Monday, January 28, 2013


"I want you to try to remember every day all that you've accomplished and not what you didn't get done," said my therapist last week.

"Easier said than done," I joked back.

"Just try," she responded.

"I will, I will," I quipped as I bundled up my purse and hustled out the door, already running through my mental shopping list and deciding what I was possibly going to feed the hoards that night.


I met with my primary care a few weeks ago and we agreed to increase the dosage of my meds. For whatever reason I really wasn't feeling the effects as much.

Unfortunately, I'm now questioning taking the medicine at all.  Despite taking it before bed to avoid the sleepiness, I am exhausted all the time.  Not just my normal tired, but "I can lay down at any time of the day and fall dead asleep" tired.  L came up to me on Sunday and asked my why I was always sleeping.  I'm also not so sure how I'm feeling on the medicine.  I didn't expect to all of the sudden be Suzy Sunshine, but I was hoping it would help me face my life with a little more enthusiasm and joy.

Yes, I've been able to handle my stress a little more calmly, but I also feel like I often don't really care about anything.  I'm wondering if it had anything to do with my lack of Christmas spirit this year.  I was thinking this morning, that maybe that "edge" I carried with me throughout the day was what helped me get everything done that needed to be done.  Our house was certainly a little more organized and I honestly think my lack of writing in the last few weeks in a direct result.

Simple said, I feel "off" and I'm not sure this off is a good thing.


I've really struggled with my homework from therapy.  I can't help but tally all the things I didn't get done during the day while trying to recognize what I did do.  Does reading with L mean as much as the piles of laundry washed but unfolded in bins?  Did the fact that I went to D's game last night instead of spending a little extra time with M studying mean a bad grade or even worse send the message to her that I don't care?  Every day I have to try to reach a balance between meeting everyone's needs and managing the mundane logistics of running this household.

In this new life, I've had to lower my standards in many areas.  Our house isn't as organized and decluttered.  The kids' bedtimes are what I would want.  We may hit fast food a few too many times during the week.  God knows I have a million valid excuses to why this has happened.  I've tried to get the tools I need to help me, including therapy and medication, two things I never in a million years thought would be part of my life.

I don't think anymore it's about listing all the things I've done and cutting myself some slack.  I don't even think it's about being thankful for what I do have and recognizing the good in our life.  I think it comes down to the fact that deep down, despite all the talk therapy and pharmaceuticals, I want more.

I want more for my family.  I want to be a better mom, wife, daughter, sister and friend.  I've tried to convince myself otherwise. 

So I'm starting to question the tools I've tried so far.  I'm not making any changes, but I'm starting to get impatient for improvement.  That's the heart of the problem.  What I want may be physically impossible, but I can't turn off the desire.


  1. Hi Peg, de-lurking to write some words of encouragement. I completely understand how it feels to fight against the need to "fix" something with medicine--I cringe every morning when I take my hormones to avoid a relapse of Stage IV endo. That being said, I know I'm not my best self when I have chronic pain. Clearly, you've been struggling with some chronic pain yourself. I know it took my sister a few different medications before she found the right one for treating her depression with minimal/acceptable side effects. Even different brand names of supposedly the same hormone cause different side effects for me. Maybe the doc can suggest an alternative if you are close to being at your wit's end with the current one? Hang in there!

  2. So, please take this with a giant lump of "I'm not at all an expert about anything, esp. mental health, not to mention I am just some stranger on the internet" but I can't help but think about the distinction between depression, which to me is about not being able to see the big picture or enjoy the good things in your life, and unhappiness, which is purely a reaction to unpleasant things in your life. They can co-exist, obviously, so I'd expect the therapy and medication to help with the part that's depression talking... but it doesn't seem like "just" depression, but also a genuine reaction to the repercussions of your sister's death.

    You are in a situation that you don't like, and you're trying to find a way to make yourself like it, partly because you know that will feel better than just being unhappy about it, and perhaps also because you feel guilty for not liking the changes in your family, because you're worried that reflects a lack of love for your sister's kids, now yours. I read this article recently about the difference between happiness and meaningfulness ( The article posits the two things as being opposed, but it made me think of a spectrum, with each thing on its own end. You're in a situation where you are pretty far over on the "meaningful" end of the spectrum - perhaps it would be helpful to focus on the meaning of what you're doing, given that it doesn't really seem like you can shift your position on that spectrum?

    I don't know if any of that long philosophical reflection is helpful, but I hope it is, at least a little. And also, know that your readers are wishing you well :-)

  3. I've had a number of friends on meds and in many cases it took a number of different medicines and trials before they found "the one" that would work for them. Maybe this one isn't it.

    I think ALL of us want more. More time. More money. More energy. More organization. Better health. More weight loss. Better physical fitness. It's very hard to be happy when you KNOW there is more just beyond your grasp, and if only you could reach it it would be better.

    I'm sorry. I have no words of wisdom, just know I'm over here praying for you.

  4. Hi Peg,

    I'm delurking for a moment to share my experience on anti depressants. I went on them after my brother and then my sister died. I had what they call situational depression. Initially I felt better because I wasn't crying all of the time so it was a huge improvement. But after a while I just felt apathetic which was okay but I was exhausted all of the time. I felt like you describe, that I could fall asleep at any moment. I had to try a couple different medications until I got it right. It's hard though when your in the thick of it to find the energy to deal with it. To call the doctor, make another appointment, get yourself there. It's all so exhausting. But really it is worth it to find the right medication and dose for you. I hope you find what works for you.


  5. I'm here. Got nothing to offer you but empathy and prayers . . .

  6. I can't comment on the meds, but I do want to say that I thought of you when for the past couple of weeks we took in two extra kids for a friend who had to go out of town with the National Guard. Five kids was a lot more work than three, and it was tricky dealing with kids that weren't ours and who were used to different things. It was all fine and it was just temporary, but I was so relieved at the end of their stay to have our house be the way it was again, and I thought a lot about how extreme your situation is by comparison and how it doesn't end and you don't get to revert back to what you liked. That would depress me to no end as well. So I'm more impressed than ever with how well you've managed to hang in there as best you can.

    Wish I had more to offer than good thoughts, but I'm definitely sending some your way.

  7. P.S. Not related to this post, but thought I should let you know I nominated your blog for a Liebster Award. Totally a made up thing but if you want to check out the list please do: