Walking on a muddy road

When I restarted my medication, I was trying to get things better like a starving animal. When my symptom is somehow settled, I feel I am relieved that I am not dying tomorrow, but it wasn’t my goal. That’s the point I am at right now.

It’s like I wanted to get out of the mud I got stuck, but it doesn’t mean I know where to go after I successfully pulled my legs out of it. I am still surrounded muddy roads. Chances of having another episode of depression is opening their mouths wide, and waiting for me to drop again. I want to run away from this muddy area, but running creates more risks to fall back again, so I am walking slowly, despite being stressed with my slow walk.

I may not be looking at a destination in a distance. I need to look around my feet to confirm each step of mine is on a hard dry path, not on a slippery wet ground, nor in the middle of a big puddle. I also don’t have a place to go back. If I have a place to go back, I would have a place to go, or a people to ask for deeper understandings of my medical situation. But I need to find another place to settle. In a way, most of people seems to be irrelevant, and I need to ask them to get involved in my messed-up life.

I’m not saying my condition has worsen. It is better than July. This three month was tougher than last year. But I totally understand that I have not reached the goal. I am merely at the start line, without any idea of the goal line, even the existence of it.

Something I should enjoy is that I can say “everything is a rehab.” It’s not always productive, but something I can do right now should be regarded as a rehabilitation. I don’t need to boast that I am doing the greatest thing in the world. Everything is a rehab. Everything is an experiment.

As a short update of my life in Japan. Thank you for reading.

Stop taking sedative

After taking this medicine for almost three years, I stopped taking it. It is not an antidepressant. It is a sedative.

I had tried to stop taking sedative few months ago, before I restart taking antidepressant. I was trying to arrange lifestyle that helps me with falling asleep without sedative. However, I couldn’t complete the list of things I meant to do, then I started to figure out that my depression was getting worse and restarted taking antidepressant. So my first challenge to stop sedative was failed.

There was not urgent reason to stop sedative. I just wanted to move one step forward. Now I look back, and I can say that I may have wanted to stop it because I felt that improvement of my depression has stuck and I forced myself to create another fake sign of improvement. So that’s not surprising that it was failed.

Honestly, I was more worried about stoping sedative than antidepressant. For antidepressant, my doctor monitored me long enough before I stopped antidepressant, and every time my medication decreases, I wasn’t expecting that. But I could halve antidepressant, and I could stop antidepressant. I felt some wired sensation for about a week after I stopped taking it, but it was somehow expected. I knew that it is common symptom, so I could just slow down my life a bit, and I handled it.

But, for sedative, I was afraid to stop taking it, as my depression is strongly related to sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep was trigger of two major episode of my depression, so, in a way, I felt that I would be fine if I can sleep enough to keep my mood.

The sedative has been what made me feel that I can sleep every night. The sedative has been how I end each day and how I start the next day after decent amount of sleep. As far as I can spend the whole day with some activity, I could feel I was okay.

If you think lifestyle is the foundation to cure depression, antidepressant was what targeted the apparent symptom and sedative was what supported the foundation. So I was more worried about losing the support for the basis.

When I was more depressed, this sedative was a way to peacefully finish each day. Basically, all the moment I was awake was depressed time, so that’s when I waited the end of the day. As I could end each day, I could survive until the next day, and start the next day knowing that this depressing day would end thanks to this sedative.

Thanks to my psychiatrist, the sedative I was taking, called Lunesta, is less habit-forming, and I feel that by myself. I am not saying I am taking best sleep ever. I am not falling asleep as quickly as with the sedative. But I could sleep at decent time without the sedative.

In addition to overcoming above-stated emotional attachment to the medicine, I have another reason to feel optimistic. I have stopped antidepressant before, while I started again, but I haven’t stopped sedative since this episode of depression has started. Now I stopped taking sedative. These are only two medicines I am taking.

I know how it feels like to stop taking antidepressant, and I know that I can stop taking antidepressant by following certain process. Now I know how it feels like to stop taking sedative, and it seems fine so far. Therefore, I can stop all the medication sometime in a future!

I know the reality is not such logical and simple. But it gives me a bit more hope for this life with depression. I often feel that this fight against depression will never end. But, by making these small progresses and finding a way to believe them, I can sustain some hope in my mind. My way may be a bit more complicated or too logical, but it sounds like mine. How about yours? I guess there are some ways for anybody, and I hope you can find one for you soon.

Do what I can continue

I am trying to change something recently. It is a positive sign for me, as I wouldn’t have energy to change anything if I am deeply depressed.

Everybody wants to change something, I guess. Some may want to increase income, some may want to improve relationship, and some may want to live in  a better place. People suffering from depression may want to change things especially stronger in a way, simply to convert stressful and pessimistic time into peaceful and hopeful time, while the strong emotion is rarely connected to actions.

At the same time, it is not easy for anybody to change things. That’s probably why “Change” is such a symbolic word to be used. If it’s easy, making changes are not such a dramatic transition of the life.

I am not good at changing things, some from my own personality and some from my illness. It feels that I have two voices in my head: encouraging me to change it, and making me afraid of the change. I guess it is normal to a certain extent. But, as everyone may feel, I also don’t like such contradiction in my mind, and I am feeling it as a person who is trying to change something right now.

Fortunately, I could notice one thing today. Change is a long and continuous process. I often end up thinking that I need to make a change between today and tomorrow. But the actual change should be made between today and the rest of my life, if I really want to continue the “changed state” after the one event of change.

Therefore, I cannot change things if it doesn’t continue. I can suddenly run for a long distance tomorrow, but I will be struggling with sore legs and feet at the day after tomorrow, and that would be it.

In the other word, I can change things as far as I find a way to continue it. Some people call it “Importance of Sustainability, and some people call it “Power of Habit”.

I probably needed to calm down, stop pushing myself, and organize my change in a way that I can continue. I shouldn’t lose the momentum, but it doesn’t make sense if I just blow it up and nothing remains after that.

Life may be short, and life is too short to waste it by feeling rushed. Slowly but steadily, I would like to proceed and make this change.

Coming out to my Facebook friends

I was having a busy week. I take it as a positive thing, as it means I could do as much as I could feel busy. Maybe I was not as busy as ordinary people feel, but it was still busy enough for me.

Being busy is a typical excuse of not doing what I should do. One thing I planned to do is telling my friends about my depression, but I didn’t do that yet.

So far, less than five friends know that I am suffering from clinical depression. This situation makes me hesitate to interact with more people. So I am thinking about coming out to my friends about my depression.

It doesn’t mean that I am not afraid of negative effect of coming out. It may ruin my reputation, while it may be already ruined. Some friend may stop acting as my friend, while I didn’t meet most of these friends for three years.

So, actually, I must have ruined my reputation and I must have lost my friends. Probably, I just didn’t realize these loss of my social relationship. We feel the moment that we make friends with somebody, but we don’t always feel the moment that we stop being friends of each other.

Therefore, I am not afraid of losing my “already-lost-friends”. Still, I am afraid of coming out.

I think I am still ashamed of taking treatment of depression. I think that the main cause of my depression was my fault. It is not from an accident, nor from inevitable loss of people. I created a reason to blame myself, I mentally harmed myself, and it led to my depression. I’m not saying that 100% of that is my fault, but I think more than 50% is my fault. That is the main reason to feel ashamed of being depressed, and makes me hesitate to tell my friends about my illness.

Another reason is that my friendship is maintained through Facebook, and that I would use it for coming out.

Friendship on social network is different from friends of real world. Some of my Facebook friends are living abroad, and my expectation for Facebook is to maintain our relationship. It’s different from class mate or colleague, whom we expect to meet on daily basis. Not talking for three years may not be too long for Facebook friends. Facebook includes some people who I didn’t meet more than ten years. For those people, my lost three years from depression may not be different from regular three years, as we don’t meet anyway.

So I am still hesitating to tell them. I hope it becomes a positive step to regain connection with people. I actually wrote down the message, and show that to a friend who knows my depression, to check if it sounds awkward or not. But I still didn’t post it on Facebook.

I’m still looking for a good way to tell my friend about my depression. Please give me any advise if you have any ideas.

5 things to remind myself

When I don’t feel so depressed, I sometimes forget that I have to deal with my symptoms. But, when I go back to more depressed stage, I regret that I didn’t find good methods to handle such symptoms when I have more energy to do that.

I guess people are, at least I am, an animal driven by necessity. The moment that I need such methods are when I am deeply depressed and I can hardly get out of bed, not when I can feel energy and look for what I want to do.

During the depressed moment of this July, I needed to find a way to deal with my symptoms. I needed some ways to stop me thinking the same  thing over and over in my mind. I needed to buy some time until my medication started to be effective.

I made a note of few things that I could remind myself. I don’t remember how I could do it, or when I could do it. But, now they seem to indicate very important factors of my tendency of thinking process. I would like to share that today.

  1. Try not to feel rushed.
  2. Try to feel relaxed.
  3. Let some words out and open up.
  4. Try not to keep thinking the same thing.
  5. Breathe out.

I know these are not anything special. Most of psychiatrists and counsellors know these things may be useful with dealing with symptoms of depression.

The important thing is: I could come up with it. If some knowledge is offered, or forced, as useful information, that doesn’t settle in my mind. It just sticks as superficial knowledge, and it rather bothers me as it seems to be what I should do.

These five things are what I could find in my mind, or I could rephrase it through my mind. I didn’t create them, obviously, but they are more digested.

I am aware that that’s not always easy to organize thoughts when we are depressed. In fact, I couldn’t organize what I just wrote above until last month. However, I feel more value for what I could came up with. And actually they seem to work better for my symptoms. I don’t like fluctuation of symptoms, but I want to praise myself for finding them during the hard time.

I hope some of you can find something like that in your own mind. I believe there will be something inside of you.

Is medication driving me?

After my medication started to be effective last week, my condition has been quite stable. I sometimes feel tired, but I hardly feel sad or deeply depressed. I rather feel that I have too much energy to use it properly.

I regard that I feel better thanks to medication. In the other words, I feel I am functioning because I am taking this medication, not because anything has improved. Now that’s what bothers me. I don’t have problem finding another issues around me, which sounds like a proof that I am still suffering from depression. Anyway, I am not complaining that I feel better than last week. I simply appreciate that.

The medication I am taking is Lexapro. This medicine may not be very cheap, but my dosage doesn’t cost a lot. I’ve heard that this medicine is newer one among SSRI, and this is less addictive. So I’m not very afraid of taking this medicine. I’ve stopped taking this under my psychiatrist’s supervision, and it took about a week to stop feeling some withdrawal effects. I felt some dizziness and some weird sensation, while it wasn’t too severe to stop doing what I usually did.

Now, as I just discussed with my psychiatrist, I can choose if I take one pill or half pill each day. If the medication feels too strong, I am allowed to split the pill in half, and just take half.

I appreciate that he let me decide things like that, which makes me feel that he trusts my decision. But I need to think if I am simply driven by the medication, or I can reduce it.

Do I have energy to type this blog with half medication? Do I have enough appetite to eat adequate food with half medication? Do I feel motivated to do certain things with half medication? Do I feel okay with half medication?

I guess this is another opportunity to learn myself. Since my current episode of depression started, I think if I am fine today or not, basically everyday. In a way, I used to it. I hope I can handle it well.

Self-assigned work and hobby

Recovery process of depression is not quick, and that’s why I think it is important to understand which position I am at, and to take some actions accordingly.

I am not confident with making a promise with somebody, as I am still afraid that I cannot complete what I say I will. Before I started suffering from depression, I would cut my sleep or drink coffee and tried to finish it at any cost, but I am not comfortable with doing it right now. I need to sleep, and this illness possibly has told me that it was not sustainable. So far, I just need some kind of rehab to trust myself again.

Looking back the first year of my current episode of depression, I was assigning some “work”. That wasn’t my intention at that time, and I just tried to do what I felt some motivation to do. I went to a national diet library, and summarized a book I wanted to read through. I started learning languages that somehow attracted my interest. These things didn’t last for long time, and I didn’t pursue as much as I learned something useful. But I set a small goal type thing, did something, and finished them in a way.

So I am doing a similar thing. Last few days, I mainly used my time for making a list of information and a plan for a self-assigned project. It still makes me wonder why I am doing this, but it is something I wanted to do at least. It took more time than I expected, but I would like to praise me for what I did, instead of just worrying about my current life and future.

Similarly, as far as I know, some people do similar things through their hobby. Hobbies are generally what motivate them to do. Hobbies are fun. Hobbies remind us of pleasant feelings. So I think it is not a bad idea to do some activities related to hobbies.

However, it doesn’t seem useful for me, unfortunately.  The main reason must be that I don’t really have an established hobby. I was, and I still believe I am, interested in many things. I like music and I used to play guitar and base with my friends. I like sports, and I have played basketball, American football, volleyball, futsal, softball, wall climbing, etc. I also like watching sports. Some people think I can draw well. My problem is that nothing became “the hobby”, while there are many potential choices.

Another reason that hobbies don’t work with me is guilty feelings. I hope I can go back to be a life that I am useful for people, society, and myself. Doing my hobby doesn’t feel right from that perspective, while it is intended for recovery. This must be one of the wrong perceptions I have.

Life may be short, but I shouldn’t feel rushed. Slow and steady wins the race, I would like to believe that. Something may helps me, while it seems less important at that time.

I don’t let my life go somewhere wrong. I would not give up my life.

Feels like a bird in a cage

This weekend was better than last weekend, when I was almost at the bottom of the mood. However, it has been days that I feel weird sensations.

Symptoms of depression is not singular. As far as I know, some feels low energy, some feels tired, some feels not motivated, and some feels sleepy. I guess most of people with depression feel at least one of these, especially when their condition is not good, and some feels all of these symptoms at the same time. My condition of this weekend made me consider combination of these symptoms.

I had (high / middle / low) energy, I was probably (tired / not tired), I was (motivated / not motivated) to do things, and (sleepy / not sleepy).

So I couldn’t do a lot of things, while I feel more energy than last week and I feel pretty awake. That was not a pleasant feeling.

If it was low in energy, tired, not motivated, and sleepy, then I would be sleeping. That’s not a good condition, but it’s simple and it makes sense. My body and mind need rest.

My current situation may be closer to a bird in a cage. A part of me is trying to fly away to take “my life” back. Another part of me is trying to hold myself back to stay in this cage.

I should not be surprised at such weird sensation after my certain length of experience with depression. I am trying to remember how I spent my days just after I started my treatment for clinical depression. It’s not easy. My brain may be trying to forget my negative feelings. My brain may be in a situation where it couldn’t remember a lot of things.

I just want to remember how I let go my bird before in a way. Well, obviously, the bird is back in this cage now, so the bird wasn’t really set free. Still, the bird was more free at one point.

I probably need a list of things to do when I feel low, to handle  my situation better, while I don’t like to think “I need to do something”. Even when I am depressed, I can think what I should do or what I need to do. What’s missing is what I want to do, or what drives me strongly.

I just want to remember, or figure out, how to let go my bird again.

Liebster Award

www.bohemianwanderland.com_1

I really appreciate that nouae (https://nouae.wordpress.com/) nominated me to Liebster Award. I am simply glad to know that my blog is read by others. I’m also a bit freaked out. But this opportunity made me feel included, so I decided to accept it.

What I like about nouae’s blog is that the author is trying to move on, while dealing with some struggles. My situation is not as good as nouae’s, but I hope I can move forward strongly like nouae. I also like images used in nouae’s blog, like own paintings and pictures.

My favorite blog

If I pick one blog, I should pick Blue Light Blue. I like gracefulness of her words.

When I was wondering if I should start blogging about my depression, this blog is the one that pushed my back. My depression and her depression seem quite different, from their reasons to treatment for them. But her words are strong, even in a difficult condition. It seems that she cheers herself up, using her energy coming from her difficult condition. Her words don’t seem pretentious. I originally thought that a depression blog should be something educational or inspiring for people with depression. But her blog doesn’t show such intention, while it is still strongly inspirational. She is just facing what she is facing. I cannot write like her, but I felt encouraged that I don’t have to pretend to be something else. I appreciate that I could find her blog.

10 random facts about me

  1. I want to travel to much more countries.
  2. I like tatami mat room.
  3. I took a ferry from Europe to Africa.
  4. I have lived in Bhutan.
  5. I like working on my computers at cafes.
  6. I like simple but delicious ramen noodle.
  7. My bicycle is named Bobby.
  8. I watch a lot of different sports.
  9. I like solving puzzles like sudoku.
  10. I prefer travelling by train to by car.

Questions from nouae

1) What inspired you to start blogging? 

Blue Light Blue, as mentioned above.

2) What do you like about yourself? 

I like that I am not giving up thinking by my brain.

3) If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? 

A small island that belongs to Australia, near Indonesia and Malaysia.

4) Do you have a favourite flower?

Lily.

5) What job to you do?

Freelance translator, for now.

6) If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t hesitate to ask for help to others.

7) What is your favourite colour?

Blue. Lighter one.

8) What are you most proud of?

I was chosen to be a husband of my wife.

9) Name one thing you would like to do but haven’t done yet.

Make a company.

10) Who has been a big influence on your life?

I would say, my grandfather of my father side.

Blogs that I want to nominate

I can’t recommend 5 blogs, but two who I interacted through my short blogger life.

  1. http://blondeghetto.com/
  2. http://depressionistheenemy.com/

The Official Rules of the Liebster Award 2016

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. They will thank you for it and those who you nominate will also help you out as well.
  2. Display the award on your blog. At the official rule page, there are  a whole lot of images you can use for your 2016 Liebster Award.
  3. Write a 150-300 word post about your favourite blog that is not your own. Explain why you like the blog, provide links.
  4. Provide 10 random facts about yourself. (optional)
  5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 200 followers.
  6. List these rules in your post.
  7. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post.
  • Don’t forget to create 11 questions for them to answer. Notify your nominees and provide a link to your post so that they’ll know what to do.

So, 11 questions for my nominees

  1. If you get 1 million dollar, what will you do?
  2. What will you choose for your “last supper”?
  3. Who is the celebrity that you want to go out for coffee?
  4. If you pick one, where do you want to travel?
  5. Time, money, and friend, which one do you want most?
  6. What language do you want to learn?
  7. If you become a pro athlete, which sports do you choose?
  8. No sugar, no salt, or no alcohol, which is the hardest for you?
  9. If you become an animal, what do you want to be?
  10. If you become a plant, what do you want to be?
  11. If you will reborn, do you want to be male or female?

Thank you.

 

Fortunate to have medicine

10 days after I restart my medication, I can see some improvement of my mood. My appetite is getting close to normal, I can leave home before noon, and I can keep concentration for certain amount of time.

Of course, it’s far from fully cured condition. I still have some hard time in the morning. I see some weird realistic dream, and I spend some half-asleep exhausting time. My current breakfast is as half as I used to eat. However, I didn’t imagine I could feel better like I am. I wanted to tell myself 10 days ago that I should wait only 10 days.

One clear reason of my improvement is medication. I cannot deny it. I should appreciate how lucky I am that I have a medicine that works to me. I didn’t have to struggle from switching medicines and dealing with side effect. I should appreciate that I wasn’t born 20 years earlier than I was. I didn’t have the medicine I am taking, and I could have only less sophisticated treatments.

Some medicine has bad side effect, and some are even harmful. I understand that all the medicine is basically a type of poison for our body, which our liver has to break down. But, when I actually helped by medicine, I feel fortunate that some scientists have developed this medicine.

I shouldn’t forget that this is not the goal. I feel better thanks to medicine. Medicine is stopping the symptom, but depression is still hidden in my mind.

In my understanding, medicine gives me time to figure out how to deal with my depression, and how to handle all the social situations that are relevant to my depression. Medicine is just temporal energy. As I needed to restart medication, it means I couldn’t use this temporal energy as effectively as I should. I hope I can find a better way to use this energy and time.