I wrote a couple of months ago about part of my experience with depression. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to talk with my family, my therapist, and my doctor. It turns out that my up-and-down cycles are not, in fact, normal. I can hear the well, duhs now. Of course it’s not normal, Kate. The thing is, it’s been so much better since I started on my antidepressant a few years ago that I assumed it was as good as it could get. My lows weren’t as low as they used to be, and the highs were longer and more stable. Until I talked with Mom, I never realized that I could feel better. That’s a big part of my problem—I don’t know what “normal” feels like, so I don’t have a good comparison for my version of normal. I was content with better.
Well. I talked with my therapist, Abbey (who is fabulous, by the way. If anyone needs a therapist, let me know & I’ll give you her contact info), describing the regular ups and downs. Keep in mind, I’ve been seeing her for about six years now, and I never mentioned this because I never realized that it was abnormal. Anyway, she said that it sounds like more than depression; it might be cyclothymia (mood cycles, essentially). Cyclothymia is actually in the bipolar spectrum, but it’s a very mild form. (And just so you know, I’ve never been suicidal, even though Mayo’s description includes that as part of the symptoms. So please don’t worry that I’m going to up & kill myself. I have way to strong of a guilt complex to ever do that.) So, after visiting my psychiatrist and talking with her, I started taking Lamictal in addition to the Celexa I’ve been taking for years. I’ve been on it for over a month now, and I think it’s making a difference. I still get sad sometimes, and I still get happy, but I don’t feel overwhelmed or controlled by moods—and they’re far less extreme. I feel…well...normal. Oh, and it’s cherry flavored!