Those who know me well know that I rarely miss a day of Dooce. Dooce is a blog written by Heather Armstrong, an irreverent ex-Mormon who suffers from depression and writes really funny stuff about her life as a mom, daughter, wife, dog owner, etc. I was initially attracted to Heather's blog because of an entry she wrote about her bout with postpartum depression following the birth of her daughter, Leta. There was something in her tone that rang true to me. Something in her tone that assured me she was a member of the club. I'm talking about the club of people who sometimes can't get out of the bed in the morning to live - what would appear to everyone else to be- a great life. I'm talking about the association of depressed folk. The chemically imbalanced and forever haunted ones. Those of us who have been down the rabbit hole one too many times.
I joined the club in my early twenties. Before you ask, I have no idea. No idea what brought it on. Not because my life was so happy I couldn't possibly be depressed, but because there were so many crazy and ridiculous things that happened to me as a child, I can't imagine I made it to my early twenties without jumping off of a bridge anyway. And to pick one incident as the cause of my malady would be a bit simplistic. It's only been within the last three years or so that I can say with complete certainty that it doesn't matter how I got there. It only matters that someone (God bless her wherever she is) wrote me a prescription for Prozac.
Those of you who know me well also know that my Prozac prescription wasn't the "be all and end all" cure. It helped for a really long time. I know that because I'm still alive. But, I've had many other prescriptions, many hours of therapy, a stay in a very peaceful and slightly eerie psychiatric hospital, and lots of kicks in the ass to make it this far. I'm currently taking Effexor XR, and it seems to be doing the trick. I hear all the talk from those who don't want to be on medication forever, those who think the medication makes them numb. I even have very close friends who could use a double dose four times a day who swear that they can't stand the way they feel on medication, so they'll just keep praying about it instead. But, I have every reason to believe that I will be on medication until the day I die. And if that means medication "controls" me or that I am a "zombie without feeling," well - so be it. I have lived the alternative, and I'm not going there again. Not if I can help it.
See, I know I have a great life. I am blessed beyond measure. I have the world's most adoring and precious husband, intellectual and fun friends, adorable dogs, sweet nieces and a smarty pants nephew, a great house, excellent taste, fabulous clothes and sensible yet stylish shoes...the list goes on and on. But when you start the downward spiral, it's impossible to recall any of that, and for the moment, and the moment can be a really long span of time, none of that matters. I won't try to describe it here except to say that I still struggle on a pretty regular basis with what I truly believe is worse than a four-headed, six-eyed, gooey green demon. Just a week or so ago, I burst into tears while riding down the interstate and begged God to take "it" away. "It" being this cloud of impending gloom and doom that was starting to move in over me. I'm so tired of it. I can't think of words strong enough to describe how I loathe it. I'm also very scared of it. It makes me furious and a little bit sick to think that the cloud can move over me so quickly and at such inopportune times. But at least now, a mere twenty years into this battle, I can usually see the clouds a comin', and I know what to do to keep them at bay.
So, back to Dooce. She recently referenced an article written by Chris Rose, a columnist for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, so I clicked through and read it. Man. As Heather says, "He nails it." Heather has nailed it on more than one occasion herself. And just knowing that two other people somewhere out there actually get it is good enough medicine to push me through a little longer. Of course, I'll be combining their good medicine with my good prescription drugs.