Anxiety and depression – My son’s story

Some of you know and have supported Logan and I recently so I’m sharing this with you in the hopes that someone else will be helped.

Depression doesn’t always make sense and many people don’t understand it. I’m sharing because of that too. Thank you for your support whether you’ve understood or not. I’m happy to chat anytime.

Please share with anyone you think will benefit from knowing.

I’ve copied and pasted an email I wrote to some people who knew more of this earlier, in the middle of 2014, so it may not all be relevant to you, but the info and sentiments are.

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Because we’ve spoken about this before and you are aware of what’s been happening for Logan, I want to keep you updated on Logan’s situation. I’d appreciate it if you could continue to keep your eye on him, like you’ve already been doing, and let us know if you see any changes.

I took Logan to a psychiatrist on Wednesday and she agreed with my ‘mum diagnosis’ of chemical depression within 10 minutes of us all talking. After a thorough discussion, she’s prescribed him a 12 month course of daily Zoloft, which she will monitor closely with us. She believes that we will see, and Logan will experience, positive change within 3 weeks. All going as expected, he should be functioning normally within three months and in six be back to where he ‘should’ be. This is wonderful, prayed for news, which is exactly the outcome I had hoped for from yesterday’s appointment. Thank you for praying with me.

As with any medication, there MAY be some side effects and although these are mostly minor, we want to be onto them. Especially these next two to three weeks, Logan might be more tired (not sure that’s possible); have slight headaches; have more ‘body irritability’ like jumpy legs, unable to sit still and tightness or clenching of jaw or grinding teeth. None of these presents a problem, it’s just a settling in period. As I said, she’ll be monitoring him every few weeks in person to make sure that’s all. After the initial few weeks, most people have only positive change and because we often don’t see small changes from so close, you may see these more than Logan does at first. I’ll be noticing every tiny thing, I’m sure, which will be a nice change to noticing the decline, but I’d love your feedback too. Logan knows that you are aware of the continuing story and is, even now, willing to talk to you about it all. He has briefly mentioned his anxiety to his friends, but has trouble knowing what to say. As you can understand, some people have negative perceptions in relation to psych-anything, so he’s nervous about judgmental reactions.

This next is probably the most important part of my explanation today and what I hope will help others. It’s only due to my first hand knowledge of chemical depression that I’ve seen beyond what often presents as grumpy, ’emo’ teenager,Neanderthal behaviour and really known he wasn’t ok. It took a close friend’s amazing transformation recently from severe, self harming depression to normal, functional, and finally happy person, for me to seek a psychiatric referral. The psychiatrist had worked with my friend’s medication over months to achieve this and it’s been a miracle. It’s the best discovery I’ve made. I’ve been diagnosed, and improperly treated for, various types of depression for the past twenty years. I’ve been to multiple GPs and referred to counsellors and psychologists and have attended each session feeling like a fraud and a ‘mental case.’ I rarely had anything to discuss and my catch cry has been, “There’s nothing wrong with me; why is there so much wrong with me?” Why did I still feel so hopeless, helpless and lacking in any energy or motivation?

I have tried a number of anti-depressants with varying degrees of un-success, prescribed by GPs who have tried. When one suggested post natal depression when Toby was 4 years old, I wondered if I really was in the ‘too hard’ basket. My latest GP, just prior to finding out about Theo, was the first and only person to use the words, ‘chemical depression’ and she told me it wasn’t psychological, but my body’s inability to manufacture Seratonin, among other things. She said I’d likely have to be on anti-depressant medication for life and likened it to some diabetics having to inject insulin. I felt such relief at that, finally having an answer that wasn’t a mental issue. She’s been amazing, guiding and supporting me through what’s been a rough few years with pregnancy hormones and true postnatal symptoms. I’ve taken my medication as prescribed and have been ok; but only ok. Theo’s nearly two and I’m still only ok. I am so used to being flat that I’ve only really recently realise that I’m probably operating at 75% of what’s normal for me. My head’s above water, but it’s easy to go under. With the change I saw in my friend, I’ve self-referred to this same psychiatrist Logan saw. I’ll see her next week but through the tiny bit of my information I gave her today as background for Logan, she’s already determined my medication is wrong for what I have and that I have been improperly diagnosed and treated for 20 years. She has said that most people can be treated for chemical depression like this in a relatively short, finite period, easily with the right prescription; which is a psychiatrist’s specialist area. I’ve never felt such relief and frustration and anger at the same time!

Although I knew psychiatrists could prescribe medication, I had the mistaken, but disturbingly common, view that psychiatrists were the top of the mental health hierarchy: the more crazy you were, the further up you went. The thing that’s perpetuated this myth and given me what I feel are wasted decades is that no one, not GPs, counsellors or psychologist – NO ONE has ever suggested I seek a psychiatrist’s help – and they SHOULD HAVE. If they had, I’d have done so. If they’d suggested amputation, I would have gone there too in an attempt to feel ‘normal.’ I tell you this because I know I’m not the only one in my situation and although I’m finally going to get this all sorted starting next week, I’m angry at such wasted decades. The only thing I can see that makes it ok is that God has a plan for this knowledge and experience. Because of it, I’ve been able to get help for Logan early and not shrugged it off as grumpy teen. Because of this, I may (and hope to) direct others to seek the right help. And you’re some of the first I’ve told. Maybe you can pass this on to help someone else.

I so appreciate that I’ve been able to honestly share this and my experiences with you all individually over the past few years. It seems trite, but isn’t, to say thank you so much for your support and observation and care of both me and Logan. It was so good to know others saw what I did in him and cared enough to tell me. Thank you for continuing to pray for us. Please ask about and share my journey with anyone who needs it and WATCH THIS SPACE! for new and improved Ross’. Bit scary, hey?

Veritas, Eski

Sensory Overload

I am utterly blessed. In the midst of an overload of senses; no, through them; God has blessed me.

I have a hot little hand on my face as I try to read. It pokes me and twitches at the entrance to my nostril, making breathing odd. If I turn over, I’ll have, instead, little untrimmed toenails in one of two choice spots: kidneys or buttocks.

A short reach away, I hear the thunderous roll of snoring. I prod and suggest turning over and for a moment, the storm abates. But only for a moment. Without any lightning to warn of its advance, the long drawn in breath offers new meteorological mysteries.

Further distant still, the irritating whine of machinery. It’s monotony is broken only by the insidious, regular alarm throughout the night.

Dogs, ours, bark at intruding nothings. Loudly.

If I leave this horizontal plane and venture out, I will likely find lines of light break through the darkness. Here and there, I will hear more cacophony to interrupt my rest. From one doorway, little light accompanies the pings and whirs of levels unlocked by a well known Italian plumber in overalls. From another, brighter light pops out, as unyielding as the so called notes screamed by a boy-man wearing more eyeliner than I ever have as he bemoans his newly single state.

Should I turn and retreat, my hapless tarsal structure is likely to be assaulted by weaponry at floor level. Possibly this time, I will encounter the string of a cheap bamboo bow. As I lightly sidestep the threatened trip, my other foot may find the arrow; or Danish building materials with spiked edges; or an assortment of miniature bovines cavorting without care near an enclosure of even smaller dinosaurs; or a shadowy feline hoping for food.

But despite this risk; this riot; this rude interruption of horizontal calm that I say I’d prefer; I am utterly blessed.

Little fingers and toes are not a blessing all who wish it share.
Snoring means he’s here with me.
The whir of machinery speaks of luxury others do not have.
Lights and music mean my children are home safe. They can be and do just as they wish without fear of persecution, despite my musical preferences.
Even the scattered hazards of a family hall shout freedom, safety and luxury.

I am utterly blessed.

Veritas, Eski

Veritas Serum

Shades of Harry Potter title, I know, but I can honestly say I’ve had nothing more than water and a hot lemon drink this evening to clear my nose.

However, I’m a firm believer in telling the truth, more so as I age (ever so gracefully). So here’s a few things you may or may not know about moi.

1) I am lazy. If you read the About Me page, you will already know this. Especially if the task at hand requires a broom, cloth or cleaning product, I’m NOT your girl. Give me a break – and cliched KitKat please! I can validate this in all many of engaging and entertaining ways, that’s part of the fun of procrastinating, but it comes back to the very simple fact that I just don’t want to. Take the following with the grain (or suitable measurement) of salt that is often required when dealing with children – a number of years ago, Miss 15 told Grandma that she felt a little bit like Cinderella because they were ALWAYS made to do jobs. Now clearly, that’s not true, but it was a wake up call for me. Obviously, if she felt like Cinderella, then I figure as the wicked step mother, right? Wrong. In all the stories I’ve ever read that would only be true if I were far more unattractive and considerably more wealthy! Myth busted, Kid!

2) I always wanted 6 children. Ever since a “Game of Life” one particularly interesting evening in 1992 where I filled my car with more sets of twins than would comfortably fit, 6 has seemed like a suitable number. I thought I’d finished with 3 until God’s plan surprised us with Mr 2 a little while ago. For the past 2 years I’ve had my nephew living with us and this year we are to be blessed with an exchange son from Thailand, but never the long term 6 kids in the house. Short of immaculate conception, I’m not having any more biologically, so I wonder whether there’s any chance of another on one of God’s as-yet-unknown paths in our future? I’d take them all on if I could.

3) I love writing! Words are my weapon of choice – in a good way most of the time. Give my a pen or a keyboard and I’m off. Poetry, phrases, emails (I’m especially good at wording those tricky things, I think), stories and now, hopefully, a blog. I’ve been rejected by two publishers and its a dream to someday be accepted by one. For that to happen, I need to do far more of it.

4) I have medically treated, chronic major depression. No, I don’t look sad most of the time and I have, thankfully, never tried to hurt myself. For over 20 years, I have been misdiagnosed, mistreated and misunderstood by myself, Drs and those closest to me. Until 5 years ago, I had no idea what other people thought because I didn’t tell them. I felt I must surely be some kind of freakish loser to not be able to cope when there was nothing wrong with my life. I’m not. And if you have depression or another mental illness, neither are you. 5 years ago, I started sharing my history and my present. The change and response has been phenomenal. People have been touched and I feel very grateful. I’m sure we will discuss this more later, but for now, BeyondBlue is an excellent place to start for information.

5) I’ve recently started playing a game on my iPad and I think it’s invading my life! For many years I, a geek/nerd by osmosis, have avoided games due to lack of time, interest or skill. I sometimes limber up my button-mashing fingers to take on the family at Smash Bros or Streetfighter or Mortal Kombat, but I often dazzle them with my uncanny ability to win without actually knowing how to play or even who my character is! Recently though, on a foray into Mr 17’s room to escape the heat and reality for a while, I was lured, tricked and led astray into the world of the Kingdoms and Monsters app. I grew plants and repaired houses; I created buildings and upgraded goblin huts; I whizzed together pies and bought extra virtual land at exorbitant prices. And then I downloaded it onto my own iPad. I cannot share any further at this stage as the Veritas Serum must be wearing off………

😉