This shit’s hard.

I’ll just say it: this getting off the antidepressants thing is going less than well.

This weekend, Urban did all the housework. I cooked a little bit, but that was about it. Other than that, I kept shouting at the kids for no apparent reason (why do they have to talk when they’re in the same room as me?) and burst to tears for pretty much every reason imaginable. Just an example: on Saturday, I got up hungry. Of course, Urban – who sleeps more hours than I do – wasn’t awake yet, so I made the considerable – for a mentally and emotionally exhausted person – effort of getting dressed and going to the bakery to get breakfast rolls (that’s how Germans roll – pun intended). When I came back, Urban had picked some dandelions and clover from the garden for the guinea pigs.

I burst into tears. I’m talking inconsolable bawling here, not just your garden-variety crying. “You care more about the piggies than you care about me! I’m so hungry, but the first thing you do is go out to the garden and pick weeds for the piggies!”

What could the poor man do? On Sunday, he made me pancakes.

Today, the motivation (and my physical well-being) fell to a low: even though I slept reasonably well (okay, that means “well for my standards” – I did cry in bed, as is often the case) and longer than usual, by three in the afternoon I was exhausted. I took a nap and had to force myself to get up three hours later. I sat and read. The thought of tomorrow – when Urban has to work and I’ll be here with two kids who have questions and fight all the time and ask for things – almost makes me want to cry.

Then again, I do cry a lot. It never really stopped.

I think I have to be realistic here. I didn’t think I had depression last year, before I started taking the meds, but I was in a state of constant hyper-arousal, a frantic mental flailing for survival, complete with chronic stress. Now, things have calmed down. I’m in therapy. I’ve figured out what’s wrong with me, with my husband, with my children. I’m tackling a lot of these issues, hard and overwhelming though the whole process is. And I’m sliding into a full-blown depression.

If you know me (and chances are, you don’t, so let me rephrase) – if you knew me, you’d know my number one skill is solving problems. This is just a new puzzle I have to solve. What to do?

The first thing I did today was to take half a SSRI pill. It’s double the dose I was taking two weeks ago, but still half of what I took for most of 2020. I’ll see how tomorrow goes and decide if I’ll continue, how often, and for how long. By this point, I know how to ease in and out of this.

The second step: get vaccinated. Of course it’s been hard for me to get vaccinated, because what has ever not been hard? It would almost be a shame if life gave me something without a considerable fight, be it bodily health, mental health, children, friends, or a sense of self-value. The feeling continues to be: I exist solely to make things easy for others.

(Of course, this is partly the depression speaking. Some things do come easy for me. Writing comes easy. Let’s see when I’ll be in the mental state to continue writing my books. I just finished a 60-thousand-word memoir, but that’s not getting published. It’s just for me.)

Third step: binge eating. Yes, I’m relapsing, after a full year of doing great on that front. To be honest, I’m not too worried about that – it has been proven that this, to me at least, is a purely emotional and mental health issue. Once I get this latest bout of depression under control, I think the binge eating will recede again into the background, where it belongs.

And there are some other issues that need to be taken care of; issues of the emotional persuasion that have been dragging on for way too long. Those are the hard ones. They’ll take months, if I’m lucky. The hope is, the moment in time is not far away when, after the tribulations of the past twenty-one years, I’ll be able to live again.

Fingers crossed.

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