Returning to the doctor’s office for a 30 day follow-up consultation.

The first 30 days of taking medication for my depression has certainly had its ups & downs, but I can definitely say that I’m happy to be this far into the recovery process and I’m glad it isn’t the 18th of June anymore. A lot has changed and there are many things to be thankful for since that fateful weekend where I realised everything needed to change.

Tomorrow I’m going back to my GP for a one month check-up, to discuss the medication and to see if any adjustments need to be made. I’m also going to be picking up a new script, as I completed the first one, and I’m proud of myself because I didn’t miss any doses this month.

A couple of things I’d like to bring up with her:

  • My appetite is still greatly reduced, even after four weeks of taking the medication. I’m barely eating 1000 calories a day, which is resulting in rapid weight loss, which I know isn’t uncommon. Perhaps she will have some tips to help increase my appetite. I have noticed that my appetite comes and goes and can change pretty quickly.
  • The anxiety medication, in combination with the anti-depressant, has been rather debilitating at times. You really feel like you’re in a haze when you take it. I’ve greatly reduced when I take the anxiety medication, and have felt I can cope better at work and in general by not combining the two, unless I absolutely have to. Thankfully the anxiety medication is not meant to be taken each day, only when necessary, so I’m trying not to make it a crutch. There is no point in “self medicating” with an anxiety tablet, similarly to how I would have done with sugar or alcohol in the past. Solve the problem, don’t change the means to an end only.
  • I’d like to discuss if she believes the medication has kicked in yet. I’m told it takes between 4 and 6 weeks and while I do feel better, I’ve also made some drastic lifestyle changes, like only eating takeaways once in the last month, and cutting alcohol out of my diet. Do I feel visibly better? I definitely feel better than a month ago. Am I able to cope a little better? Definitely. Is it a drastic change that would have happened without the medication? Doubtful, but I’m not feeling amazingly better, just incrementally so. Perhaps that’s how it works, I don’t know.

I’m definitely more relaxed about the appointment than I was going for the first time, and a part of me can’t believe that it’s already been a month since my breakdown. Things can only look up from here, and I’m proud of the progress I’ve made in a short space of time. I am still committed to seeing the medication through for at least six months and would be interested to hear if she feels I should be changing medication or not. I don’t think the dosage is incorrect, but perhaps I’m not on the right kind of medication and she has something that will help to increase my appetite. I have to be honest, that I’m not too keen to experiment that much and may ask to just carry on with the current meds for at least one more month, before looking at adjustments. I’m making strides in the right direction. Let’s see how it goes!

Conrad was here.

 

Going back to work two weeks after I was diagnosed with depression.

Or so I hope. I’m doing everything I can today to get myself into the right headspace before my alarm goes off tomorrow. I did my best to set aside two hours today to get to some life admin, including going out to buy groceries, buying a few overdue birthday presents (I had three friends celebrate their birthdays in the last two weeks while I was out of action) and throwing in the washing. I guess a major plus is that two weeks ago today I was in such a bad state that I spent the whole day in bed, weighed down by my depression, unable to even do something as simple as a load of washing. Getting to it today has got to count for some kind of progress over and above every now and then feeling lighter and laughing a bit more spontaneously than usual over the last couple of days. There are definitely some baby steps in the right direction.

Let me clarify that there is no outside pressure for me to return to work tomorrow, it’s simply that I feel guilt and pressure for already being away from ongoing projects for two weeks. The friends who visited me on my birthday on Friday all reiterated that I should take as much time as I need and I’m being stubborn and finding it hard to listen to them. Friday was a euphoric day of sorts, turning a new leaf and starting a new chapter as I kicked off my 30’s. In a way my mind tricked me into thinking I was further along than I was as a result of the amazing day, and I did feel a bit of a dip yesterday once all the fuss was over.

Full disclosure – this morning, as much as I did all the tasks I mentioned at the start of the post, it took me until noon to get up from bed. Noon. Sure, the win for the day is that I got up at all, but it’s still a little daunting to realise that recovery from depression really is a day-to-day process and it is something you have very little (if any) control over. This is not just something I can take a few pills for and hope for the best. As I’ve mentioned previously, it’s a lifestyle change, it’s making smarter decisions about what I’m putting into my body and constantly checking in with myself about where my mental health is at. I’m now at the 14 day mark in terms of being on medication, so apparently I’m meant to feel better by now, and in a way I do, but I must say it was also extremely exhausting being back out in public and I struggled to enjoy what I was doing – I had to go into militant get it done mode just to get through my errands, earphones in and not really wanting to talk to anyone.

So how am I feeling about going back to work tomorrow? Scared. It will be the first time I’m facing everyone after admitting my diagnosis publicly and I’m sure people have been talking about it. I’m not worried about how anyone will react towards me, I’m more worried about how I’ll react being around everyone again. As you can tell, I still find it very overwhelming being in loud and busy spaces and I worry that it may all be a little bit overwhelming. I think the approach has to be different. I can’t go back and expect to perform at the same level of intensity and efficiency as I’m used to. I have to adjust my thinking. By operating at 150% I got to breaking point in the first place. I’ll need to start prioritising tasks based on a slower schedule and working my way back into what can be quite a high pressure (high performing) team environment. At least this time around I’m armed with the knowledge that nothing trumps my mental health, and I’ll slowly start practicing saying no to meetings and projects that I know will be too taxing in that sense.

That said, there’s also no better time than the present to pull the bandaid off. I have to be open to fact that recovery from depression is not a linear process and doesn’t slowly go from bad to good to great in a straight line. There are good days and there are bad days. I’ll have a lot more of both and it’s something I’ll have to get used to living with. All I can do is try my best, and as a good friend of mine told me, “just show up”. Gonna do my best. 

Conrad was here.

 

Ten days after my depression diagnosis, and I’m out of the house this morning.

It’s been ten days since my depression diagnosis and this morning I find myself outside of the house, at a coffee shop around the corner from where I live. This is good news, no wait, great news, as yesterday I struggled to get up from bed, and I barely managed to get myself to a grocery store by 5pm. My landlord knocked on my door to remind me that it was important for me to get out of the house and I had to remind her that while I appreciate the sentiment, there are going to be good and bad days with this thing nasty thing called depression.

Over the last few days, I’ve had two noticeable spells of my mood lifting somewhat – the first, while watching a movie two nights ago, where I found myself spontaneously laughing at one or two of the scenes. The second, was on a phone call with my best friend, who lives about a two hour flight away from me. I don’t even recall what we were laughing about, but we were both in fits for a few minutes, which was a good feeling. That’s one of the side-effects of the medication, not really being all too present (I can’t recall much of what I’ve been talking to people about over the last few days) and feeling like your mind is in a bit of a haze. I equate the feeling to the way Hogwarts looked at the start of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. You know, when Snape was headmaster. Misty, hazy, odd, but eerily calm in a way too.

So what was I expecting? These are anti-depressants after all. I didn’t have many expectations of what they would do to me, considering it’s my first time being on a medication like this, but I did expect to start feeling a little bit weird, which is exactly what has happened. Over the past few days, I’ve had to navigate between days where I’ve felt nauseous and unable to stomach much food, to days where my body seems to be more ravenous than usual. I’ve been meticulous about keeping a healthy diet, and not giving into the temptation to indulge in sugary, processed food, and subsequently sending me into a further spiral. I’m still adamant about giving my body the best possible chance to adapt to the meds and am also aware that a lot of rest is exactly what the doctor ordered.

As I’ve mentioned before, my doctor said it would take about two weeks for the medication to start doing its thing, so perhaps I simply am not feeling the effects yet. It’s really hard to tell if I’m feeling better because I’m getting my strength back and starting to tackle things, or if there is a physiological change. Both are probably closely interlinked. I’m told by friends who have gone through this, that one day I’ll just realise that I’m feeling better, it won’t arrive in a straight line, I won’t just wake up and be OK. So many people expect an anti-depressant to be a “fix” and it simply isn’t that. I watched a video on Youtube recently where someone referred to it as “one of the tools” you use to get your mental health back to a good place. I like the sound of that – it works in conjunction with other lifestyle changes. And I’m making a lot of those.

For now, as difficult as it is to sit in a crowded restaurant (the noise is still just as debilitating as when I went for breakfast with my friend last weekend), I’ve at least got my headphones in, I’m sipping on a delicious cup of cappuccino, I’ve showed up and gotten out of the house, out of my head, and crawled a few more baby steps in the right direction.

Conrad was here.

 

 

 

Sorry birthday plans, dealing with my depression is priority #1 now.

I’m turning 30 in a few days, and while I’ve been adamant about not making big plans this year, things have naturally cropped up as I have good people in my life.

That in itself is a revelation, as for the longest time my depression had been trying to convince me that nobody cared or would be interested in celebrating with me. Things must slowly be starting to tick over again, which feels like a big deal as I write this.

I initially had plans of throwing a big 80’s themed bash, which changed to a small birthday drinks, which changed to no plans at all, which changed to getting on a flight to go see my best friend, which changed to having my best friend fly here to come stay with me for the weekend, which changed to DROP EVERYTHING, YOU NEED TO DEAL WITH YOUR DEPRESSION.

My diagnosis effectively put everything on hold. Not because I don’t want to see anybody. Not because I don’t want to celebrate a milestone in my life (I threw two 21st birthday parties, in different cities), but simply because dealing with my depression is now priority #1. Work, clients, buying a new jersey, doing laundry, whatever… all of this is now secondary.

I had been toying with the idea of going back to work this week, simply because I know there are plans for them to bake me a cake, and honestly put, it would be so lovely to be surrounded by the positive energy on the day. I am however also well aware that getting that, would mean a trade off in terms of getting back into the swing of things at work, in a time when not only my body is still adjusting to the anti-depressants (see previous post) but where I simply am not operating at full mental capacity for work tasks and to show up for my employer in the way I would be comfortable knowing I can do my best work. As a result I will be taking more time off, until at least the 2nd of July.

The allure to be distracted, even in a week like this one, is huge, but I am proud that I am putting some checkpoints in place to make sure the recovery process continues and that I keep building on the momentum I’ve generated so far. I’m starting therapy this week, which will be a big win, I just know it. I had also initially gotten annual leave approved for two weeks (2 – 16 July) and those plans have been put on hold, as I know that going away or changing up my routine now, will definitely detract from what I need to do now. I also can’t go away when I’ve just started therapy, it simply does not make any sense. It’s all about just taking things a day at a time and putting your best foot forward. Here’s hoping I’ll look back at this post with a smile on my face one day.

Conrad was here.

The first social commitment after my depression diagnosis was unexpectedly difficult.

It wasn’t because I was in bad company, that’s for sure.

A friend of mind had travelled over an hour to come see me. See, she had been away for a week, and in fact wanted to meet up at my place and bring some food. Proud as always, I decided to rather schedule a breakfast for us at a nearby coffee shop, not really thinking it would be too difficult to sit through a meal and a nice chat about everything that had gone down in the last week. I also wanted an excuse to get out of the house early in the morning, and to prove to myself I could do it with minimal fuss.

Little did I know my body wasn’t going to be playing along. Firstly, she was running a bit late, so I ordered a cappuccino while waiting. Without even thinking about it, I ordered a refill, which definitely meant the experience was made a little bit harder than it should have been. Caffeine, coupled with the meds, and a loud, crowded environment, was not a good combination and I felt instantly overwhelmed. I’ve felt this in the past, and now know that I need to be careful with caffeine, really just limiting myself to one cup whenever I am in a social setting. I’ve completely given up on instant coffee which is a good thing.

I was so happy to see her when she arrived, but honestly speaking, I couldn’t hear a word she was saying over the coffee grinder, something that wouldn’t usually be a problem, but I was not able to zone out of it and found myself particularly sensitive to all the noises around us. I’m told this is part of what the medication does and is something I’ll need to get used to. It got to a point where I couldn’t concentrate on what she was saying, so I asked if we could rather move to an outside table where it was seemingly more quiet.

Little did I know that it would be worse outside, with bustling shopping trolleys coming through the doors every few seconds (there is a big supermarket next to this coffee shop) and generally people were streaming in and out, considering it is the weekend and everyone is doing their weekly shopping. I struggled so much to concentrate and had to work very hard to stay with the conversation – a first for me. For someone who is usually a champion listener, this was a first and a very surreal experience. It was another reminder that there will be a readjustment period and that life is and will continue to be a lot different now that I’m taking medication for my depression and anxiety.

Speaking of anxiety, it was absolutely through the roof, and I’m sure the caffeine didn’t help. I could hardly sit still and my palms were continuously sweaty. I’m not sure what I was so worried about, but I had in fact taken some anti-anxiety medication before I left, and thought that it would help. I had no apprehension about meeting up with this friend – in fact, she is someone I’ve opened up to a lot in the last nine months – so it was more about the general environment and having to be back in a social setting, with a lot of unpredictable elements.

While the bad service from the restaurant didn’t help the situation, I was most surprised by the fact that by the time my breakfast arrived, I had completely lost my appetite, and ate only a slice of toast and a bit of scrambled eggs. I felt immediately nauseous and didn’t really know what to make of this, as I had only eaten a banana first thing in the morning and in normal circumstances would be quite ravenous at 11am. When the waiter asked if I wanted to take my leftovers home, I told him that I was feeling ill and not up to eating, possibly more to spare the feelings of the chef, I don’t know. The bottom line was I was going to be sick if I ate it, now or later.

All-in-all it was wonderful to catch up with my friend, but I realised that things are going to start being different now following my diagnosis. It’s not as straightforward for me to make plans with people, as I’ll always need to be managing what the medication may do to me on a given day, and also be mindful of my anxiety levels, which, at times, feel high just for the sake of it, with little or no explanation why. The doctor did warn me that this would happen in the first few weeks, so hopefully it’s not a long term side effect.

Today was a good lesson about new limitations and how I need to become more mindful of the fact that some things need to be approached with a bit more caution. I am however really glad I got out today. One day at a time, we will get there.

Conrad was here.

Five ridiculous things my depression made me do that made me realise I needed to get help.

We’re not talking major life events or anything here, I’ll save those stories for another day. These are a few small things that made me more aware of the fact that I needed to get professional help and that from a mental health standpoint things were starting to move in the wrong direction.

  1. I bought and ate a sandwich at work, and without even thinking put the plastic wrapper it came in inside my water bottle. I don’t know why and I have no memory of this, perhaps I wanted to throw it away when I refilled my bottle. Problem is I didn’t do it right away, and ended up refilling the bottle, only to find the plastic wrapper inside the bottle at the end of the day when I refilled again. Pretty strange and fairly gross that I drank from the bottle all day.
  2. One night I was doing dishes at home and walked over to the cupboard to grab something, only to literally find myself staring inside the cupboard for 10 minutes, trying to figure out what I was looking for. I still don’t know what I was trying to get and it was incredibly frustrating and demoralising.
  3. Sitting at a restaurant, and picking up salt to put on my scrambled egg, only to be distracted by my phone vibrating, and putting it down. When I realised I hadn’t used the salt (just a few seconds later), I grabbed the pepper instead, and threw that on, only to realise the salt was still right in front of me. I know, I know, at least it was pepper, but it could just as well have been sugar, or one of the other condiments on the table.
  4. Thinking back now, I also recall throwing boiling water into my cereal rather than in my coffee cup one morning last year. I could at least laugh at this one a little and even joked about it to my colleagues at some point, but still, it had to have been a way for my mind to start telling me that I was starting to run on empty.
  5. A friend at work asked if she could drive behind me to a pub we were all going to after work on a Friday. I left the office with full intentions to wait for her outside so she could get into her car and follow me, but as I drove past I just carried on driving, even waving goodbye to her in my rear view mirror, completely oblivious that we had just made plans for her to drive behind me. That one I will however attribute to a bit of Friday brain, but still rather alarming if you consider that most of my friends refer to me as someone they can always depend on. I didn’t know what to say to her when we got to the pub, hell, I only recalled that I had made the promise once she had brought it up!

On the surface these five things don’t seem to be too serious, but in essence the forgetfulness and general strange behaviour was a strong indicator that something was not quite right, especially for a highly driven, type A personality such as myself. Luckily, I can reflect on these experience now from a point of recovery, keeping in mind that I’ll be able to spot this kind of behaviour in future, which will hopefully give me a little bit more power and time to make changes when I exhibit similar symptoms during the ebbs and flows of life in general.

Have you experienced something similar? If so, please consider speaking to someone about it and reach out to a medical professional if you’re at a point where it is becoming debilitating, regardless of which which sphere of your life it is happening in.

Conrad was here.

Why I sent my ex-fiance a letter about my depression yesterday.

The idea of reaching out had been playing on my mind for a few days, not only because I’ve come to the realisation that my depression has been going on for longer than the six months since we split, but because I genuinely believe we both suffered from the disease for the greater part of our relationship, and especially so from a couple of months after we got engaged.

I had spent so much of the last year of the relationship pushing my fiance to get help, following a retrenchment and an immediate depressive spell which emerged right at the start of 2017. Of course I found it easy to dish out the advice, while not necessary turning the mirror around and looking at all the ways my depression had grown silently stronger over time, and how it was slowly starting to take over my life. I simply didn’t have the time or capacity; I had just left a stable corporate job and started my own business, plus we had just moved into a new home together and were on the verge of getting a puppy. Yet I continued, and in a way, focused all my energy outward, without taking a minute to breathe, without pausing and reflecting properly on what I was busy doing to myself.

So why did I reach out to someone I haven’t seen since December? To someone who made a decision to block me on all social media? Because someone has to. I reached out because I’m not sure anyone else will start the conversation.

So I sent along some details about my experience with depression this year. I discussed how I realised I had been depressed all through our relationship (and even in the years before that), and offered guidance as to how to navigate the treatment process, should there be a willingness pursue it. I talked about my suicidal thoughts and about learning more about extended family members who also suffered from mental illnesses.

Will I get a response? I doubt it. Does that matter? No. But perhaps there will come a time when it will make sense, perhaps later it will switch a lightbulb on, when the time is right. It doesn’t have to be today, tomorrow or even next year. Until then, the conversation continues, and I’d like to believe that doing the right thing – even when it’s not necessarily an easy thing to do – is the way to go. Sometimes showing up for someone – regardless of your history or any baggage – can make all the difference.

Conrad was here.

How I shared my depression diagnosis with 600 people.

In my early twenties, I went through the same social media mania all millennials went through when it first became a thing. As the years went on and my depression started to take a firm hold on my life, I slowly moved away from sharing updates, to the point where people would ask me “where are you?” when they bump into me in real life, as if my social media silence implied I wasn’t standing right in front of them right now. I had to hold back the urge to say “I’m standing right in front of you, dumbass!” a couple of times.

Yesterday I felt a compelling pull to open up to my Facebook circle about my depression diagnosis, especially as it was one of the better days and I had the strength to interact with others. This blog is in itself a platform for me to share my journey, but opening up and breaking down the stigma is something that starts at home. While I’ve had conversations with my family and core friends, I felt compelled to reach out and find out if there are others who have been suffering in silence, and the response was rather overwhelming. I’m still processing the reaction and taking in as much as I can from people sharing their stories of their own struggles, or the struggles of someone close to them. One friend messaged me to say “While I don’t know what it’s like myself, I can sympathise as a family member has suffered with depression for years, and I’ve seen what it can do to a person”. This kind of self-awareness and compassion is what anybody suffering with something major wants to hear and I felt a lot of love hearing that.

So here’s how I did it. If you’re reading this from somewhere around the world and it strikes a nerve with you, you can reach out to me directly via this page on the blog.

At the start of this week I was diagnosed with depression, something I knew was a long time coming, and something I’m now aware will be an obstacle I’ll have to deal with on a day-to-day basis moving forward. I’ve taken a couple of proactive steps in the right direction this week, including taking a break from work, seeking treatment with a GP, getting in touch with a therapist and joining a local depression support group in my area.

 

Over the past two weeks, I’ve had multiple conversations with people who are in a similar boat and are simply not coping with the pressures of modern life. In fact, just from a few small conversations, I have a list of nearly 20 people in my direct circle who suffer from anxiety and depression related problems, and pretty silently and secretly so. I’m sure there are many more. My message today is simple and clear. PLEASE REACH OUT. If you’re suffering, talk to someone about it. It took me a paralysing 40 hour stint in bed to realise that I needed to put my pride aside, have some honest conversations with colleagues, clients, friends and family, and to do something to get help before it’s too late.

 

As part of my recovery and as a therapeutic practice, I’ve created a blog which will detail my journey of living with, opening up about and breaking down the stigma attached to depression. If you’d like to read it and find out more about my story, pop me a private message and I’ll send you a link. If you’d just like to talk to someone about the disease or ask questions about the help I’m getting and how I went about it, then DM me too. I’m not an expert, but I’m learning and am happy to be an ear to anyone willing to reach out. Depression is a serious disease, and suicide is never an option. Let’s start having some real conversations about it.

Conrad was here.

The side effects I felt from anti-depressants during the first 5 days of treatment.

I’ve always been too proud to rely on medicine for longer than a couple of days. I’m reluctant to even take anything other than a Vitamin C effervescent when I have a cold. You always tell yourself that you’ll be able to take care of it, that your body will do its thing, but as I get closer to my 30th birthday, I’m more aware of the shortcomings of the human body and how injuries from my childhood can suddenly spring back up in the form of an ache or a pain that lingers for a little bit. Naturally, as someone who always felt they could just “deal with things”, the thought of going on an anti-depressant is not something I ever entertained. Friends would talk to me about their experiences, family members would hint that I should think about it, but even while I was in therapy in my early 20’s, it never crossed my mind as something I should explore. You can take care of your unhappiness on your own, Conrad. You don’t need anything or anyone else. You’re strong. This is the depression talking, and yet again my stubbornness did not allow me to seek out treatment for years on end, hoping I would eventually feel better. Skip forward to last week, where I found myself suddenly telling a family member “I don’t think I’ve been happy since 2011”. To which their apt response was “Well, isn’t it time to try something else?”

That conversation was 6 days before I managed to muster up the courage to go to a GP, and also 4 days before I crashed hard, spending 40 hours nearly paralysed and stuck in my own mind in bed. I’ve talked in other posts about the experience of going to the doctor and taking the anti-depressant for the first time, but I haven’t discussed what it has been doing to me.

I’m told most anti-depressants take anywhere from a week to two weeks to really kick in, and that I’ll simply start to feel better. I don’t know what that means, but I’ll be sure to write about it when I feel it, so I can understand it better. What I do know, is that the side effects have been fairly instant, and I wanted to document them while they are still fresh in my mind. I’m on day 5 of taking Nuzak, which I’m prescribed to take for a month, until July 18th, before discussing adjustments with my GP in a follow-up appointment. Overall it’s a 6 month commitment to take something, which I committed to upfront. I’ve also been given Stresam, which is an anti-anxiety medication, in case the anti-depressant causes heightened anxiety. “It’s got to get worse before it gets better” is all that comes to mind here.

I’d like to start by saying that the side effects have not been too debilitating too far, which I am fairly relieved about. I’m sure I’m merely scratching the surface at this stage, but these are still worth a mention as it gives a bit of an indication as to the early experiences with anti-depressants, especially for someone who has never been on anything. Everyone will have a different experience with medication and I’m not claiming these as universal. This is simply my experience so far.

The first side-effect that has been instantly obvious is a loss of appetite. I’ve started waking up and not feeling hungry at all. I have made a point to eat healthy since I started treatment, and have only managed two meals a day, a late breakfast and an early dinner. I have been put off by the thought of cereal, alcohol, chips, and anything that generally seems too processed. It’s almost like my body has gone into witness protection in a way, and I’m craving more fruit and veg, which isn’t a bad thing. This is a psychological shift too of course. If you take care of your body, your mind should slowly start to follow, or at least, that’s what I believe. I’d like to do everything possible to try and assist the medication to get me back into a decent state.

Another side effect that has been less welcome, is quite a strong headache. Similar to the one you will experience if you’re a coffee drinker and you go cold turkey (I’ve gone through this a few months ago so I know what it feels like). On day 2 I had a headache the entire day, and yesterday I only felt it when I took the Stresam capsule. I’m going to experiment a bit with it over the next few days, as perhaps the Stresam is causing the headache, both times it was rather instant. Regardless, these types of headaches are tough, and if I was at work, I’d need to take a break and have a lie down for a few minutes. Someone who hasn’t experienced them before may struggle a bit, but they also pass relatively quickly. The doctor also told me that I’m welcome to take any headache tablets if need be though the Panado’s haven’t done much to help them. I’m always rather uncomfortable with mixing three types of medications when my body isn’t used to even taking one.

The last side effect I’ve experienced is what I can only describe as a bit of a dazed look on my face. I seem a bit more pale than usual, and I have moments in the day where things start to feel a little more fuzzy. Not to the point where I wouldn’t be able to drive or function on a basic level, but this might be something tricky to navigate if I’m working on a strict deadline for a client. I’m going to keep an eye on it. I’m feeling it in particular about 30 minutes after taking the tablet in the morning. As the doctor insinuated, I’ve been operating at 150% for many years, and am now down to 120%, but I need to learn to be OK with just operating at 100%, or even 80%. Type A’s will understand what that is like.

I’m sure I’ll still go through a host of experiences and feelings as I navigate this new path, and I am excited to learn more about and to approach this journey with the “one day at a time” approach. The weekend is around the corner, which is a daunting prospect, considering how last weekend turned out, but I am going to take things one day at a time, and focus on reaching out to friends and family for support, where it’s possible to do so.

Conrad was here.

Finding a depression support group right on my doorstep.

As soon as I got home from the doctor, having just being diagnosed with depression, a brilliant 10 days before my 30th birthday, I had three immediate thoughts as I dropped my keys on the counter.

One – schedule your follow-up doctor’s appointment now. Like, right now. If you don’t do it, you probably won’t go. So I did. 18 July, I see you.

Two – take the damn pill. Just take it. Don’t overthink it.

And Three – there has got to be a support group nearby. There has got to be more people than me suffering with this thing in my area.

A quick Google search brought me to a Facebook Group that has been operating for a couple of years, aptly titled around the broader area I live in. If I like the page, my friends on Facebook will see I have depression. Who cares, Conrad, you actually DO have depression. The group is small, so it’s probably dead and I shouldn’t apply to join. Conrad, request to join, just do it. What if they tell me it’s all made up and that I am not depressed enough? A medical doctor diagnosed you with depression. You have it. It’s real, dude.

All of these thoughts and more raced through my head, and I still ended up only just managing to get enough courage to e-mail the group admin. I started the message off with “I was diagnosed with depression yesterday”, which surprised me. I hadn’t said it out loud, but had written it at least and I was very proud about that. “I am looking to join a support group in the area, when are you meeting?”, I asked.

Nobody is going to respond to you. Yes, they will, Conrad. The group probably only allows women in. No, they don’t. Depression affects everyone. You will have to drive so far to get there. Perhaps, but how about you find that out first. You’re wasting your time. Go to hell, depression.

*PING*

Response, featuring “I’m so glad that you reached out so quickly after your diagnosis”. Their next meeting is in 3 days, and if you’ll believe it, it’s taking place less than 1km from my house. Ask for help if you’re struggling, it’s out there, I promise.

Conrad was here.