I don’t think of myself as a person with depression. I often think of myself as a depressed person, but that’s not the same as the clinical definition. I was just diagnosed two years ago when my therapist got tired of me crying in every session. I thought it was totally normal, it was therapy after all. But I was actually crying all the time. At my desk at work. In the car. Walking the river trail. I thought I was just Sad and it would go away, but it only got worse. So she recommended medication.
When my doctor prescribed Lexapro, she said it wouldn’t change my life, that I’d just wake up one day and feel not-so-bad. And I did. It was like one day I realized that I didn’t cry. It didn’t make my life better, it didn’t make my problems go away, it just took the edge off. It made everything more bearable and less stabby. I stopped crying. I thought it was a life-saver, which sounds kind of stupid, but when you don’t have to run to the bathroom at work anymore because you don’t want to be embarrassed by sobbing at your desk, it’s really kind of a big deal. Which is mostly how my depression exhibits itself. That and the crushing anxiety I sometimes feel. I’ve never had a full-blown panic attack, but I’ve been fairly close. And although my depression wasn’t debilitating, I could still basically function and get out of bed when I had to, it was nice to just get up without thinking about it. I thought I’d never give up my medication.
When I got laid off, I switched to the generic prescription because I could no longer afford my beloved Lexapro. I didn’t like it as much. It felt like I had room for more. Like I could be a little happier, but just a little. And then I got used to it and forgot I was on something different. The major difference I did like was that if I missed a couple of days of Lexapro, I was sick. Dizzy, nauseous, icky. The generic doesn’t do that so quickly which is probably not really a good thing.
I’ve been feeling better lately. And like I said, I don’t think of myself as a person with depression. I think I’m normal. Well, maybe not exactly normal, but chemically balanced. I started thinking that my depression was just a situational experience. I started thinking I could stop my meds. You’re never supposed to stop cold turkey, so I started skipping a day or two. When I missed three days with no apparent side effects, I did stop altogether. Big mistake.
At first I didn’t notice anything. I started not sleeping very well. But big deal, I just napped during the day. Then this week I started questioning things that I was really sure about just a week or so ago. The thing that had made me really happy started to seem not so worth it. I started to wonder if I just wasn’t that into it, if I’d somehow fooled myself into thinking I was totally in love. Which isn’t like me. It actually takes kind of a lot for me to even like someone, I’m pretty dismissive. And that scared me. And then I realized that what I was feeling was numbness. Apathy. Very unlike me. I get excited over the dumbest things, and I started to feel like I didn’t care about anything at all.
Today was the last straw. Yeah, I went to a sad movie, but then I couldn’t stop crying after that. The remodel in Target made me sad. It was all I could do not to cry when buying eye cream at Clinique. I cried in the car all the way home. Over nothing. Or the rain. Or that fact that I almost cried in front of the Clnique lady. Or because I don’t like my clothes. What I’m saying is, there was no concrete reason for it. And that’s apparently how my depression defines itself.
My depression. It’s funny how I take ownership of it. I don’t want it. It’s like a roommate that I live with and simply tolerate. It’s not invited. I’d be happy not to have it. I almost convinced myself that I don’t. Almost.
Depression is stupid because nobody takes it seriously. It’s only physical to me because it’s not visible to everyone else. If I’m grumpy or ragey or teary, then I’m just being a bitch or a weirdo. If you say you’re depressed, people say so what? Everybody has bad days. But I can have a perfectly good day and still fall apart. Which further complicates the problem by sabotaging what little self-esteem I’m trying to hold onto. Even trying to explain it sounds like a cop-out. So I don’t. If it’s a particularly bad episode, I just wait for it to stop. I hide out and try to avoid people because that’s what is best.
This week made me realize that I have this stupid disease. I am imbalanced. At least chemically. When something that made me blissfully happy just a couple of weeks ago ceases to matter for no reason at all, that’s not okay. Or normal. Or acceptable. I owe it to myself and the people around me to do something about it. I’d saved a few pills on the off-chance that I’d actually need them. It turns out I do, no matter how much I wish I didn’t. So I’ll be better in a few days. More like the self I want to be. The self I can be. With the help I don’t want but so obviously need.
Those sharp edges will be blurred again soon. Honestly, it can’t happen soon enough.