Musings and Personal

My Little Blue Pill

I am a woman, and I take a Little Blue Pill.

It is a prescription. I feel up when I take it. It helps me dive into things with gusto.

happy-pills

It is called Zoloft, and it’s an antidepressant.

I am proud of this.

I am ashamed of this.

I dated a guy once who said antidepressants are just a happy pill for who can’t deal with life. He was right, I couldn’t handle life:

  • I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning.
  • I couldn’t stop pacing in the middle of the night.
  • I couldn’t stop crying.
  • I couldn’t eat – I had no appetite.
  • I couldn’t focus – the ruminating voices in my head kept interrupting me.
  • I couldn’t think of anything worth living for.

Each time Depression* reared Its ugly head, Its head got bigger.

I had a plan to stop the pain, I only lacked the courage to carry it out. I didn’t want to live but I was too scared to die, so every night I PLEADED! BEGGED! PRAYED! to God I’d never wake up. But I always did.

I saw the link to this gallery of photos the other day:  What Depression Looks Like

I have a lot of pictures like those…

Grandma S & me
Thanksgiving after HS graduation. When you’re depressed, it’s hard to find things to be thankful for.
appleton apt
Almost 21 years old, I moved into my first apartment. I took advantage of living alone to cry freely instead of holding it in.
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I went skydiving when I was 25 years old. I hoped the chute wouldn’t open so the pain would finally end.
P1020589
My husband, son and I visited Lake Tahoe with some family. I locked myself in one of the rooms numerous times to cry.
WI fam pic2
Visiting my parents in WI at 32 years old. I didn’t want to leave and face reality back in CA.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Thanksgiving 2012 – I was so depressed I couldn’t attend my husband’s Christmas party a few weeks later.

I’ve been taking antidepressants on and off for over 20 years.  I would take them for a while, feel better, then think I didn’t need them anymore. I finally learned my lesson.

I learned I had to get over myself and bury my ego.

I learned I had to not give a shit about others’ opinions.

I learned I had to let myself be vulnerable and ask for help.

I learned I had to be courageous and educate others about this disease.

THE REALITY IS THAT DEPRESSION IS AN ILLNESS!!!

I was born with a heart defect, repaired at 9 months old, and as a result have a permanent pacemaker. No one would EVER tell me my 30 beats-per-minute heartbeat is something I can control. The same is true of Depression.

The controversy and skepticism is not about Depression itself, but rather if medication is necessary (or a cop-out, as my ex implied).  All I know is when I take my meds:

  • I can get out of bed in the morning.
  • I don’t pace around with insomnia in the middle of the night.
  • I cry when I have a reason, not because I am slowly dying inside.
  • I have an appetite.
  • I can focus – the voices are quieted.
  • I can find things to live for without even searching.

dementorconceptart

A friend of mine once asked me to describe what it is like to have depression.

I told her it feels like a Dementor (from Harry Potter) is lurking close by!  (For those of you who don’t know what a Dementor is:  What Clinical Depression feels like.)  I told her Zoloft is my Patronus.

But make no mistake; I am not defined by my illness, I am defined by who I am and what I choose to do with that.

And I choose to take a Little Blue Pill and a BIG Stand to educate others.

* When I reference Depression, I am talking not talking about situational depression, which has a reason (i.e. loss of a loved one) and is temporary. I am speaking of Clinical Depression, which is a chronic, dysfunctional sadness unrelated to external circumstances.

5 thoughts on “My Little Blue Pill

  1. Lynn, thank you for your post. We have a long ways to go in the US to de-stigmatize depression and recognize it as a treatable illness. I took ‘little blue pills’ for a long time until I reached the point where I was able to manage my anxiety and depression with diet and exercise. And I love your point that no one would tell you to ‘get over’ your heart defect, and yet that happens with depression all of the time. Keep writing!

    Like

  2. Dear Lynn, I’m very touched by your open post. Depression is an illness so easy to conceal. The pain is real and invisible. The battle, so lonely. Yet, thousands upon thousands face it every day.
    The most touching part of your post was your description, “I cry when I have a reason, not because I am slowly dying inside.” Slowly dying inside… That’s one of the best descriptions of depression that I have ever read.
    Thank you for all the pictures and for this well written post, xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

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