What he told me was life changing.
Getting out of bed each morning has been drama. Most days, I launch an internal dialogue with myself, which ends in my feeling guilty about staying in bed. Then at some point, a sound triggers my “fight or flight” response, and I leap out of bed.
This scenario of guilt and shame for not being able to get out of bed has been going on for months.
I have examined it from every possible viewpoint. Heck, I have even talked to my therapist, peer support groups, and my Psychiatrist about this. My challenge has been to make people understand exactly what I am feeling in the morning.
Responses have ranged from “Oh that’s depression alright,” to “but once you get going, you say you are OK, so I would NOT worry too much about it.”
The guilt and shame of not leaping out of bed, poised to start the day is wearing on me. Afterall, for most of my life I have been the early bird. Many days I would be up before the sun and have major projects completed before breakfast. But depression, MDD, has changed that.
Poking around online, I came across this article: 6 Questions to Ask Your Doctor If Your MDD Symptoms Aren’t Improving. Click here to read the original article.
With nothing to lose, I asked my doctor these questions:
- Am I taking my medication the right way? The answer is YES. I am taking my Prozac, 30 mg, in the morning, almost always at the same time.
- Am I on the right drug? He feels I am, based on my history, the way it worked when I first began taking it last April, and my family history related to Prozac.
- Am I taking the right dose? He pointed out that I went from 20mg to 40 mg, then down to 30mg. We agreed to slow it down based on my inability to get up. His records show this happened later than November, but I remember having trouble getting out of bed and the change from 20 to 40 mg’s happening about the same time. We agreed to continue the 30 mg until my August appointment.
- What are my other treatment options? We discussed Abilify and decided not to add that. His and my thoughts were that less is better. In my 20’s I self-treated my depression with physical exercise, mainly running. Not casual jogging, but Forest Gump miles and miles a day running. Six months of that got me in the best shape of my life and paved the way for 15 years of success.
- Could other issues be causing my symptoms? Here is where I got some exciting news. My Doctor asked me if I snored? I told him yes. Then he asked about sleep apnea. What he was thinking is that my inability to get going in the morning could be related to very poor sleep, not the dosage of my Prozac. 8 years ago, I had a sleep test and was given a C-Pap machine. I used it for a while, but as my sleep cycle got better, I slowed down using it. Then we moved, and I have not used it in years. Based on our conversation, I am getting the machine out again and will begin using it.
- Are you sure I am depressed? My diagnosis was confirmed by the staff at 5 East. “Major Depressive Disorder, with suicidal ideation.” Being competitive, I expect to see my 100th Birthday. And I am too chicken to ever attempt taking my own life. The idea scares me worse than thoughts of the abyss and wall I was up against. So, while the severity of my depression has abated in the past year, I will always have depression.
Using this article as the basis for my conversation with my doctor, I discovered something new to try in order to be more awake when I wake up.
Maybe the guilt and shame I feel when I can’t get out of bed are ill-founded. I mean, maybe it is NOT my fault. Having the questions to ask my doctor empowered me to see other options. I had tried to discuss this three months ago, and I was unable to get my concerns across. When my doctor offered that older people need more rest, I took that to mean I didn’t know what the heck I was talking about and I shouldn’t waste his time by talking about such silly things.
Wow, reading that last sentence makes me sad and very angry.
Having questions to ask gave me confidence that I could and should be heard. I was able to go through the list and ask each one, confident that my doctor would see the value in each question. And using these, we were able to pinpoint an action I can take to lessen or perhaps solve my getting going in the morning problem.
READ: I Wish I Could Sleep
I recommend doing your homework before talking to your doctor.
This strategy worked for me. Instead of feeling ashamed, I feel confident and empowered. Afterall, these are questions doctor’s say I should ask my doctor. Whatever your concern, there is a way to get your doctor to hear you. And this, for me, reduces the shame and guilt of bringing the concern up in the first place.
What do you want to ask your doctor?
My concealed depression is written under the alias “Depression is not my boss.” I have certifications in SMART Recovery and am a Global Career Development Facilitator.
Diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder last year, I am sharing what I learn. If you know someone who might benefit from reading this, please share.
I always appreciate your comments.