“This is where I finally asked for help.”
In the back of the Mercy Medical building on 4th Ave. in Hillcrest San Diego, CA
I have struggled with depression and anxiety for a long time. All my life really. My family didn’t really seem to understand. My brain seemed to just function differently than those around me. Things that seemed impossible to me were so easy for them. My parents would try and encourage me but it really only made me feel more broken. That something was wrong with me. Something I could deal with using willpower alone.
So I started developing coping mechanisms. Avoiding certain things that make me anxious, burying the depression, and mostly stopped talking about it. I learned what wasn’t ‘normal’ and learned how to pretend that I was. I let VERY few people in. Most of my friends even thought I was a happy go lucky kid. Always silly and fun and playful. Oh the masks we put up for the world.
About 2-3 years ago, I spiraled into massive depression. It was pretty horrible. Devastating really. I don’t really know how to describe it right now. I was living with so much depression and anxiety that my stomach even started eating itself. Writing this post (and sticker) I still feel pretty detached from it. I don’t think I have allowed myself to fully feel and internalize that period of my life.
Since then, I have slowly been clawing my way back up. I have massively uprooted my life and changed it for the better. I have completely reinvented myself and started living the life I wanted to live. I started seeing a therapist and have been spending a lot of time and energy on self improvement. My life was pretty much wonderful. Except the depression was still there. It wouldn’t leave me alone.
I had always been pretty anti-medication. I don’t like taking pills unless absolutely necessary. I am stubborn. My therapist starting suggesting anti-depressants. I had tossed the idea around but ultimately had decided against it. I had all the usual excuses. I was afraid it would change my core being. I was scared how I would react. I was scared I’d lose my drive towards self betterment and become complacent. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to feel anymore.
A couple of months ago, I finally decided I had enough. The cycling depression was getting in the way of my life. I was still experiencing stomach issues triggered by anxiety and it was having an impact on my every day living. So I called up my doctor and made an appointment. After sitting down with her for a while and explaining the situation, she agreed that I’d be a great candidate for anti-depressant medication and gave me a prescription as well as certain side effects to watch out for. She suggested I try them for a month or two and we can go from there.
I made it 4 days. It was HORRIBLE. I had almost every side effect listed. I was so overwhelmed by everything that I couldn’t function. All I could do was sit and watch bad TV. I couldn’t drive as the information I was required to process was so overwhelming my brain would start to block it out. I’d forget to shift, or I’d lose track of cars on the road. I just couldn’t process it. I was dizzy and felt really out of it. Night number four was spent violently vomiting. Needless to say, I stopped taking the pills.
I called up my doctor and she was surprised I lasted that long. Like I said, I’m stubborn. Once I decide to do something, I do it. And I wanted to make sure I gave it a chance for my body to adjust and work through the side effects. She switched me to a new medication. The difference it made was nothing short of amazing. And not just from the previous medication but from my previous state of mental wellness.
I could finally function. I could actually focus on things that mattered instead of getting overwhelmed by anxiety. I became more productive, more ambitious, more excited to chase after my goals. I never really realized just how much of an impact the depression was having on my life. It was seriously one of the best decisions of my life.
And the self improvement continues.