Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Demons

This blog is not about asking for sympathy or pity but to get people talking about mental health issues, sharing their stories, seeking help from others who have been in a similar situation and hoping to possibly offer help to others too.

Those of you familiar with my blogs are aware that I wear my heart on my sleeve, am open about my life and the issues we face within our family (with permission of those involved) and how we react to them. I am always open to new ideas, different ways of thinking and other peoples opinions and thoughts. I may not agree with all of them but where possible I have tried and will continue to try different ways of dealing with my issues to see if I can find a solution that fits and works for me.

My family and friends are incredibly important to me, I am a self admitted control freak, slightly OCD and hate any changes in routine or events which are out of my control. This possibly is why I am so wired and can't get my brain to power down, I'm constantly fretting and worrying about how I can make things better, the eternal "fixer" mentality without the know how to actually do it. I find it incredibly hard to accept that in life there are times when you can't "fix" something, you have to accept it, deal with it and move on as best you can. I am also admittedly pretty antisocial and seem to be becoming more so with each passing year.  However, I am grateful to those who have stuck by me and continue to do so, even when I can be difficult to love on occasion.
I suppose it is apt that my demons are haunting me as we approach Halloween, although I wish they would pass as swiftly as this holiday does too. I have been told by those close to me that I am unapproachable at times, they are scared to ask me for help in case I explode or go off on one at them ~ not pleasant to hear but shows that I've gone back into the pit.
I feel torn, my depression has been with me on and off for decades and is lodged within me like a unwanted friend, not wanting to stay dormant for any length of time it is eager to stay and whisper cruel jibes into my ear, letting me know my worthlessness, how poorly I am performing in life and how much I am letting down those I love.

To add onto that I am still gripped within the clutches of my other enemy insomnia, its visitation is unwanted and tortuous. I go to bed exhausted but unable to sleep, my body wired as if I have consumed huge volumes of red bull. I get out of bed in the morning with difficulty and struggle to get through the day. I am tetchy, emotional, aggressive at times and unable to cope with small daily tasks without feel overwhelmed by it all.

My dilemma? I am not responsive to sleeping medications; I have tried a whole host of varying forms of sedatives with no result. The only medication that has helped me is a single anti-depressant; I am hugely limited to which medications I can take as I tend to have reactions to them. However, even the smallest dosage causes me to become dislocated from life and zombified by keeping me in a drug induced stupor which makes everyday life difficult ~ the only way to describe it is that it is like walking in treacle whilst trying to squint and see my way through dense fog. I wish I didn't react this way and could take the anti-depressants and feel benefits without these side effects like many other people are able to do. I am a huge advocate of taking medication if it benefits you and know many close to me who have gone via this route and been helped enormously by taking them. Unfortunately this isn't a clear option for me without considering the side-effects which I know will occur.

I have tried meditation, self-hypnosis, white noise, varying sleep tapes along with the sleeping tablets, changes in diet, exercise all of which make no difference whatsoever.

I cannot change the issues within my life which causes my depression to flare; our home situation is not that of a normal family as we live with mental health issues along with chronic illness. Financially we are holding our own but it is tight, we have to budget carefully which is an added stress, although frustratingly people on the outside think we have far more money than we have in reality.

So, how am I to deal with my demons ~ I am soul searching and wondering what to do. Do I take the antidepressants as the only alternative we can think of which has any effect? I don't know, I would rather find an alternative way to be able to sleep and deal with my depression but if I can't then that is my last resort.
I have discovered that chronic insomnia is also very often partnered with depression, so at least I am not alone in this, According to Psychology Today, "Insomnia and depression often go hand-in-hand. Although just 15% of people with depression sleep too much, as many as 80% have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Patients with persistent insomnia are more than three times more likely to develop depression".

Interestingly enough, contrary to what was previously thought, that insomnia was a symptom of depression, some therapists believe that is not so, "new research shows that insomnia is not just a symptom of depression. What we’ve come to understand is that insomnia and depression are two distinct but overlapping disorders.”

Unfortunately, people with chronic insomnia are more likely to suffer recurring bouts of depression, it not only triggers it but perpetuate it too. Apparently combining sleep medication with anti-depressants will help and then combine that with CBT sleep psychotherapy many sufferers can be helped. However, I have just completed a cycle of psychotherapy and been discharged with no success in improving my insomnia or depression.

Another article I read on this subject about the combination of insomnia and depression feels that changing everyday behaviours may help " Insomnia and depression are deeply interlinked, as are the brain areas involved in both - the information network is often similar. Both depression and insomnia can make the other worse. Fortunately simple life activities can be used to prevent both - and to treat them." You can read what these daily behaviours are here. I shall be double checking this list as I mostly follow these rules, but will endeavour to ensure I am doing it correctly, to the letter, once more to see if it will help.

So, if I find something that is effective I will be sure to let you know, meantime if anyone suffers similar issues what have you found to help?
Hoping one day in the future to be able to throw off the two leeches’ insomnia and depression; to begin to feel human and live life to the full again without these two clinging on to me and dragging me back down.
 x~X~x