My neurologist got back with me and after ruling out multiple possible other causes for my ongoing extreme fatigue, she has most likely concluded that it’s just stress and depression.
I added the “just” part—she didn’t— but I’m really disappointed by that answer for a whole bunch of reasons.
For one thing, it suggests that my current antidepressant is no longer as effective as it once was. That’s particularly bad news because I tried like 14 other antidepressants first that weren’t effective for me. There aren’t really many other options left, treatment-wise, unless I try ECT or ketamine. (I know the psychiatrists at UT Southwestern offer both treatments. I’m scared of ECT and I don’t know if they would let me try ketamine without first trying ECT.)
At the same time, though, I’m not entirely surprised that my neurologist said it was likely “just” stress and depression. I use the term “just” to try to minimize my own depression for several reasons. One is because I had doctors tell me for decades that there was nothing wrong with my health and I was “just depressed.”
Another reason I minimize it is because it seems like there’s so little I can do about it. Treating my depression has always had very limited success, so for that reason, I’m not too happy about hearing the diagnosis again.
Still, I admit that with all that’s going on in my life, I think that even most people without a history of depression would be struggling right now. Of course my husband having terminal cancer and not knowing how I’ll financially survive after he’s gone would cause my depression to return.
But knowing that it has returned just makes me worry more about the future than I already did. If they can’t help me now, they probably won’t be able to help me once he’s gone, either.
It really just feels like the return of my old self, which I worked so hard to overcome. It feels like no matter how long I think I’m okay, depression is always still there, waiting in the wings to overtake me again.