Two Years Later

If I may start with a cliche…

Wow, does time fly.

(That’s actually personification, but I’m sure no one at all is keeping track of my grammar usage.)

Two years ago I surrendered. I reached the lowest possible point in my life – daily fantasies of being hit by a bus, complete and total confidence that my kids would be fine without me, anger that I still can’t comprehend, agony, indecision, worry – and I forced myself to pick up the phone and make an appointment at the clinic. The phone shook in my hands, my whole body shivered, my voice was weak and wavered, but I placed that call. And several weeks later, I forced myself into my car and drove myself to that appointment with clammy hands, a nervous stomach, and anxiety off the charts, but I did it.

One of the first things I did at the clinic was fill out a survey on mental health. Even as I was filling in the blanks and trying to rate my state of mind on a scale from 1 to 5, I was terrified that my “score” would be fine and I would live forever in misery.

Of course, that’s not how it ended (or began, depending on how you look at it), but anxiety is a master of deception and disguise.

The first year was rough. I remember just two weeks after I began taking medication, my anxiety was triggered, and I had a visceral reaction inside my chest, as though the anxiety was a sentient being grabbing my heart and squeezing, making my ears ring, my head swim, my breathing quicken, and my fingertips tingle. I read through the medication’s lengthy informational packet, so I knew it could happen, but it was worse than anything I had experienced before.

And eventually, my anxiety went away. The depression lingered and the anxiety broke through quite a bit, but three dosage adjustments later and all is well.

Recently, I read through some of my blog posts from before I sought help. They made me incredibly sad. Not like that threatening, overwhelming sadness brought on by depression, but the pitying kind, the shameful kind. I am, on occasion, ashamed of my mental health.

cookie

I am chained to a pharmaceutical indefinitely.  The other night, I snuck a snack around pill-taking time, and just stared at the scene before me with near-disgust. Three Oreos, a glass of milk, and a pill. I’d had a long day, I was tired and emotional, eating Oreos for comfort, and washing it all down with my 20 milligrams of salvation. This is my life.

This is my life.

I wouldn’t go back to my life before I got help for all the tea in Boston Harbor, but sometimes I get maudlin when I think about needing a pill to get me through every day. Nevertheless, I have the extreme privilege of bouncing back now, something I could not do two years ago.

So here I am, feeling ridiculous with myself for washing down a rough day with Oreos and an anti-depressant, but I am alive and worthwhile and loved, and I would sell my soul to the pharmacy all day every day to be able to have this pity party. Bottoms up, my friends.

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