Lifting the veil

For most of the past year, I was stumbling. I was lightning-quick to anger, slow to warm after misunderstandings, generally unpleasant even when I tried really, really hard to focus on all that is good in my life.

I was tired of trying so hard. But I was also too low to work my way out of it.

For months, CG's gentle efforts to get me to consider medication went nowhere good. One night in the fall, he finally sat me down and strongly suggested I see a doctor. At first I lashed out at him, defensive. Then I shrank in fear of him not loving my worthless, angry self, defenseless. Was he saying something was deeply wrong with me? Did he not love me? Was he thinking me weak, incapable of working through my issues on my own?

No. What he said was out of love and respect for me. I see that now. I had to take that on faith then, a faith in him and his goodness.

In some perversely irrational way, I was worried that taking an antidepressant would magically make it all better. This would prove just how wrong our pill-popping culture is! You shouldn't be able to magically fix your sour moods or medicate away parts of yourself. It should take hard work and time and strenuous effort! I didn't want to turn into a medicated zombie incapable of feeling anything.

But I know now that that's not how it works. I'm still the same person. The medicated me still has the same flash points, the same triggers, the same issues. I can still get angry; I still cry; I still have bad days. I still have lots of work to do making my life the way I want it to be, one day, one thought, at a time. But medication has helped in subtle, pervasive ways. My fuse is noticeably longer. When I cry it's for a good reason. My bad days pass quickly and aren't filled with feelings of worthlessness.

For me, medication doesn't take away parts of me. It softens edges, and makes everything just a little easier.

Medication lifted the veil.

The other day, I realized with a start that I am enjoying, really enjoying my girls lately. Many times a day I smile and laugh and think "I am so happy to be right here".

Which makes me realize that, for too long, I wasn't.


Grateful Twin Mom said...

So, so glad you're better. Your honesty hits home with so many of us who've had to medicate. It's not a magic bullet, but to have the edge off is so much better.

E is soooooo cute in these pictures. What a little imp!

Marie Green said...

I think have a "short fuse" was my biggest "symptom" of needed medication. I was... TOTALLY being unreasonable so much of the time, and once I was medicated I could see that. Isn't it weird in this day and age there is still a stigma attached to needing medication? A different stigma than before, but one none-the-less...

Anyway, I am SO GLAD you are feeling better. And I'm so proud of CG for prodding you in the right direction. I think a common mistake many people make is to think that the depressed/anxious person will say "Welp! I'm depressed/anxious! I guess I need to see a doctor!" In reality, I think it creeps up on us, and we're so clouded about EVERTHING that we really aren't able to see if we really need help or not.

Anyway, bravo, you.

Erica said...

I'm so glad you're doing well. There's no shame in needing a little help to stay on even keel. My doctor tells me, repeatedly, that I wouldn't be ashamed if I was diabetic and needed insulin, so why should I be ashamed that I need an SSRI? I try hard to believe that.

Gina said...

I really admire you for being so open and honest about your experience with depression.

I feel into a deep depression when I was pregnant with our younger son, Theo and was in total denial about it for a long time. I can really relate to the sense of being angry at everyone around me (except our kids - I was oddly calm with them). I finally really feel like my old self again and it is such a relief. I have some underlying other medical issues which made anti-depressants not a good idea for me, but therapy, exercise, omega-3s, and in general trying to be more "selfish" finally pulled me out of the hole I was in.

Swistle said...

Happy day!

miyoko said...

:D :D :D :D :D

Anonymous said...

I am calling my dr. and asking an appt. Thank you for being so brave to write about this. I LOVE being a mom and my life, but I am not happy and I have tried lots of things including exercise, vitamins, and time with friends. There is something wrong when I still can't enjoy things.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

Dear Anonymous: Good for you! I'm touched that you wrote a comment to say that, thank you. I want you to know you're not alone in this and it can get better. Pills don't solve everything, but they can lift the veil that keeps you from solving things yourself. Whatever happens, you are taking a great first step by talking to your doctor. Good luck, be good to yourself and go you!

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