A week ago today I made a decision that, reflectively, I wish I had made years ago. I decided to go on a low dose anti-depressant. It may not seem like a big deal to some, but to me it meant finally having control of years of an emotional struggle.
I have struggled with anxiety and underlying depression for most of my life. People who don’t have these disorders don’t understand the daily struggle that ensues with battling seemingly simple every day living. Going the grocery store would stir a panic attack. Waking up in the morning with an overwhelming feeling of doom and gloom or just feeling a sense of sadness so strong that it made moving forward in the day difficult. That was my life.
Why did I wait so long to make this decision? Fear of judgement for one. Unfortunately, though its 2013, we still live in a society where depression, anxiety and mental illness are looked down upon. Whenever I told certain people in my life that I had depression, they gave me a look of disgust and would make remarks about how depression doesn’t exist, or that I have a wonderful life, I have no reason to be depressed.
Depression isn’t about what you have in your life…its about what you don’t have–and that’s control over your own emotions. I have a great life. A great job, a great career, a wonderful husband and amazing people who I love and love me. I am a overall, a happy person. But anxiety and depression are disorders that are often biological. I couldn’t help feeling these feelings. They were there. When I woke up. When I went to sleep.
I held off on going on anti-depressants because I didn’t want people to think I was a “crazy” person. There is still a negative ideology around medication to control emotions. I also didn’t want to have to fill my body with essentially, a mind altering drug. But, I have been in therapy most of my life, and have tried several means of controlling my anxiety and depression without medication, including herbal remedies, meditation, yoga and the like (all of which I continue to do). But when my panic attacks led me to frequent doctor and emergency room visits, I was finally given Ativan. My little white pill that the ignorant around me would tell me to take to “make me feel better,” whenever I was in the thrust of a panic attack. The little white pill was my life saver for a very long time. Just knowing it was in my pocket made me feel better.
But the depression is another issue. Feeling doom and gloom and sadness all the time for absolutely no reason. It eats away at you. I felt like I was living a shadow of my life. Finally, after my latest bout of the blues, and my breaking point, I decided I just didn’t care what people thought, or what I thought–it had to end. I finally decided to discuss taking an anti-depressant with my physician.
And truthfully, it has been the best decision I have made in my entire life. The first week has been hell of side effects as my brain adjusts to the new chemical reset…But……Its been worth it. I feel upbeat. Less stressed. And while the anxiety and sadness are there, I have what I haven’t had before and that’s control. I smile more. Am able to focus and yes, my sleep has improved immensely. It doesn’t make me “zombie”~I still feel. But what I don’t feel is that sense of hopelessness and sadness. The sense that my life is spinning out of control because doing the simplest thing like driving to work or going to the grocery store, was to much for me to handle and process.
I feel like a shroud has been lifted off me. The veil finally parted and I am able to see and think clearly.
For the first time in a long time…I can say I am really truly and undeniably…..