This is Real

It is so frustrating when I am in the middle of making dinner and realize I need another pan, but I take one look at what I’d have to do to get one, and I completely shut down. I decide not to wilt the kale and sear the garlic. I decide to just go with what I have because it’s too much effort to wash a pan. It would be one thing if this was just once a week, but when it’s every damn night, it gets debilitating.

When every day I go to work and I usually start out okay, but by the middle of the day I’m slumped in my desk chair. Or the reality that many mornings, before I go out the door in the morning, I’m playing that poem I recently posted over and over again just to give myself the courage to go to work. Even the fact that I have that poem half-memorized from reciting it to myself so much to just give myself courage.

“Some people will never understand the superpower it takes for some people to just walk outside…” “…screaming for their pulse to find the fight to pound…” “every time I hurt I know the wound is an echo so I keep listening for the moment that grief becomes a window…” “…knowing their is a chance our hearts have only just skinned their knees…” “…friend if the only thing we have to gain in staying is each other, my god that is plenty, my god that is enough, my god that is so so much for the light to give…” “…live, live, live…” (From The Madness Vase by Andrea Gibson)

I went to the doctor today. And it wasn’t for my body, it was for my soul. It may have been a medical doctor, but I needed an emotional one. When I reeled out my history, how I’ve struggled with depression since I was 15, he asked why I hadn’t been on medication before. “My parents kind of didn’t believe in doctors, and also I have a lot of neglect in my past.” That statement was loaded.

It also wasn’t completely every morsel of truth. I am stubborn. And everyone has told me – “Once you get divorced it will be better. Once you do the steps it will be better. Once you get through EMDR, it will be better.” The past 2 months have proven it to me that it’s not better. No matter what I do, I am chewing glass constantly. It’s why my smile has such an intense sparkle.

My friends know I’ve been tossing around the idea of medication for at least a year now. In actuality it’s been 2 years since I first came across this idea. The telling thing is that my mind hasn’t changed. I’ve had periods of up time, periods where I smile and I’m happy and I’m okay. But I always drop back down again into the dark, and it’s tiring. I’m tired of bouncing along the bottom.

The past 2 months have been the worst in a very long time. I have lost all motivation. I am sure it has something to do with starting a new full time supervisor job and totally changing my career path. But my career path too just served as a way to keep me running. There is a Pablo Neruda poem that I love that says:

“If we were not so single-minded about keeping our lives moving, and for once could do nothing, perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves and of threatening ourselves with death.”

Except, that my silence is filled with sadness I’ve never taken time to stop and face. Now that I have taken time to stop and face it, it’s hit me like a ton of bricks. “And the bass keeps runnin’ runnin’ and runnin’ runnin’ and runnin’ runnin and runnin’ runnin’ and…”

Somehow I have always wanted this to happen, though. Somehow I have always felt that I’m just outrunning myself and I want permission to just stop, collapse, admit I really am not okay and line up my external reality with my internal one.

I did a daylong meditation retreat on Sunday and it was horrible. The idea of it was lovely. The thought and intention behind it was fantastic. But we started with a meditation connecting with our body, and it was then I realized just how much emotional pain I’m holding in my body. A LOT. I was all choked up. And the whole day was about sitting with unpleasant feelings. I had pretty much only unpleasant feelings and meditating felt like absolute torture. I wanted to be anywhere but my body. There were other meditation events this week that I was planning on attending, but I haven’t. It feels much too raw.

I knew even more surely that I needed to take next steps.

I was terrified going into the doctor’s office today and jittery from drinking only coffee and having no breakfast. They asked me to fill out the medical history form, of course, and they asked about mental illness. For the first time I stared at that in recognition. Then I marked:

Mom: Depressed.
Dad: Mentally ill. Thyroid.
Grandparents: Mentally ill. Bile duct cancer. Depression. Anti-psychotics.

I stared at the page in shock. I don’t think I’ve ever so concretely put down the fact that my father is mentally ill. My mother is mentally ill. My grandparents, also mentally ill. My parents are undiagnosed. But it’s obvious. The questionnaire didn’t ask about aunts, uncles, cousins, and that would have been even more revealing. I’ve known these things, but never written them so clearly in front of my face. I felt the cold reality of this whole thing settling over me. My DNA was a mess of strange genes, and I was a petri dish that a bunch of them had gathered in.

So I told the doctor (a cool guy who blends Eastern AND Western medicine) some of my history. That I had been in counseling for PTSD, and why. That I’d been depressed off and on since I was 15. Divorced. Crazy family“Why weren’t you on medication before this?” All of my friends have been shocked at this very thing – that I have never been medicated.

After explaining my symptomology, the doctor prescribed me Zoloft, with instructions to pay attention to its affects. He’s concerned (I’m concerned, too) that I might have Bipolar II, and if so, Zoloft will make my manic states worse, so I’m instructed to look for that. He asked me to get a nutrition lab done so we can look for any markers in my nutrition that might cause depression, too.

I was also told not to date. I quote – “You’ll be a new person next year after we get this thing sorted out so you don’t want to get into anything before then.”  I don’t know how I feel about that, to be honest; I’m tired of avoiding dating. But maybe it’s just a signal that I can take things more slowly and just ease into friendships with men, like I have been. But that’s a whoooole other post.

I left the office feeling both relieved and totally different. Something pinches my heart with a strong thumb and forefinger, and the resulting pain and bruising is proof that it’s not a dream. The reality is: I am now a person prescribed to take depression medication. I am depressed.

This is real.


25 Replies to “This is Real”

  1. Thank you. Your vulnerability is good for me. Gil and I have been through the wringer and just today were fighting and crying and complaining about the frustrations and realities of our lives. We’re depressed.

    I hear you. I love you. I’m here for you.

    1. Candace. Thank you for saying this. I read it last night and it stayed with me today. This stuff is rough, and I feel you guys… it’s not fun.
      I love you too, sweet friend. Staying with you.

  2. I remember that feeling of relief when I got my first antidepressant. I don’t remember how long it took to kick in (not too long) but I felt the weight lift just knowing someone else thought it was real and not something that was going to magically go away on its own. That tiredness and slump isn’t normal, but we endure them as if they are. You took a huge step…Good for you.

    1. I felt some weight lift yesterday, too, when my doctor validated my internal reality. I feel like external is shifting to match internal and that’s a huge relief. Like you said, to have someone else think this is real is such a big thing to me, too. Thank you for this.

  3. It takes courage to reach out for help, which you’ve already been doing. This is an extension of that. Medication is another tool in your tool box and I’m so glad you recognized that it might be your next step and acted on it. I’ve seen too many people suffer needlessly, many in my own family, because they were afraid to confront their depression or didn’t recognize how dangerous it had become. I’m so happy for you.

    1. Indeed. That’s just how I feel, Karen. I tried to exhaust all the other tools first. 😛 But I just got to the point where I couldn’t keep going anymore. I agree – many in my family, both nuclear and extended, suffer needlessly from depression. I would be lying if I said that wasn’t a huge motivating factor in me taking this step.
      Thank you so much for your support.

  4. i have no idea how to relate to any of that based on my own experience, but i’m super proud of you for being open to something new. for being vulnerable and brave and open. you’re doing a great thing.

    1. Kelly, you are so sweet. Thank you for taking the time to say something so beautiful and thoughtful even though you don’t relate. We will see how it goes! Definitely nervous but hopeful, too.

  5. “Somehow I have always wanted this to happen, though. Somehow I have always felt that I’m just outrunning myself and I want permission to just stop, collapse, admit I really am not okay and line up my external reality with my internal one.” I could say the same about my drinking. It was a huge relief to stop running and finally accept and admit I was an alcoholic and that my time had run out. Surrender is perhaps what is happening here, Laurie. Acceptance. Dissolving stigma and association to the others in your family with issues. Being honest with the doctor was wise, and hopefully you will see some adjustments.

    I took several anti-depressants in my day (mind you, I was drinking then, so their therapeutic affects probably didn’t manifest), and yes, they have side effects. I had to swtich up because of certain side effects….so keep an eye on things.

    Thank you for sharing…I am sure others will see themselves in you.


    1. Paul, I like your take. Surrender. That is just how I feel right now, a deep surrender that I have not gotten to before in many areas of my life.
      Will most definitely be keeping an eye on things, I’m pretty good at that. 🙂 We’ll see where this goes and where I end up.
      Of course – thank you for reading, so appreciate your presence here. Peace to you.

  6. That line from the Neruda poem is so beautiful and spot on. You already know how I feel, but once again, I’m so proud of you for taking care of you. And you should be too! That alone is not an easy task. You are putting so much effort into yourself and you will reap the rewards. I’m here for you and miss you! xx

    1. Thank you sweet Deanna. I miss you much, I feel we haven’t connected lately 😦 Bummer! Let’s make some time to do that soon. I’d be up for video chatting sometime, so let me know if you would 🙂
      And it feels like a good step in the right direction, towards taking care of myself. Hoping that it will change things; my doctor thinks I might not recognize myself in a year. That would be nice. 🙂
      Love you! xx

  7. I am so glad you asked for help! It takes a lot of courage. Sending you so much love on your journey of healing. I wish I could show you the deep well of Pure Love within you, but it is your journey to take. Enjoy the adventure toward your whole self. Namaste, sweet friend xxx

    1. Thank you Sarah! So lovely to see you here as always, it always brightens my day to see you around my online world. 🙂 Thank you for the love you sent, I know I will need it… The thing is, I know that well of Pure Love is there, I just have terrible trouble getting there. Hoping that this step will take me further in breaking down some internal walls.
      Namaste to you, as well. xx

  8. This is pretty huge, Laurie. You have done so much work to take care of yourself and learn your brain and your… self? But I’m with you on this– medication can save lives. I hope that Zoloft turns out to be what works for you. Even though this all feels so scary and desperate and uncertain right now, you’re kind of at a breaking point– in a good way. You’re asking for help and working to take back your life, which is something that a lot of people never get around to, unfortunately. I echo the others in saying I’m proud of you and here for you.

    1. Aussa, thank you for this. I think medication will be good for me. I totally feel like I’m at a GOOD breaking point. I have that softness of surrender all through my middle. it’s helpful. It’s not releasing the darkness but it’s just knowing that release will come. Thank you so much for being here. Xxx

  9. You’re very brave to be as open and vulnerable as you are. I don’t think I could open myself up this much, even to people I know and trust much less for almost anyone to see.

  10. You are such a wonderful writer. And an admirable person. This is exactly how I felt when I finally broke down and got psychiatric help and starting telling the truth about my life and my family and my past for the first time.

    You are going to get through this. You are going to get the help you need. You are going to feel better. And then, you are going to wonder what took you so long.

    1. Thank you so much for your support, Maurnas. I will be starting the pills tomorrow and I already wonder, before starting them, what took me so long. I’m so relieved to finally be on this path.

  11. I think your decision to try meds is a brave one. You open up so much here and pour out what you’re feeling. I am proud of you for not ignoring it and taking positive steps to make yourself better. Some people don’t do this and that can lead to very dangerous places. Hang in there and know you have people who care very much that you can turn to for support in this! XX

    1. Thank you so much Sandy. It’s tough sometimes to open up this much. It’s a scary proposition, when anyone and everyone can (and likely does) look me up online. But I am trying to live unafraid. Thank you for your support! It means so very much.

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