It boggles my mind how I can find this life so magnificent, so worth it… with love all around me, and optimism in my heart… and yet depression is something that seeps its way back into me again and again.
I wonder if I will ever be completely free from it. I do so well, and then, like a thief in the night, my happiness is stolen. That’s what it feels like anyway. Since I was a teenager, I have spent so many days feeling worthless, suffocated by this darkness that would never completely leave me alone. My happy days are often spent to the fullest, yes- but not without me looking over my shoulder, fearing that the dark cloud is just looming, ready to take over again.
Do anti-depressants work? I’m no Doctor. This isn’t professional advice and I won’t speak for anyone but myself. My story is the only one I can tell. But my thoughts? Do they work? For me, I can argue both yes and no.
I guess I’ll just come out and say it because I want to give you a true account and not just the “blog version” here: I did choose to go back on anti-depressants about a month ago. And they are helping, but they are numbing at the same time.
I’ll paint the picture for you. Last summer and into Fall, it was the first time I had ever wrote about depression. It was freeing for me to do this, and I hoped that it helped others… but at the same time, I was worried I was going to become the poster child for depression lol. I don’t want that… I am so much more than what I deal with. But helping others is a priority for me. Anyway– that time last year, I got through it without medication. But it took me nearly five months. Due to my situation at the time, I was able to work through it alone. I was home in Colfax taking care of someone full time and also caring for my dog who had cancer, so work and my social life had taken a back seat. I was “hidden.” Nonetheless, that was five months of severe depression and anxiety. Of barely any good sleep. Of hair loss, stomach problems, constant headaches. Could anti-depressants have shortened that duration for me? I’m not sure.
And then situations changed and eventually I started feeling lighter on my feet again. Family was doing good, and it was nearing time for me to be back into the city again full time. There is something about life after a tough bout of depression. When you make it to the other side. The sky literally seems bluer than you EVER remembered. Food tastes amazing. Laughter feels magical almost– you realize how much you missed it. And when something good happens, even something small, you cherish that moment. You grasp onto anything good because you were without happiness for so long. You also grasp onto it because you fear it’ll soon slip away– as it always seems to for those who suffer from reoccurring depression.
So I had a good six month run after that. No depression. Maybe a little post traumatic stress but nothing so weakening that I couldn’t get on with my life.
Slowly, slowly, slowly it crept back. You try to ignore it at first. You tell yourself you’re just tired. A few things have gone wrong but such is life. You say you just need alone time. That you still have a few things to emotionally process. But that’s it. That’s it right? Except it’s not.
Weeks turn into months and the next thing you know, you’re sleeping 10+ hours a day. You feel exhausted from the moment you wake up to the moment you go back to sleep. You’re not “getting ready” ever. You’re eating like shit because you feel like you’re not worth it. You feel like you’re not worth the effort and time for anything good right now. And your social life comes to a near halt. Not because of lack of invitations, but because having to put on a happy face is so draining that it’s easier to just come up with reasons why you can’t go out. Why you can’t make it to dinner. Why no one hears from you lately. Why you’re spending holidays at home alone. Why you never make plans. Why every weekend you stay IN. And by yourself. It’s a lot of isolation.
Depression is not pretty. And anyone who thinks it’s a CHOICE to be truly, TRULY depressed… is just wrong. Depression sucks. It really does. What IS a choice– is playing the victim at the end of the day or not. Don’t play the victim. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. That’s step one! You can’t give up! Okay? Ever. I choose to fight. I would do anything to rid myself of this. It has stemmed so many problems for me in the past. It has robbed me of so much. I think anyone who has suffered from depression as I have would agree: it’s a life sucker. It’s time spent in the dark that you can never get back. Not to mention how alone you feel due to the fact that it’s not something a lot of people talk about- even though it is so common.
So about a month ago I was home in Colfax. It was the afternoon on a Sunday and I was in my room, crying. In PJs I had been wearing for two days. Just laying down sideways and looking at the wall and feeling like an empty shell of myself. It had been this way for months. And it was getting more and more difficult to hide it from people. My Mom is my hero, she is there at my low points and reminds me that I. am. STRONG. And capable. And that things will turn out alright. She is exactly the kind of woman I want to be, and for her I am so grateful. That day, we both agreed that maybe this time around I should try medication so that it’s not so drawn out like last time.
Because this time around, present time, I was back to my normal life. And I didn’t have the luxury of hiding away like last time. I have to make a living. I have go on making a life for myself in San Francisco. I had already lost so much time the previous year. In general I’ve lost so much time to this. So for that very reason, I went back on medication so that I could just… get back to it. Sometimes depression feels like constant reintegrating yourself back into life again and again. It gets so old… I hate it.
But I never give up. I’m my own little fighter. I choose to keep most things to myself. Whether or not that’s the right way to do it I’m not sure. But I do have a hard time opening up in real life and my biggest fear is burdening the people I love most. Or disappointing them. To be honest, dealing with it on my own has always felt best for me. That said, I think the best thing anyone can do if they can afford it is to get therapy. Because talking it out and really facing what’s eating you is the main bridge that’s going to get you over it. For ME… anti-depressants is just a bandaid. But it does get the job done. I’m slowly back to being more social. I’m not waking up everyday feeling like nothing’s worth it. I’m laughing more. I don’t think about something I did years ago and feel sick to my stomach. I’ve already got a little more pep in my step.
But I also feel a bit numbed. Like I swear to God the saddest thing could happen to me right now and it’d probably be near impossible for me to cry. And sometimes I feel… blank. I don’t know how else to describe it except I feel this void of feeling anything in certain moments. I don’t experience that when I’m not on anti-depressants: I be feelin’ and I be knowin’!
I’ve told myself that in a few months time I’ll go off them (I had been off them for three years before this) and perhaps I’ll make it a priority to start talking it out with someone in a professional setting. I haven’t done that since my early 20s and I think it could be beneficial. I’m ready for it. I’m super interested in this therapy called Brain Spotting that is great for PTSD and depression. Anxiety too. Supposedly it’s more advanced than just traditional talk therapy and it can help you get over things at a quicker rate. Sounds great, huh? The research has been really positive. There’s a place in Sacramento (Folsom) called Pacific Trauma Center that I hear is one of the best. I wish I could recommend more places in the Bay Area but I haven’t done much research yet. And you guys know I’m INSANE about proper research.
So what I can say to you, if you’re going through it right now… your road to happiness is going to be your own. Whether that’s anti-depressants or not, you’re going to have to do your research and figure that out. Be introspective. Talk to a Doctor. Go to therapy. Keep working out. Get yourself all ready and cute now and then. Try to have something that you can stick to every week. Little things help. I’ve written before about natural things that have helped me out. <—It’s at the end of that article, if you want to check it out.
I know it can hurt. Trust me, my life has not been all roses and bunnies lol. Although I’ve learned to paint it that way sometimes… I AM able to focus and find good things too. I believe that even in hard times you can find moments of joy. But you have to be open to it. I know it’s tough. I can relate on so many dark levels- starved myself for YEARS. Had addictions and demons- anything to numb the pain or numb what was going on. It’s hard. Life is hard. But you can and WILL get through to the other side. I did. Keep fighting. You learn how to channel pain more effectively. Even turn it around for good.
And certainly know that you’re not alone. Life IS wonderful. So use your pain for good. Find the silver linings. Find the purpose of it all. Keep being good to people. I think those who have gone through serious storms and choose NOT to play the victim card at the end of the day are some of the strongest and most compassionate people I know.
I don’t let depression define me because it doesn’t define me. It’s just a PART that comes and goes. I also don’t make excuses for it. I’m strong as hell. I can handle anything! And so can you. Lastly. I do urge more people to talk about it. And not just give the lighter, more appealing version. Give the nitty gritty details when you can and when it’s right– that’s what really helps paint a picture for someone. Relating to others can be so healing. You never know who needs to hear your story. God knows I could have used a peer to relate to over the years. And also -just sayin’- the truth will set you free. 🙂
What are your thoughts guys? How is everyone doing? Thinking of the Violet Fog community every day and always praying for you guys. Really really. Rise up ladies <3