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Me vs. Depression

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Since I was an adult, I've spent some time on antidepressants. The first time was when I was at a point in my life where I didn't know where my career was going, where my relationship was going, where my life was going ... I fixed my career problems, and my boyfriend proposed, and I was able to get off the antidepressants with no negative effects.

More recently, when my baby was 5 months old I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. I cried a lot, worried incessantly about whether I was a good mother, and felt like I was trapped in the role of caregiver rather than enjoying my new baby. With the medication (and all the other usual help from a caring husband, good friends, and healthy habits) I was able to find joy in my new life.

A few weeks ago, my prescription for the antidepressants ran out. I thought to myself, maybe I'm cured! My son is now 12 months old; I'm not technically postpartum anymore, and it would be nice to enjoy life without medication.

However, as they've worn off I've found myself more and more in a funk. I find myself feeling overwhelmed but unable to concentrate on the tasks I need to get done; I feel more and more insecure about myself; I feel fatigued more easily; I feel hopeless and helpless. It has affected my sex drive. And it's been harder for me to eat well and easier for me to turn to chocolate and other junk foods to make myself happy from an external source, since the happiness is coming from outside. This has affected all areas of my life, including my parenting skills, but also my eating and my exercising.

The thing about depression is, it's insidious. It's a mental disorder, so when you have it, one of the symptoms is that it's hard for you to realize that this isn't the way your mind normally works. So even knowing what depression is like, it took some time to realize that this funk that I'm in isn't the real me, it's what happens when the chemicals in my brain are in disarray. We don't know why they don't always work correctly, but body and brain chemistry are mysterious. It's tempting for everyone, including myself, to say that I should just snap out of it, but that's not what depression is all about it -- it's not about maintaining happiness by force of will, but about correcting an imbalance that allows me to live life as I should be living it. I don't feel bad about taking a thyroid supplement to correct an underactive thyroid, and I shouldn't feel bad about taking an antidepressant to correct a brain chemistry problem.

I'm sharing this here in part to remind myself that the depressed me isn't the *real* me. The real me can accomplish great things without feeling distracted, out of focus, fatigued, and overwhelmed by life. The real me is lots of fun, is someone I enjoy being, and soon, I will get her back.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • CARI2012
    There's no shame in taking antidepressants... the stigma is (or should be) in the past. Also, I don't see any reason to stop taking them if all you're having is good "side effects"? I really appreciate your honestly and open-ness in this blog.
    1732 days ago
    You are normal to me , I am Bipolar and have a thyroid problem Hypothyroid. Depression is a disease, its not you its a disease just like Diabetes. I had those feelings when my son was born , Its difficult to be a Mom and you have a right to your feelings and a right to speak freely without judgement. Their is no manual on being a parent -I am sure that you are a wonderful Mother and are being hard on yourself. Have some alone time with your husband. See your Physician - that is part of taking care of yourself !! Hugs Karen - Here if you need me emoticon
    1734 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/16/2013 9:43:18 PM
    Dear Hilary,

    I have struggled with depression too, and it is such a difficult road. I have been on my anti-depressants for a few years now. They make such a difference in my life, sometimes I am tempted to go off them. I have to remind myself that they are the reason the depression is in recession! I think of it like eating healthy -- if it is working, why do I stop doing it?

    I hope that you see your doctor and begin to feel better soon. You deserve it. You deserve to be the healthiest you can be, including your emotions.

    Love to you,
    Janet emoticon
    1734 days ago
    My oldest son is on antidepressants, and will be for the rest of his life. I'm just glad they are available now. No one thinks twice about needing insulin or blood pressure pills for life. Why would antidepressants be any different? There is no moral component to any of them. All are medical conditions, conditions for which there are now, thankfully, solutions.
    1735 days ago
  • JESSIKA_56
    Thank you for your honesty. You're right, it does take time to realize that you are in a funk, but at least you DID realize it! Go see your doctor and I hope the cloud will be lifted soon. emoticon
    1735 days ago
    You did a great job of explaining the truth about antidepressants! Take advantage of the medical technology so that you can feel alive and well, and live the life you know you were meant to live! God bless!
    1735 days ago
    Sweetie, go back to your dr. Talk to him/her. Antidepressants may not be needed all the time, but you need to taper off them, going off cold turkey is rough on your body and can cause chemical imbalances. Really, please, go see your dr. You don't need to feel bad.

    (My MA is in Psych, my husband is bipolar - trust me on this one, okay? GO SEE YOUR DOCTOR. Please.)
    1735 days ago
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