Narcolepsy Testing: Titrating Off My Antidepressants

Narcolepsy Testing: Titrating Off My Antidepressants

My anxiety and nostalgic thoughts are up. Little clues are things like wanting to cry when my kid yells at me—like he did for the entire car ride to school today—or feeling sad and knotted up inside over watching children playing, people buying food at the grocery store, or even… people in line to buy various versions of coffee and then appearing relieved when they take their first sip. My reaction is unusual. This is to be expected. I am titrating off my antidepressants.

My illness is one where my own thoughts cannot be trusted when I am in the midst of it.

I’ve been on them for years, since my divorce in 2013 sent me into the deepest depressive episode I’d ever had…

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Q & A Divorce Talk: Children

Q & A Divorce Talk: Children

7 Things To Say to Your Child When You Are Getting A Divorce

Q: My 10-yr-old has all these questions about why I’m divorcing her dad. I don’t know what to say. She texted me from her dad’s: “How did you decide to separate? WHY? If YOU tried to keep our family together, was it daddy?” I am really angry with her dad right now and blame him for so much, but it doesn’t seem right to tell her that. What do I say?

A: You are right not to tell your kid that you blame her dad. That would put her in between the two of you and she would feel like she has to pick sides. That’s not fair to her. Here are some things you can say:


  1. Those are all really good questions

    If I were you, I’m sure I would have them too. It is very sad and confusing for kids when parents get divorced. And you may even feel angry too. All that is normal.

  2. Continue reading “Q & A Divorce Talk: Children”

A Steady Invisible Force

A Steady Invisible Force

For those who live with depression, this is not just an invisible illness, it is a life only lived by the grace of invisible courage.

I remember staring up at the seagulls printed on my bedroom curtains when I was seven years old.

The gulls were simple black outlines, alight on an invisible breeze. They drifted above the artist’s hint of an ocean, a solid deep blue mass of color below. I stared at this and pondered life, why I was here—on this earth, in this reality. It was an uneasy question and one that would come up repeatedly throughout my childhood, usually leading to anxiety and tears. I’ve since wondered if existential pondering might be one early symptom of a lifetime of depression.

The first unmistakeable depressive episode I had was when I was 20. A friend of mine, 23, had died in his sleep, with no apparent medical cause, and I was faced with the subject of my existence again—and what I determined to be the utter meaninglessness of it. Not long after this, I miscalculated the position of a 20 lb weight in the gym, and it fell on my foot, smashing into half my toes and splitting the bone of my big toe. The pain of this was like the worst toe stubbing I’d ever known–only it did not go away after a few minutes. It lasted weeks. I ended up on heavy pain killers and still could not sleep because of the pain. I was at college, far from home and the friends I thought I had made turned out not to be there when I needed them most.

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Six Years Late

Six Years Late

My executive functioning took a dive with my last depressive episode and it hasn’t quite resurfaced. It seems to take me three to five times longer to complete tasks than the average person. This is my first blog and I predict that, despite my best intentions, it will probably emerge in fits and starts.

Impaired executive functioning complicates one’s day-to-day ability to complete small tasks, not to mention relationships and career.

It’s quite common for those who’ve gone through a major depressive episode to have slower cognitive abilities, whether temporarily or for the long-term. This is true not just during the episode, but also afterward or between episodes. It is what prolongs the disability beyond the treatment of the mood disorder. Impaired executive functioning complicates one’s day-to-day ability to complete small tasks, not to mention relationships and career.

Tracking time is not the same as it once was. I used to be aware of it and unconsciously check in with it at regular intervals, so as to keep on schedule. Now, I set multiple timers on my phone every day, not just to get myself out the door to attend an appointment, but also for the tasks that I need to complete that lead up to going out the door. I might have four alarms go off in the hour that it takes me to get ready—because otherwise, I might not get past the first step. The Ripples jingle of my iPhone has taken up permanent residence in my mind.

This is how someone ends up six years late to their own blog: one day at a time.

I have intended to write this blog for years—six years to be exact. I’ve had thoughts rattling around in my head that demand to be written as I press myself to walk, season after season, along the trail outside my house. Yet, intentions are not actions. Upon arriving home, I become overwhelmed with a mind fog, or anxiety, or both, and I put off my writing until tomorrow. This is how someone ends up six years late to their own blog: one day at a time.

For many people, this is hard to imagine. I still can’t believe it myself. I wasn’t this person before my latest depressive episode, before the meds. Of course, this leaves me to wonder whether it’s not the meds that have caused it, but there’s no way to safely test this, as the meds are working well to alleviate the depression and easing up on them brings the depression back.

… I’ve become a better listener. I certainly have more compassion toward others now than I once did.

So, I must accept that this is the new me. This is me on anti-depressants. This is me without the reliable clarity I once had. I can still put words together to write this and I am grateful for that. I am also grateful that my experience has humbled me and, in slowing down, I’ve become a better listener. I certainly have more compassion toward others now than I once did. I have more compassion for myself too. I cannot force myself to think more clearly or work more quickly, so in order to move forward, I have had to learn to be more gentle with myself and adjust my intentions. All I can be is my best self in this moment. All I can do is share my experience.