Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Dear Carla (Part 2)

Dear Carla,
In my first letter to you, I briefly mentioned my experience with medication. Although you and I have been labeled medication resistant, I want you to know that from what I've read from readers to this blog, as well as having studied this illness now for 14 years, most people have some degree of difficulty with medication.

The real problem is that most of the drugs that are prescribed for us weren't developed for us. And the clinical testing of these drugs has been abysmal. But that's a huge issue and one that I address in a lot of depth in my forthcoming book: Bipolar Depression Unplugged: A Survivor Speaks Out. I'm not saying this in an attempt to sell my book, rather it's just that I have written pages and pages on this and can't repeat it all here.

However, the second aspect of the treatment of depression--aside from medication--is a slew of lifestyle issues. In my own case, I finally realized--and wished I had understood this earlier-- that my depressions are triggered by life events. Over time, I decided it was critical for my well-being that I identify the triggers and try to deal with them. Otherwise, I would be forced to continue to experience these depressions forever.

At first, I tried to change myself--thinking that if I could be different than I could stave off the depressive episodes. But after years of therapy, I realized that there are some people whom I can't have in my life. They contribute nothing that is life-affirming and they are either critical of me or so judgmental that I always feel bad around them.

I also learned that when people do things or say things that are very hurtful to me, I need to let them know. The only downside of this behavior for me is that after years of being well-liked, now my honesty offends some people.

As far as I'm concerned, that's okay with me. I've decided that if people don't like me because I'm truthful, so be it. If they don't like my response to their behavior, better that they "drop me" than make me sick.

Finally, I also believe that there are a host of activities I can engage in that will lessen my depressive episodes. Tomorrow, I will discuss these in my final post in this series.



1 comment:

Carla said...

Hi Susan!
You are so perceptive! I have made the 'life events' connection to anxiety/depression...and have ridded myself of poisonous relationships/situations. The crux for me is actively doing the lifestyle changes when I am in the depths of hell. It feels altogether overwhelming and for not. So, I definitely would like know at the juncture of the depression setting in do you have 'plan' you set in motion to thwart it? You've got me thinking now! Thank you! It seems to me I need to catch it before I succumb. I always wished I could live like Jim Carrey's character on "Liar, Liar"...have you seen the movie? It is hilarious and at times when I feel well I can express to people my true feelings, but I falter and isolate and ruminate in depressive times~So that is a challenge! Thanks so much for your time and impressions on this...I so appreciate your candor and care~it is such a huge issue and one so many of us grapple with. Can't wait for part 3...:)