Posted on 25 March 2016 by Michael Dahl

to hell and back … emerging from Depression and Anxiety

Can you declare an anniversary week? If so, this past week marks a 1-year anniversary I really would like to wish away. It’s the week I went from believing my mental health was acceptable to questioning if my brain was descending back into an Anxiety-ridden hell.

In a very short period of time the questioning turned into acknowledgement. I admitted that my mental health meds had stopped working, and I began to look for new med doctor and talk therapist (my prior one had retired).

Until my first appointment with a new doctor a little over a month later, near-perpetual Anxiety punctuated by near-daily panic attacks defined my existence. And then after that first appointment in May I was slowly transitioned off my old meds, (forcing a controlled fall into Depression) and on to new meds.

For the next two months this transition forced me to be bed-ridden when I was not at work. The slow crawl out of Depression sapped me of nearly all my energy, until (as if perfectly timed for my wife and I’s vacation in Maui) I was able to do, to be, and to enjoy. The Depression was like a heavy cloud surrounding me. But It was receding, so I was able to fight my way into doing things I naturally would like to do.

Back from vacation, with the Depression at a fraction of what it had recently been, my doc and therapist focused on the Anxiety and panic attacks that were still quite regular. For six months (August – January) a med tweak here and a therapy visit there helped me get to where I am now. I am not depressed and my Anxiety is manageable … for the most part. Sundays still suck, and panic attacks, while not regular, are still frequent enough to warrant vigilance on my part.

It’s strange. My recovery has taken such a long time. But I am recovering … still. With each month I feel, I see, and I do incrementally better.

I would like to thank family, friends, and colleagues who stuck with me during this time. Your kind and empathetic words helped me make it through a very difficult year.