Friday, August 21, 2015

Thank you for your help

I just wanted to update here and thank those of you who reached out after my last post. I hope I've had the opportunity to reply to you all.

I heard a lot of good things from many different people. I started medication on Wednesday and am already feeling...different. More grounded. My head is quiet where there is usually tons of noise. I am hopeful that as I continue to get used to the medicine that things improve. I've seen progess in just 3 days.

Anyway. Might be quiet here for a while. Or not. Not sure at the moment. But just wanted to say hi and thanks!


Monday, August 17, 2015

Asking For Your Help

I remember the first time I felt depressed. It was the summer before 8th grade. I sat for hours listening to rock music (this was the summer I “discovered” Metallica) and put puzzles together. I just remember feeling…sad…for seemingly no reason. I also recall that as the kids in my class were having crushes and coupling up, I always ended up being odd girl out of that equation.

Sometimes it feels like not much has changed.

My depression has ebbed and flowed over the years. I can look back at my most recent jaunt and realize it’s been about 18 months of a slow, slide into where I am today.

I have fought off medication since it was first suggested to me at around 15 years old, which was 19 years ago. I fought it off mostly to prove to those who suggested it that I didn't need it. Talk about ego and pride... I self-medicated with alcohol for about a decade and when that stopped working I got sober. Today I work a recovery program, see a therapist weekly, go to yoga, go to the gym multiple times a week, and it still feels like I’m sinking – this is me admitting that I’m not even treading water anymore. I am literally throwing everything I have at it and it’s still taking me under.

Driving to work after my weekly therapy this morning I surrendered. I decided that I will try antidepressants. I made this decision knowing that the Sideways Light is coming – it starts around Thanksgiving and doesn’t relent until March 1. I’m scared at what this winter could be if I don’t get help now. While last year I got up and went to work every day, I barely got out of bed if I was home. I would get home from work and put my pajamas on and crawl in bed. I hardly got out of bed on the weekends. I stopped going to the gym and doing things I enjoyed. I can’t do that another year. After texting my therapist to get her blessing, I called my NP and my appointment is tomorrow. I can't wait another day feeling like this.

Part of this feels like a loss for me. I’ve done so much work to stay off drugs that I feel like I am giving up. I’ve dated men on heavy doses on antidepressants and wonder if it was the drugs or their personalities that affected the relationships? Was that behavior normal for them or were they unable to bond with another person because they were on medication? What about sexual side effects? Will I still be myself? Will my Intuition be numbed out of existence? Will I feel dead in the eyes?

I’m scared, but I feel like I have no other option.

In talking with people who are on medication, the overwhelming response is, “I only wish I would have done it sooner.” It’s just another pill for me to add to the handful I take every day. Maybe it’s not such a big deal as I’ve been making it out to be all these years?

I’d love to hear your experience with antidepressants and how they affect/affected your life. 

Email me at katieswanberg at gmail or 
DM me on twitter @norcalkatie.

Thursday, August 13, 2015


Last night I was pissed about a situation that I can’t change, and is frankly none of my business. The past few weeks have been some of the strangest and most interesting ones I’ve had in a long time, and I feel a little bit like everything has been a message from the Universe.

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night, so I went outside and sat on my back deck and looked at the stars for a little bit since the the Perseid Meteor shower was peaking. Sometimes I use outer space to make me feel small and put my problems into perspective. I saw a couple shooting stars over the course of a few minutes and went back to bed.

I have wanted to write many posts, and have started and deleted a lot of paragraphs over the past few weeks. I dictated one into my phone, even, but after reading it in the morning figured it was better kept to myself.

I was reading Barnheart, by Jenna Woginrich the other night (highly recommend, by the way) and stumbled across her thoughts on buying a house by herself:

As the closing date of the house grew near, I realized something was starting to feel off. Something was wrong, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
I didn’t let myself linger on it much. I pushed aside the odd feelings because they confused me. I couldn’t piece it together. What had happened to my mind to take the joy out of this adventure? Then the confusion over the thoughts in my head started to make me feel guilty. How dare I feel anything but happiness? And so I went about the business of packing up the cabin, making arrangements with the local moving company, returning items I’d borrowed from neighbors, and planning how I was going to move the farm animals. I started jogging to take my mind off the turbulence in my head. I didn’t feel like eating. I lost five pounds in a week, although I didn’t notice until someone complimented me. I was running on fumes.
I realized, slowly, and in many shallow cuts, what was bothering me. There was no orchestral revelation, no falling to my knees in tears. But I was slowly coming to understand the heaviness I’d been carrying around. I was about to turn the key on everything I’d ever dreamed of … and I had no one to share it with. I was moving in to my first house and starting my own farm, alone.  It crushed me.

I was chatting with another friend who owns her home and we talked about the emotions women have around buying a house without a partner, and how she felt similarly when she purchased her home. She never thought she’d have to do it alone. And it isn’t that we aren’t able to buy a home by ourselves, or that we can’t take care of a home by ourselves – it’s that having company, splitting tasks along ability lines, and having someone to share the joy with is a hollow place when you buy a house by yourself.

It took me over a week to put words around how I was feeling. Finding a new normal isn’t for the faint of heart. Buying a house by myself is something I thought I would never do. In many ways it highlights the lack of a partner in my life, and while I am mostly grateful to be single instead of in a mediocre relationship, it’s hard to see couples and not wish for the greener grass right over the fence line.

Right now I’m focusing on routines – creating new ones and strengthening the existing ones. My new doctor told me that for my kidney health, depression, and sobriety that I need to work out 5 days a week for 45 minutes at a time. So I went back to the gym, happily. Work has been phenomenally interesting and fun lately; I really love my job. I am making a number of new friends and seeing where those friendships take me. I am committed to my self-care and meditation. I have a figurative toolbox full of tools and I am using every last one of them.

"For a star to be born
there is one thing that
must happen: a gaseous
nebula must collapse.

So collapse. 
This is not your

This is your birth."

-Les Miserables