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.
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…
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.
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.