Depression, Narcolepsy, and My Hasty Return to the Land of Unemployment
To quote my friend Dragana, who is quoting John Mayer, my body is a wonderland. And by wonderland I mean shitshow. Just like this past week. Let's break it down.
First off, I got hit by a bad episode of depression. Loss of appetite, lethargy, apathy, uncontrollable crying, thoughts of suicide. All the fun stuff, basically. Since I started taking antidepressants I've been mostly ok. Every now and then, though, I get overwhelmed. The last couple times this happened have been the worst. Last time my doctor upped my dosage. This time he prescribed me a second antidepressant to work on combination with the other one I'm already on. So now I'm on an SSRI (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor) and an SNRI (serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) to try to make my brain better on multiple fronts. The SNRI is also used in some cases to treat sleep disorders, which brings me to ridiculous thing that happened this week number two.
My doctor confirmed my thoughts from the other week: I almost certainly have narcolepsy. Hooray. I don't know for sure yet; I still have to get a couple more sleep studies done to know for sure, but my doctor said my symptoms sound like "classic narcolepsy." On the one hand I feel relieved to be so close to figuring out my sleeping issues. On the other hand, narcolepsy can be treated, but there's no cure, and the idea of having to deal with yet another illness for the rest of my life is daunting.
And speaking of lifelong illnesses, let's move on to ridiculous thing number three: my TMJ never ceases to remind me that it will be a literal pain in my face forever. A massage therapist I met the other day and I got to talking about TMJ, and she asked if I also had hip pain. I told her I did, and she informed me that there is muscle and fascia connected to my hip that runs all the way up through my body to my neck, shoulders, jaw, and head. Essentially, TMJ not only causes my jaw, neck and should pain, but also my hip pain. Once again, hooray.
So, yeah, my body is a wonderland. And on top of all that, I quit my job...after only a month. I thought marketing would be similar to journalism, but it's not, and I can't stay in an environment that's making me unhappy and possibly even triggering depressive episodes. My boss understood that, though, and I left on good terms.
Like I said, it's been a crazy week. Even through all of that crap, though, I feel good. I feel strong and empowered and certain I made the right move. I may be unemployed, and I may have a number of physical and mental issues to deal with, but I am actually dealing with everything.
This, like all things, will pass, and I will come out the other side. I feel confident of that. I have a lot of work to do, and it won't be easy, but as long as I follow the flow of the river, I'll end up where I need to be. Life takes us a whole lot of places we never thought we'd go, but it's always been my experience that each one of those places exists to teach me something. So rather than wallow in my problems, I'm choosing to learn from this. I'm now more certain than ever of what I want to do with my life, and that's a powerful feeling. I'm also learning to let go of fear a little bit. I am a little scared for what the future holds, but I won't let that fear control me and keep me from realizing that future. And if you're struggling through some trenches of your own right now, just remember that knowledge is your most powerful tool against fear. Learn from everything, and take it with you on the next phase of your journey.