Tag Archives: depression

Some thoughts on #MedicatedandMighty

I’ve been peeking in on the #MedicatedandMighty thread the last few days but haven’t participated in it because, quite frankly, the anti-medication people fill me a lot of rage.

I started taking anti-depressants when I was 19. Do I think antidepressants are the solution for everyone? No. Do I think all antidepressants are good? No. Do I think medication can be detrimental? Yes. Do I think some people are capable of managing their depression just fine without medication? Yes. And most of the people that I have spoken to in my life who take medication for depression feel the same way. If medication helps, by all means, use it. If medication doesn’t work for you, by all means, don’t use it. I wouldn’t dream of telling someone how to manage their depression. Will I tell them about my experience if they ask, of course. Will I support them if they choose to try medication, of course. Will I support them if they don’t want to use medication, of course.

Which is where my rage with anti-medication people tends to start popping up. Because my experience with anti-medication people has been mostly being shamed for taking medication. Or being told if I just exercised or ate better or spent more time outside or thought happy thoughts, that I would be so much better than what my medication was doing for me. My experiences tend to get shut down or ignored and I’m told that I’m buying into big pharma or taking the easy way out. There is no live and let live with most of these people, there’s just I am wrong and bad for taking medication and they know much better. What is especially irritating to me is that many of the people I hear these things from have never actually struggled with depression.

My depression is stealthy and insidious. It’s quiet and patient. It sneaks up on me when I’m not paying attention. I just realize one day that for the past two weeks I’ve hardly slept, that eating seems like a lot more work than it should, that I’m spending inordinate amounts of time on my couch staring at my tv and thinking about all the things I should be doing but not actually able to muster the will to do any of them. I realize that I’ve stopped talking to people, that I have no interest in going out or working on projects. I find myself putting things off over and over again. I find myself constantly wanting to talk to someone but not being able to find any words to use.

My medication does not make me happy. It does not turn me into a peppy, upbeat, Stepford wife ready to tackle the world. But it does mean that when my depression rears its ugly head that I can still get out of bed in the morning and go to work. I can still make sure I’m eating enough to not make myself sick. That I can function enough to keep my job and pay my bills. That I can make it through the work day being grumpy instead of crying in my car during my lunch break.

Could I survive without my medication? Yes. But I don’t see any point in making my life more difficult than it needs to me. Even when things are going well my depression makes things difficult. Even when I exercise every day and watch what I eat. Even when I spend at least an hour outside a day in the sunshine. Even when everything at work is going well. Even then my depression still makes things difficult. And if medication makes it easier for me to handle that depression, makes it easier to keep going, then why would I not use that? And more importantly, why should I feel ashamed of that?

My depression isn’t ever going to get better. It’s not going to pack up one day and go away. It’s going to be with me forever. It’s going to live in my head and follow me everywhere I go. That’s what depression does. Shaming people for taking medication to deal with that makes them less likely to ask for help. It makes people less likely to open up and talk about their depression. Writing this makes me want to vomit because in the back of my head all I can think about is, “No one cares about your problems” and “Oh ffs, how much shit am I going to get from anti-medication people because of this?”

If you don’t believe in medication, fine, that’s your right. But you have no right in any situation to dictate how other people manage their depression. And when you choose to take something like #MedicatedandMighty and try to use it to make people feel shitty for taking medication or to tell them they’re living their life wrong, then you’re contributing to a problem and doing absolutely no good whatsoever. So please stop. Spend more time listening to people and less time trying to be right.

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4000 Days of Grief

“Night falls, with gravity. The earth turns, from sanity

Taking my only friend I know, He leaves a lot, his name is “Hope”.

I’m never what I like I’m double-sided.”

~ Twenty One Pilots “Semi-Automatic”

Tomorrow marks the end of three years as a public librarian. While I’m still  staying in the field, it’s odd to be leaving the job(well, one of the  jobs) I’ve worked for the past three years. Combine this with the  approaching 11th anniversary of my father’s death and I’m  just full of feelings. I hate feelings. I think they’re stupid. I wish I didn’t have them. As a result, I have a tendency to not talk about  them. EVER. I have recently been informed by someone who I care about  quite dearly that this is, perhaps, not the best decision I have ever  made. And while I think he is wrong about many things, he may, possibly, have a point about this. However, being emotionally crippled isn’t  exactly something one gets over easily, so I have decided that step one  is to simply emotionally vomit all over the Interwebz as opposed to an  actual person. So, pardon me while I spill my grief all over the page  for a few minutes.

I suffer from depression. I have for as long as I can remember. I am lucky that it is not a debilitating condition, but it has caused me a number of problems over the years. Due to a number of factors, both nature and nurture  related, I did my best to simply ignore this fact until a friend spent  most of our freshman year of college pushing me to get help. It is a  small miracle of some small god somewhere that I listened to him.

A few months later, on the Friday before Thanksgiving of 2002, my mother  called me at 7:59 AM to tell me that my father was dead. And at the  tender and horrifically impressionable young age of 19 my entire world  shattered into a million tiny little bits. Suffering a profound loss at  any age changes you, but that first experience with grief, real and  immediate earth shattering grief, it can break you. It changes the way  you see the world, your ability to trust people, to depend on people.  Suffering from depression makes it difficult to connect to people in  general. Add the death of a parent to that and you suddenly exist in a  world in which it becomes impossible to believe that anyone could  understand the kind of pain you feel. That deep biting pain that hurts  so badly that it becomes physically painful; it makes it impossible to  breathe or think or function. How do you even begin to talk to someone  about that?

So I’ve spent the last 11 years not talking. There  have been a handful of times, easily less than half a dozen, where I’ve  let slip bits or pieces but never anything of real depth. These are  almost always followed by periods of intense shame where I immediately  regret it. I feel bad for bothering people with my problems. Even this  has taken hours to write. The instinct towards silence after this many  years is a hard one to let go of. It bleeds into other areas of your  life and after a while you find yourself not really talking about  anything of depth with anyone. Minor annoyances or hurts, the emotional  equivalent of a knee-scrap, are acceptable topics, good news is always  shared, but the bigger hurts, the emotional broken bones and  concussions, those get swept under the rub or pushed to the side to be  ignored.

When I was a kid, 30 seemed like that sort of magic age.  Like hey, congratulations, you’re an adult now! By 30 I should have had  my career figured out, I should have known who I was, and where my life  was going. And instead, I’m 30 and I pretty much have no idea what I’m  doing at all. It’s like being perpetually stuck at a crossroads at high  noon and someone knocked all the road signs down so I don’t have any  idea where anything leads. I once had a boy tell me he wished he could  be what I needed. At the time, because I’m a fool by nature, I believed him and thought it was sweet; in hindsight, I wish I’d asked what he thought I needed. I always wonder if he could  have come up with a better answer than I’ve been able to.

Grief is this thing that worms its way inside of you and lives there forever.  Some days it just makes things a little bit slower, a little bit less  easy. Other days, even years later, it makes you curl up in the bottom  of the shower and cry hysterically. In the 11 years since my father has died, I have not gone a single day in which I do not have at least a moment of sadness. The pain is no longer as crippling as it was the first couple of years, most of the rage has drained away, and I no longer find myself compelled to write trite and embarrassing poetry. But it still hurts every day. And there are still times that I find myself furious that he is gone. And November is still, by far, the worst possible month for me. The grief, the depression, and the dreary weather seep away my motivation and leave nothing but a deep and desperate longing for something that I cannot seem to identify.

I wish that I was a stronger person. I wish that I had dealt with things better. And I wish that grief had an expiration date. But wishes, unlike grief, do not exist. So I will simply continue to muddle along and attempt to do better in the future than I have done in the past.

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