The last couple of months I have been battling with depression. I’m happy to report that I appear to be over this bout of depression. The last few days I’ve been in a pretty good mood. Sunday, I even felt energetic enough to give my apartment a good cleaning. Although I like having things nice and neat I dislike actual cleaning tasks such as sweeping, mopping, and scrubbing. Those things don’t get done when I’m depressed. Thus, the fact that is swept and mopped my entire apartment, and scrubbed the sink, shower, and toilet is an indicator that I’m no longer depressed.
This bout of depression set in a few days after I returned from Thailand. After returning from Thailand I moved back to KC to the basement studio apartment I lived in last year. The apartment was worse than I remembered. I had planned to start working at my document review job after returning to KC. It soon became clear that it was going to be a while before they had a position for me. I think the combination of those two things contributed to the onset of this bout of depression.
I’ve been depressed before. I’m not referring to “the blues” or being a little sad. I’m referring to clinical depression. I’ve battled with depression since I was a teenager. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I was first diagnosed with depression. I was lucky at that time to be able to participate in a psychological study to help with my depression. The study involved using cognitive behavioral therapy to treat the depression. I was skeptical that it would be effective, but I do believe it helped a little. That bout of depression did eventually go away even though I quit the study.
When I was in law school I became depressed again. The plus to becoming depressed in law school is that it isn’t that uncommon and they have resources available to deal with it. At my 1L law school the doctor put me on Lexapro and I had a couple of therapy sessions. It was the last month of the school year when I went to the doctor and got diagnosed with depression. That prevented me from being able to continue with the therapy. The Lexapro didn’t seem to have any effect on me. As far as I was concerned I might as well have been taking a sugar pill. Shortly, after my IL year ended I quit taking the Lexapro. That turned out to be a big mistake since my depression got even worse.
I transferred to a new law school for my 2L year. I didn’t seek out any treatment for my depression at the new school. It didn’t seem like the treatment did any good and I was embarrassed to admit I couldn’t fix my depression. After almost failing out of law school my 2L year I admitted to my academic adviser that I was depressed and I was referred to the school’s clinic. They psychiatrist there put me on another medication. I don’t remember the name of that medication, but it also had no effect on me.
After a dosage increase in the first medication still didn’t produce any results the doc put me on Wellbutrin. That medicine did have an effect on me. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good effect. It made me feel drugged and fuzzy all the time. I didn’t take that medicine very long and refused to try any other medications.
I continued going to therapy for about a year more. I didn’t feel like it helped much. I eventually quit going as the depression went away.
I’m not sure why my depression went away this time. I think the chemicals in my brain get back in balance after a while. Getting them back in balance is largely out of my control. Things like exercise, eating healthy, and being productive help with the depression. Of course, those are all things I find very hard to do when I’m depressed. Now that I’m over this bout of depression I will try to exercise, eat healthy, and keep busy to hopefully lessen my chances of suffering another bout of depression.
To tie this in to personal finance I will add that depression has cost me a lot of money. It has kept from working long term at a job and building a career. I should have made a lot more money in my life at this point than I have. It was a factor in me switching law schools from a top 25 law school to a tier 3 law school and barely graduating from the tier 3 school. I think it was also a factor in the gambling addiction I had in my 20’s which resulted in bankruptcy. I lost thousands of dollars more even after the bankruptcy. Those are just a few of the ways depression has cost me money.
There is nothing I can do about how depression has affected me in the past. I just need to be sure that if I ever have another bout of depression that I don’t delay treating it.