Chemical Dependency

Increasingly, over the last several years, I find that the maintenance of my health requires prescription medications. Thyroid conditions, birth-control pills – all of a sudden, half the things in my body seem to need external assistance with their proper functioning. During the period a few years back when my migraines were really bad, I had a combination of 5-6 different medications to take on a semi-regular basis. I would look at my sink and think, “What does an able-bodied twentysomething woman need with all these drugs?” I felt very old, and sickly. These days, though, my meds are down to three, and there’s only one of them that really bothers me.

I’ve struggled with depression since I was a young child, and a few years back decide to finally head in for some overdue counseling. I hadn’t exactly looked down on therapy before, I just wasn’t sure that I would find a therapist who understood my worldview and could help mw work through my issues in a way that was consistent with my faith. But it worked out pretty well – I found a series of good psychologists I could trust, and I found that my experience was very positive overall.

But anti-depressants? That was another matter. I had a lot of hang-ups about meds for my mind; I didn’t like the idea of having to rely on a drug to alter my mental state and keep me functional. I know there’s no shame in it, I have family members who are on anti-depressants and friends who have considered it, and I’ve never looked down on any of them. But somehow, for me, it felt like that would be a failure, a sign of my weakness and inability to control my emotions like a normal human being should be able to. I thought that would be the final signal that there was really, truly something fundamentally wrong with me, and that would justify why other people never seemed to treat me the way that I wanted.

Well, I guess there is something fundamentally wrong with me, because after a few months trial on anti-depressants and a few months unintentional hiatus as I switched doctors and tried to get all my prescriptions re-ordered, I’m discovering that I just don’t cope as well without them. And I do feel ashamed, especially now that I realize I need them to stay on an even keel – before, it was just a trial and something that seemed to help me out a little, but now I feel dependent, and I hate knowing that I can’t respond to things without crying and being hypersensitive unless I’m being chemically aided. Blah blah blah imbalance, blah blah blah there’s no such thing as normal – tell most people on the street that you can’t get through the day without bursting into tears over something, and you can just see the “emotional freakshow” warning sign start flashing in their brain. No matter how much people like you, even if they love you, no one wants to be around a depressed person for very long.

And that’s at the heart of the thing I’m still struggling with, even after all the therapy: I don’t believe that anyone would really accept me as I am, moody, overweight, opinionated, bossy, messy. I know that’s probably partly the depression talking, and that I only listed bad qualities there; but no one stops hanging around me because I’m too nice, or too friendly. I want to know that there’s one person in my life who will be able to look at me and still see that I’m beautiful, fun, sweet, smart and loveable, no matter what other aspects of my personality might be on display. And I feel so tired and so frustrated and so alone when I have to keep fixing myself to be what everyone says I should be; no matter how hard I try, I just don’t seem to be doing it right enough.

At any rate, I hope this stuff starts kicking in soon, because this week is off to a crappy start so far.

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