Tuesday, March 31, 2015

three years ago--happy pills

I somewhat forgot about this blog, or at least forgot how much I love to write. Below you will find my first post in literally YEARS, as well as a flashback to 2012.


it has been three months or so since this blog has shown any signs of life. it's been a busy few months, or at least it has seemed like a busy three months. today, i am feeling...blah. just blah. a few months ago... i honestly cannot remember when, i went to the doctor. i had known for a long time that i was depressed. but being depressed was my baseline. what i was feeling when i walked into the doctor was far below my baseline. there were a few times in the past year when i have scared myself with just how much below my baseline i was.

i decided that it was time. time to face the demons that were fast becoming my life. time to call it quits with the depression. so, one day i walked into the doctors office. i signed in, made small talk with the receptionist i knew and eventually walked back to the room. as soon as the doctor walked in, i began to cry. i told him that i felt like i was depressed. we talked for a bit, he gave me a self assessment and the reality of the situation began to set in. i filled out the assessment, anxious that it would prove i was not depressed enough to need treatment. anxious that it would show i was just being dramatic. anxious it would show that i was just weak. just anxious. i wanted answers and i wanted help.

what the self assessment showed was that i was beyond significantly depressed. my doctor said "wow, that's an impressive score" when he returned. i was relieved. relieved that i was not imagining things. relieved to be validated in my belief that something was NOT right. relieved to be able to point to a chemical imbalance, rather than some innate character flaw, for the way i had been feeling. i left the office with lots of medically and psychologically sound advice (which i won't go into here. it was a long doctor visit) and with a prescription for antidepressants.

i have been leery to write about this. i am all too aware of the stigmas attached to those "happy pills". just a few weeks ago, i sat in an institute class and listened to a (uninformed and obviously inexperienced) guy talk about how anyone who is feeling depressed can fix it with a stronger devotion to God. he felt like he had solved the mystery of depression through his own brain power and logic and was very happy to share his discovery. i felt like i was listening to tom cruise lecture about antidepressants. thankfully, the teacher has lived long enough and experienced enough of life to know that this belief was untrue. when he let the other student know how wrong he was, i was relieved. i did not feel like i had to defend myself; i was very happy to let the teacher do that (though i am sure he did not know he was doing as much).

did the antidepressants end up being happy pills for me? probably for about the first week or two. i think that i was so used to being so low, the pills gave me a high of sorts. i was still depressed by normal people standards, but it was such a drastic change from where i had been, it seemed like the world was my own personal oyster.

today, i am still on the antidepressants, though my hope is to wean myself off them eventually and find other ways to keep my brain all balanced-chemically speaking. on antidepressants (after my body got used to them and leveled out) i have to work for things and work to be happy and content, but i feel like that is how life should be. if we want anything in life, we should have to work toward it. the effort put in should be equivalent to the reward we expect out of it.

the biggest difference between now and a few months ago is that everyday tasks like getting out of bed and going to work or school are no longer crippling prospects. depression sucks. depression is truly debilitating. anyone who says otherwise has yet to experience a "chemical imbalance" first hand. depression doesn't make you want to crawl under a rock. it is an enormous rock on your chest that you are incapable of crawling out from under.

i am so grateful for the miracle that is modern medicine today. a few months ago, my life was unbearable. i am here today because, through divine inspiration, antidepressants exist. i am here today because i walked into a doctor's office a broken person and walked out with some happy pills.