Drowning on dry land

A couple of months ago the antidepressant I take started to quit working for me. My prescriber upped the dose once and then, a few weeks later, a second time. A few weeks after that, it became clear that it wasn’t just the dose that wasn’t working, but the medication itself.

Depression, in my case, is a nonstop inner dialogue about how awful and worthless I am and how much better my family and friends would be without me and hey, why don’t we cry about it for about eight hours a day and just sleep the other sixteen? And also, wouldn’t it be fun to obsess about regular everyday things that are not at all scary but have them ruin my every waking hour? No? Let’s do it anyway.

Fortunately, for people like me, there are a lot of medicines that help. Unfortunately, they take a while to work so increasingly, for the last few weeks, depression has been kicking my ass. Everything I do takes great effort even — or maybe especially — breathing. More than once, I have thought to myself, “If I could just stop breathing and close my eyes, it would all be so much better.” What helps is telling myself that the new medicine might work if I just give it time, if I just keep breathing.

So, I breathe and I move through life because I have kids who need me to keep moving. I cry, but not in front of them. I ask Eric constantly if he wants a divorce because I just know he’s stayed married to me out of duty and not because he loves me because he’s a good guy like that. Later, he assures me he’s not that good of a guy which makes me laugh a little and makes the next breath easier.

And then tonight, there was a breakthrough. While I was lying in my sleeping bag at family camp searching Reddit for “depression,” (not the best idea) someone who didn’t know any of this reached out to say impossibly kind things to me, among them how proud my mom would be of me and a part of me believed him. For a moment, I didn’t feel like an imposter.

All this is to say, if you’re suffering, you’re not alone. Please don’t give up, just keep breathing. Find a person or a medicine or something. There is help.

And if you have something kind to say, do it. You have no idea what a difference it might make to someone. (But not to me, because I will know you’re just trying to make me feel better, but for sure you should say nice things to other people.)

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