentioned that someone might be offended by something I did out of kindness.  Normally, this wouldn't have phased me at all, as it was something somewhat insignificant and out of my control.  I took it to be the end of the world.  I was devastated.  I didn't want to offend this person whom I respect.

I spent the rest of the evening in hysterical tears - thinking how my life was over.  Hence the title - elevens.  My nose was dripping snot so badly that it looked like I had elevens under my nose.  The tears didn't want to stop.  I was in so much emotional pain that my body literally hurt to my finger tips. 

Now, I'm not the type of person who cries dainty tears.  Nope.  Not me.  I cry so hard that my eyes are barely visible under my puffy eyelids.  Honestly, I look freakish for several days.

I just wanted to end my humiliation. My incompetence. My 'wrongness'. My inability to fit in the world. I was desperate.

Crazy, right?  If it wasn't for my child and husband, I would have ended it all over a minor embarrassment (if that... I don't even know if the person would have been offended).

I realised that perhaps my increasing fear of going outside or being in public view is possibly because of this significant increase in negative emotion.  My fear of being judged harshly - whether real or imagined - is reducing my ability to go out into the world.  And the reason that I feel all negative emotions more intensely is because I don't have the positive emotions to balance it all out. If I can't feel goodness, the badness is much worse.  Much, much worse.

How do I end this trap? This cycle of chronic mental pain and anguish?  I'm searching and trying.  And trying... And trying...

Monday, 27 June 2011


Why am I not happy?  I don't know.  I just wish the pain, anxiety, fear, and numbness will go away.

I was once happy.  Ridiculously happy.  What changed in my life to create this downward spiral? 

I'm trying to be optimistic.  Trying everything I can to overcome these feelings of despair.  However, my inability to connect with anyone or anything in a positive way weighs on me heavily. What if I'll never get better?  What if I'm never going to be happy again?  What if I can never lead a normal life again?

I'm doing everything I can... baby steps.  Trying to eat differently. Trying to get more sunshine (thankfully the weather is cooperating).  Trying to get more exercise.  Trying to become more centred.  But the baby steps don't seem to be working, and I feel even more isolated than before.

To make matters worse, my fear of interacting with people - my fear of being seen in public - is becoming more common and more pronounced.  I don't want to be afraid to leave my home.  But I am.

I no longer enjoy leaving my home, even on some subliminal level. If I need to do something, I run out, get it done as fast as I can, and PRAY that no one will speak to me/look at me. 

I am embarrassed about who I am and what I've become. I just want to be alone.  Do nothing.  Be nothing.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011


I spent this morning running a few errands: getting my hair done and picking up groceries.  Now that I'm at my Mom's, I am terrified of being outside.  I couldn't get into her house fast enough.  I don't want to see anyone or be seen at all.  The doors are closed and locked, and the curtains are drawn.

I just want to hide. I want to be invisible. I might even be 'asleep' when it's time to pick up my son, so I don't have to go out of the house until it's time to go back home.

And, this is the warmest day of the year, so far.

Panic and fear define how I'm feeling right now.

I'm crawling under the covers, and I might not come out...

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Psychic Visit

Okay, okay... I don't know if I'd recommend this to anyone in a similar and vulnerable position, but I saw a psychic yesterday.  And, I think she was pretty accurate and very helpful. Coincidence?  Great ability to read people?  Actual intuitive ability? It's up to you to decide.

Here are some of the things she told me:
  • I have to start saying 'no' to people more; people have been taking advantage of my 'can-do' attitude and not taking responsibility for their own stuff.  And, I have to let go of the need to help people, as they need to learn their own lessons.
  • My batteries have run out because I spend so much time doing things for other people and doing things that aren't required.  I need to recharge my batteries or I won't be good for anyone else.
  • I need to be selfish more often.  Do things for me... not just everyone else.
  • My husband is my soul mate.  And, we need to regenerate together more often, even if it means just sitting and holding hands for five minutes.
  • I need to breathe deeply and meditate more often (oops... I think I was also given that message - LOUD AND CLEAR MULTIPLE TIMES - by my psychologist starting with our first visit... and I haven't had the strength to do it until now).
  • I haven't lost my spirit, my inner power and strength; I just need to reconnect to it; it's always been there.  She suggested some stones to help me to reconnect to the person I was before.
  • She suggested that I repeat intentions many times during the day, asking the universe/higher source for help.  She said even if I don't feel the connection, I can let the universe know that I'm ready and open to receiving help.
  • I have to let go of the negative energy and replace it with positive energy.
  • I need to reconnect with magic - the magic of every day life.
  • I need to love myself.  I'll write that again.  I need to LOVE MYSELF. Letting go of previously programmed desires to put everyone ahead of me. Remembering that loving myself isn't an act of selfishness; it's an act of being true to myself, so I be my higher self and achieve what I am supposed to do in this lifetime.
The meeting reaffirmed messages I'd been told before, and things that I know, but have forgotten... or not had the strength to act apon.

As I've said before - not in this blog though - I don't care if I have to take placebos or whatever.  I just want to feel better.  Not return to who I was.  But, become my stronger self.  The best self I can be.  Find the strong person that has been clouded by negative self-talk and too much 'helping others'. And, be who I need to be to make the world a better place by fulfulling my destiny.

Sunday, 19 June 2011


Right now, I'm feeling crushed. Betrayed. 

I asked my husband to NOT say anything about my condition to his family.  Unfortunately, his brother's former girlfriend experienced some mental health issues several years ago, and the stigma haunts conversations even now... many years after they had broken up.

I only want people who I can feel safe with... not judged by... to know about my situation.  It's been such a painful and difficult experience that I need to feel safe.

He explained that he let his brother know what I was going through in an effort to wrap his mind around my situation.  My husband said his brother would be discreet.  I'm upset. Not because I don't trust my brother-in-law, per se... but because it's a hard story for me to share. 

The fear of judgement.  The fear of stigma.  The fear that my husband doesn't love me any more now that I'm broken.  The fear that I'll be alone. Unloved. Unwelcome. Permanently labeled the 'crazy' or 'mentally ill' one.

I'm not ready for people to know - beyond the little circle of friends I've entrusted in my 'circle of truth.

I know my husband didn't say these things to hurt me.  He spoke to his brother because he needed to share.  To express himself.  Not because he wanted to make me feel worse.

I love him very much.  And, I don't want HIM to look at me differently.  By sharing with his brother, I feel like he doesn't see me the same any more.  And, perhaps, that his love for me is fading.  And, that would break my heart.  Destroy me.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Happy people make me sad

Okay, I'm going to be brutally honest.  Happy people piss me off.

It doesn't matter if its an advertisement or real people or celebrities or reading these oh-too-good-to-be-true family blogs... Happy people piss me off. Especially if they have what I want: at least one more child, a great job and an awesome life/work balance (and a REALLY good vacations somewhere warm or exotic).

Yes... I know I have a wonderful husband and an amazing child and a soon-to-be lovely home.  But I want to enjoy them and stop going through the motions!

I once felt genuinely happy for happy people (rather than the trance like emptiness I currently feel).  Hell, I was once a happy person.  So, I know the feeling.  I loved the feeling.  It was wonderful to walk on air and know that life was great.  Of course, I remember the concept... not the actual feeling.  That feeling is gone.

And, that makes me feel bitter.  Very bitter.  Why can't I be experiencing those things again?  Why have I been robbed of feeling all things good in life?

It's not fair.

I miss feeling happy.  I miss the camaraderie of working and having a great career. I miss not wanting to be so invisible.  Right now invisible is where I'm at.  I want to hide in this dark basement and do nothing. Just disappear.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Tears and Panic

Today, I feel like I'm on the verge of crying.  I literally have tears in my eyes as I go through my day-to-day activities.  Unfortunately, it's not unusual.  That and this undercurrent of panic and nervousness.

I wish this journey was just a bit easier.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Anhedonia... a Lonely, Dark Life

Without being able to connect in a positive way to anyone or anything, life has become lonely and dark.  Anhedonia has taken over my life. 

My life is about existing...not experiencing.  If you knew me before this, you'd know that I tried to experience as much as possible, soaking in life whenever I could.  Now life contains no pleasure; I'm just going through the motions.  And, that's when I force myself to do things, or if it is out of necessity.

Things I once looked forward to are now just things to do (and things I force myself out of bed to do).  I don't feel excitement or passion towards anything.

Anything that I accomplish... things that people compliment me on... doesn't feel like an accomplishment.  There's no pride in what I do.

I don't taste food the way I once did.  Nor do I feel an emotional connection to music.

Hugging and kissing my kid, listening to him 'read' books, tell stories or sing songs, watching him dance... these things once filled my heart with joy.  Now there is blankness.

My husband, my dear, sweet, loving man, has been so patient and kind.  But I don't feel the love and passion that I once did.  It breaks my heart.

I know I love both my son and my husband more than anything in the world.  But I don't feel it.  Nothing. Blankness.  A trance like state.

I've tried to visit museums, go to the mountains and do things that made me happy before.  I've tried to remember the positive emotions from past experiences.  Everything is coming up blank.  Very blank.

This trance like state of anhedonia has made me feel very isolated.  Unable to connect with people or things.  Why face the disappointment of trying something, when you don't feel anything good?  It's not as if I don't try.  Every time I try, the crushing disappointment of feeling nothing weighs heavily on my spirit, making me feel broken. Alone.  This lack of ability to connect is a living hell.  It's like living a life you're not in... living it from a distance.

I keep hoping for miracles.  For glimmers of happiness.  But, they aren't happening as much as I had hoped (since February, I've experienced this glimmer three times... each for a few seconds).

I'm tired of being zoned out and not connecting and not caring.  This anhedonia has created this brutal apathy about life... I don't care if my house is a mess, my fashion sense is questionable; I can't concentrate on much of anything.  My life is in shambles... Despite my beautiful child and soul mate by my side.

Some days I don't know how much longer I can hang on.  I'm tired of crying many times a day. I'm tired of being unable to move.  I'm tired of taking medication that isn't working.  I'm tired of feeling a panic much of the time... either just below the surface, or enough to make me feel nauseous and terrified (yes, I know panic won't hurt you, but it is a sickening feeling) bordering on hysterical.

I want some degree of normality back. And, I need to take some sort of action to make a difference. But, how do you try when you feel like all hope is gone?  When you try to move, do something - anything - and you're stuck?  And when you do something, you feel nothing good... just sadness over another failed attempt at something to re-energise your spirit.  I'd like to find answers, so I can help others lost in this sea of darkness.  And, I'd like to see the sunshine and experience it again myself.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Am I so broken that I'll never be fixed?

I ask myself this question, often in tears. 

Cymbalta is supposed to be one of the best medications out there to treat depression.  But, it didn't work for me.

My lab work came back 'normal'.  That means that unlike a broken bone, it's not just something that can be fixed with an easy solution.

My psychologist, as lovely as she is, can't do much more than offer suggestions and listen patiently to my tales of woe.  Unfortunately, if I'm not strong enough or ready to follow-through, the best therapists won't make a difference.

The naturopath is also quite nice.  But, I'm not convinced she'll be able to help out.

My doctor has been super-understanding and helpful.  But, he knows he's out of his range for me.

The one thing I don't want to do is damage my child because of the demons I fight everyday.  A friend of mine spent his life depressed and unwilling to better himself in life because his father had killed himself on his birthday.  Unfortunately, the then 10ish little boy was the one who found him hanging in the garage.  Then, there was the mother of four who, after years of struggling with depression, killed herself.  Her children said that they knew she was very sick and realised she was in a better place.  I don't want to be either of these parents.

But how do I fix this?  I AM trying.  Without positive internal positive reinforcement, I can't seem to move forward.  I can't seem to help myself.

I am doing the best I can for my son.  I take him to a day home for most weekdays, take him to parks and read to him all the time.  I'm often on the floor with him, playing with his toys or listening to his stories.  I'm going through the motions in an attempt to protect him from knowing the battle I face every day.  I don't want him to ever think this is his fault.  And, I always want him to know his Mommy loves him... Even though the feeling doesn't connect to my heart.  It does connect to my soul somewhere...

Attempts to Recover

I've been desperate to get better... if not for me, for my son.

When I first went on sick leave, I was shocked when the substitute doctor who wrote the note for my work didn't tell me what was next.  I then returned to the clinic, asked to see another doctor, who basically told me to get some exercise and eat better.  Well you try that when you're feeling so blue that getting out of bed poses to be a huge challenge.

I started to experience severe panic, so I called our local distress centre.  They suggested I speak to an emergency response unit.  Feeling so miserable, I agreed.  I met them at a local hospital, where I spent an entire hour in hysterical tears, using up an entire box of Kleenex, explaining my situation.  They recommended me to a psychiatrist and suggested I see a psychologist.

The psychologist was very kind and understanding.  She too suggested exercise, a better diet and breathing techniques. At first I thought she was a bit too new age-y,  but that was only the first day.  Since then, I've learned a lot from her wisdom and wholistic approach, and I see her once a week

Then, I finally saw my own doctor, who diagnosed me with major depressive disorder.  I was relieved to know that what I was experiencing wasn't completely foreign.   I was then put on Cymbalta.  We tried 30 mg, then 60 mg.  No difference.  When I saw the psychiatrist, he upped the medication to 90... None of it worked.

I was beside myself, and I've even tried massage and a naturopath.  My fingers are crossed that those will help too.

The psychiatrist then insisted I come into the hospital for various tests.  I can't explain how terrifying it was to be sitting in one of those rubber-rooms.  All I know is that I never want to be in one of those again.

Since then, I've been decreasing the Cymbalta... Still experiencing really bad panic episodes (not that those abated much while I was taking the large doses of medication).  Now I cry almost every day.  I still don't feel any happiness.  Only fear and all types of negative emotions magnified.  And, I worry about never getting better - despite assurances from the folks I've been seeing.

I try to keep things together for the sake of my family.  Easier said than done.  I'm finding it difficult to do the smallest of things, and all I want to do is sleep, hide and cry.

Family and Friends

I've been blessed with a lovely family.  My soul mate has been extremely loving and supportive through everything, and my son is a true gift and blessing.  Both have kept me going through the hard times I've been experiencing.  I am so grateful for both of them.  They are my world.  They are my life.

My brothers, sister and their partners have also been very supportive and helpful.  They've been trying to keep my spirits up without making me like some sort of a total freak.  (If you've ever been sick and been treated 'differently', you know exactly what I mean.)

My Dad has passed on, but I know he supports me in spirit.

My Mom... well, she tries to be helpful.  But without choosing to understand what I'm going through, she's been a bit of challenge.  She doesn't believe in doctors and calls my psychiatrist a witch doctor. Sigh.  Unfortunately, in her efforts to be helpful, she can sometimes be a bit passive-aggressive, and she makes me feel guilty for being sick.

My friends?  I have wonderful friends, but since I started trying to balance motherhood with working long hours, they've taken a back seat.  I've slowly started to share my situation with them, and those who I have told have been extremely supportive.  For me, it's brutally hard to share what I'm going through with people.  I've been trying to be perfect for so long, that I'm terrified of not being accepted.  Stupid considering my friends are truly wonderful, loving, non-judgemental people.

I've been isolating myself.  And, the more I hide under the metaphorical covers, the more frightened I am of people and the more I want to hide.  Sometimes I wonder if I suffer from social anxiety.  People scare me. I feel awkward, like I don't fit in.  And, now that I've been depressed, I feel even more self-conscious and alone.  Everything I say - or write - seems to come out wrong, and I find myself alienating people.  Then, this fear overcomes me, and I don't want to see anyone anymore.  I just don't feel like I belong anywhere... other than here... hiding from the world.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

How I Became Depressed Mom: Work-Life Balance

Work-a-holics who are devoted mothers face a unique challenge when they return to work:  how do you balance your love for your child with an overwhelming desire to exceed expectations at work?

Hard was an understatement.

I desperately wanted to have baby, and when I found out I was pregnant, I was walking on air happy.  The little guy immediately became my world and focus.  I know it's cliche: the day he was born was truly one of the happiest days of my life.

I truly LOVED being a Mom.  We would go to the zoo and parks; I'd read him stories, and we'd play.  It was so magical.  I never realised life could be like this. 

Then, about two or three months before I was due to return to work, I suddenly hit a bit of a funk.  After spending my life either in school to hone my trade or working, I suddenly felt out of sorts - like my identity had shifted away.  I went to the doctor to request anti-depressants, but I never took them.  I didn't need them because took an on-line class through the local university and felt like myself again.

At first, returning to work wasn't so difficult. When I was there, I was 100% there, and when I was at home, I was 100% with my son.  As the workload increased, I spent longer and longer hours at the office... at least 10 hours, sometimes more.  Then, I'd bring work home with me.  I couldn't be as available for my son as I wanted to be.

Adding to the stress was that my partner is also a work-a-holic, and he was working longer hours too.  He was also busy building our home, which meant that whenever I wasn't working, I was primarily responsible for our child.

There was tremendous Mommy guilt.  I wanted to devote myself to my child, but I found it harder and harder as the work days were longer, and exhaustion and I became one.

Now, even though I'm not working and the little guy spends most weekdays at the day home, I still haven't been able to regain my strength or energy.  I zone-out when I'm with him.  And, that breaks my heart.  He deserves better.  He deserves a Mom who is more engaged in his life.

How I became Depressed Mom - Work

Well, if you're looking to know how I became a Mom, this isn't the right site (lame - I know).  How I became depressed though... I'm not sure.  I think it was a lot of stuff.  But, I'll never be sure what combination lead to it.

Today's entry will focus on work. Like my family, I'm a work-a-holic and a perfectionist.

When other little girls were dreaming of getting married and having kids, I dreamt of having a career.  That's all I wanted.  A successful career.  I excelled in school, and despite a few road bumps, in university too. After I received my degree, I worked very hard to build a reputation of excellence in my chosen field.  I had a wonderful job in mid-management in a well known industry for almost 10 years before I became pregnant.  Unfortunately, my fiance lived in a different city, which meant one of us would have to move.  The place where I worked was in a small town, and I yearned to return to the big city.  So, the choice seemed obvious.

Initially, I was thrilled to find a non-profit, big city job in my field.  My direct supervisor is a leader in my industry, and I was honoured to have him as my mentor.  The job itself was a couple rungs down the corporate ladder; I would no longer supervise a team or manage a budget, and there was a pay cut... about $20,000 a year less.  But, I convinced myself, I could handle it and learn new things.

And, I did.  I loved working for this organisation.  It was challenging. I had a chance to work with wonderful, dynamic people. Industry leaders.

I worked hard with my team mates... taking the lead role on various projects.  Streamlining things.  Using my skills.  I really enjoyed the challenges and making a difference. 

My coworkers are lovely, kind, hard-working, modest people. We'd go for coffee walks to Starbucks every morning, sharing our thoughts, ideas, laughter and lives. We'd take turns treating.  The people who participated in this daily ritual changed as workload increased and decreased, but it was so nice to enjoy each other's company.  We'd go for walks or lunch together. (I treasure these relationships and these activities continued until I left work. I miss that camaraderie.)

However, things started to change.  People started to leave the organisation. Some were fired, while others, like the supervisor I wanted to learn from, resigned.  These should have been warning signs, but I dismissed them.

New boss was hired.  At first, she seemed lovely too.  She fully admitted that she has an obsessive need to get things done - regardless of outcome.  She'd rather get something done incorrectly and apologise for mistakes later... because getting it done was the most important thing.  For me, getting it done takes a backstage to getting it done right. What I didn't realise was the impact her approach to work would have on me. 

In my previous job, my boss instilled the value of process.  What steps do we need to take to ensure everything is covered off?  Who needs to know? Who needs to approve? What makes legal sense? Is the information accurate? Who are the resources? What are the timelines? 

My boss would start projects without thinking them through, flying by the seat of her pants, leaving holes in the process and possibly putting our organisation at risk from legal and ethical perspectives. Obviously, this created an integral conflict.

The job pace picked up and became unmanageable.  Especially given my boss' need to get things done, and my need to get things done right.

My boss started dismissing my opinions and experience, as she seemed to view them as obstacles to getting work done.  She'd even 'shush' me in meetings, when I tried to bring up ethics or legal coverage.  I started to question if my approach was wrong.  Maybe ensuring that ethical and legal practices were being followed wasn't the norm in the big city?  But, I needed to ensure my conscience clear.  Thankfully, most other coworkers shared my desire to follow ethical and legal practices, so I had some support there.

To make matters worse, my boss always sided with a recent graduate, who was working in our department.  She seemed to value her opinion more than anyone else.  Okay, that's not just me being paranoid.  Many co-workers mentioned they thought my boss' relationship with the girl (yes... she is a girl) was odd.

From what I saw, the girl has significant emotional issues. Everyone who spoke to me said they felt like they were walking on eggshells around her.  Trying not to upset her.  She would cry at the drop of a hat over very little. And, when I say cry, I really mean freak-out.

The girl assumed her degree meant she was equal to any person working in the industry, regardless of how much experience the person has. She would brag about her skills, saying she knew all about a topic because she'd taken an hour session or a class about it.  Having worked in this industry for more than 20 years, I know it takes more than an hour of education or a class to understand a topic.  It's real-life experience that makes a difference.

This attitude meant this girl didn't want to do things that were below her... Like stuff envelopes or prepare packages (things pretty standard for rookies in my industry).  In my world, it doesn't matter who you are, if something needs to be done, you do it to ensure the project is complete.

My boss seemed to reinforce her image of herself - giving her plum projects, asking if it would be okay for the girl to do a menial task (of course, the girl would often say she was too busy with another task, so the job fell to other people). And, of course, guess who would pick-up the pieces.  Me. Of course, when I fixed things that were done incorrectly upon request of our President while the girl was away, my boss got angry with me, saying I should stay out of things (she later apologised).

The girl was also known to be a bit of a 'credit seeker'. She'd take credit for all sorts of work she had very little to do with.

Unfortunately, despite my successes (and there are quite a few!), I am the type of person who shares credit with everyone.  I usually downplay my work, to ensure that those who helped out - even a little bit - get acknowledged.  I try not to take credit for other people's work.

All of this, combined with a ridiculously fast-pace and long work hours, certainly contributed to my stress levels.  I know I'm severely burned out.  But is this the only reason I'm depressed? Probably not.  I've handled dysfunctional working relationships before.  This is just one piece of the Depressed Mom puzzle.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

About Depressed Mom

I am a depressed Mom of a three year old boy.

However, if you weren't in my close inner circle of family and friends or one of the health care practitioners I've been seeing, you might not even notice anything wrong.  In fact, it took me a little while to figure out that there was something wrong. 

After months of emptiness, not feeling pleasure in anything, an inability to concentrate, general numbness and chronic exhaustion I started experiencing horrible panic attacks that lead to very odd behaviour. My formerly precise memory started to fade... I'd forget people who I'd known for considerable lengths of time. Looking back, I think I experienced a nervous breakdown.

After being a workaholic for most of my life, I called in sick for an important week, where my area of expertise was absolutely required.  I couldn't function.  I barely got off the couch (thankfully, I took my son to his day home each day, so I didn't have to worry about him).

Moving in a trance-like state, unable to concentrate, unable to feel joy in ANYTHING, I knew there was something seriously wrong.  And, when I say unable to feel joy in anything... I mean ANYTHING, or at least anything positive.  I would cuddle my son... feel nothing; I'd do something special with my fiance/common-law husband...feel nothing; laugh so hard at a TV program that my cheeks were hurting...feel nothing; receive accolades for my work...feel nothing.  I feel nothing positive.  No matter what I do.  Oddly, I say that I'm excited, laugh, crack jokes, smile, and yet nothing connects to my brain.  I don't feel it in my heart or anywhere I can consciously recognise.

Unfortunately, all the negative emotions exploded in my brain.  I wasn't able to sleep; panic, fear and anger became constant companions.

I was grateful my doctor put me on sick leave several months ago.  I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and anhedonia - something I wouldn't have even believed existed before I started experiencing it.

In case you're wondering, I don't drink alcohol or take illegal drugs (only prescription and over the counter and as per instructions).  If you were to meet me, you might think that there's nothing wrong with me.  I appear pretty 'normal' - whatever 'normal' means.

I'd like to say that I'm feeling much better - able to function normally and that I'm back at work, but despite my efforts to get better, I'm still the same as I was several months ago.

This blog will help me try to regain my life - and what I've lost - and ideally, I'll start to feel happiness again.

By sharing my journey (there are lots more details to come), I also hope to help those in similar situations.