It’s A Bad Situation When I’m Trying To Find An Excuse To Talk About Boob Sweat.

photo(7)In my younger – teenage – years I had my dates with depression, and as an adult my psychological burden is more of the Anxiety variety. But – at no time – have I ever been medicated for either condition. There are several reasons for this.

Firstly – I look back on my teenage years and think I probably could have used some medication. Or maybe some therapy. But psychological and emotional problems weren’t talked about as openly then, so I never told anyone about my suicidal ideations nor my cutting. Although, I didn’t call it “cutting” then. Hey Kids! I was a cutter before cutting was cool! I also had a pair of jeans with the all of the lyrics to ‘Stairway to Heaven’ written in sharpie on them! Those two things are hopefully not connected.

My point? I was a mess. And I didn’t get medicine or therapy and somehow I survived. So, when my anxieties get really bad I always think, Well…still no worse than your teenage years…and you survived that without assistance, you can survive this.

Secondly – I know people who really need the medicines and the therapy. And I often feel like my struggles aren’t as consistent or as severe as theirs are, so I probably don’t need medications or therapies. Right? Because, isn’t it always accurate and recommended that you compare your own psychological struggles with people around you? Because they’re such easy things to compare! Always apples and apples! RIGHT?

Yeah. I know both of these reasons are probably crappy and completely not supported by anyone in the psychological community, if I ever bothered to ask.

But, lately things have been a little hairy in my head. More so than usual. And I really am not good about talking about that kind of crap.

I KNOW! Something I can’t talk about? WHAT? ME? I’ve talked about my BOOB SWEAT. I’ve talked about crotch chaffing and pregnancy issues of the…um…sensitive variety. I’ve talked about heartbreaking grief associated with my Dad’s deaths or my history of pregnancy loss. All of that and I can’t talk about being depressed or anxious? WHY HAVE I SET SUCH WEIRD BOUNDARIES?

Anyway – I’ve had more moments of stress and sadness lately. More than ever before. And I don’t want to seek help if it’s something I can work through myself, but I don’t know how to delineate that. And even if someone could tell me, “If A and B is true, then you need to be medicated” – where would I go? Do you talk to your general practitioner about that stuff? I just got one a year or ago and that was ALSO the last time I ever saw her. I HATE DOCTORS.

So…YOU talk. Tell me YOUR stories. Did you seek out some sort of prescription to help you with your struggles? How did you know it was time? How did you talk about it? And more importantly – can we get back to talking about boob sweat after that? Because we’re expecting highs in the 70s in the next few days…in the middle of WINTER…I’m expecting some issues with the boob sweat and I’d much rather talk about that then my stupid mental issues that would probably be rectified with a little more sleep and a little less late-night binging.

42 Comments

  • Emily

    I think it is a horrible trap to fall into to feel that you must somehow be worthy of treatment. Treatment is not a resource that if you take, someone else can’t have. Part of my depression involves me mentally beating myself up over being depressed (Why are you so sad – so many people have it worse! You have a house, a job you love, a cute puppy!). I also sometimes feel like I am too smart to go to treatment (You can think this through yourself! You know what the therapist is going to say anyway!). Those thoughts sometimes stop me from seeking treatment sadly. However, never ever has my therapist said to me, why are you here – you are wasting my time or why are you here – you already know how to fix this.

    I’ve had treatment from psychologists, psychiatrists, and MSWs. For just a case of probably what is deemed mild depression though out my 20s. Twice I’ve been on medicine, other times I’ve just needed a chance to talk to someone. Feel free to e-mail me if you want any more specifics but my advice is to go – if you have health insurance or can afford it – go! Think about it like training – you must log miles before a race to succeed, you must invest time in your mental health to succeed. Logging those miles and time don’t make you weak but make you stronger. E-mail me if you want. <3

  • Grace

    Emily is wise:

    “Think about it like training – you must log miles before a race to succeed, you must invest time in your mental health to succeed. Logging those miles and time don’t make you weak but make you stronger.”

    Everything is an electro-chemical reaction in your brain. Proper meds can help reset those reactions.

    You have accepted and succeeded at so many challenges – running, social interaction – look at this as another one of those and think how much better you WILL feel.

  • Rebecca Kohnstamm

    I second what Grace says. Go to your GP. He can prescribe meds and refer you to a therapist.

  • Julie

    About a year and a half ago, my anxiety was getting worse and worse, so I went to my GP. She prescribed Celexa, and my life has been so much better since. It is not a cure-all; I still get anxiety (that is just how I’m wired), but rarely as intense as I used to, and I’m able to deal with it better.

    Everybody deserves to feel as mentally healthy as they can. Definitely go see your doctor! 🙂

  • Dana

    I am reading your post thinking to myself, how can this girl not think she needs to see someone? You need to see someone. PLEASE GO SEE SOMEONE!! You will feel better!!

  • Cait

    I agree with the ladies above me. Everyone’s anxiety/depression is different, and comparing yours to others can be part of the issue. Talking to a doctor (and you can get good advice and even try some medication for anxiety with your GP) is not an all-or-nothing act. Doing it won’t “make” you officially depressed or anxious. You would be surprised the effect that just talking can have, and trying out an SSRI to see if it helps doesn’t mean you’ll be on it for the rest of your life. I really hope you figure out a strategy for dealing with anxiety that works for you, no one deserves to go it alone just because others may have it worse. Be kind to yourself!

  • sally

    Depression/anxiety are sometimes so easily cured that it seems such a waste of part of your life to go around unhappy and anxious if you have the ability to feel better than you do. It’s always worth a try at feeling better. This is the only life you’ve got – you might as well live it to the fullest and be the happiest you can be! I talked to my internist about my depression – he didn’t send me anywhere to chat, just listened to how I was feeling (like I had a heavy wool blanket over my head all the time weighing me down) and he prescribed the minimum dosage of an antidepressant. I went back in a month, it was better but not where I wanted my life to be – so he increased it – oh man, I was like “hot damn, this life is GOOD!” Later, I started developing some anxiety issues (social) and he prescribed me a small dose of an anti-anxiety med. Also very helpful. I only take it when I’m feeling anxious – not every day like the antidepressant. I’ve had to change antidepressants periodically because sometimes my body becomes sort of immune to the one I’m on if it’s been awhile – but honestly, I have a chemical imbalance – it’s not that there’s anything WRONG with me – it’s just the way my brain is wired (or not). Anyway, whether you hate doctors or not, it seems like it would be a good idea to try to feel better chemically – you can’t replace what chemical is missing yourself. Good luck and let us know how it goes if you decide to go this route!

  • Cara

    You’re getting good advice, so I’ll put my support there. Also, medicine shouldn’t be the first step in most (like, the vast majority) of cases. It probably will be if you just talk to a doctor, to be honest, but a good counselor or psychologist can not only be a great neutral person to talk to, they can give you strategies to help you handle the feedback loop or whatever. I have found that just having someone to talk to whose feelings and opinions I don’t need to worry about makes a big difference.

    If its hard to do for yourself, how about doing it for your family? They would definitely prefer a happy Mom and wife. Though, you’re really good at pushing through and being there for them. How much easier would it be if you didn’t feel this way?

  • Ashley

    I went for many years without help, too, because I didn’t think things were bad enough to merit treatment. They were. You know a lot of my story, so I won’t go into all of it, but here are some thoughts. You are already doing a lot of the “nontreatment treatments” like exercising, being socially involved, eating well, etc. Those strategies aren’t able to do all of the work to get you feeling better, so that, to me, is a big sign that there’s probably something bigger going on that deserves to be looked at.
    The other thing to know is that, at least for me, the beginning parts of finding the right therapist, getting the right medicine,etc, were not super fun and didn’t make a big sudden difference. My experience is with depression, but I have a good friend who struggles with anxiety, and we both realized that the way it works is that you don’t really notice that you’re getting better until one day you just look up and realize that something that would have been a bad trigger just doesn’t really affect you negatively like it used to. Likewise, the few times I’ve tried to get off the medication, I don’t realize I’m going down until things have gotten really out of control. Thankfully, I have a friend now who helps me see when things are getting bad before they get terrible.
    I also want to second what someone already said about the medication. It doesn’t control you and make you a different person, just someone better able to deal with what’s going on. For instance, I still sometimes have irrational thoughts about people being mean to me, but with the medicine, I’m able to realize that they’re irrational and then I can move on. It’s really quite freeing and has gone a long way toward making my relationships much healthier.
    Finally, with E getting closer to graduation and all that, I can’t imagine that your anxiety is going to magically get better on its own. That’s a legitimate stressor for anyone, and you may already be at your breaking point. So now is a great time to try to get some help. Once it all kicks in, you’ll end up being more sane for him as he’s probably facing his own anxieties about growing up, too. I’m not trying to guilt you into it, but just saying that my life was made better when my mom got treatment, and I know BZ’s life is better than it would be if I were untreated.
    So talk to your doctor. I was super scared to finally admit that I needed help (even though my doctor saw it coming), but I found that people (doctors/nurses/staff) were very gentle and welcoming and nonjudgmental, and it made me feel better to know that how I felt wasn’t considered normal, that most people were happier than I was, and that I could get there too.
    This is long and rambling, but I hope you can glean something out of it. Make the call. It will help.

  • Susan

    A year after my dad died, I was still dealing with a lot of grief. It turned into anxiety and depression, and I was lucky enough to have two roommates who were social workers and who insisted I get help. I started talk therapy and tried an antidepressant. Both helped so much, but I didn’t need them forever. A year and a half later, I stopped the meds with the help of my therapist and haven’t needed them since. But I wouldn’t hesitate to go that route again if needed. There were no downsides to it. Only an improved me.

  • Heather H (@SushiJammies)

    Go talk to someone, woman. Just go. Worst case scenario, they help you get there a little faster. There is NO shame in reaching out. What would you tell ME if I said the same things? What would you say to your kids if they told you things felt bad in their heads? Uh huh. Now go take your own advice.

    (love you)

  • RebeccaL

    I’ve been seeing a counselor and on medication for depression on and off since 2009. I started seeing a counselor because my marriage was falling apart and I needed someone to help me see what I was doing wrong. I have continued to see a counselor both for my own mental health and to have an objective, trained third party help me with parenting decisions and to help me deal with a difficult ex-husband.

    I started on depression medication during the divorce because I couldn’t function. Since then I have stopped and restarted taking medication a couple times. Currently I am on medication again. I thank my counselor for seeing the signs of my depression long before I did. I thought that I could make it through this “rough spot” on my own. I thought, “This isn’t as hard as what I went through before. I need to just try harder, do better and I will get through this.” I kept thinking that I would feel better if I could just get through certain situations or past certain dates, but those situations would end or those dates would come and I still felt horrible. I felt like a failure.

    Now that I am back on medication I can see how faulty that thinking was. I encourage you to seek help. Start somewhere, it doesn’t matter where. Don’t make this difficult and think you have to make this journey perfectly. Call your GP or a counselor. From personal experience, I would recommend you see a counselor along with going on medication. They can help you decide if these feelings are temporary and you just need some additional help getting through this time, or if this is a long term solution. But whatever you do, please get help somewhere from somebody.

    One last thing, this time, I didn’t realize how bad I was feeling until the medication took effect. It did take a while, but now I feel like I am more myself than I have been in a long time. I hope that makes sense. Please get help and if you want to talk more about my personal experiences with medication and counseling please email me. I am more than happy to answer any questions and will tell you any details you want to know. Hugs, love and prayers for you!!!!

  • Holly

    I strongly urge you to go see your GP and get a referal to a psychiatrist. A GP only knows very little about mental health issues, and is more likely to medicate than to do any sort of natural therapy. A psychiatrist may medicate you, but will also teach you many coping strategies and will talk with you through why you have the thoughts and feelings you do. He also understands the medications better, and can find one that works best for you (my gp put me on a med that caused me to put on weight, not helpful to a person with severe social anxiety!) Being medicated once doesn’t mean forever, and they may even be able to treat you naturally with vitamins and supplements.
    I went to my GP at 21 when I dropped out of school because the anxiety was to great to even go to class with other people, by 28 when I realized nothing (im a slow learner ha ha)was changing and my career was being held back because of it I got a referal to a psychiatrist who changed me to a lower dose of a more appropriate medication, and did talk therapy with me for a year (I went once a month). Now at 31 I’m medication free, and doing well.

  • Steph T.

    I struggle with anxiety and emotional eating…so many times your feelings ring so true with me. I’m also type A and think I need to do everything perfect and in getting caught up in that perfection I sometimes fail. That failure hits me hard and starts a trickle down effect of self-abuse. I tell myself I’m not good enough or that I should be so much more than I am. This has been an ongoing cycle in my life. I don’t talk about it much because it makes me feel like even more of a failure. That being said, with all my anxiety/migraines/high blood pressure/etc. I did finally talk to my GP about it and I have done the anti-depressant thing, the therapy, anti-anxiety meds and could write pages on my experience. My lowest point was about 3 years ago. I was ready to drive myself into a median wall on the highway. This is where my ability to know myself well enough to know something wasn’t right kicked in (I was actually over-medicated). I am so much better now and even though I still have low points it has never been that bad. What is currently working for me is the following: I was precribed Xanax for my anxiety…I can take it as needed and my dr. gave me a low dosage so if I’m really bad, I can up it or if I just am a little anxious I can just take one. You have to have a good relationship with your doctor to have this happen…so it will take some repeat visits. I found a counselor that I was comfortable talking to and she gave me coping mechanisms so that I wouldn’t hide inside myself when I was having an attack. It was also one hour a week that I could go and talk about me and not have to reciprocate. It was all about me. I did that for about 2 months and then started seeing her just once a month for another 5 months. After having that experience, I am much more open about talking about my personality issues. I’m not crazy and I don’t think that anyone who needs to talk to someone is…we all have more on our shoulders than we can bear sometimes (even if we try to convince ourselves that it’s not all that bad). While family and friends are good listeners, they are biased and sometimes an unbiased opinion supports that we are not insane. 🙂 If you have any questions…you can feel free to email me. I just didn’t want to take up pages with my story of how I finally lost it. 🙂

  • Mary

    I’ve had issues on and off all of my life as well and I finally decided to talk to someone when it got to the point that I was having more bad days than good. I started off with my OBGYN since I had an appt with her coming up anyway. It was such a relief when I was talking to the nurse and she knew exactly how I felt! The doctor was also very sympathetic and helpful. She prescribed Prozac for me and in 2 weeks I was a different person. I was still having issues with anxiety so I went to my GP (the OB said anything further was for the GP not her) and she upped my dosage and that helped a lot. Now I see her every 6 months or so to check in and she makes sure everything is still working well. It really has been the best decision to make that first inquiry (took me 35 years, but I finally got up the nerve!) and it has made life so much better for me and my family (since I’m not yelling nearly as much anymore 🙂 ha!). Anyway, I know how hard it is for someone with anxiety issues to take that first step, but I’m telling you it is so worth it.

  • gwen

    There’s a Dar Williams song about going to therapy that has the line “Oh, how I loved everybody else when I finally got to talk so much about myself” — and it sounds sort of trivial and weird, but that’s exactly why I’ve found therapy to be really helpful. It’s an hour every week where you don’t have to reciprocate or act like you’re more OK than you feel so that your friends or your family don’t worry about you.

    When I talk about my pregnancy loss and and my mother’s death with her, I’m not a burden to her; she’s trying to help me find ways to deal with it. And then, even if those particular ways don’t help exactly, I feel like at least I have so much more patience and energy to spend on the other people in my life, instead of just being under this sort of blanket of anxiety all the time.

    If you went, you could also talk to the therapist about medication, if he or she felt like that was right for you. I agree with the other commenters who said you don’t have to make it complicated — as a fellow doctor-hater, I can tell you that seeing a therapist is SO much less scary than going to a new GP or OB/GYN for the first time (in my opinion). It’s just talking, to someone who might be able to help.

    And hang in there. The first step is the hardest, I promise, and it gets easier from there.

  • Jaida

    I endured a year of hell after my second baby because I kept waiting for someone else to notice I wasn’t doing well and say HEY, you need to be medicated lady! Problem was, I was really great at hiding it all and pretending I was coping fine.

    My breaking point was when I was raging daily at my husband and kicked a wall in anger. This is NOT me, to say the least and it was a wake-up call. I talked to my GP, who I didn’t know particularly well, and she started me on Zoloft. It was hard to be really honest with her about my symptoms but I think that’s super important.

    I’m really disappointed in that I never formed a good relationship with a therapist. I tried two, didn’t click with either and just sort of gave it up. I’m going to try again though, because I’m hoping to wean off the meds in my third trimester this time around.

    Something to keep in mind: if you do start medication, it doesn’t necessarily have to be something you stay on forever. I’ve had practitioners supportive of doing trials off the meds to see if I can do without it now (no luck so far, but that doesn’t bother me apart from the pregnancy issue).

    Finally, I can’t say how grateful I am that I bit the bullet and went to that appointment. There is nothing like feeling better to help you realize just how bad you had been feeling. If there’s a simple solution, there’s no need to suffer in silence.

    Good luck and big hugs.

  • Michele

    As someone who needs medications and therapy (although now only on an occasional basis) for bipolar disorder, please don’t think that your struggles are less than mine. I would never think anyone was stealing resources from me. Get whatever help you think you need.

  • Becca

    I really, really struggle with anxiety. Like a lot. So I started therapy and it has actually helped me. The key to therapy though, is finding the right therapist. I had to go through a few of them before I found one that clicked with me. I see psychologists or counselors so they are not able to write prescriptions, which I prefer. I don’t want someone pressuring me to try a medication.

    I was on meds when I was in middle school for depression and I won’t ever do it again. I was on one medication that would make me so happy that they called it “too high” so they wanted to put me on something else. Then something else. My parents finally said enough and weaned me off everything (which that in itself is a bitch.) And you know what? My problems were still there. I would rather learn to cope and deal with my anxiety with therapy and life changes than go on meds. I don’t want to take something for the rest of my life and I know as soon as I come off the medication, my anxiety will return.

    Anyway, that’s just my opinion. I have no problem with people who choose medications. Everyone is so different!

  • charlene

    Kim,

    Go see someone. you have had a rough couple years with losing your father and miscarriage. You might need talk therapy just to get things straight. If you need the meds explain to the doctor your wishes and then make a plan of how long and when you will come off of it. Mental health falls in line with physical health. take care and do not be harsh on yourself. Which I know is hard.

    Charlene

  • Maggie

    I would seek a mental health provider over a GP. I would be concerned a GP would have a narrower range of meds they prescribe based on their familiarity compared to a mental health provider (who could also give counseling). I’ve never been on anxiolytics either but have wondered if I should, but I do worry about side effects having seen Paxil cause worse symptoms in a loved one.

  • Megan

    I never thought my issues were “bad” enough to need therapy or medication. Then I started therapy during a particularly anxious time. I love it! One hour to talk about you with someone who has no outside agenda and/or needs. It’s been a huge help in seeing how I get in my own way so I can self-correct later (earlier running analogy is GREAT… it’s no different than realizing you bonk at mile 6 of 13 of training… so next time you pace yourself slower and get nutrition before you need it during a race), Years later I was having a serious anxiety problem (not sleeping a wink before a 10 mile race was my “Wake up call” haha). I saw my gp for the first time in years and she put me on a baby dose of an ssri. I was very worried about it… she reminded me that depression/anxiety are often hereditary… just like heart disease. We wouldn’t think twice about putting people on medication for heart issues. I sleep well, have no side effects and feel significantly less hopeless/murderous. I decided to stay on it for now, it’s been almost two years.

  • Crystal

    My observation of the bits of your life that you share with this audience, is that while you have survived sometimes your coping mechanisms don’t work and you end up feeling badly about how you handle some situations. You should not feel guilty/bad about seeing a therapist and/or taking medication for your anxieties. It’s a completely valid MEDICAL condition to treat with both therapy and medication or just one or the other even.

    While yes you may well survive this, all by yourself, you may lose a piece of yourself in doing so. Getting the right therapist to help you, and sometimes the right medication (also sometimes a very temporary choice) can make the world of difference in how well you weather such an emotional shit storm.

    I will say the biggest reason you may want to consider both is that if you are continuing to have even periodic sleep disturbances, it is time to do something different. You are already aware of how important your sleep is to you, so get help getting your sleep back, and maybe you’ll see a bigger difference and this will also help you be the better you that you want overall. So it’s like getting extra credit.

    *hugs*

  • Laural

    So this post totally struck a chord with me. Yes to anxiety and depression (I sometimes allude to it on my blog but not much).
    And I’m not reading others comments, so if I repeat something I’m sorry.
    I’ve kind of dealt with various levels of it. I’ve been medicated (I currently have a prescription for an anti-anxiety med that I only take when I need it – so one that goes in and out of my system quickly) but i’ve been on others that were a longer term prescription so basically you take it for a couple weeks before you really feel it. It kind of all depends.
    For me – and this is tough and personal and hopefully will be received okay – I have always felt like talking to people, going on meds etc is like a sign that i’m not working hard enough to prevent depression and anxiety. Not true, but whatever. But, if we’re being honest I’m pretty much always working toward not being on meds. But, I also see a therapist to deal and right now I don’t need to be on them.
    I’m in Canada and I know our system works differently, but I’ve gone to my family doctor and then been referred. I trust her and she’s awesome.
    For me health is tied to anxiety and depression (though I’m not saying this is true for everyone). Things changed drastically for me when I started yoga and running consistently. But, I still check in and I know I go up and down.
    I don’t know if any of that made sense, and I also don’t want to put much more out here, but email me if you want and I’m happy to tell you more 🙂
    But I’d say definitely go to your doctor.

  • Lindsey

    Probably a repeat of the above. I’m diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder. It took me a lot of years of ‘just coping’ and of my husband telling me to see someone to finally do it. During my first pregnancy, the hormones made me suddenly ‘sane,’ but when those wore off after birth, I realized I needed to see someone. I was luckily to have that visibility into with vs. without anxiety. However, I dealt with it again after going off meds for pregnancy #2, and feeling ‘ok’ only to have the anxiety creep back up over the next year. I had to re-discover the need to see someone, and now I’m on meds long term.

    Oh Kim, I see so much of myself and my symptoms in you. I know you don’t like the idea of having to turn to drugs or therapy, but man, it has made such a difference in my life. The first step is making the call to make an appointment. Don’t think beyond that, just do it. Talk to a Dr., and if they don’t ‘get it,’ talk to another Dr. You’ll find the right one that works with you to find a solution you can live with. That first step is mighty hard while you’re in the depths of anxiety, so know that even just reaching out with this post is great.

  • junkie

    go, girl…you absolutely will not regret it! whether or not meds will be part of the solution, getting to sit and talk things out and just talk about you? you will never regret it.
    xoxoxo

  • melaniek

    it looks like you have plenty of advice but I just want to say if you are worried that by going on medicine you will be on it for life, that is not always the case, I’ve had anxiety and when it interferes with my sleep (which I know that no sleep = more anxiety so if I’m not sleeping cause of anxiety its NOT going to get better on its own) I go talk to my GP. I’ve been on medicine 3 times in my life over the course of the past decade, each time for 9-12 months (all three times I was on a fairly low dose of a very common anti-depressant). I never talked to my GP about stopping the meds but when I kept forgetting to take them for weeks and weeks at a time because I had no anxiety I figured I was ok. I also now know many of my triggers, I can not watch medical shows that make me wonder if I have that disease, I need my sleep, I know the week of my period I will have more anxious tendencies but if I tell myself “this is your period hormones jacking with your head” I can almost always talk myself out of “it”. Birth control for me exasperated the problem, and I felt MUCH MUCH better after I got off it, but it certainly was not a cure (and it makes it complicated because due to my heavy periods causing me anemia everyone wants me on hormones and I refuse… I’ll take the iron pill that makes me wanna puke thank you very much). At any rate, the hardest step is calling the doctor for the appointment, I hate having to tell a nurse or scheduling person that I want to be seen for mental issues so sometimes I just say “physical” or check-up. Lastly, I’ve NEVER regretted asking for help those 3 times, and every time I’ve wondered why I let myself suffer needlessly.

  • Shannon

    Hey Kim,

    As both an MSW and someone who has had more than her fair share of these moments, I totally recommend you see a doctor who can recommend if therapy, medication or a combination of the two is best. When you start to feel better, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. If you want more info, we can email privately. Feel better. Shannon

  • Ginger

    I’m adding to the chorus of GO. Go to your GP, call your health insurance for a referral to a mental health professional, talk to your OBGYN, any of them can help you figure out the next steps.

    I’ll also repeat what someone else said: you’re already doing a vast majority of some of the “natural” ways to manage anxiety/depression–exercise, social life, etc.,etc. If you’re still feeling this way, it’s time to talk to someone.

    My story, if it helps: I went to a therapist last year after my husband told me he hadn’t seen me be myself in he couldn’t remember how long. And then I realized that I thought about death every day. And thought, hmmm, maybe that’s not normal (there’s more, but those were two of the big catalysts). I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I did NOT start meds right away–I did 3 months of cognitive behavioral therapy (WHICH WAS AWESOME) first, and that helped…A LOT. But it wasn’t enough, for me. So then I went on meds, and I swear the difference those two things have made for me cannot be understated.

    If you go to a doctor, they will probably prescribe you meds right away. If you want to slow that roll a little, and see if there’s another option first, I’d suggest finding a psychiatrist/psychologist instead. You can do CBT (which can be really fantastic for anxiety) with them and then reevaluate the meds question later.

    No matter how GOOD your life is, depression and anxiety are worth taking care of. You’re not weak, you’re not being selfish, you’re not being silly. You’re taking care of YOU, and that’s ALWAYS worth it.

  • Molly

    Hey girl — frequent reader, infrequent commenter. This really strikes a chord with me, because I have dabbled with therapy a lot but really struggle with the “I’M JUST NARCISSISTIC/BORED/SUFFERING FROM SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE SYNDROME” negative self-talk.

    But you know what? Happy and healthy people don’t talk like that to themselves. They don’t HATE themselves. Healthy happy people don’t spend all day criticizing themselves for wanting something. So, if I’m spending 50% of my waking hours thinking, “I’m the worst person who’s ever lived because I can’t just be happy with my nice life and I deserve to die and have my dead body peed on by a dog because I want to pay a stranger to listen to my first world problems for a couple hours a week?” <— this person (i.e. me) needs to go to therapy, if for NOTHING ELSE than to learn to be kinder to herself.

    And to be totally honest, I learned to talk to myself that way (I am horrible/death/dog pee/etc.) because that's how my mom talked to herself, all the time. She never criticized me but I grew up watching her criticize and mock herself for every aspect of her life, and I never realized until I got INTO therapy that doing that makes you really unhappy, and it's okay to forgive yourself sometimes. /All the time. (obviously, still working on it.)

    Basically I don't want my (still hypothetical) daughters to grow up thinking that this is the correct way to be a woman — criticizing every meal I cook, hating my weight and the way I look, insisting that I'm a terrible employee/artist/friend/driver when I'm actually fine or even good at all those things, achieving 85% of my goal then ignoring my accomplishment so I can obsess about the 15% I didn't get done, giving credit for everything I personally accomplish to my husband or boss so I don't seem "stuck up". Because it sucks to live that way, and I want to show my daughters that they, and I, deserve a better life than that.

    And now I have used your blog post as my own little therapy session for today — sorry! I just wanted to share all the reasons that get MY butt into that office. I don't know if any of that rings true with you, but I hope that you can extend some lovingkindness to yourself and go. What the worst that can happen?

  • Heather

    Ah Kim <3 Get the help you need, sweetie! I've struggled with depression my entire adult life, and simply would not be alive if not for the help and support I've had from drugs and therapy. If ALL that running and the associated endorphins aren't doing it for you, then there's very likely a big root problem, if that makes sense? When I talk about depression a lot of people tell me to exercise 😛 So at least you've got that down!
    Anyway….big giant hugs, and stuff. (Also, pretend I just said THE perfect thing. kthxbai.)

  • Katy McDonald England

    If it lasts longer than two weeks, seek help. Period, the end. I’ve dealt with depression. I ended up 6 months pregnant, with my toddler in the back seat of my beetle and just sobbing on the phone to my mother while Ben was at work. I was so incredibly depressed at that point in my life. She called my ob and then the ER and just told me to go to the ER. Then she called Ben, he left work and he met me at the ER. Don’t let it get to that point, Kim. Go talk to your doctor.

  • Katy McDonald England

    Depression lies. It makes you think that you don’t deserve medicine or aren’t as bad off as others who “REALLY” need the medicine. Part of it could absolutely be the time of year compounded with other sadnesses right now but if you feel compelled to begrudgingly bring it up on your blog, it’s become an issue. You aren’t making a mountain out of a molehill, I assure you. Get help…Or Tell Donnie that you need help, and he can figure out how to line that up for you. Sometimes, you just can’t see a clear cut path to treatment because of the depression and you need other people to do that for
    you.

  • Katie

    I identify with so much of what you’ve written in this post! It’s hard to take that step but when I finally made an appointment with a therapist & started talking about what was happening with me helped so very much. My therapist taught me little “tricks” on managing my triggers/thoughts etc. I can’t even put in to words how much better things got after I was able to tell an objective person what was going on in my head. Does your employer offer an employee assistance program? That’s how I got matched with my therapist. I called my office’s EPA line & they even made the first appointment for me & the first 6 sessions were free. The rest were covered under my office’s health insurance and I only had to make a co-pay. Your peace of mind is worth it, YOU are worth it. Thank you for writing your blog.

  • ailo

    Years ago my mom convinced me to try a week or two of her meds (Prozac), because she had been trying to get me to go to a doctor for a long time. I didn’t think I had worthy problems, like you, and just going to the doctor seemed like too much work. Obviously sharing prescriptions is not good, illegal, could be unsafe, etc, but in my case I’m so happy we did. Within a week I felt like I hadn’t felt in a long time. I hadn’t known how abnormally I was feeling, and thus acting, until I felt normal again. I’d forgotten what happy felt like.

    That was the miracle moment for me, actively realizing that I WAS depressed. Talk to someone professional, get a prescription to try if you’re comfortable with it. It doesn’t have to be forever.

    I was surviving, and I could have kept on surviving. But I get so much more out of life now.

  • Trisha

    Talk to whatever doctor you feel most comfortable with to start. I have been prescribed by my general doctor, and by my OBGYN (different times). The OB made it clear that ify problems were ongoing, I would need to see my regular doctor for continued treatment, but was more than happy to get me started. I have been on and off meds for mostly anxiety over the last 8 years or so. When life is good and easy, and I feel ready to try on my own, I work with my doc to scale back and off. When I fall back into the routines that I know aren’t good for me, I reach out for help again. Basically I go in and say here’s what’s going on, what do you think? And they make a recommendation for medication or not based on what I have told them. Mostly though, I find that the times I’m wondering if I need help, I do, and I just need to ask for the help.

  • Heather

    I didn’t really all the REALLY WISE replies you’ve already gotten because we’re forming a chorus here.

    My story? I needed help but shoved it aside for years. Finally, it manifested itself in what felt like a physical illness. In my little brain, I felt like I had to be CLEARLY sick in order to warrant help. Only when I was at the point of making myself physically ill did I go for help. Then it turned out to not be physical in the least bit.

    You are already asking for help. Please get it.

  • Jen

    Do you have access to an ERP program and their counsellors? Their MO is to get people well using the quickest, most effective methods possible. That sounds like it could be a bad thing, but I’ve found in the past their directness really helps. Sometimes, things are “not quite right” and I’ve had the best experiences with someone who wants to help me fix things, and get on with life (rather than GPs, who can be great, but I’ve personally found are more willing to prescribe “pills and a counsellor” anyhow, leading me to the ERP folks, or than some other counsellors who want a long-term relationship and to delve deeply into my childhood, etc.). Good luck, and feel better soon, however you get there!

  • Samantha

    I’m late reading this and didn’t go through all the responses, but wanted to answer since I have kind of a lot of experience. Ha! When I was 16 or so my mother took me to a psychiatrist who prescribed a mild anti-anxiety medicine. When I started college, I was having tons of problems and my pediatrician (what?) prescribed Prozac. My mom hit the roof when she found out and ordered (!) me not to take it. She had all kind of ideas about these horrible medications kids were addicted to nowadays. Soooo, I went for a long while without help. In grad school I finally visited the campus counseling center and got a great counselor for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and also saw the psychiatrist associated with the clinic for medication. I felt like a normal person for the first time in my life. I came off medication for 3 -4 years to get pregnant and breastfeed, but really struggled. Like you, I wasn’t sure where to go for help. There is only one psychology clinic in town and going through insurance and setting up an appointment was just crazy complicated. (Imagine what someone with a more serious illness like schitzophrenia would have to go through? – I think this is part of what’s wrong with our mental health system). Long story short, I got back on meds my going through my gynecologist. I think just about any doctor would prescribe them if asked (again – maybe not such a good thing? I don’t know.) Anyway, I think therapy combined with medicine is the recommended course of action for anxiety. The theory is that the meds “get your mind right” so you can learn tools in CBT and then at some point you can go off the meds while retaining the things you learned in therapy.
    And, yeah, in terms of when to seek help — no one is going to say to you, “no, sorry, you don’t need help now.” When YOU decide you need help, you need help. Some people like to get through colds without cold medicine. Sometimes that’s fine. Sometimes those untreated colds turn into pneumonia. There’s nothing wrong with taking medicine. No one is giving out awards for being “strong” enough to not take it. Maybe it will help; maybe it won’t. There’s nothing wrong in trying.

  • Carley

    I didn’t read all of the comments, so I’m going to guess you’ve already heard what I’m going to say. But, I want to share my story with you anyways. I’ve dealt with depression & anxiety since I was a child. I didn’t start taking medicine to help me for it until I was in my early 30’s. I saw a therapist for a short while when I was in high school and also when I was in college. I did it again when I was in my 20’s. For me, I found talk therapy helped a lot. There is something about talking about your issues with a person who is completely unbiased and not connected to the issues that I find so helpful. I will say that it is important to find someone that you feel comfortable with and sometimes that can take time. Currently, I am seeing a therapist about once per month and I’ve been seeing her for several years. I really like her and she calls me out (in a good way) on my bullshit. It was her that suggested I check into anxiety medicine. I saw her for over a year and a half before she suggested this. She actually couldn’t prescribe it as she isn’t a psychiatrist. (She is a counselor/therapist.) She recommended me to someone and I went in to talk to them and they diagnosed me with “general anxiety disorder” and prescribed me Prozac. Oh my gosh I can’t even tell you how life changing this was for me! I didn’t realize that most people don’t have all this crazy panic and anxiety going on in their minds all the time! I was worried it was going to make me feel different. And it did, but in the right way. It was still me, but…how to say…the best me. Like, during all of the time of anxiety & depression I still had good days. And once I started on the medicine I was having mostly good days. I mean, I still have bad days, but I’m so much better prepared to work through them. So, now I see my therapist once a month just to check in and stay on track. Sometimes I have nothing much to talk to her about, but other times she helps me work through a problem I might be having. In the beginning I saw her every week. She really, really helped me to look into myself and find the root of the issues/feelings I was having and made it ok and helped me to find healthy ways of dealing with the anxiety. I would HIGHLY encourage you to seek out a therapist. I would NOT just go to your general practitioner. From my perspective, the therapy is what is really important. And since you are leery of taking medicine, why not first check out talk therapy? You can work from there and see what you need. Perhaps the talk therapy will really help and you won’t even need medicine. Maybe, like me, you will need to add the medicine, but at least you’ll feel at a better place with it. You’ve talked about this several times before & I just feel like you need to take the plunge into to talking to someone. I know we don’t know eachother, but I’ve been reading your blog for forever (before Nicki & Wes and since E was a little guy!) and I do feel a lot of connection with you when you talk about your anxiety. I know you have a lot of supportive friends and family, but if you ever want to talk more about my experience as a way to decide what you might want to do I’m available! Email me!

  • Mandi

    I’ve read some of these comments but after a while it began to have a triggery effect on my depression/state of mind, ironically enough.

    I’ve suffered from depression for most of my life. I spent years just plain suffering because I had no idea that what I was feeling had a name and could be treated. I actually cried when I read about an illness called depression. It sounds kinda crazy but it’s true. I went through an extreme bout of depression during the winter of 2001, to the point where I was begging my husband to just let me die. I was sick. But everything that banged around in my head made complete sense TO ME. I struggle with self-hate issues and it gets very bad when I’m unmedicated. Anyway, after a few months of worsening illness I finally sought help and was put on Prozac.

    After the meds kicked in and began to help sop up the mess my dysfunctional brain had made I was stunned to find that I was somewhat of an irrational lunatic before I got on meds. I could sort of look back at myself and see me in a whole new light. I could see what others saw- someone who was sick and needed help. The medication helped me to get out of the thick, black fog of sadness that had enveloped me and I felt so different. It was the best decision I could have made.

    My point is that while a person is suffering from depression and anxiety, the ability to reason and think clearly is hampered. What you may be telling yourself and what you may think right now probably sounds very reasonable to you. It makes complete sense to you. But there is a really good possibility that you are the ONLY ONE this makes any sense to!

    If you are feeling bad enough that this is something you feel the need to reach out for opinions on- that is very telling. You don’t have to ‘deserve’ help for your issues. We all deserve help simply by being human. There are varying degrees of illness and I can guarantee you that a person with Bi-polar would never tell me (a person with ‘just’ depression) that I’m not sick ‘enough’ to get help. I would never tell anyone that they didn’t have the right to seek help if their depression wasn’t as bad as mine. I would hope that people would get help long before their problems became as bad as mine because it sucks to feel this bad about myself.

    Depression (and anxiety) sucks but it doesn’t have to be something you just put up with. Go! Talk to someone! Do what is needed to find your happy place again. You deserve it simply because you do. That is all.