9.17.2008

Setbacks

Have you seen those new SoyJoy ads? I hate them. The people in them all look like they're on some kind of opiate. They seem to equate 'drugged out of your mind' with 'optimism'. This image of using a substance in order to live in a perpetual state of bliss purely irks me. When I went on medication for depression, it wasn't with the intention of erasing all negative emotions from my life. I wasn't trying to escape the natural pain that comes as a consequence of poor decisions, and I certainly wasn't using it to enable myself to live a more frenetic, crazy and uncomfortable life by numbing out the sadness that comes with that. I wasn't aiming for bliss, I was aiming for functional

I remember seeing Julianne Moore's character in The Hours. Watching her emotionally crumble while trying to bake a cake was excruciating, not only because she plays the part so exquisitely, but because I saw myself in her. Depression is insidious and debilitating. There were times when I, like her character, truly believed that my children and my family would be better off if I were not around. It is humbling to know that if it weren't for the watchful eye of my Father in Heaven, I could have done something terrible to myself or one of my children. With the advantage of perfect hindsight, medication seems like an obvious life saver. So I find it infuriating that one of the hurdles I had to overcome when deciding to go to my doctor for help was the stereotypical image of a drug-taking-housewife-trying-to-numb-out-her-life. 

I still wrestle with that. Perhaps it's pride. I don't want to be on medicine. I don't want to need it. So lately, I haven't been taking it. I'll go a few days without it, crash, and then take a dose. As soon as I'm feeling a little less suicidal, I stop taking it again. I know that it's stupid and dangerous and unhealthy, and yet I continue to do it. I don't want to be thought of as someone broken. Someone who needs help in order to live my already ridiculously privileged and charmed life. 

I'm finding that just as when I went through pregnancy sans medication, I now have to humble myself, set aside that pride, and turn to the Lord every day-- this time in order to submit to the relief of the medicine. Today I'm telling myself that it's okay to need help. It's part of life to have weaknesses to overcome. I have weaknesses in order to teach me to rely on a higher power. 

But those SoyJoy ads? So not helping. 

11 comments:

MegRuth said...

I really appreciate your candidness. It helps me know I'm not the only one. I'm not on meds but recently was told I should be.

It was like a slap in the face. I don't know how functional I am.

Lisa said...

Yes, you, too can have glazed over black eyes the size of saucers, with SoyJoy! Yikes!

This post makes me even more frustrated with the stigma that comes with taking anti-depressants. I have no issues with depression but some of my very closest friends do. It's possible that they are over-prescribed, but there is not a millimeter of room for people to be judging each other about this. I recently stopped a missionary here who made some flippant remark about all the women in Utah that are on Prozac. He tried to convince me that it's true and it's pathetic. You know what? It's none of his freakin' business. It really gets to me. I'm sorry you have to deal with wanting to feel normal. And I like your comparison with needing to turn to the Lord. And I'm sorry I'm a stranger rambling on and on!

Mary-Laure said...

How strange is that, I was JUST thinking of The Hours 5 minutes ago...

It was very moving to read your honest and painful post. I know the pain you talk about. The only thing I can say is, Try to know when to ask for help. It's not shameful to need medical help. Don't think about pride or cliches, just think about your health. It's ok to be sick even if one is privileged; not taking care of yourself will not help the under-privileged anyhow, that's the way I try to see it.
My heart goes out to you. Oh I know SO WELL what you are going through!

Emily said...

I recently stumbled across your blog and I absolutely love it. Your wit and honesty is charming.

And I hear ya on the Soy Joy crap. Not that I'd ever want to try one of those disgusting looking bars, but their creepy advertising just solidifies my prejudice against them.

Janae said...

I agree. What nasty ads.

And I see things in a whole different light now. Dad used to threaten to send me to a psychologist if I didn't figure out how to overcome my anorexia. Isn't that an oxymoron? Luckily mom became my psychologist in many ways, and I recovered. But I don't know if I ever fully recovered. And although I've often wanted to go to a pysch, I still have this image that it means I'm "not normal".

So I really don't see why things are made out to be "normal" or "crazy", with no inbetweens. I am doing much better now, but if I ever get as depressed as I was a few weeks ago again, I'm going to finally look into it, knowing that I'm still normal regardless.

Thanks for being so honest. And good luck in overcoming. I'm so glad that life is full of repeated mistakes and new growth.

Melissa Ellen said...

As I read your blog today tears filled my eyes. I have a wonderful life. I know I do. I recognize my blessings just like you do. It is hard, really hard though when you know these things and still feel like total and complete crizzap. I do the same thing with my meds...I'm feeling great...I'm not taking it. I'm just praying harder. Well, I hate admitting it but I can't pray hard enough to change my brain chemistry. So, now I pray to find strength in dealing with trying to accept that I do in fact "need" (i really don't like saying that - at all) medication. I understand where you are coming from. So well. I do. I'm sending up high hopes for you.

Those soy joy commercials stink. Like cartoons on crack!

And you are right, the AD don't make us all chipper - they just make us more functional.

Tess & Arin Fishburn said...

hi! I don't know you, but I love reading your blog. It really helps me to know that someone as awesome as you, is equally as pained as me. I'm at the -cry-every-5-minutes-for-no-good-reason state recently, thanks to my current pregnancy and lack of zoloft b/c of it. so yes. i cried. thanks. thanks for making me cry AND smile. keep em coming. :)

Jen said...

Hi, I hope you don't mind me commenting, since I don't even know you, but I found your blog after it was linked with the whole Stephanie Neilsen tragedy. Anyway, reading your post was an answer to many prayers as of late. I've been struggling with many/all of the same emotions you wrote about. You are wonderful to be so candid, and I have a new perspective and hope. Thank you so much!!!!!

nicole said...

ditto to all the other comments as well..
totally touched by this post!
someone once told me though...if you have a headache you take an advil...if you have high blood pressure you take a medication...if you have pain you take a pain killer...if you have allergies you take clairitin...so if you are depressed why wouldn't you take something.
that thought really helped me - although I know for many others that doesn't take away the stigmatism of what anti-depressants seem to have...it's sad really.
but anyway as I said before so helpful to know this is not something I am going through alone!
thank you for your honesty!

Em said...

Thank you so much for this post.

I don't know you, but also found your site through CJane.

As a worker in the mental health field, one of the things I fight most is the stigma that comes with mental illness and anti-depressants. It makes me angry that our society is so unsympathetic toward mental illness and differentiates so much between that and a physical illness.

I admire you for posting something like this with such honesty.

Have you ever read, "An Unquiet Mind" by Kay Redfield Jamison? It's one of my favorite books regarding this subject. (Not that you need more knowledge about it, but it is a good read.)

Thanks again!

True Friends said...

You are the most amazing blogger!! You ar egreat with words! I'm sure you felt very vulnerable writing this, but man...it is amazing! And so honest! I will tell my friends of this great blog! Hope you don't mind. What religion are you?

My blog is www.scottkids.blogspot.com...I'd love to track your blog....

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