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