I started taking antidepressants a couple of weeks ago. I’d been spending a lot of time telling myself that everything was great, I was great, and then feeling depressed about the fact that I knew it was a lie. I felt not great, despite all of my efforts to feel great. My brain is evidently too clever to be tricked by my brain.
When I first started taking them the inside of my head felt hot and I was constantly aware of the fact that something new and strange was happening in my body. I felt an urge to tell people I was taking the medication, in case they spotted steam spurting from my ears or I was talking gibberish without realising it. As I explained to Alan, it felt like my brain was being pillowed by warmth and peace. Now I feel kinda normal (no steam, no desire to tell strangers about my medication) except the thick layer of depression that has underscored my every waking moment has faded away. I’m no longer spiralling from “Ugh, this is so frustrating” > wanting to break/injure something > collapsing in a useless and messy heap on the floor and wanting to die. Things are just frustrating. I’m doing a far better job at being playful and letting little things slide. I think Mo’s noticed.
I didn’t want to take antidepressants. Starting antidepressants felt like it would be a daily reminder that in the fight against Depression taking over, I’d totally lost, and therefore really was as sucky as Depression would have me believe. But then I read a couple of journal articles (I regularly call them ‘journicles’ accidentally) for uni about studies which suggested that depressed mothers were more likely to hit their children, and that depressed mothers were more likely to report their child’s behaviour as problematic, and this discovery coincided with separate conversations I’d had/would have with three important women in my life - my friend, my minister, and my mum - which ended up nudging me completely into the medication-should-be-an-option camp (two by gently pointing out my inconsistent views on mental vs. physical health, and one by declaring out of the blue that antidepressants were awesome and I should get myself on some post-haste). “But if I take antidepressants then I’m admitting I have depression, and I don’t want to be a person with depression! That’s not who I see myself as!” I cried to my mum. “Maybe antidepressants would help you be the person you see yourself as,” she replied. I was at the doctor’s first thing the next morning.
Me [the day before starting to take the tablets]: So I might become a completely different person in two weeks’ time, when the medication kicks in.
Alan: Like Shania Twain?
Me: Was she seriously the first person you thought of when I said that?
Alan: No. I thought of Cher and Madonna first, but I kept going until I reached a name I could say out loud.