Hi. My name is Ivy Hogan and I am using anti-depressants. That might not sound like a shocking revelation- after all, I’ve read several posts in recent weeks decrying how many doctors overprescribe anti-depressants, and how, surely, all these people who are on anti-depressants don’t really need them. I, myself, fought being put on anti-depressants for a very long time, partly due to the “you don’t really need them” stigma and partly because I wanted to see if I could get out of this funk myself, because, really, things in my life are hard lately and I thought that these things were the root cause.
And they might be. For the newbies here and for people who don’t know me and don’t know what’s going on in my life, I’ll give you a recap. About five years ago, my dad was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy. Now, for those of you who don’t feel like clicking the link, the long and short of it is that it is a very slow moving kidney disease that has no cure and usually results in kidney failure. 5 years ago when my dad was diagnosed, they estimated that he had already had it for at least 15 years and was getting to the end stages of the disease.
They attempted to treat it with prednisone, but that has resulted in many other problems such as diabetes and cataracts. And, in addition to everything else, because of my dad’s kidneys failing, he has also developed congestive heart failure, gout, and a few other problems I can’t even remember right now. Basically- my dad is dying very slowly right before my very eyes, and there is nothing I can do about it.
On top of everything else, last year on August 31st, my grandma passed away very suddenly. My grandma, who had lived with us for 8 years. My grandma, who I was very close to. Losing her was heartbreaking, and the subsequent cleaning out of all the stuff she had owned piled sadness onto my heart as much as her stuff was being piled into my house.
You might be thinking, “Ivy, that doesn’t make you a candidate for anti-depressants, that makes you a candidate for therapy.” I’d agree, except I talk to a therapist nearly every Friday. He’s been recommending I see my doctor (or a psychiatrist) for antidepressants for 6 months, at least.
So after several incidents where I picked fights with people I dearly love, after sleeping several entire days away, and finally, after overhearing a conversation my kids had about my depression, I talked to my doctor and he prescribed Celexa.
The night I filled the prescription I was at my mom and dad’s house, and Dad and I went to the store. On the way, I told him about my new prescription. “Thank God,” he said. “I’ve been watching your normal sparkle drain out of you for nearly a year now and I was about to say something to you. Did you know Mr. Ivy had even called me about your depression?”
See, I think with clinical depression, the person who is depressed is often the last to really know. Everyone else sees it, but they don’t want to bring it up to you for fear of making you angry or more depressed. Dad went on to tell me several things that I really needed to hear. First, he told me that it runs in my family. He talked about how, when he was a kid, my grandma would be fine for a few years, but then would lock herself into her bedroom for months and even sometimes years at a time. What was she doing? Sleeping, mainly, he said. She cried a lot too.
This reminded me of when I was a kid and my dad would spend a bunch of time in his bedroom, sleeping or just staring at the television. This just stopped when I was in high school. I asked him what was the difference, why it stopped and he simply said, “That’s when Prozac came on the market.” Ah-hah. One of my life’s mysteries explained.
I told him about how many people in my life had been telling me to just snap out of it, or that I needed to get my act together, or that I needed to start thinking positively. And my very favorite- my mom told me if I cleaned my house, I would be much happier. Because we all know, a clean house is totally the key to sanity.
Then my dad told me something that may have been one of the most important things I needed to hear: the people telling me to snap out of it, or think positively or clean my house do NOT understand what being clinically depressed is like. These people are well meaning, but because they cannot comprehend that all the positive thinking and spotless houses in the world are not going to cheer me up, are making me feel worse. What I needed to do was just what I did. Go to the doctor and find an anti-depressant that works for me.
I’m writing this for you Home Eccers that do understand. For those of you who may or may not have problems in your life, but still feel hopeless. For those of you who, all you want to do is sleep. And for those of you who think it’s probably better for everyone else if you vanished off the face of the planet. Have you been there? Are you there now?
I’ve been on the Celexa for 3 weeks now. People have been telling me they’re so glad to see my “voice” back. Mr. Ivy grabbed me and hugged me hard yesterday and said he had missed me immensely. My oldest son said, “What, you’re laughing? I didn’t know you knew how to do that anymore.” Things are getting back on track.
If you’ve been feeling hopeless or anything similar, I cannot urge you enough to pick up the phone and call your doctor for an appointment to talk to them about getting the right medicine to help you. Also, do not discount the amazing benefits of talk therapy. I’ve always said everyone should have a therapist. They’re like having friends you can tell everything to with the bonus of being absolutely sure they’re never going to spread gossip about you. Plus, you don’t have to deal with their problems. Therapists have their own therapists for that.
Be well, Home Eccers. I’m getting there, myself.
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