Girl School for Grownups

Like having a big sister, but better because I can't boss you around!

My depression story, part 2

images-2More of the rest of the story.

So I started taking an antidepressant and I started feeling better. Not maniacally-happy-all-the-time better, but better enough that I could function without feeling like it took every ounce of strength inside of me to do normal life stuff. As Tim saw the improvements, he realized that while antidepressants might not be the magic cure-all for everyone, they were making a difference for his wife.

I, however, was conflicted. Yes, I felt better, but I felt like I was cheating somehow by taking a pill instead of just muddling through. Because I’m me, I read a lot of books about the subject. People wrote that you wouldn’t be judgmental of a diabetic who takes insulin, so why would you feel judgement about taking something to restore your missing serotonin. Yeah, that sounded like bullshit for weak people to me. My other issue was financial. Maybe it was my internal cheapskate. Or lack of self-worth. Whatever. The medicine that worked wasn’t covered by my insurance and it was expensive. Tim didn’t care. He just was happy to have his wife back. But I cared because taking medicine daily made me feel broken, and then when it cost more than a nickel a day (I joke, but I seriously do have issues with spending money on taking care of myself), it was agonizing to take. So I played medication games. I took half of what I was prescribed — it was like finding a sale on medicine! Sometimes I quit altogether to show how strong I was. Neither of these games worked and I strongly do not recommend them to anyone who is taking an anti-depressant.

There are some things that I did “right” that helped ease my feelings of gloom:

  • I continued to run almost daily (staying physically active for decades because I can’t do life without exercise is one of the silver linings that’s come from depression)
  • Watching the news? Not for this girl. I couldn’t even watch the news as a kid, and as it continues to show graphic images of doom and hell, I continue to get the little news I do get from print media or the radio.
  • I read lots of books about being positive and mindful.

I continued to eat crappy foods (yeah, I’d read that a balanced diet with an emphasis on protein and fresh whole foods could enhance the effectiveness of medication, but I remained unwilling to take action) and stayed away from counseling, not wanting to spend the money on that, or to feel even more broken than I already did (because if I needed meds AND counseling, well … that just wasn’t going to happen!).

As I think back on this time, an image comes to mind of a flower trying to grow through a crack in the sidewalk. If everyone else got to be flowers in a greenhouse, somehow my biochemistry, when combined with my choices, meant that I still got to be a flower, but I was dealing with shitty dirt and whatever conditions sidewalks have to deal with. That’s not an easy way to live.

Thank you to everyone who has read what I’ve written, and who has taken the time to comment here on the blog or on Facebook.

To be continued…