February 4, 2011

I have been on antidepressants for over 15 years.  Honestly, I really should have been put on them as a child or at least a teenager.  I know that’s a pretty controversial subject since there are now so many people on antidepressants, but I was one of the ones who really needed them.  I still do.

My mother was one of the original Prozac users in the late 80’s and it changed her life.  Actually, it probably saved her life.  She is an abuse survivor and has been depressed probably since she was a child also and Prozac very slowly gave her her life back.  (Can you say it gave it back when she hadn’t ever really had it to begin with?)  She had been through years of therapy and I think that was useful but all the therapy in the world isn’t enough when you still can’t get out of bed.  Or, you know, go a day without talking about killing yourself. Most of my family members are on psychiatric medication.

I started in 1995 with Prozac.  I think after that I went to Zoloft, then Effexor, then Wellbutrin and Effexor.   All of those worked somewhat and then stopped working after a few years.  About 3 years ago, I had a psychiatrist who wanted to try me on all sorts of weird things – Abilify (which gave me restless legs syndrome like crazy, but all over my body) and Adderal (which I think is a medication for ADD).  That was horrible because those medications did not do good things for me, and my anxiety about changing was through the roof.  Finally, I got a prescription for Lexapro which I take with my Wellbutrin.  That was miraculous for me – all of a sudden, the level I had thought was not depressed turned out to not be the most “normal” I could feel.  I was so unused to feeling all right that I had settled for a really low baseline.  I didn’t know there could be something better!

For two years now, I’ve been really stable on my meds.  I realized that I even forget to take them quite often (about once a week, not usually more than twice) so I decreased the Wellbutrin dosage.  With my doctor’s approval, I just lessened it again.  For the first time ever, I had the thought that maybe… just maybe, I won’t be on medications for the rest of my life. I haven’t really gotten any further in my thinking than that but I think even if that’s not possible, just the fact that I can even think that shows that God has healed me in ways I never EVER could have predicted.

But I also feel less despair about being on the medications.  If I have to be on them for the rest of my life, I don’t think I’ll feel like a failure or like there’s something wrong with me – at least not something more than a medical problem.  Taking a pill or two every day is a very, very small price to pay to be able to live my life and not try to wish myself out of existence.  It’s a pretty minor price for filling in the bottomless pit that I was drowning in, and letting me live in color instead of black and white.