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Seems like it's always either Limbo or Hell

Posted by University on April 7, 2007, at 21:20:00

Hi all,

I've been through three, severe depressions in my life. I'm now 37, and haven't had an episode since I was 27 (touch wood).

I've been on Prozac for 14 years, plus Klonopin PRN for anxiety (~.5mg every two weeks-not a lot). Also Ritalin 80mg/day for

ADD. Anyway, although I have not had a depression, per se, for over a decade, I have come close. My depressions are

triggered by loss, usually, and before each episode--or potential episode, I experience this chilling anxiety where it feels

as if my blood cools down; my extremities become tingly, and I literally have a sinking feeling--and abject, existential,

insufferable anxiety.

I have been able to--I believe--thwart many would-be depressions by taking an mg of clonazepam sublingually when I feel this

downward spiral. Doing so arrests the anxiety that, in my experience, is the "kindling" that becomes an inferno of

depression. In the past ten years, this has happened maybe twenty or thirty times, and the causes vary, but mostly it

happens after months of being careless about taking my Prozac; I wake up on a gloomy Sunday, feeling melancholic about

various things, and it comes over me like a wave of prickly pins of panic.

I am VERY grateful that clonazepam has been the saving grace it has seemed to be in these situations. Moreover, it only ever

takes a 1mg tablet to thwart the spiral; I never feel it "wear off," because, I suppose, by the time that drug's long

half-life has approached, I am in a different state of mind. Indeed, almost always, these would-be depression are blessings.

That is, they always give me the kick in the pants I need to address things in my life that certainly contribute to my

susceptibility to depression. For example, the last time it happened, theh horror of coming so close to depression made me

swallow the pride that had been preventing me from talking things out with a family member by whom I felt hurt and neglected.

Another time, the close-call motivated me to get more serious about looking for a new job (as I hate my current one). But,

as thankful as I am that I am spared full-on depression, I also lament the all the briefness of panicky motivation that the

potential depression caused. There's nothing like that kind of motivation for me--it makes me do things I know I should, but

would otherwise not. It's as if my life carries on in a confining--but cool--frying pan, and I am "happy" to stay there in

spite of my unhappiness. Then, when a depression threatens, it's as if the burner is turned on; I scramble and jump and do

whatever it takes to escape. Sometimes I question how "lucky" I really am, being so capable of extinguishing the heat (with

clonazepam). But I always conclude that I'd rather live the rest of my life in my bland, relatively unhappy, cool pan, than

to risk a depression that could ruin me completely.

Yes, very all-or-nothing, but I honestly don't feel as if made or make it this way. This is how my "wellness" has always

been; absolutely utopian compared to depression, but achingly deficient of joy, risk, passion, and all of the things that

make life what it probably ought to be. I've posted about this before over the years, and quite naturally have gotten advice

about considering changing ADs. But tampering with the drug that has ostensibly kept depression at bay for so long is

unthinkable. So, perhaps I have made my own jail--my own all-or-nothing situation. I don't know. The one bit of advice I

remember being so sensible was from someone whose situation was similar to mine. He said that he'd sometimes titrate down

his Prozac for a time--until he was close enough to the fire to get motivated/passionate/serious/committed but not so close

that he'd be consumed by the flames. And I suppose when I "forget" to take my Prozac many times a month, that I am trying to

do what he advised.

I had no intention of writing all of this! For the record, I'd been in psychotherapy for 11 years, but stopped going many

years ago. I'm considering that route again, too, but wanted to post here, too.

One thing that really scares me is that I suspect that my "cool pan" --aside from being a joyless place--is not even

something on which I can always depend. That is, when and if a "real" trauma hits me (death of a loved one, etc.), I don't

think a tablet of klonopin under my tongue and taking my prozac every day would prevent my grief from segueing into a

hellish, sunless depression.

Anything anyone might have to say is welcomed--even if it's of the "you lazy, self-indugent cad" variety. I am just so tired

of being in this comfortable but souless limbo.





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