Well if you read my post from yesterday, I sure hope you didn’t place bets on the Oscar awards based on my picks. Yikes! But nevertheless I am happy with my choice of films and stand by them.
Speaking of standing by, I have a post to share with you (below) that has been standing by in the DRAFT folder for months. It is a very personal story and I had considered not sharing it, or waiting for a better time, etc etc. But then I met a lovely lady through snapchat (my username is: blissbakery). Her name is Sharon Leavy and she has a wonderful blog called “Behind Green Eyes“. She spoke on snapchat (her username is: sharonleavy) very candidly about the subject below. It has inspired me to finally share my post with you. Thanks Sharon, you are proof of the positive affects of social media…sharing the love and being a support! So glad to have met you! Alright, here goes….
When most people meet me they think I am, and always have been, happy go lucky. Yet, they have no idea the things I have suffered. They simply go by face value. And since I am usually smiling, it makes sense that people have made that conclusion. But I felt it was time to share with you a point in my life when I was really down, and what I did about it.
As I have said before, I went through a gut wrenching divorce after sixteen years of marriage. I never ever wanted to be divorced, so it goes without saying that it hit me hard. For the first time in my life I experienced depression. Even though I had gone through many horrific and traumatic events in my childhood, I somehow remained a happy kid. And through my marriage, though things were tough, I relied on my faith in God and kept a positive attitude.
In fact, I must admit I actually didn’t always feel empathetic towards people who were depressed. Not that I didn’t care, but more that I didn’t understand. However when the rug was pulled out from under me I started on a downward spiral. And looking back it might have been one of the best things that happened to me, for several reasons, of which I will reveal.
At the time of the divorce, I felt lost, not to mention I lost alot of weight. Since I have never been very big, it looked shocking to some to see my clothes literally hanging on my small frame. It wasn’t on purpose, I just had no interest in food, or anything else for that matter. I would wander the house at night after the kids had gone to bed, looking at all the family photos. I would literally cry my eyes out thinking that all of it was a sham. I was duped and my notion of a happily ever after was just that, a notion. But I tried my best to carry on as I had to be a mom to my two kids. Each day I focused on basic things like preparing their food and taking them to their after school activities. Yet as the depression got worse there were many days I felt like I didn’t want to go on. I felt like maybe it would be better if I wasn’t on this earth anymore.
That was when my medical doctor suggested that I take antidepressants. I vehemently declined. No can do! Because my mom was a drug dealer (as I have shared on here before) I have a hard enough time taking Tylenol or Panadol for a headache. I abhor all pills and medications of any kind. My irrational rebellion against my childhood. The only time I felt differently was when I had to inject insulin because I had a condition called Gestational Diabetes during my pregnancies. I knew it was necessary to prevent any harm to the life of my unborn child.
My ex and I had been in marriage counseling for years, and I continued on with therapy after thinking that was all I needed to get through the divorce. But because I was so down that I even entertained taking my own life, I realized therapy wasn’t enough. My depression could have been like untreated Gestational Diabetes. It could have harmed both of my children by not having a mom anymore if I had followed through with some of my dark and painful thoughts. So I finally acquiesced and began a very low and short course of Prozac. A pretty green pill so it was.
At about the same time I received a bill in the mail from our family pharmacy. We had an account with them during our marriage and though I hadn’t used it in quite a while I still got monthly statements. When I opened the envelope I saw there was for a prescription that had been filled and picked up that cost $75. I knew that it wasn’t mine. So I called them to inquire and they said it was for another type of pill, a blue one called Viagra. It was in my ex’s name. I guess we were handling the break up quite differently.
Anyway, I took the prozac for six months and I have to say that I have no regrets whatsoever. I eased off it slowly and had no withdrawal side effects. I realized that the stigma of mental health is just that, a stigma. Most people like myself certainly don’t seem to have a problem taking insulin when needed. But somehow society doesn’t like to put depression in the same category as a medical condition such as diabetes. With diabetes you can measure a blood sugar level. How do you measure depression?
It has been many, many years now since those six months of green pills. But I am grateful that they helped pull me out of the rabbit hole. I have a better understanding of what people go through now with depression, whether it is chronic, or episodic, like mine. I can offer comfort as I had before, but with more gravity now given my own experience. I can also calm fears about what someone looks like after they have taken the pills. What does it look like? Can you ever go back to your old self again? Well, I not only survived, but I have thrived.
I am also grateful that I am here to share this story with others. To take away the shame and embarrassment about it. The saying, “you are only as sick as your secrets” rings true. Not everyone would want to share this private and personal information, but when you do (as I have personally with family and friends, just not on this public forum) you find that people appreciate your honesty. And it lets people know that sometimes what you see on the outside is only part of the story. I am sure when I was going through the depths of it, many people wouldn’t have had a clue just how sad and desperate I was.
I can look at my two kids now and be thankful that I am still here to enjoy them and the memories we have made since those jagged little pill days. And I have my two most precious grand babies that I would have never met if I had let the rabbit hole suck me in completely. Lastly, I have the most amazing Hubby now, my best friend and soul mate. I certainly am not thanking my ex for cheating on me, but I never imagined it was possible to have a true partner in a marriage. He is my rock, my support and I’m his. I think of how none of this would have been possible if I didn’t find the courage to accept help, even if that help included a pill called Pro (not CON), but PROzac! Side note, I’ve noticed from watching television advertisements that so many of these pills have happy sounding names: ZoLOFT, WELLbutrin and so on.
I shared before on here about my experience with Tom Cruise, whom is actually a really nice guy. But I remember when he publicly derided Brooke Shields for resorting to anti depressants when she was going through postpartum depression. Not cool! It broke my heart, because that was just after my post divorce depression. I understood what she was going through. Maybe hormones had caused hers, and an ex husband had caused mine. But nevertheless, when you have trouble getting through a day because of despair, sadness, anxiety, worry, regret, heartache etc what you need is support not someone telling you via national television that you shouldn’t be getting help!
I am not telling anyone what to do, as taking medication for any ailment is a decision that is to be made by an individual and their doctor. But just know that there is someone out there that has gone through the fire and came out the other side! There is light at the end of the tunnel. The only thing is, our tunnels aren’t always the same length. But hang in there, it is worth it.
Empathetic, sympathetic and understanding LOVE,