the healing journey and the relapse
I'm so sad right now and fallen into the realm where every day is a battle. It seems like every day is a long list of things to do, and each task is like climbing a mountain. I'm very discouraged that I'm back here.
I'd never told anyone about the trauma I'd experienced when I was nine years old until seven years ago. Seven years ago, my memories started flooding me after a meditation retreat. The first person I told was my fiance at the time, who had a terrible reaction. He was so angry and unsupportive that we broke up a few weeks after I told him. Then I was alone in the apartment we'd shared. And I began my healing process.
The steps in my healing journey: two years of intense, painful therapy. Telling all my closest friends, and by a miracle every one of them was supportive. Somatic coaching. I didn't even know when I started somatic coaching that I spent more than 50% of the time disassociated. I slowly learned not to disassociate, and I am proud to say that at this point I only disassociate under extreme stress and I always know when I'm doing it and also know how to bring myself back.
Depression was different. I've suffered from chronic depression since I was nine, and my brain just seemed to keep going back there as its default response to stress. I started taking Celexa for PTSD and depression in 2007, and though medication made a huge difference with PTSD it only eased the worst of the depression--I continued to suffer from moderate depression.
Last September, I discovered a book called The Depression Cure, by Ilardi. It contains a 12 week step by step program for curing depression through 6 lifestyle changes (taking Omega 3, engaging activities, sunlight, exercise, social support and healthy sleep). I followed the program and within a week I felt better. Within six weeks I was depression-free for the first time since I was nine years old.
I remained depression-free and my life changed rapidly. I moved into my dream apartment in a neighborhood I'd always wanted to live in. I made many new friends. My relationship with my boyfriend improved a lot.
Since I was doing so well, I tapered off the Celexa this winter. I had serious withdrawal symptoms when I went off the Celexa--dizziness, brain zaps, nausea, anxiety. But the symptoms passed about four weeks after the last dose, and I remained depression-free. And I felt a vitality and energy I'd never felt before once I went off the medication. The Celexa cut my energy in half, increased my appetite, lowered my sex drive, and generally made me a bit numb. For the first time, I was able to experience who I was without either depression or medication blunting my feelings and energy.
June 11th was the anniversary of the trauma. Or when it began. I was feeling vulnerable already before the anniversary. I'd made the mistake of going to a family reunion Memorial Day weekend. I never went to family reunions, because they always increased my depression. But I was doing so well that I felt I could handle it. I returned from the event emotionally and physically drained, and unfortunately at that point I had a serious falling out with my boyfriend. So I was already not doing well when June 11th arrived.
I've fallen back into the depression, back to crying about the trauma a lot, to feeling like I will never have a normal life. I've been here many times, but this time is different because I really thought it was over. I thought I would never be depressed again. I feel very demoralized. Nothing seems to work to pull me out of the depression. I'm following every step of the program. I moved to a new city two years ago, so I don't really have support around survivor issues here. But I skyped with two close friends, who know about the trauma.