I have spent a great deal of time on this blog and elsewhere talking about my recovery and how I live in relative peace with my alters. What I haven’t discussed is my co-occurring diagnosis of major depression.
A Double Whammy
It is not unusual for people who have been victims of severe childhood trauma to experience depression. Lord knows it has cost enough lives. I’ve had depressive symptoms since I was at least seven, and perhaps younger. My pediatrician began treating me for depressive symptoms when I was six with the only drug available at that time, Phenobarbital. One month before my seventh birthday I attempted suicide. Yes, depression has killed many, many good people.
So, I live with the double whammy of major depression and dissociative identity disorder.
What does it feel like live with both these debilitating disorders?
It feels like pure hell.
Getting up in the morning feels like you are pulling yourself up a steep cliff with no rope. You can’t speak with anyone, and if you do you are not civil. You ache all over your body and feel dark and alone.
If you are like myself and live with DID, the symptoms of that diagnosis can become worse. I experience more lost time and disorientation. I have a very hard time keeping track of the day and even the year.
I do not feel like this all the time anymore. As I have already stated, most of the time my depression is under control, but there is a certain time of the year when I fall into a deep, dark hole. This has gone on my entire life.
There Is A Pattern
For many years I didn’t understand the pattern. Then last year I began seeing a new therapist and psychiatrist who began to look at my records and they noticed a pattern that I had been totally unaware of, I would fall into the abyss in the spring.
Now that may seem counterintuitive. Aren’t the spring months when people begin to feel better not worse?
My therapist challenged me to make a list of major events that occurred between March and July in my life. To my amazement the list was long and they all seemed to have occurred in the spring. There were many deaths, sicknesses and other things that had occurred in spring throughout my life.
When I showed my list to my therapist at my next visit, she shared it with my psychiatrist. His first words were, “Now we have ammunition to fight with.” What he meant was we could begin in late February or early March to increase my antidepressant medication to ward off the increase of depression that was sure to come.
This morning I awoke feeling horrible. I am depressed and moody. It’s time for me to see my psychiatrist.
I guess the point I wanted to make with this entry is that depression, even when it is founded in severe trauma, does not have to be a death sentence or ruin your life.
Even if you also live with DID. There are no magic pills, but the correct antidepressant can help enormously.
One thing I wanted to make my readers aware of is the genetic testing that can now be done to find out which medications will work best with your body. These tests are available to psychiatrists, and Medicare and Medicaid will pay for them if your doctor gives a qualifying diagnosis. They swab the inside of your cheeks, then mail the swabs to a lab. Within a few days you get the results. When I received my results, they said that many of the drugs I had taken in the past were contraindicated for my body makeup. The list of things that would help was only three drugs long!
“You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without want and a grief. But rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound.” – Khalil Gibran