I am going to be a little transparent in my post today. I am an open book anyway but some topics are harder than others to talk about or I should say to admit weakness in. I have been a bit incognito lately and all I can say about that is depression sucks! Having depression on top of CF is no fun at all. Depression and CF go hand in hand though and why wouldn’t they, right? Having an incurable progressive genetic disease can tend to make one depressed at times or all the time depending on the life situation.
My depression has been kicking my butt lately. Here is some background about my depression. Yes, I have been diagnosed with clinical depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Throw in situational depression and I have a roller coaster of emotions at times. I started taking an anti-depressant when I was 16. I was pretty sick around that time and couldn’t get myself over the hump emotionally/mentally. Fast forward a few years and I had quit taking the anti-depressant because I was managing “okay.” Then came my divorce and all that goes along with that. I took a shot to my emotional/mental health with that one. I tried a few different medicines and found one that worked well. Fast forward another 5+ years and my insurance changed coverage for the medicine I was taking. They would no longer cover the name brand but only the generic. I took the generic and noticed within a few days a significant difference in my depression symptoms, as did my husband. My doctor tried getting the name brand covered with a prior authorization or some other magic with no luck. The insurance company stated that if I had “side effects/it did not work” then the name brand wouldn’t either which is not true obviously. This meant that I would be paying out of pocket for the medicine which was not cheap, even with a discount from the pharmaceutical company that makes it.
I did the whole paying out of pocket for it for almost a year and got tired of paying for it since it was expensive. I then spoke to my psych doc about finding another medicine that would possibly work in place of it. I tapered off of the name brand medicine over about 2 and a half months. The taper was going great and then I got to the last week of a very low dose and then about 2 days off of it I was miserable. I hoped to be off of all anti-depressants for a few weeks to give my body some time to get “cleared out.” This particular name brand medicine is one of the hardest to get off of due to side effects/withdraws. I have now been trying different meds for about a year with no luck.
Here I am in a dilemma of what to do now that my depression has been brutal lately. Granted, I have had a lot of life changes in the last 7.5 months with the move to Tennessee and a new hospital for all my medical care with CF, Psych, GYN, etc. I have a hard time with change but I feel I have managed decently enough with all that has changed. Of course the winter has been a long one and my depression gets worse in the winter. I was excited for a milder winter in TN to hopefully avoid major depression in the winter. The locals tell us this type of winter happens once every 20 years. Well thank you TN for doing this on our first winter here. Granted we only got around maybe 10 inches total of snow so far this winter. That is my non meteorological educated guesstimate of snowfall total of course…haha. I just HATE cold weather with a passion and I NEED sunshine to survive.
Oh yeah, back to the dilemma…I will be speaking with my psych doc about possibly going back to the name brand medicine and paying out of pocket for it for the simple fact it worked for me for 5+ years. I am thinking I am willing to pay the price for sanity. It just plain sucks that a medicine that helps me cost so much when there are other medicines that I have tried and haven’t worked.
With all that said….depression sucks! Oh wait, I think I already said that. I am pushing myself and trying my best to get out of bed everyday and be productive, even if it means just taking the dogs out for a walk, cleaning, laundry, etc. I don’t slack on my CF stuff like breathing treatments and IVs, which I am on right now. Those things are must do’s, even when I don’t want to. It is not easy but I press on.
It is hard for others to understand what depression and mental illness really is and how it feels. You want so badly to just snap out of it and get so frustrated that you can’t. It is something you have no control over. There are people who think that depression is all an act and for some it may be but for those of us who have been diagnosed it is no joke. It is hard for the family and friends of people with depression because they don’t know how to help you. Honestly there isn’t much you can do but be there when they are ready to reach out. Keep checking in on them, letting them know you care and are there if they need you. Depression is not easy on any side of the equation. I know those on the outside feel helpless but so do the people dealing with the depression day in and day out. I hang in there for the people around me and because I am stubborn and won’t give up.
Until next time…