WARNING – DEPRESSIVE CONTENT, EMOTIONAL TRIGGER
I am tired, the world is spinning around me, and I feel nauseous. I hate my antidepressants. This week, between a number of things, I kept forgetting to fill my prescription and so I went three days without taking my medication.
Did I mention I hate my antidepressants?
Yet, I am terrified of living life without them. I have spent the better part of the last eighteen years medicated in one form or another so I can attempt to live life normally. To function the way society says I should be able to function, and I tried, I really tried, but after a while even the medications could only do so much.
Truly, I believe these medications are more for the benefit of others than for my benefit. No one wants to actually see or experience my dark side, my angry side, my craziness. The drugs suppress all that. They make me act normal around everyone else. But I hate taking them. I hate how I feel like I’m trapped inside a cage. Why can’t I just be angry? Or sad? I certainly have plenty to be angry about. And yes, I have plenty to be grateful for too, but that doesn’t negate the crap, or make the yucky stuff just go away. Antidepressants just bury the pain so you don’t have to deal with it. They don’t actually make you better.
I want to actually get better, but some days it’s just easier to take the little blue and yellow pill than to try to figure out how to get better…
I actually have a really wonderful doctor and he knows the truth that these pills, the medications, are just bandages, not solutions. He’s a family M.D., and while he has offered me quite a bit of support and understanding over the years, it isn’t his job to help make me better. He’s not a psychologist or psychiatrist, and they cost too much money. So he renews my medication and when things get really bad, he suggests increasing the dosage to see if it will help tighten the cage around all the nasty stuff nobody wants to actually see me dealing with. It’s so much easier for the world if they can pretend it doesn’t exist.
But how do you come to grips with a rape that changed your life in fundamental ways, and that no one even wants to admit happened because it’s easier to think it was my fault? I even lost a friend over my first pregnancy because she thought I should be happy, that I had no right to be angry or hurt. That having a baby should make up for everything. It didn’t. I had every right to be angry, to be hurt. What she was going through didn’t negate what I was going through, just as what I was going through didn’t negate her own painful experiences.
I remember multiple times during that pregnancy crawling into the shower and curling up in a ball and just crying, hot searing tears, jolts of pain rocking my body. I felt trapped, and the key to my cell had been thrown away. There was no way out.
It was no surprise that my son’s delivery and birth ended up being very traumatic, and that I ended up suffering from severe, debilitating postpartum depression. I didn’t bond with my son the way it is expected a mother should. I can honestly tell you that if it weren’t for my parents, I’m not sure either my son or I would be here today. I came very close to going over the edge on a few occasions, but there was one night in particular.
It had been three weeks of breastfeeding every 45 minutes. No one told me this was normal. He was almost three-months-old. After weeks of hell my milk supply was finally establishing itself. He was feeding around the clock, nearly constantly. I don’t think I closed my eyes for more than 45 minutes to an hour at any given point for that whole two to three-week period. Then one night I was done, I couldn’t go on anymore. I just started screaming at my baby to go to sleep and leave me alone. I was in a state of total all out psychotic rage. My parents were there in an instant. My mother took my son and fed him a bottle, shielded him from his own mother. My dad held me while I sobbed heart-wrenching tears of madness.
We’ve never talked about this incident but the memory of it can still bring tears to my eyes as if it happened yesterday. I felt like the worst mother on the face of the planet. I know in my heart my parents saved my son’s life that night. Maybe even mine too.
How do you carry that memory, that pain, around with you, without going crazy?
So I take my blue and yellow pills and douse out the pain and put on a happy face, so the world can go on turning, pretending I’m okay when at the heart of it, I’m not. If I was okay, I’d be able to work. If I was okay, I wouldn’t be taking these pills in the first place. If I was okay, I wouldn’t constantly feel like my world is on the brink of falling apart, and somehow, maybe, it’s those little blue and yellow pills that are keeping it together. But it’s all just a farce. A big joke. An elaborate scheme. A cover-up.
Unfortunately truly getting better is a dirty, painful, awakening process. It’ll shake the foundation of who I am, who my family is, who my friends are. It means facing some nasty truths both about myself and about my past. It means trading in the victim’s shackles for the warrior’s armour. I’ve tried several times to do this but have not been 100% successful. I’m ready now.
The big question is though, are my friends and family ready?
The process will be one of redefinition and it will go through many phases. Spiritual, physical, mental and emotional. Some days I will need a crutch to lean on and that may be a friend or loved one. It may even be you. Other days I may shine and stand on my own two feet. For every step forward I take, it’ll often feel like I take two back.
Recovery is a dance between the past, present and future, an intricate dance of honouring all the emotions, even the negative ones, maybe most especially the negative ones, and then letting them go. Sitting with the emotions, giving them their voice, telling myself that it’s okay to feel this way and when I’m at peace, letting go. Eighteen years may seem like a really long time to hold onto pain, but if you don’t deal with it, you can’t let go of it. I need to deal with the pain. All of it, the ugly, the beautiful, the mixed up craziness, all of it.
I also need to be allowed to deal with it. I won’t apologize for making anyone else uncomfortable with my truths because the minute I start apologizing, I’m assuming the victim role again. If it makes you uncomfortable, then perhaps it’s you that needs to examine some part of your own life. I will not feel guilty for your discomfort. I have carried enough guilt for other people to last a life time and here and now, I put down those loads. My own guilt is heavy enough.
For now I will continue to take the pills, but I am also going to continue working through the pain of my past, and slowly but surely I will withdraw from the medication completely, and find my way to a more fulfilling, happier existence where I don’t feel the need to hide. Where I will be legitimately and completely who I am, defined not only by what society deems acceptable, though what society deems acceptable at times is rather questionable, but by the truths of my past, present and future.