Depression: It’s not a “Happy Pill”!

I have struggled with depression since the demise of a 22 year marriage. It was my choice. I should have done it a lot sooner, like 10 years sooner. However I had kids and back then I did not have the skills or the support to do it on my own. I chose the better of the two evils and stayed until my children were grown. I don’t recommend that. What I did do was start to prepare myself for the end well before it came. I knew it was just a matter of time. I got a job and started back to school, (tech school). I needed something besides “volunteer”, “housewife”, and “mother”, on my resume. At the time I did not know that these skills were valuable–and I didn’t know how to market them, let alone what to do with them. But, I digress.

Back to depression…I guess the stress of a full time job and full time school, besides a marriage that was crashing around me, was too much for my body. I was soon thrown into a depression that sent me into a tizzy. If that was not enough, I developed my first hot flash a few days before a scheduled hysterectomy.

The first depression symptoms I had was not actual depression. It was anger. It was not your normal anger, it was irrational and frightening. I found that just being in the presence of my family would trigger waves of rage that I could not do anything about except lock myself in my office away from the family for their own sake. It wasn’t all the time. But it it happened often enough to be worrisome.

I am sure that depression combined with menopause probably created this frightening rage. However, I had no clue to what was happening to me. I know I was close to leaving right then and there. I know I was struggling with personal problems that created so much stress at home that I could hardly function there or in school. I know that after the hysterectomy it didn’t get much better. In fact, things got much worse.

I was forced to quit my job due to complications from the surgery. I did try to go back to school, but midway through my second semester I was forced to withdraw. And, finally, I was forced to make a doctor’s appointment. Two weeks after starting on Zoloft, I was wonderful! Evidently, I had a miraculous recovery in a very short amount of time. Some people take a month or two to see change. I felt like the world had been lifted from my shoulders.

Despite the recovery, I still had the same problems facing me. I finally moved in with my daughter and her family. Then, realizing that I was fast losing my mind to all the stress and drama surrounding the end of my marriage, I packed up my stuff and moved to Oregon to live with my parents while I healed physically, mentally, and emotionally.

It was the worst Christmas of my life. I found out soon after arriving at my parents that my Ex had canceled my insurance. It was against the law, but he did it anyway. I soon became suicidal. Luckily, that scared me so bad I called a therapist and made an appointment. That saved my life. Six months later, I was well on my way to getting on with my life.

I soon found myself without a job and unable to purchase my medication. I dived into depression again. God sent an angel to help me. I had gone to an employment counselor to apply for work in an area I was not familiar with. After talking to him he saw right through me and shared with me his story of depression and recovery. He referred me to a psychologist for evaluation and I was able to get back on my prescriptions.

I have gone off my medications several times for various reasons; lack of money, was feeling better, you name it, I probably thought it. However, I have learned that it doesn’t take me long to start my tumble into blackness. So, I have learned to put myself first and do what I have to.

Being on anti-depressants does not mean I don’t have feelings, anger, and joy. It simply means that the joy is not so joyous that I become manic. The anger and sadness are not so deep that I cannot see my way out. I would say that I feel normal. I experience all kinds of feelings but they do not overwhelm me. The clouds don’t roll in and surround me. The blackness does not pull me down. I just feel all the things that others feel and find ways to either cope or solve the problems that cause the feelings.

My pet peeve: when I am having normal feelings of frustration or anger, being asked if I have taken my medications today by people who do not understand that anti-depressants are not a “happy” pill. It just balances things so there are the extreme mood swings. They like to use it to not have to be responsible for their own actions. And I don’t let them get away with it.

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~ by womenstudycenter on November 24, 2008.

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