I have been having a lot of discussions around depression and medications lately with various friends.
In my entirely humble opinion, as that of someone who has *NO* medical training and my experience comes *ONLY* from having had chronic depression for years, as well as observing other people with depression issues… there are two types of people who need meds.
1. Those who have a permanent chemical imbalance in their brain and will require medication for the rest of their lives – similar to those who are insulin dependant diabetics.
2. Those whose depression is situationally triggered. Medication is a good kick-start to righting the temporary imbalance in their brain, while they use counselling/therapy to acquire tools they can use to make the emotional changes needed to live healthier, happier lives.
I fit in catagory 2. I know this, because I have been on and off meds for a long time, and usually there is *something* that precipitates my depression.
In 2009 it was fear of losing my job – my boss would randomly fire people without warning. Scared the crap out of me that I was going to lose my job because I didn’t know if he would do that to me. And I was the primary breadwinner. At that time, I went on stress leave, took meds, got some counselling, learned some tools, went back to work, went off meds, and then lost my job. And you know what? I was able to handle it, no problem, without needing meds or any other supports – I already had the tools.
In 2012, my husband got sick. My stress levels went through the roof, my depression and anxiety kicked in and I went on meds. I figured my husband would get better, and I would then apply the tools I’d learned and I’d go back to work and all would be well.
He died. (just in case you didn’t know… see? I still have a sense of humour – its just kinda macabre now)
This is not something I know how to deal with.
But at the same time – in the 6 months he was sick and in the hospital, and then the 4 months since he passed away, I’ve been using the tools I learned in 2009 to manage. People keep telling me I’m so strong, but the reality is that I am NOT, I just have tools to use to handle the severe stress and anxiety I’ve been experienced. I don’t know if there’s *new* tools to learn, or if I just need to further put into place the tools I already know… and learn to accept that I am a widow.
One of the tools I’ve learned is choice. It sounds silly… but sometimes I have to consciously make a choice. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it will work until a certain point but if not used before that point, it’s too late and it won’t. (Kinda like bungee jumping – you can back out until the point of stepping off the platform – after that point – you have no choice in the matter anymore)
Today, while I still could, while I was able to recognize that I needed to make a choice, I did. I texted a friend of mine and asked her if she had lunch plans. I needed a reason to get dressed and leave the house… otherwise, given where my day was going – I was heading towards the platform and once I got to a certain point in the depression – I would have been falling with no way to move out of the depression.
We went for lunch – and it was something that was absolutely needed. I feel more able to keep going with my day. I don’t feel lost in the depression or like I’m falling. I’m still sad, and today was a day where I spent a lot of time crying, but overall – making the choice to reach out… I staved off what could have been a lost day.
Some days – its about making choices – and today I made the right one.