Thursday, April 18, 2013

Depression, anxiety and endometriosis

courtesy of Hash
Lately I have been feeling so good (can you tell from all these happy posts???). I've still ended up crying in a heap more than a few times in the last few weeks, but I finally feel like my peppy self again.

This is a huge contrast to last year. Last year I was done. Completely sucked dry of all my life energy. I had absolutely zero self confidence and I cried every day. The depression and anxiety showed itself different ways - sometimes it manifested through insomnia and waking up with panic attacks, sometimes it was a mood so low that I had to leave work and sit and cry in the car for a couple of hours so as to not openly weep in front of everyone. For no reason at all. Sometimes I felt numb. Nothing at all. Sometimes I ignored calls, emails and text messages from those I loved the most because I just couldn't handle it. The thing that finally got me to the doctor was the insomnia, and the thing that finally got me to try anti-depressants was the crying every day (and my parents who were genuinely worried after I called them crying and incomprehensible every single day).

It was horrible. I hope I never have to go through that again. I couldn't write about it properly (particularly mentioning the anti-depressants) at the time because I didn't know how to. And I was scared. Somehow I was fine with shedding the stigma of endometriosis, but mental illness was a different matter.

But it shouldn't be. There was something terribly wrong with me, something sending me into a spiral that I was not coming out of. I was exhausted. I just wanted everything to stop for a while so I could just sleep and not have to experience the hell that was day to day life. I suddenly understood how people could commit suicide (a concept I had never empathised with before). I never actually went so far as to think seriously of following through on that (it helps that I'm a massive chicken - a good thing in this case), but I had no hope. I wanted to quit my job and cease to exist.

So what got me out of that spiral?

The first step was meeting with a psychologist. I tried a few out in the year before my diagnosis through a free work program with not much luck, but when the doctor told me that she thought I had depression and anxiety, I decided to bite the bullet and go with a private psychologist.

I'm so glad I did. She is amazing. I cannot sing her praises enough. She makes me feel fully accepted and not judged. She has validated my feelings and most importantly, taught me how to take care of myself. In some ways I'm glad that having endo ended up leading to some pretty deep depression, because I might not have learnt some of the seriously important life lessons that I've learnt so young.

Part of the reason she is so good is because she has endometriosis too. She knows exactly what I'm going through. She celebrates my highs with me, and is proud when I do things that create awareness around endometriosis. She also understands the lows, the unexpected pain attacks and the life-blood draining fatigue.

If you have endometriosis or some other chronic disease, I seriously recommend finding a psychologist with your same condition if possible. In general, they have so much more empathy than psychologists without the personal experience.

After meeting with the psychologist for awhile, I still found that I was having difficulties and crying all the time, even though I now had strategies to help. So I discussed this with my doctor and we decided together that it was time to try anti-depressants to help. I was put on Valdoxan, a new anti-depressant that works on the melatonin pathway (it helps you sleep). Within two weeks I had stopped crying every day, and I had more energy. It felt like magic. I'm still on them. I have more energy on them and feel more stable in general. The best thing about Valdoxan for me is that I still get the crazy high highs. This does mean that I still get fairly low lows as well, but I get out of them much easier than before. I've been on them for about 6 months now.

The last thing that seems to have made a difference is removing the Mirena. I've never done well on the Pill or any other outside hormones, and the Mirena definitely had an effect on me. Since it was removed in January, I no longer feel like I am falling deeper and deeper into a bottomless pit, with the light at the end of the tunnel growing smaller and smaller. I have hope. And it's the best thing in the world.


  1. Libby, I am so thankful that you are feeling more 'yourself'...its crazy the stigma behind depression considering how common it is these days...hopefully the more people speak out about it the more understanding there will be.

    Today I am thankful that you are a chicken ;) ha ha xx

  2. I am so pleased you are feeling more yourself. I hate the stigma around mental health and it's made me feel ashamed of it.

    I'm glad you're more happy, I'm getting there but still get upset xx

  3. I am dealing with endometriosis and infertility. I find myself feeling alone and frustrated because the people around me don't seem to understand. Over the past few months, my anxiety and depression have become much worse. I'm down from 115 to 100lbs. and all I want to do is cry. I feel like I've disconnected from the people around me because I often find that when I'm honest, they are rude or passive aggressive. I'm miserable right now but you're an inspiration to me. I hope that I too will find happiness.


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