Yesterday I briefly wrote about going on an antidepressant. Apparently I’ve struck a chord. Thank you for the private messages many of you took the time to send. I realize that not everyone is in a position to talk publicly about their depression, and it really is such a personal thing. I had waves of the sadness, but what I realized was that the other proactive things I was doing – exercise, regular schedule, better eating, less caffeine, etc. were no longer keeping things manageable. The antidepressant commercials always depict depression as people who walk around sleepy or sad. I had those days but I also spent a lot of energy to keep moving, so my depression also was expressed in irritability. I felt prickly like my cranky dial was turned up to 11.
And then there was that day in my kitchen.
My doctor, a lovely woman who turns out loves Jesus just like I do, asked me what I had been through during the last few years. And there I sat in the office on that crunchy paper, crying and telling her a few facts but feeling a bit numb. I told her I didn’t want to be numb. I told her I wanted to feel joy and laugh from the belly again, which seemed like such work at the time. I wanted to want to write, which had always been a place of physical, spiritual and emotional connection for me.
She warned me about the side-effects but told me to hang on because the first few weeks are the hardest. She told me that my brain had slowly rewired itself to deal with the stressors – death, illness, transitions that overlapped over extended periods of time, etc. – and that the medication was going to help reset things.
I’ve been mulling over this for a year now…I wrote in my private journal a few lines each day for three weeks about what I was going through because writing was one of the disciplines I committed to during that time of wanting to crawl out of my skin (which is how I felt for awhile on the meds). I didn’t want medication to be the only thing doing the hard work. There were patterns in my emotional and spiritual life that had been reset to cope and those had to be addressed as well. However, the online discussions about the drug I am now on scared me. I rarely found anything positive. I hope this is a little bit of that positive I was hoping to find.
One year later I am still on Lexapro under the care of my physician. It doesn’t work for everyone but it can help.
Here is Day 2:
So, I went to work out this morning hoping the rush of endorphins would help ease the fatigue I experienced yesterday. It did. For an hour. By the time I was driving home from Elias’ ortho appointment (around noon) I was crazy tired. I tried to read and then gave up. A little nap is all I need, I thought.
Three hours later I was thinking “what did I do?”.
I’m feeling nausea all day long so that is getting in the way of eating. I have to be careful that I don’t do the tired eating thing – eating to stay awake, but I was doing that before Lexapro.
I haven’t been experiencing too much dry mouth or the cotton-head feeling, but I have moments of being woozy.
Honestly, what I’m terrified about is the rumored weight gain on this drug. Seriously. My depression isn’t bad enough that weight gain is cancelled out by the drugs’ effects on my depression. Gaining 20 pounds would put me in a bad place.
Hi, I just wanted to say, WAY TO GO for talking about depression! So proud of you! It feels so shameful to admit it or talk about it. This past year, I’ve been struggling with it as well and stopped eating wheat products and it disappeared. Didn’t know if you had tried a gluten free diet, but it’s worth a try. I am finding out that there are many people who experience depression in connection with eating wheat products.
Amy, thanks for the note! No, I haven’t tried changing my diet, except for managing an overall healthier diet – fewer processed foods, more fruit and veggies, etc. So far so good though! Glad to hear that eliminating gluten has worked for you (which I hear is becoming easier to do with more gluten-free products on the market)! Blessings!
I am constantly surprised by the numbers of people who struggle with depression. I am so sorry. The impulse is to tell you my story. I wrote it out recently for possible inclusion in a book on depression. We’ll see about that. But if you’re interested in hearing a story of hope, that is what mine is although I have had a rough road getting there. Just know that you are not alone and although all the many issues from weight gain to the wonderment of being a mother while depressed are all terrible and challenging, this too will some day pass. Much love to you sister, Melody
Hi sista! Thank you sooo much for the heart felt post you wrote on Blogher! wow…I was blown away by how much it struck a chord with me b/c although I don’t struggle with depression, my fiance does. We both love the Lord so so so much and my eyes have been opened to just how difficult depression is especially for the believer! He’s usually doing well and takes meds. My fiance shares with me how it upholds a stigma in the church b/c we tend to think so much of “God heals no matter what and if it stays, then you must be doing something wrong”. I mean, not everyone does that, but for the most part it seems to be something that not many individuals want to touch upon. (But, we are imperfect humans in need of a perfect savior after all, right? ;P ) While I do believe that Christ does the impossible, I believe that we should care for one another and in the meanwhile, he uses things such as med.! Keep running and don’t give up! He loves you so much and I can’t wait to see what He’ll do in your life 😀
Thank you, Ellie!!! I have been blown away by the response to my posts about depression, and I’m grateful for the encouraging notes like yours!! Blessings!
One of these days, Melody, we will have to talk face-to-face! In the meantime, know the love flows both ways!
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