Anyone who’s struggled with depression and been helped by medication knows that it is definitely a mixed blessing. The relief can be so great–you can finally feel like yourself, the way you’re supposed to be! But the process, which is all trial and error, can be SO HARD.
I first started with medication in 1995 when I was in college. I was falling apart so often and so severely that an older woman I know finally took me aside and said, “Honey, we all get sad but this is not normal. You need to get help.” I was put on Prozac, and it helped… a little.
For the next 14 years, I tried medication after medication. They’d help for a while, like I wouldn’t cry EVERY day, just every other day. Or I wouldn’t feel like dying, I’d just feel like I couldn’t ever get out of bed. But I got through college and grad school and 9 years of a career. It wasn’t great, but I honestly didn’t think life really got better.
Then I went through a horrible breakup. It was awful. This was in 2009 and I again, just fell apart. I took myself to the emergency room where the doctor said, look you REALLY don’t want to be committed. Can you wait until next week and get into an outpatient program? Can you hang on that long? I did.
The outpatient program was… dumb. I hated it. Singing karaoke was embarassing and not therapeutic. Art therapy with crayons was not for me, as someone who comes from a family of fine artists. The groups were whiny. But the new prescription I got changed my life.
I had no idea that you could counter brain chemistry like this! All of a sudden, I felt free. I didn’t feel high or manic; I just felt… normal. And I had no idea what normal could feel like before then. It was amazing.
In the last 9 years, things have gone up and down, for sure. And now it’s time for another medication change or addition. This is probably in large part because of the national/political climate and worries that go along with it. It’s partly because I’m 43 and single and afraid that will never change. It’s partly because of major money worries (I’m not in ANY immediate danger, but those worries! They don’t go away!)
And I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to trial and error and see if this makes me sleepy or that one makes me fat or the other makes me anxious. It is such an inexact science that it is horrifically frustrating.
But I need to, because getting out of bed has become a multi-hour process. Wish me luck. I will need it.