Without anti-depressants, writes Dichotomy Hubris, his will to live would run out in four months or less.
Originally published at Dichotomy Hubris
A strange thought has been with me as I’ve taken my anti-depressant medication the last few days. I have a beautiful wife whom I love dearly, and for reasons I cannot fathom, loves me back the same way. I have two fantastic children that are a light to my life. Life is good. Yet, if I stop taking these little pills every morning, in about four months time I will literally want to die. All because, for whatever reasons, some stupid chemicals don’t interact properly with some stupid wiring in my head. Everything between now and four months in the future might be exactly the same, yet I will be incapable of feeling happiness, pleasure or joy. Instead I will feel anxiety and fear—about everything, anything and nothing. It will all be too much. I will want to die.
“Why aren’t you happy?”
“Because I have depression.”
“Well then, why are you depressed?”
“Because I can’t feel happy.”
“Couldn’t you try not being depressed?”
“You mean pretend I’m happy even though I’m not and maybe I’ll be able to shake it off?”
“Yeah, why can’t you do that?”
“Did it work?”
“No, it made me feel worse. I ended up sitting in the bottom of my closet measuring bits of cord, just so I knew if they were long enough to hang myself with.”
“So you can’t just shake this off then?”
“Nope, too depressed.”
“And you can’t feel happy because your depressed?”
“And you’re depressed because you can’t feel happy?”
“That’s right, you got it.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I know. That’s okay though. There’s a little piece of me that is glad that you don’t understand and hopes you never do.”
The number of depressed people in your social circle may stagger you. (Especially the number of guys.) And no two may end up dealing with it the same. For me, treatment involved finding the right medication to make the stupid chemicals and stupid wiring work better. These things are not asprin and not to be taken lightly. Medication is a trade-off of the desired positive effects, against undesirable side-effects.
Some people use meditation. Others have ongoing therapy. I had therapy for the first few years after my diagnosis of PTSD to debride the huge amounts of shame and self blame over the years of sexual abuse I suffered. I don’t need the therapy any more. Indeed, I was doing so well there was even thinking I didn’t need the medication any more, but four months later…
So, for me, it’s medication for life. For others it’s something else. It could be looking in the mirror every morning and saying, “I’m a pretty princess.” If that works or you, then great! I envy you.
There is no silver bullet. Pragmatism trumps opinion. If, and I stress, if what you are doing is working for you, then I wish you good fortune, and would never tell you you’re doing it the wrong way.
—Photo credit: altemark/Flickr