I usually have a paracetamol on the one-off, when I have the odd fever or a crocin. But anti-depressants are a whole other ball game. Who knew my entire personality could be controlled by a tablet smaller than the pupil of my eye? But it can apparently. The medication wasn’t easy to deal with, in fact, I didn’t even keep track of them. I just took them as they were given to me and let them do what they wanted. Maybe it was ‘magic’ or maybe just a plain old disaster because I seemed to either sleep through disasters or wake up to them.
Medication seems normal until you start feeling the side-effects, the dizziness, the sudden fatigue. And the most terrifying of all the inability to think straight. In the process of stabilising my moods and making sure that no harm is done I have lost control of my thoughts. The biggest part of me I could lose, I lost that. We believe medication takes the pain away but in this case, the medicines make you believe the pain is real. It makes you face it, even when you don’t have the strength to. The hardest part is to tell yourself that, that is okay, that is how it should be.
The medication still hasn’t settled in, and maybe if you find typos here and there in my writing it’s probably because of the meds. The medication didn’t make the depression go away, it just told everybody that it was there, and it told me it was here to stay until I fought back. There are so many tablets it’s hard to count, each tastes and looks different, and are given to me at different intervals and I have no idea if they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing.
Even though falling asleep means having dreams where my life takes the appearance of a giant that swallows me whole or thrashing about as my parents pin me down because I have had another attack. Sometimes I am in a horrible mood, and on some days I just don’t want to get off the bed. But this, friends, is the process. The medication sometimes increases my belief that this is probably the end. There are really no good days here in all this. But there are good moments. My mother touches her cheek to mine and tells me that I’ll be fine. My sister shares conversations over tea on the balcony.
Everybody has some advice to give, everybody has a comment, on my depression. Some people are sympathetic, some are empathetic, some are sorry and some want me to look at the bright side or at least try to find one. They are all right where they are standing. But they are not standing here. I don’t need a devil’s advocate I don’t even need an advocate, I just need to keep breathing and maybe that’s what the meds are for to keep me alive, not to fix me. Not to change me, not switch me on and send me back to being my old self in a jiffy but just to make sure I am alive. I have accepted it, my support system has. The laymen, and my dear readers even though I don’t expect you to, I know you do.
If depression is difficult, facing it is ten times harder. And what keeps me going is knowing I am not the only one, or the worst case of them all. I have received some flak and some criticism for doing this and getting onto this wagon of telling people my story but I have realised after twenty years that silence only builds, it doesn’t result in anything. And this is in no way a belittlement of the disease, yes a disease is what it is, or to glorify it. This is just my cathartic outpouring, read on if you want. My only hope is, as a reader you find something useful in it, something relatable or on the rare occasion something you hadn’t imagined.