This can be triggering as it talks about suicide and self-harm; tread carefully dear ones.
To quote another song, “hello darkness my old friend…” The thing about choosing not to be on antidepressants is that I can’t just pop a pill to make this go away. Actually I used to pop antidepressants daily and it still didn’t go away, just revved my brain up or zonked me out. I didn’t count that as a victory. So I’ll do what I’ve learned to do until it passes, listen to music, watch trashy tv or funny youtube videos, eat comfort foods and resist the urge to stay in bed all day cause all that does is make me feel worse. Because it always goes away, eventually. Maybe not in an hour, day, or month; maybe you need to take something for it, but the body rarely stays in stasis; things change. The point is to not give in to the darkness, no matter how seductive it is.
That’s not say I haven’t given in before, I have, a lot. First it was suicide attempts, I think my first one was in sixth grade. Middle school and puberty are hell on earth. It continued off and on through high school. The interesting thing is, no one ever seemed to notice. But then I was always afraid of my mother finding out so I probably never hid enough pills away and the one time I attempted to slit my wrists, the pain was greater than my desire so I never got far. Which is kind of ironic considering what I did next. I got to a point that I realized I didn’t want to die so much as I just wanted the pain to go away. And how did I do that? By causing pain to myself through self harm. I hate to say it but it did work for awhile, it took the pain out of my brain and into something tangible. Besides I could show people the shallow cuts, the scrapes, the bruises, and go “see I hurt”. You can’t do that with depression. But I quickly found that people don’t react sympathetically to self-harm, in fact quite the opposite. That added to the fact that I needed to inflict more and more pain in order to counteract the depression and it just wasn’t working anymore so I stopped for a good long time.
Then the universe decided to see just how much I could take before breaking. In a six month period, I left my husband, moved to a new city, was jobless, was forced to file bankruptcy, lost my father to lung cancer, and was granted a divorce. It left me a complete mess. The result was a return of both the suicide attempts and the self harm. Added to it was a new factor lashing out in anger at everyone and everything. I was doped up on Wellbutrin and Trazodone, I was misdiagnosed as having Borderline Personality Disorder and spent over a year in group therapy. None of which really helped. Eventually I dropped out of group, stop taking the meds and eventually a therapist that helped. When she moved away I cried my eyes out. She had given me the one thing I hadn’t had in a long time, a sense that I was in control, not the depression, not the pills, not the doctors, but me. When I first went to her she asked about medication and I said I didn’t want to take it, she accepted my answer and worked on helping me find other solutions, never bring up pills again.
Of course I still get depressed and sometimes I still experience months of dysthymia but it’s part of who I am. I just don’t harm myself anymore, a visual scream to people that I’m hurting, cause no one’s listening anyway.