Friday, December 2, 2011


It will never cease to confound me how the internal weather changes, how one can be plunged into the darkest swirling fog from just a subtle change in perception, a passing thought you never saw coming that brings with it a full on assault of your most secret fears. The mood takes over, the billowing gray clouds engulfing you, masquerading as truth, as inevitability, when it may be nothing more than a misfire of synapses, the dampening effect of hormones, overuse of the imagination. I know there are pills for this, little tablets prescribed that can level you out, keep you from falling headlong into empty terrifying space. But I am afraid of those pills. There is addiction in my family, possibly because of this very surfeit of emotion, dark imagination, treacherous chemistry. I am afraid of those pills so I have no choice really but to ride out these tornados of the mind, to write them out maybe, to walk through the world looking normal enough, all the while weathering the sensation that my insides, the self I know as me, is in danger of being swept over the cliff edge, washed out to sea, falling falling away.


  1. Ah love. I don't think you can get addicted to anti depressants. But. That's just a theory I'm holding on to. As I swallow my holy ghost host of chemicals.

  2. All this: yes. Oh, yes. Even the addiction fears because of genetics.

    There's something comforting now though with several decades: I know it will pass. It makes me withdrawn and introspective, corralling and strengthening resources - like hibernation for bears. And it will pass, like winter.

  3. I could write a book inspired by this post. I know what you are saying, and I have felt what you are feeling. I think sometimes life is too much, especially this strange modern life we live. I think about your bittersweet last few months, with funerals and gatherings of the elders and the babies you have nurtured taking flight, and the changes our bodies are going through, and this mad, mad world.....
    I wish there were a pill that worked to help me keep the panic and the sad at bay. Maybe there is, maybe I wasn't patient enough, maybe I don't believe they will work, therefore they do not work.
    The list of antidepressants I have tried in the last decade to deal with chronic pain and hormone imbalances is very long - most of them. None were stronger than my brain chemistry, and none made life make more sense. I think time has helped more than any meds, and I know I prefer the devil I know over the devil of side effects I've had to deal with. Some days are still very hard, and I seem to ebb and flow in cycles that makes me strongly suspect my hormones. This week has been so hard, I see everything as so sad, so wrong, so off kilter, so fleeting, so precious and I feel utterly powerless in the face of everything.....
    I'm doing it cold turkey, except for the xanax to stop my pounding heart so I can sleep at night, and I know that there must be a better way, but I haven't found it yet.

    It's not much, but my friend, you are not alone. You are smart and strong and your eyes and your heart are wide, wide open. It's a heavy burden to bear, but I just feel that you are strong enough to weather any storm that comes your way, and if you need some meds to help you through, and they work for you, hooray. I wish there were something more definitive to prescribe them with, like a blood chem analysis that says you are deficient in x so you need y, instead of the current guesswork program. Don't forget about vitamin D, too, as most women have very low levels this time of year and major depression is a side effect. My dr. has me taking 5000mg daily in the winter, and my blood levels barely reach normal range.

    Sorry for the long reply. I wish you some sunny skies and some healthy synapse connections, soon. Thank you for your honesty and openness.

  4. Many years ago (is everything in my life today "many years ago"?), I resisted taking the little pills, too. I finally succumbed, and they saved my life. When I was better and had developed tools to cope, I was able to stop taking them with no ill effects. If you are seeing a doctor, work with him or her, even take the lead. I believe the point is not to take a medication that will change you or necessarily even vanquish the darkness, but simply give you more control over the experience. And never forget that you are not alone in any of this. A lot of people care a lot about you. A lot ;-)

  5. i feel like i want to tell you that you're not out here alone, angella, but i like what elizabeth said very much, so i second her.

    i do. i do.

  6. Yes and thank you thank you thank you.

  7. oh dear... I've always been an advocated of taking medicine when you're sick, but i never believed there was any medication that could make you genuinely happy and relieved of depression. i hope you feel much, much, better. this weather doesn't help.

  8. Sweet one, my husband has always been affected by SAD(Seasonal Affective Disorder) and has done a lot of research because he is also adversely affected by medications. A couple of months ago, he decided to try something called a Philips Blue Light and it has helped him immensely. So much so, that he just purchased one for me and really wants me to start using it everyday. It has to be used everyday for 15-30 minutes and as early in the day as possible. The effect is cumulative so you do have to be dedicated about it but you can easily keep it next to you on a desk or a table while reading or surfing on the computer. Mark purchased ours at for $119.00 which seemed to be the best price. Maybe an early Christmas gift for yourself? It is definitely worth a try, especially since you are having such a difficult time. It has helped him with sleep, energy and mood.

    I am so sorry that you are having such a difficult time. Please consider trying one of these lights. My heart is heavy just knowing what you are going through.

    Thank you for checking in on me the other day. I am back now and am feeling a bit better. Big hugs and so much love.

  9. And I do understand that this is definitely not all about SAD but sometimes if we are able to reset some of the chemical releases in our brains, other things will follow.

    Holding you close in my thoughts and prayers...

  10. I'm not an expert in serious depression, but I tend to think the rough patches, the overuse of imagination and thinking too much and that sort of thing, are all part of LIVING. You know? I wouldn't want to smooth any of it away.

  11. I hope my posts this week didn't drive you over the edge. I couldn't handle that.
    Take care of yourself.

  12. Internal weather, that is so apt. I think there was some kind of storm blowing through, I know it landed here as well. It might be passing.
    I'd like to bundle you up in good warm boots and set you trekking to the barn and beyond. It's very good for rough internal weather.

    love you, d

  13. I love you, Angella, and I also love all the thoughtful and personal comments you've gotten on this post. First, they show how much people care about you, and second, they show how very individual this issue is. There are as many types of sadness and depression, and as many types of help, as there are people. You won't know for sure if something will help unless you trust yourself to try it, and then leave it behind if it isn't helpful.

  14. Elizabeth
    Mary Moon
    NOLA darling

    I so grateful for all the empathy, encouragement and practical wisdom here. please know that i have closely read each of your comments, and am so moved by your sharing and your lovingness. i am a lucky woman to be connected to every single one of you here. i don't take it for granted. it is like a Phillips Blue Light for the soul, and yes, as you say, it passes, it lifts, and what i feel now is such a rush of warmth and love for you. I wish i could say it better, so you would truly know. In place of that, i will just say, thank you. Dear friends of my heart, thank you.

  15. You said it just fine, and you made me cry a happy tear or two, and made me feel like I just had some sunshine therapy myself. Thank you right back.

  16. Sweet Angella, my heart breaks for you. I don't know much but I do think this is all a part of this messiness we call life. Sometimes it doesn't make sense and it feels horribly painful. But more than feeling pain I fear feeling nothing. That scares me. I will send my love your way this evening. And know that even in your melancholy, your posts bring smiles and joy to those who follow your journey. Yes, and tears too. oxo

  17. I'm checking in late on this post, but I've given both the post and the comments a lot of thought these past few days.

    I wrote about just these same issues myself a few weeks ago, and I feel compelled to respond.

    Depression is an illness. It's treatable. The meds aren't addictive. If you're lucky, they work. Period.

    You most likely wouldn't think twice about or question taking medicine for -- and I'll go right for the big guns here -- cancer.

    Depression is not a "rough patch". It can be deadly. I know this -- both in my self and my family. I've intervened in a suicide attempt in a family member -- and payed dearly for it. (The husband of this particular person said I over-reacted. He ignored the fact that she had scars on her wrists from previous attempts.)

    I lost two husbands to mental illness.

    This is my soapbox, and I'm going to stand on it and yell.

    Dear Angela: do what you need to do to be well.

    We're out here cheering for you.

    With love.