18 December 2007

Contagiousness

Suffering from depression is like living at the bottom of a well. The days slide by, and you hear distant echoes of life above, but you're not there. You feel incredibly alone. Even though you know that there are any number of people who want to pull you back up, you have to do it on your own.

I'm "out" about my depression. It isn't something I'm ashamed of, or embarrassed about. I don't go around introducing myself to new people by saying, "Hi, I'm Lucy and I'm heavily medicated for severe depression!" but if someone asks, I'll be very frank and honest with them about it. I will talk about the meds, the therapy, the therapist, the doc who prescribes the meds, where I think it came from, how I'm doing today or yesterday or how I think I'll be doing next week. Maybe I'm a wee bit too out about it. But I don't care much what some random person, be they friend, family, or stranger thinks about anti-depressants, whether they're good or bad.

You feel so alone when it is at its worst, but you are aware that you're not the only person in history that's ever felt this way. It isn't really possible to find your way out of it just by listening to someone else's experiences; in fact, I think I really couldn't hear them when it was at its worst. I should probably not be surprised at all when I discover that yet another friend or acquaintance or even family member is traveling the same road I am, but I am always surprised.

So many women I know are in the same boat. Inside the computer, outside the computer, in my personal and professional life, we're everywhere. Is it possible that it is gender-related? Or that women are more susceptible to depression than men? I think an argument could be made for it; I know very few men who are having the same trouble as my girlfriends are, but women actually talk about this stuff, men, by and large, don't.

Conspiracy-minded (and admittedly self-centered) as I am, once upon a time, I would have thought that the common denominator among all the women I know who are depressed was me, that somehow I was contagious, and the depression spread outward in ripples from me to everyone around me. Like attracts like, you know. My OCD makes me want to line it up all neatly and find something that makes it all fit neatly into little boxes. Doesn't work like that, but I'd sure like it to.

Right now, where I'm at with it is a relatively good place. I'm dealing all right. I'm even all right with the fact that I'm on meds. At various points during this journey that hasn't been OK, I've wanted to get off them asap. But at the moment, I'm just fine with the fact that I'm on the maximum daily dosage of Wellbutrin XL. It is helping. I don't think I want to be on it for the rest of my life, but at this stage, I'm willing to actually listen to the doctors and seriously consider their advice. Today, anyway. I can really even see a future where I'm not a train wreck.

Hope is an amazing and wonderful thing.

4 comments:

MotherMe http://motherme.wordpress.com said...

You're infectious, maybe, but definitely not contagious! ;)

~mm

Lucy Arin said...

LOL, that's cute. Thanks!

Dawna said...

Bah! Women are simply more likely to accept that something in wrong. Men like to live in denial.

It is sucky to know that even when you take the maximum dosage; it still isn't enough some days.

Lucy Arin said...

Dawna-

Understatement. There are some days...still...when I don't think I'm going to be able to do anything. This week, I've taken the meds every other day. Not intentionally!Just stupidly forgot them Sunday and Tuesday. But it is amazing how much of a difference I notice on the days without them. And I'm really, really, really worried that at some point this dosage won't be effective anymore, just like the previous 2 dosages, and then what?
*shudders*