Depression – 6 Months Later

Every month I wait until I’ve taken the very last blue and white pill before I log into the Walgreen’s website and order my next refill of Cymbalta. There’s no deeply profound psychological reason for this. I’m just painfully cheap. And the longer I can go before I have to shell out another $112 $118 for the monthly prescription, the better.

Tuesday I logged in and noticed I was ordering my last available refill. My original script was for 1 sample bottle and 6 refills.

I’ve been on antidepressant medication for six months now.

Now is the first time I’m supposed to stop and take stock and decide where to go from here. Continuing with the medication will mean another appointment with a doctor. The days of the let’s see how this goes trial run are over.

I can no longer tell myself this is a temporary situation.

I can’t push off the big questions until later.

I can’t continue to make light of the fact that “of course I’m fine, I’m medicated!”

It’s time to face it. Again.

Which begs the question – what is it, exactly? What is this thing inside of me that I’ve been placating with tiny pills for the last six months? And most importantly… is it still there?

It’s painful to think about the darkest day six months ago. The day I left work early because I just couldn’t do it anymore. The day I sobbed on my cell phone to my husband while I drove, begging him to do something, to fix me. The day he finally admitted “I can’t. I don’t know what’s wrong with you, but I know I can’t help you.” The day I gripped my steering wheel with white knuckles and forced myself to think of my kids in a frantic effort to keep my car from slamming into the guard rail. The day I went to bed and pulled the covers up over my head and wished as hard as I could that It Would All Go Away.

The day I wanted to die more than I wanted to live.

It turns my stomach now to read my own words. I can still relive it with the same clarity as if I was standing right back in that moment.

But I have to look at it now. I have to ask… how close am I to that point? Does that desperation still lie just below the surface, waiting for a break in the guards to attack again?

Or have I moved past that?

I wonder if I’ve healed.

I’ve done a lot in the last six months. I’ve learned a lot about myself and the way I react to and interact with the world around me. I’ve developed new tools for coping. I’m not the same scared, angry, helpless girl I was that day.

Of course, I still have my down days. There are mornings when I wake up and dread stepping back on the conveyor belt that is the life of a working mother. There are nights when I wonder how in the hell I can continue on in a marriage that still brings me to my knees in The Bad Times. And the superlative thoughts still spring up on occasion. The “this is forever” and the “never” and the “worst” and the “can’t”.

But even in the midst of those frustrations, I know on some level that it is all temporary. I know there is always light at the end of the tunnel and Good Times around the next corner.

I have not wanted to die, needed to escape, once in the last six months.

Maybe those days are behind me.

But… maybe they aren’t. Maybe I am two weeks of chemical imbalance away from another meltdown. Maybe my newfound clarity is a result of toxicology rather than emotional strength. Maybe at my core, beneath the medication, I am still a girl who is incapable of handling the rigors of every day life on her own.

I’m not ready to take that chance.

While my pride taunts me, challenging me to prove to the world that I can do this now… my fear is stronger. My appreciation for the relief the last six months have given me is too starkly contrasted with the agony I can still too vividly recall.

I can’t go back there. I can’t even attempt to go back there. Not yet.

Maybe in another six months. Maybe in another year. Maybe… never. Maybe I will have to accept the fact that I am one of Those People who is dependent on a drug to live a normal life.

But I don’t have to make that decision now. Not today. Today all I have to do is put one foot in front of the other and do what I need to do to ensure I make it through another six months.

Today all I have to do, is call the doctor.

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Actually, today I also have to co-host the first episode of my new radio show with Avitable. Join us at 9pm EST, 6pm PST for “Clearly, You’re Retarded” – a live radio show on TalkShoe. You can listen to the show at http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/22186

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