I’ve only been on meds for about a year. Or is it almost two? It must be almost two. Doesn’t seem that long.
I resisted the idea of meds for ages, much like I resisted the idea of therapy for a long time, only reaching out when I was finally desperate enough. There were several times during high school that I wanted to get into therapy. I begged my mom, but she wouldn’t hear of it. She told me that if I went to see a therapist, I would need to be diagnosed with something, even if it wasn’t true, and that diagnosis would follow me around for the rest of my life, making anything else impossible for me. I would forever be labeled as damaged, and I would not be able to find work or anything else because of it.
She knew this wasn’t true. She worked on a psych ward. She had been in therapy herself. Hell, she let my brother go into therapy and be medicated. But then again, he was able to do plenty of things I wasn’t allowed to. Even when I told her I was suicidal, when I begged her to take me to the hospital and have me admitted because I wasn’t safe, she refused. What would her coworkers think? I still don’t understand why S was allowed into therapy, though. I mean, I was getting the worst of it at that moment, but he knew everything that was going on, had gotten a good deal of it in the past, so having him open up to a stranger was no less dangerous. But from what he told me later, after we’d both grown up and moved out, the worst of what he had to deal with happened long before and long after he was in therapy. So maybe she had forgotten what she’d done. She’s good at that.
A part of me wants to say that it wasn’t entirely her fault that I didn’t get help back then. I knew enough about psychology and depression to know how to answer those little tests the doctors gave you to see if you were depressed–just enough dark and gloomy to seem like a normal teenager, not enough to make them swoop in and save the day. But I realize that I can’t take blame for that. I used to reason that she hadn’t told me to lie, so it couldn’t be her fault, but I was conditioned. And that was completely her fault.
Even when I was away and with my ex-husband, when I was thinking about how easy it would be every day on the way to work to just open my car door and tumble out on the highway, I didn’t consider meds to be an option. I don’t think he would have supported the choice. He wasn’t very supportive about anything. But it felt like I was giving up or copping out or something. And yet I didn’t judge others who were on meds. I’ve always held myself to a higher standard.
When I finally got into therapy, B would occasionally suggest meds. Not pushy, just if I thought about it, what I thought, that sort of thing. But still, it wasn’t for me.
Until I started dating D. I was so in love. And so happy. Until I wasn’t. There was no logical reason for me to be so depressed, unlike every other time it had gotten bad in my life. Every other time there was some external force I could point to as the cause: bad marriage, terrible parent, horrid job. But not this time. This time the only reason was me; there was something wrong with me, something broken.
Oddly, it didn’t feel like as much as a defeat as I thought it would. D was wonderful and wonderfully supportive, which I’m sure helped. I got an emergency appointment at my doctor’s, which felt silly, but when the receptionist asked why I needed to come in that day and I told her I was very depressed and thought I needed to be on medication, her voice instantly sounded more alert and she got me right in. Which was better than I expected. I sort of thought she’d laugh at me, tell me it wasn’t an emergency, and schedule me an appointment with my primary that I would never go to.
It was a male doctor, which is really hard for me, but I sucked it up. If I had had to strip down, I never would have been able to do it. Which seems odd to me, since the vast majority of my abuse was at the hands of a woman, but who ever said mental illness made sense? He asked me what I assume are all the normal questions: why was I coming in now, how long have I been depressed for, do I know what caused it? I told him child abuse–I typically am not anywhere near that frank, but years of therapy paired with a need to get out of that stupid office made me brave.
“To you or by you?” His question shocked me. To me, of course. It never occurred to me until that moment that committing child abuse could cause someone depression. If it was that hard on them, why did they do it in the first place? Or why didn’t they stop? It might be good to think more on this later.
At first, I thought I was lucky. And who knows, maybe I am. Within a week I was feeling better. The veil seemed to lift, the seas calmed, and I was fine. But I’ve had to up the dosage bit by bit as time has gone on. I’m up to 30mg a day (which I have no idea if that’s a low dose or a high dose). I’ve been on the new dosage for about a month, but I’ve only been taking it on the regular for a few days–yay depression! We’ll see if this helps. And for how long.