Sunday, March 16, 2014

Seeds of  . . .

I planted seeds today. 

"Great, Amy," you say.  "That's wonderful, Ames," you say.  But really, you're likely wondering why this is important enough news that I'm breaking my months long blog silence.

Well, I'll tell you. I'm sure you'd love to know.

Most years, when spring, or even the hint of spring comes around, I want nothing more than to get my fingers in the dirt.  I want to be outside and enjoy the unique combination of wet earth, melting ice, and budding trees carried on the sun-warmed, yet snow-cooled breeze that is the smell of Spring. The scent that, to me, is green.  peace. hope.

Last year that didn't happen.  My husband took the dog to the dog park.  I stayed home and read.  My husband bought seed potatoes and planted them.  I stayed in the house, in the dark basement, binge-watching one television series or another.  The husband turned up the earth and planted seeds for cucumbers, sweet corn, and zucchini. I took a nap. A three-hour nap.

The world around me was greening, growing. I was not.  I was wallowing.  I went to the doctor.  He increased the dosage of my antidepressant*.

Summer went on.  My husband did things outdoors.  I could not motivate myself to plant anything.  I didn't get any seeds or flowers.  I didn't fill up any planters.  I took more naps.  More long naps.

In the fall, I started seeing a therapist.  I also started being "sick".  I'd been lacking vigor for quite some time.  My husband and I went to Seattle for a wedding anniversary vacation.  In making arrangements for a seaplane tour, I had to tell my husband how much I weighed.  He, good husband that he is, didn't say anything until we returned.  He expressed his concerns.  I acknowledged them.  We made a plan. I felt horrible about myself.

It got darker.  I got darker.  What had been a half day or so of being "sick" - headache, body ache, nausea - turned into days.  I left work early and came home and slept.  I didn't go to work at all, waking only enough to notify my boss that I wasn't coming in.  I made worse and worse choices about the foods that went into my mouth.  I became a shining example of Newton's first law: an object at rest tends to stay at rest.  I got bigger, weaker, more easily exhausted.

Rationally, I was aware that I was depressed and getting more depressed.  Rather than celebrating any successes I might have had, I spent more time thinking about how they could have been better, how I was such a failure.  I thought about oblivion - about not having to think or feel anything.  

I went back to the doctor.  He added another medication to the regimen.  He made a referral to a psychiatrist. I made an appointment.

In February, I first met with the psychiatrist.  He reduced the dosage of the current antidepressant and added another.  He advised me to keep up with the therapist and to get some exercise.

At the follow-up visit I surprised myself with the positive score on the standard depression evaluation tool.  Life started to get a little easier.  I started taking the stairs more often than the elevator.  I started taking walks now and again. It got a little easier to say no to poor food choices. 

This weekend I made plans to get things done and I got them done.  The husband I bought seeds.  We took the dog to the dog park twice.  I shampooed and brushed the dog. I'm feeling better. I'm making better choices.  I planted the seeds. of hope.  Of peace. 

* Here's where I tell you that I've been taking various antidepressants since around 2002.  Here's where I'll also tell you that while I have my issues, in general I have had a normal, stable existence.  Except. . . Except for what, at times, can be incapacitating depression.