I have struggled with depression throughout my adult life. Had anyone been paying attention, I would have been diagnosed with it as a child, after I was molested. But nobody was paying that much attention, so I didn’t get treatment until I was out on my own after my first divorce.
I hate it. I don’t see it as something to be ashamed of, any more than I would be ashamed of having a broken leg or being diabetic—but I hate it.
Knowing that I need a damned pill to keep me on a fairly even keel, and will probably need to keep taking something for the rest of my life, is depressing in and of itself.
On the other hand, I’m very glad that depression is treatable, and that I have access to those treatments. I’m glad that my suicide attempt ended in a hospital, rather than a grave. I’m glad that when I felt that bad again, I was able to check myself into another hospital. I’m glad that I have partners and friends with whom I can be honest, who are very supportive of me as I fight the demon that lives inside me.
The struggle has been worse over the past six months or so. I tried a new drug, one that had the potential for reducing pain as well as managing depression. It didn’t do either well for me, so I’m back to Effexor (ick). (Now I know that I might not have been on an adequate dosage of Cymbalta, so I’ll be checking into that next week.) Going on and off SSRIs and SSNRIs is nasty. I didn’t have adequate professional care, either. (I will be seeing a better doctor on Monday.)
As much as the depression eats at me, I can’t even imagine having my partners find out. That’s what happened to Ayelet Waldman’s husband. (I can’t begin to deal with the later part, about her 7‑year-old son telling her he was afraid she’d kill herself.)
Still, there but for the grace of $deity: she was alone at home with four kids (ages 7 and down) while her husband was away from home on an extended business trip. That sounds fairly hellish, right there. (Note to self: should anything remotely like that be possible after we have babies, WE WILL HIRE HELP FOR THAT TIME.)
Fortunately for you, I don’t write as much when I’m not feeling well. I’m usually particularly closed-mouthed about depression and anxiety. They don’t really lead to easy prose, for me at least. But then I don’t experience mania/hypomania as bipolar folks like Waldman do.
I have no idea where I’m going with this. Nowhere, really, I suppose. Journaling. There ya go.