Just coming off the strangest and scariest week I’ve had since I can remember. I feel hung over, but eager to build back up. I don’t know what set me off, and perhaps that’s the worst part. I know what egged it on, but the real question is, what suddenly had me so consumed with depression? What turned every remark, gesture, comment, or non-comment into a personal attack?

Middle of the week, I met with my nurse practitioner at the local ‘free’ health clinic, and she happily renewed my prescription for Clonazepam (use at bedtime for much needed sleep), and asked if I needed antidepressants (she worries that I quit them over a year ago). Told her I was good, things were good. Even told her I was thinking of trying Chantix again to quit smoking once and for all. Got down to one cigarette a day on my last try. I had the best dreams at night when I took Chantix, so vivid, so entertaining. During the day, I had severe stomach cramps and contemplated suicide.

I’ve wrestled with depression off and on my entire life, but never bad enough to consider suicide! It took me a while to connect the drug with the mind numbing depression, and when I did, I continued to take the stuff, desperate to quit smoking. Yeah, I was down to one cigarette a day, and then came the flood, literally. The river behind my house, usually more like a creek, swelled with rain and snowmelt, invaded the yard and threatened our home. We had to evacuate- to my mother’s house. Though my house didn’t flood from the river, my basement filled with three feet of shit from sewer back up. The kids and I were stuck at my mother’s for a week, facing a swimming pool of crap back home. It was time to choose between smoking and suicide. I chose a nicotine filled life.

That was several years ago, and once I cleaned all the shit and mold from the basement, things were fine, have been fine, until this past week. Yeah, I have bouts of mild depression from time to time, but nothing like this. I felt paralyzed. Powerless. Doomed. Sleep and cry— that’s all I could do.

I’ve stated on several occasions that I write better when I’m slightly depressed, emphasis on slightly. I like to bring that emotion into my work, and it’s hard to do when things are hunky-dory. Naturally, I tried to use those horrible feelings and turn them into something creative, but everything froze in a block of ice. I could find my voice, couldn’t find an ice pick, and couldn’t find a way out. Then, it was just gone. Business as usual, like nothing ever happened.

Scary? Hell yeah! How do I prevent it from happening again? I don’t know. I don’t like antidepressants and don’t want to take them. When I stopped them before, I switched to high doses of amino acids and powerful vitamin B supplements, etc. I tried that during my recent bout, but it didn’t help. It would be nice if I could identify the trigger, but so far, I’ve come up empty. Maybe it’s the looming ‘change of life’ and there’s no way around it. I hope not. Not sure I can survive it. I do think, however, that I will get back on a regular regimen of the vitamins and supplements, and be a little more diligent with the exercise. Hopefully, these combined efforts will stave off any future attacks- and yes, attack is the perfect word. As for the smoking…I’ll look for another way to deal with it.

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