Coming Clean

Can’t believe it is my front door, with that big honkin’ dog sitting in it.  But it is.  I don’t think we’ll be having any problems with intruders.

I have debated writing about this, but I think it is only fair that I do.  As most of you know, I went through a debilitating depression earlier this year.  I suffer from major depressive disorder, recurrent, severe, without psychotic features.  All my life.  For a long, long time, I have been able to keep a sort of low level depression going on, and maintain a decent life by eating a good diet, having an adequate balance of activity and rest, social and quiet time, and lots of good exercise.

All that ended when I took a new job.  I was working too much.  I was stressed out.  I was doubting my ability to do simple work.  I couldn’t remember anything.  I had no time to work out.  All of my routines were interrupted, well, ended.  There was absolutely no comfort in my life.  It felt like one long ugly thing to get through.

I was willing to try an antidepressant in April.  I tried one.  Then another.  Then another.  With no impact on my depression whatsoever.  They just made my anxiety out of control. To the point where I couldn’t take them.  We finally reached the point in August of saying – no antidepressants work for me, what now?  When the doctor said ECT, I freaked!  I know ECT works.  But it also kills your short term memory.  This would be the end of my career.  I would have to go on disability.  I can barely keep this job with a 60 year old brain, to do anything to further hamper it would be devastating.

So I combed my memory.  I remembered a time long ago when I took a medication that worked.  Until it didn’t.  I had a terrible side effect from this drug.  But in August, with my life falling apart, and the threat of ECT and the end of my working life, I called my doctor and suggested it was worth trying this medication again.  On August 14 I took my first dose of Prozac and within days was feeling like maybe was indeed worth living.  That my problems were not unsolvable.  I was able to do things I hadn’t done in years.  Like spontaneously deciding to wash my car – in the driveway – with hose and bucket and shammy.  Cleaning every window, inside and out.  Etc.  I cleaned a bedroom that had turned into a dumping ground for my mail, my papers, my knitting, my sewing, my winter coats, my hats and gloves, etc.  Now it is pretty again.  I was sleeping through the night again!  In other words, I was becoming functional again.

I would have never written this on my old blog because I really believe that people are too quick to take medications when they could seriously pray, and make lifestyle changes to overcome their discomfort.  Taking medication in your first year of sobriety is insane – unless you have an already diagnosed psychiatric disorder and know that it isn’t the effects of alcohol or drugs.

I was very happy when I could keep my depression at bay with nutrition and exercise.  I think it is always worth trying that first.  But now I am very happy that there is a medication that can help when that other stuff won’t.  But I must keep close eye on it because it caused big trouble back in the day.  For now, I am grateful, grateful, grateful for modern medicine.

Just wanted to let you all know what is going on here.  Thanks for caring.

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  — John 15:12



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25 Responses to Coming Clean

  1. Syd says:

    I do believe that depression can be so debilitating that people die from it. And I am a believer in medication for problems that are physiological. Depression for many people is physiological and not simply a case of the blues. I’m glad that you are feeling better. I was concerned about you with all the stress and sadness going on.

  2. Kary May says:

    It is so good to hear you sounding better. God puts lifelines out there and it’s up to us to keep trying to find the right one, I’m glad you were brave and humble enough to give Prozac another try.

  3. Mary LA says:

    I really do appreciate your honesty, Mary Christine. And I’m so glad you are feeling better. That dog looks so lovable to me.

  4. Dave U says:

    I think that’s fantastic. We have to do what’s necessary. Isn’t that what recovery is about?

    ps — keep that dog off the prozac.

  5. I appreciate your candor but you in no way need to explain yourself to anybody. Please continue to seek out help. You are needed in this world.

    And the dog?? Awesome. He looks like a total badass.

    • I really weighed this and decided that since I was so frank about my depression, I should be equally so about what really ended it. I sure could be wrong though.

      That dog does look like a badass, he is sweet though.

  6. Pingback: dog in the window « sober in october

  7. luluberoo says:

    Almost 3 years ago this month, I coerced my son into trying the holistic approach I’m so fond of. It was disastrous.

    I’ve learned that as an adult you make your own choices about what meds you do or don’t need. I agree with K, no explanations necessary.

  8. Hope says:

    I’ve seen the night and day difference for a loved one taking an anti-depressant. It was an incredible transformation and I fully support it. Good for you for knowing what worked and trying it again. There’s no shame in that, Mary Christine. Just good, common sense.

    I love the photo.

  9. Nuala Colman says:

    thank you so much for this post. I needed to read it. I went on medication a month ago and so far have tried two which have sent my anxiety levels out of control. I have already tried meditation, nutrition, supplements, herbs, homeopathy and feel quite dispondent now thinking no medication will work for me. after reading your post today I feel I must try again and that it is okay to need medication. I really am tired trying – I cant even work my program right now and feel quite debilitated.

  10. susan says:

    I took prozac for 6 years in sobriety — between year 12 and year 18. I am really glad to have taken it, and I am really glad to be off it now. I am glad that it has worked for you. It really helped me when I needed it.

  11. susan says:

    It is wondeful to feel good without chemicals, but it is wonderful to feel good in general. It is nice to know that they are there. I saw a great new movie about Bill W. Maybe he would have apprecieted them and understood their value as well. So glad you are “back in the saddle” so to speak.

  12. Daisyanon says:

    I’m glad you told us MC. Because it is an important part of your recovery from depression and your sober journey. Without that piece of the jigsaw we would have assumed your general lifestyle and spiritual strategies were sufficient and that might deter others reading from trying appropriate medication.

  13. keleee says:

    I’m so glad the medication worked for you. I have been on antidepressants since adolecence as is my son who is 29. My Dr. says it is my lousy Irish genes! It defintely beats feeling cold and gooseflesh on my arms and dark inside. I am on Effexor XR 300 a day and it has worked for over a decade when nothing else would. It is scary when nothing seems to work. Don’t listen to people who don’t believe in medication. They just don’t happen to need it but if they did I bet they would take it rather then feel the dark hole of depression. It is easy to judge others when we have no idea what it is like to suffer from major depressive disorder. Glad you are feeling better!

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