Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Depression Monster

I've been quiet for because I've been struggling, but not sure how to vocalize it. Some days are better than others. I've been really resentful of the process. Exercising, eating, my schedule, all of it. This weekend was especially awful.

I've dealt with depression for years, but I have never been officially diagnosed. All weekend I was feeling kind of down, and by Sunday night I was retreating from the world and hiding. I sat and wrote in my journal for a good while and my husband kept coming to check on me. He knew some of what i had been dealing with and thinking, but not the extent of it.

I have been super frustrated with my weight loss or lack there of. I've been maintaining in the same 5 pound range since November. In the last 2 weeks I've crept back over 300 pounds a couple of days. There's been a lot of reasons for all of this, that logically I know. But there comes a point when logic doesn't matter. Here's what's been going on the last couple months:
  • Finishing up physical therapy for my knee. I had pulled back from weight lifting so I didn't hurt myself more. I love weight lifting and can't stand cardio. Where I could only really do cardio, I didn't want to go to the gym.
  • I haven't been sleeping well. Even with my CPAP I've been restless at night. I finally figured out the pressures were too high and needed to call my pulmonologist.
  • My self worth was in the septic tank. I had a record going over and over in my head that I was worthless. There's no point in keeping trying as I have failed before and I was stupid to think that I could do it this time. And on and on and on. 
  • Continuing on from 3, flashbacks of being bullied and the horrible things I was called as a pre-teen and teen.

I had Marshall read my journal entry. All he did when he finished reading it was hug me tight and said he was never letting me go. No matter how much I wanted to pull away. Then we sat and talked.

He brought up a good point and that was my depression symptoms have gotten worse since I've gone off of the Contrave pill I was using. My obesity doctor and I decided I should go off it because it didn't seem to be helping much. I wasn't struggling with cravings or the like so I went off of it. Well, one of the reasons my doc chose that med is that one of the active ingredients is also a mild antidepressant. We had talked a bit about my personal history and he thought it would be good for me to be on one. Nothing major. Marshall pointed out other times this has happened, including times family members do it. So there's every chance this is a bit genetic as well. I felt so much better after talking with Marshall about it all. I had an appointment with Dr. Hendrick on Tuesday. I was originally going to reschedule it. I've finally been getting back to the gym and strength training again. I wanted to even have a week to say "This is where I'm at!" But in the discussion about depression I decided I needed to keep the appointment. If I'm starting to struggle this badly with depressive symptoms I need help. I can't put it off. So I went.

Dr. Hendrick was very supportive and helpful as usual. He wouldn't prescribe an anti-depressant for me. He wants me to work with my primary care physician on that. The ultimate goal is for me to get the weight off, be good at maintenance, and not see him anymore. So there's that. So here's the run down of my meeting with him.
  • I've been doing great at maintaining. He thinks that when i get down to a good weight my body is happy at, I should be able to maintain it with minimal struggles. With a caveat of what I already know. Maintaining is harder than losing in some respects. But he said I'm already showing skills to do well at maintaining my weight in stressful situations, so there is that. 
  • My eating habits are doing really well. He's really happy with the progress I've made on that front. With what I'm eating and when. What I do when confronted with unhealthy food situations. My job is a landmine of cookies, brownies, and sweets. It's awful. As he put it, it's borderline abuse. 
  • He wanted me to follow up with my primary doc about getting on a med and talk about other treatment options. He warned me to be careful of talk therapy. It means digging up messy emotions that could trigger emotional binge eating, which we don't need. 
  • I also needed to get my cpap pressures changed so I can get good sleep at night. 
  • He's very hopeful for me and was very happy I came in and asked for help. He also said I'm really fragile right now. 

So I saw my primary doc today and we had a good chat. She put me on the same med as in contrave, but at a lower dose to get started. Luckily the med I'm on is one of the few that doesn't usually cause weight gain. I go back in 3 weeks for a follow-up and see if I need to see a counselor. She was very empathetic and understanding. She also agreed with Dr. Hendrick about going into counseling with caution.

I also called my pulmonologist. I will say my CPAP is awesome. He was able to remotely adjust the settings so I didn't need to go in and see him. He did have his nurse ask me if I had lost more weight since I was in for my 6 month visit in October. I'm down maybe another 5-10 pounds. Turns out he has the pressures set pretty much as low as they can go. I have a follow up in 3 weeks to see him too. I'm hoping that this is good news and I may be getting off my cpap. We'll see though!

I don't have an official diagnosis of depression, but I'm on a low-dose antidepressant. I hope this helps. I have felt so crappy and apathetic the last few weeks and I'm over it. The last few days have been better. Not perfect, but better. It helps I've been able to get back into strength training. I've been taking it really easy so I don't overdo it and hurt myself again. So I started back at squatting 65 pounds last week and I'm already up to 85 pounds this week. I'm hoping by the end of the month to be close to where I was. 150-ish pound squats, 65 pound bench press. Those are the two I remember for certain.

I will say this though. If you are having frequent bouts of self-doubt, lethargy, apathy or other depressive symptoms. See your doctor. It doesn't matter if it's weight related or not. They can help. Your mental health and well being is far too important to ignore.