What Is NOT Included in That Bottle of Anti-Depressants

I wrote this post four years ago. I am no longer taking medication, mainly because it stopped being effective for me, and I’ve been hesitant to try new chemical combinations. But whenever I do think of trying medication again, I’m reminded of this lesson I’ve already learned… 

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What Is Not Included in That Bottle of Anti-Depressants

I think of myself as a Functioning Depressant. I can hold down a job, run a household, volunteer in my community, have close relationships with friends and family. I can get out of bed in the morning, get dressed, and even find small joy in things I love. But it takes a WHOLE LOT OF WORK.

I’ve learned over the years to begin each day by carefully constructing a new reality for myself, above what my own depressed, untrue perceptions of the world provide. Through my experiences with medication and therapy years ago, I learned the process of rewriting my internal script to be more encouraging, more realistic, more forgiving. It used to be that I only had to “readjust” myself a few times a day.  In the last couple of years, my methods have been less reliable, and I find that every day is a constant roller coaster (I’ll spare you the ugly details). Getting myself “right” has gotten in the way of me being able to help my kids navigate their own increasingly complex emotions, and I’m not satisfied with the half-life I’ve been living.

About a month ago I asked my doctor to prescribe me anti-depressants. We talked through a lot of options, finally settling on Pristiq. All I can say is that although there are some wonky side effects, it’s helping more than hurting. My days are less mentally exhausting, and I’ve been able to rest the constant labor needed to focus and trust that the world (and my life) are much better than I would naturally believe.

Just for general information’s sake, my side effects have mainly been headaches (persistent, dull, but annoying), some nausea (not too bad), and every so often a feeling of intense restlessness. I’ve not researched it thoroughly, but I heard through passing that Pristiq may share an element similar to ecstasy or speed. As a girl who drinks caffeine maybe once every five years or so, I’m guessing I’m pretty sensitive to any kind of powerful stimulant. I’m hoping that subsides over time.

I think what’s important for anyone taking anti-depressants AND for others around them to understand is that there are some things NOT included in that 30-day supply of pills:

  • a nanny
  • a housekeeper
  • a chauffeur
  • a gardener
  • an accountant
  • a maid
  • a cook
  • a tutor for the kids
  • a nurse
  • a mediator
  • a child psychologist
  • a dog walker/trainer
  • a professional organizer
  • an electrician
  • an auto mechanic
  • ….maybe you get the point.

Life is still STRESSful. There are still so many things to be done, so many situations to negotiate. Taking anti-depressants doesn’t mean anything goes away, it doesn’t mean you will be happy no matter what. If someone you love has just decided to try medication, don’t put pressure on them to change overnight. Life is still LIFE, and everyone deserves (and should expect) to be overwhelmed by it from time to time.

My own hope in beginning medication again is that I’ll be able to roll up my sleeves and deal more effectively with the life OUTSIDE my own head. Heaven knows I’ve spent enough time inside of it.