Happy Monday! Let’s Talk Depression

Happy Monday! Let’s talk about depression.

A little back story, if you will. In 2008 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my oncologist prescribed Effexor XR to help alleviate the hot flashes I was having caused by chemotherapy. Effexor is an anti-depressant medication and often used off label to treat hot flashes. I took it for several years post treatment because I simply couldn’t wean off the drug. Effexor withdrawal causes incredibly debilitating side effects and I thought I was bound to be on it for life until I found a doctor who prescribed Prozac. You can read about that process of Prozac bridging here.

While I was taking Effexor for hot flashes, I was also prescribed Wellbutrin XL for a mild case of post cancer depression. You would think the Effexor would have helped with the depression too but it wasn’t. It was enough to manage the hot flashes but not enough to alleviate the depression. My GP suggested adding Wellbutrin XL. So, I took two anti-depressants for a good length of time.

When I was finally able to wean from Effexor, I felt ready to break up with Wellbutrin, too. I was just done being on all these meds that made me feel tethered. I was finally med free and felt normal and healthy and ready to move on.

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Fast forward to summer 2015. It had been nearly three years since taking any anti-depressant. I started to recognize changes in me that I knew weren’t normal. Mornings felt like Groundhog’s Day, my body felt like grinding gears, tasks looked like hurdles, social activities felt like obligations. I was bitchy, moody and mean. I was impatient with everything and everybody. I was completely self-loating, I didn’t care about my friendships, and my marriage was suffering. Everything that I had ever liked doing was no longer of any interest to me.

Yet, I pretended like there was nothing wrong.

To the faces at my daughter’s school, my friends, the people on Facebook, I would just put on a smile and act like everything was fine. I remember coming home and feeling exhausted because it would take so much effort to pretend like everything was OK. Existing in the world with a busy schedule and obligations and making small talk all the while just wanting to be left alone is really hard to bear.

I can’t pinpoint my breaking point. I knew things weren’t right when the one thing I really loved to do – make videos with Megan for Long Story Short – had started to lose its luster. It used to be a high that would sustain me for days but it was turning into an opportunity to self hate. We also went on a once-in-a-lifetime family vacation and it was all very blah to me. I found myself fixated on other families who were having fun while I was trying to figure out how to do the same.

I finally called my GP and a therapist.

The conversation with the GP started out as me telling her I didn’t feel good. I talked around the likelihood that I might be depressed. I suggested the lack of diet and exercise might being the culprit to my moodiness. I was embarrassed to ask about depression and afraid to jump into another anti-depressant after feeling like I didn’t need them anymore. I eventually agreed to trying out a new prescription.

Meeting with the therapist was much less anxiety ridden. I reached out to a therapist I had seen while undergoing treatment for cancer. I sat down and within 15 minutes had explained why I thought I was depressed. It was her professional opinion that I was indeed dealing with major depressive disorder and had agreed medication and therapy was my best course of action.

All the kinks haven’t been totally worked out yet. We’re still fine tuning the dosage of the new medication I’m taking. But, therapy has been wonderful. It’s been a soft place to land while I figure out the self-loathing and how to repair broken relationships. I feel lighter and interested in things and people again. Life doesn’t feel like a hurdle everyday anymore.

When I smile now, I’m not faking it.

How To Be Your Best Self in 2016

As I type this there is a cold glass of Coca-Cola on one side of me and a sugar cookie on the other. I’m already failing two of my 2016 resolutions which were 1. stop drinking Coke and 2. cut the sugar. But, if I’m being totally honest, I haven’t given these new year resolutions much of a try even though it’s now seven days into my NEW YEAR, NEW ME outlook on life. Look at the photo below. My {Read More}

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Officially Nuts: A Second Blog

megan and wendy blog

Megan and I have been making videos over on our YouTube channel – Long Story Short with Megan and Wendy –  for almost 18 months now. It started out as a fun side project considering we both have blogs and lives outside of the internet. But, it turned out being the one thing we liked doing the most. The past year has been crazy in terms of growth. No, we don’t have a million YouTube subscribers. We actually have less {Read More}

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Superstitious After All

I finally made good on a request a friend asked of me. She needed a photo of me holding a sign that read the number of years I have been a cancer survivor. She’s making a video. I paused as soon as I drew the heart on the exclamation point. Seven years. I wondered if I should actually write seven years. It won’t technically be lucky number seven until October 23rd. Rationalizing that I couldn’t write 6 years, 11 months and 7 {Read More}

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Too Fat for Stitch Fix?

Last week I received my 18th Stitch Fix box. At this rate, some might consider me an optimist and others might call me a glutton for punishment. Let me back it up here. Stitch Fix is a monthly subscription service where a box of brand new clothes arrives on your doorstep. Inside is filled with pants, shorts or dresses, blouses and knit tops, sweaters or outerwear, and accessories. Their stylists put together your monthly Fix based on a profile created {Read More}

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Top 5 Favorite YouTube Channels

If you would have asked me two years ago what I watched on YouTube I would have told you that I didn’t watch YouTube at all. Why would I want to watch cute cat videos or kids playing video games? It wasn’t until I wrote this post about makeup that I learned about haul videos and beauty tutorials. Megan and I just published our 100th video last week over on Long Story Short and we love what we do. We have {Read More}

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I Went to VidCon and All I Got Was A Lousy T-Shirt

VidCon2015 review

Megan and I attended VidCon 2015 last week in Anaheim, CA. It was a no-brainer that we should go since the conference exists for YouTube creators and fans. Plus, we are local so we could both attend without committing to major travel. But, I went to VidCon and all I got was a t-shirt. It pains me to write that I didn’t really enjoy the conference because there were definitely moments of fun and laughter and making new friends. But, our intent {Read More}

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Tig Notaro Documentary on Netflix

Tig Notaro documentary

I had stumbled across a fantastic documentary just days after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was like divine intervention. Something had willed me to sit on my couch that morning and mindlessly scroll deep into the channel guide. The documentary followed a young woman through surgery and treatment and it totally and completely altered my perception of what I had anticipated for myself. I was and am still so thankful for that documentary because it left me hopeful. I {Read More}

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The Cure for the Afternoon Summer Slump

A few years ago, I had a friend declare that her household was going screen-free for the summer. My reaction was one of horror. There is just absolutely no way our family would make it through three months of summer days without a little TV down time. Admittedly, we make it most of the morning and early afternoon without the television on. I have my favorite weekly podcasts and YouTube channels I like to listen to or watch as we putter {Read More}

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Peek Inside What’s #NewAtTheCube

In 1998 I worked in Santa Ana where on one cloudy morning the company’s CFO suggested we take a walking field trip to a museum ground breaking event happening near our office. We were up for anything that wasn’t work so we went. However, our walk was immediately cut short as soon as we crossed over the parking lot lines. VPOTUS Al Gore was the speaker at the event and the area had been secured by secret service and sharp shooters. Back to {Read More}

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