A Later Post

Remember this post?  When I said I would share more about my personal experience with anti depressants in another post?

Well, I figured why not this one?  It's funny, I have thought about sharing my thoughts on the topic for some time, but I guess I even get weirded out at the subject sometimes.

What comes to mind when the word 'depression' is mentioned?  I'll tell you mine.  Dark.  Alone.  Scared.  Mean.  Disheveled.  Sad.  Self Loathing.  Anxious.  Anti-Social.  Mopey.  Friend-less.  Unmotivated.  Unkempt.  Tired.  Dreary.  Ugly.  Cold.  Pretty much encompassing the book 'Prozac Nation' if you have read the book - scared me to death.

And how do I see myself?  Motivated.  Upbeat.  Social.  Loving.  Caring.  Funny.  Warm.  Proud.  Self Confident.  Bright.  

So imagine my confusion when I found myself caught between these two opposite worlds.
Depressed was nothing I would ever consider myself being and I was certainly not the image that came to mind when I thought of the state.  Almost a year ago, however, I was in my own dark place.  But it didn't necessarily look like what was mentioned above.

I have a beautiful family.  I have a great job.  I exercise.  I eat well.  I love going out with friends.  I am involved.  I am passionate.  And I love fashion for goodness sake!  Not the signs of a depressed person in my mind.  Then again, I felt this extreme tug of sadness. Loneliness. Feeling afraid.  Incredibly unsteady.  Mean (mostly with the one who loves me most).  Ugly.  Anxious. Guilty.  Entitled.  Scorned.  And for all of this, I HATED who I was.  I hated the cyclical days and weeks of feeling great, feeling horrible, acting out, feeling guilty, hiding it all.  Repeat.

Sooooo - what made me this crazy-ish person you ask?  The answer:  No idea.  And that my friends, sucks.

Sure, there have been events in my life that trigger unhappy, and sometimes downright sad, emotions.  I have had my share of personal and family struggles.  I don't have a perfect life - but a good one for sure.  I have made decisions that may not have been the best.  But don't we all?  I think the better questions is why do I have to take a pill and you don't?  Again, not sure.  And that sucks too.

Thankfully though, there are good therapists, good doctors, and good friends who will not judge you when you tell them (or in worse cases, completely break down) about how you are feeling.  When you describe that you simply "don't feel right" and that "this is not me" they may not understand but want to help.  I talked and talked and talked about my feelings.  About ways to better deal with the emotions I was having.  About tools to use when I felt waves come on.  For months, I tried going the Au natural route to feel better (Vitamin B, fish oil, change in diet, no caffeine, etc. etc.).  Believe me, I know that I already have plenty of hormones and that a an extra daily dose was probably not necessary. But alas, no relief.  In fact, things were getting worse for the pure fact that I could not fix them or make them go away.  I.  Was.  Struggling.

I finally got to a place where I really didn't care what it took to find myself again.  I was so sick of who I had become.  What it was doing to my marriage.  The feeling of having a dirty secret all the time.  And that's when I decided to start taking anti-depressants.  

I had a therapist and a doctor who really listened to me.  To all of my concerns about not really wanting to "be on something" (lot's of people need it to become chemically balanced again), about having a 9-month old who needs me (it will not make you a zombie), about wanting to be able to still feel all of my emotions (you will still cry and laugh and yes, get sad, just as we all do), about wanting a mini-dose (let's put you on the lowest dose possible to start), about not becoming numb (you are not in a mental institution - okay, kidding on this one), about needing to feel active and not sleepy (take it at night before you go to bed)...and the list went on. I thought I was going to become a different person and I admit, I was scared.  Not to mention I was going to be that person who takes anti-depressants.  The stigma - yuck.

But it was something I felt I had to do.  And the good news?  I'm baaaack.  Hah.  Feeling great.  Normal.  STEADY! And for those things, I don't really care if I am that person.  It's really an amazing feeling to feel like you are not held captive my someone who is not you doing things that feel completely against your will.  Even Chris (typically an 'unbeliever' if you will when it comes to emotional imbalance) has seen a huge change and he is amazed.  

So there you have it.  I guess I am just thankful.  Thankful for modern medicine.  Thankful for something that can make such a positive change in my life.  Thankful that I could get over my pride and the stigmas I had.  Of course, I hope that I don't have to refill a prescription for life, but for right now, I am where I need to be.


Russ and Kara said...

You are so brave to share this with everyone. What an incredible journey you have been through and are still going through. I cannot begin to understand your personal struggle but want you to know that I am a great listener if you ever need me. So happy that you have found something that works for you. You are amazing!

Beth said...

Totally admire and respect you for sharing this, Tiff. You know, I have not known a single mom who didn't go through some level of postpartum depression. Not one. Some of us have just had a touch, and others have had a more serious bout, but pregnancy does a number on our hormones and brain chemicals! I'm so glad you found something to help. Personally I had a bad experience with side effects from an antidepressant and have since chosen to go with some supplements instead, but fyi I'm right there with you since my brain injury. And I totally relate to that feeling of knowing, "This isn't me!" Thanks for sharing!