On this blog I’ve chronicled my bouts with depression and in particular my downward spiral that led to a suicide attempt and a three-day stay in a psychiatric hospital. When I got help–therapy and the right medication–I felt like I had gotten some of my life back. I didn’t walk around feeling sad and heavy all the time.
But I was still tired, still struggling to function. So I drank a lot of caffeinated drinks. For a while Dr. Pepper was having a sweepstakes where a code from the bottle cap might win you a car or some money. I would just throw the caps into a drawer in my office desk. There must be at least 50 bottle caps in there.
In short, I have felt tired most of the time for a very long time. Yes, the seroquel was helping me sleep at night, but I was still tired. And scatterbrained, and easily distracted.
Turns out there was a reason for that. For about five years, my cousin, who is a nurse practioner specializing in psychiatry, has been pestering me to get treatment for ADD. She has it, and so do quite a few people in our extended family (I suspect my father has it, too). She said I have all the classic signs.
A few weeks ago she visited us and spent most of a Sunday at our house. The entire visit, she kept coming back to that subject. So I agreed to go see a psychiatrist to be evaluated. Long story short, she was right. I started on medication last week, and I feel so much better.
The first thing I noticed was that I wasn’t tired (of course, that’s because I’m taking what is essentially an amphetamine), but I didn’t even want the caffeine. I’ve gone from probably two liters of diet coke a day to none, with no withdrawal. I’m convinced that it wasn’t so much addiction but exhaustion that was driving me to drink so much coke.
I also noticed that my thought processes were clearer, maybe a little more linear. But I’ve also learned that I have to concentrate and focus on getting things done; but then the good news is that I actually can focus and concentrate.
Meetings, both at work and at church, have long been ordeals for me. I would sit and squirm, just waiting for the meeting to be over with, and when at work they would open up for questions at the end, I would silently pray that no one have any questions. Last week I sat through a quarterly meeting without zoning out, without squirming and fidgeting. And I even watched a few conference talks without falling asleep.
I feel like I’m alive again for the first time in so long. It’s not like a euphoria but just sort of a relief to know that I don’t have to feel like I did, that I can function like a reasonably normal person.
It’s interesting that some people who know me from various LDS-related web boards have used words such as “deceptive,” “faux-innocent,” and “two-faced” to describe me. I was thinking about that this morning, that my thoughts jump around so much that I’ve tended to write whatever it was I was thinking at the moment, and those thoughts differed wildly. But if nothing else, I have never tried to deceive anyone or hide my feelings; on the contrary, I’m far too open with my feelings, which I think has led people to say those things about me. But it doesn’t matter what others think. I know who I am.
I caught a little of general conference yesterday. I watched Jeffrey Holland’s talk while I was helping my daughter make bread in the kitchen. Elder Holland’s talk made me want to believe more than I have in a very long time. I wouldn’t say I’ve crawled over the Book of Mormon, as it was years before I left the church that I’d made my peace with its not being an actual historical record, but then that’s beside the point. I really did ache for that faith I once had, and I felt keenly the loss of it.
After the talk was over, I went into my bedroom, where my wife had been watching conference. She was weeping, and I put my arms around her and held her and told her how sorry I am for putting her through what I have. She said that she was crying because she hadn’t felt the spirit that strongly in a long time. But she did acknowledge how much it has hurt to see me take the path I have taken.
She said last night that I seem to have gotten my life back, like I’m alive again in a way I haven’t been in a long time. She’s right. I feel like I am finally in a place where I can start putting the pieces of my life back together.