You know, I make jokes, semi-jokes, about being crazy but the fact is, I’ve suffered from bouts of depression since I was 20 years old. Back then they didn’t push antidepressants like they do now. In fact, I remember my therapist asking me if I wanted to try them but when she told me the side effects I was all OH HAIL NO!!!! and she was fine with that.
She was my first therapist and the only one I didn’t quit after a few visits. Really, I liked going there twice a week. She was nice and I, away at college, was kind of floundering at that point in my life and really very much in need of a maternal figure. My mom had only been gone for seven years and there was a ton of unworked through stuff that I needed to deal with and that was where I did a lot of it.
Eventually, with lots of talk therapy, I got better and stopped seeing Helen (I actually really kind of quit seeing her for a BOY. How much do I suck?) and I didn’t have any depressive episodes for a long time.
The next one kicked in a few years after I got married and was so clearly tied to my hormones. Unfortunately doctors find it easier to give you a scrip for Zoloft than to investigate the real problem so on and off I went about two or three more times over the next ten years (not including postpartum depression, which deserved it’s very own category, subtitled HELL)
The thing is, when I joke about ‘the crazy’, it’s really not the depression I’m talking about. I find depression to be wholly unpleasant but there is nothing crazy about it. You’re depressed. You usually know it. You think it sucks. You either get help or you don’t.
The crazy to which I refer is a hot little bundle of evil called anxiety. Anxiety IS THE CRAZY, in my humble opinion. And I’d never had anxiety before so I just didn’t understand how freaking wacky it can make you.
My BFF knows because when I had my first really bad experience with anxiety about 4-5 months ago, she was the one I called and bawled to on the phone. I’m pretty sure I was inconsolable and not making a whole lot of sense.
To clarify, it is, for me, a bit like a light switch. It switches on and you start to crumble and when you finally figure out that it’s your goddamn period causing it and then, out of nowhere, it’s just gone. Switched off. And you wonder how on earth you could have ever felt so freaking nuts because now? You feel perfectly fine.
The following month I finally caved and took the doctor-prescribed Xanax I’ve had for a while and it helped. I need to stop being so afraid of it and just take it when I start feeling anxious because what happens if I don’t is I get caught in this infinite loop of guilt and self-recrimination and regret and it’s just…horrible. There is no other word for it.
I just wish I didn’t have to deal with this at all. I feel like there’s got to be something I can do to prevent it but I honestly don’t know what it is.
To those of you who left those beautiful, kind, amazing comments of support, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Sometimes, there is honestly nothing that can talk the crazy down better than knowing that people understand and in some cases, KNOW HOW YOU FEEL. To the letter.
I know that to you it’s just a comment, not unlike one you would make to any person who was having a rough time, but to me, it was compassion personified. Thank you.