Eight and half years.
That’s how long I’ve been on some form of anti-depressant. In the beginning it was the best thing for me. I had a problem ruminating on thoughts to the point where I couldn’t sleep and it took its toll on my health. My short-term memory nearly ceased to exist. I nearly made an attempt to take my own life as well. I can say with absolute certainty that without my medication (and host of other things like my family, Catholic faith, friends, etc.) I would have spent the last eight and half years six feet under. It was necessary as you may have guessed. It kept me breathing. It kept me fighting. It kept me alive.
It’s hard to describe what depression can do to a person. For others reading this I don’t have to say anything because you know all too well. If I had to sum it up in a sentence I would say this, “Depression is when you become more afraid of living than you are of dying.”
Eight and half years later, the story is different. My body is beginning to let side effects shine through. My liver is damaged and I consistently wake up feeling hungover even though I’ve consumed no alcohol. At its worst, lymph nodes in my jaw swelled up so large that they put pressure on the main nerves causing migraines. It’s tough to function when you feel like that.
Today I took my first step to change all that. I found a program called The Road Back (www.theroadback.org) which is designed to help people who are ready to kick their body’s addiction to psychoactive drugs. I for one couldn’t be more anxious to do anything of this sort in quite some time. I’ve spent many of my lowest points in life wondering what my life would be like if I was “normal”. I realize normal doesn’t exist, it’s only a setting on a clothes dryer. For me though it was the definition of freedom from the cancer that plagues my mind.
I’ll never be totally free of this cross. To think otherwise would be grossly naive. It will be easier to carry though when I don’t have to fight both my body and mind.