The Road Less Travelled

I very much wanted to write another post today. And now I’m finding it difficult to start. This was going to be a continuation of my last post regarding the fight my depressed mind always puts up against anti depressants in the initial stages of treatment. If I’m brutally honest, I’ve been there enough times to know I don’t want to revisit some of the scariest periods of my life. But acceptance had changed me and given me an incredible need to share experiences I Never would have. If only to promote empathy and some understanding in those that have never had to fight with the Black Dog. Twelve months ago, I was back on anti-depressants about 2-3 weeks and all was not well. My serotonin levels were completely obliterated and unlike a healthy person, my brain Will Not reproduce serotonin of its own accord, hence my mental illness. So although anti-depressants are often referred to as ‘Happy Pills’, this is definitely not the case. A quick fix they ain’t. What they do is start to Gradually help your brain to produce the serotonin you so Badly need. But this takes time. I can remember my very concerned sister telling me I’d be better in a couple of days. She couldn’t believe it when a month into my treatment, there was very little improvement. For me it takes 8 Long very difficult weeks to feel like I’m starting to see just a glimmer of light in the long dark tunnel. And about three months in total (with counselling, and meditating twice daily) to feel like the old me has returned. I distinctly remember a particularly bad day last year when I felt really terrified. I was only back on the meds about a week. And wasn’t working on this particular day, which had dawned as blackly as any day could. When I’m sick, I become incredibly clingy towards my family and close friends. Especially my Dad for some reason. I go back to being a frightened little girl who just want to keep him near as much as possible. I didn’t want to alarm him, as he wasn’t aware my depression had returned. But I needed him very much on the day in question.So I took a deep breath and phoned him. I told him it had returned, and I was back on the meds and I needed to get out of the house for a couple of hours. I felt like a total failure for telling him and guilty for needing him so much, but I was desperate. I was putting on a brave face because I didn’t want anyone worrying about me. But I knew my Dad would be cool about it and there would be no need to pretend. He said ‘no probs’ in his naturally easygoing way. And we went for a long drive. The sun was shining in a blue cloudless sky but it didn’t make any difference to me. I felt like my stubborn sick brain would never let the sun in again. When we started out, my dad told me about a young hurler from Galway who had taken his own life some days before, his name was Niall O’Donoghue. (I’ve never forgotten his name) My stomach turned when I heard this. Because I was having black thoughts at this time. Which were bombarding me, and I was fighting them each second of each day. I assumed wrongly that he hadn’t been getting any treatment, but my father told me he had been receiving treatment, and all his friends were aware of his illness. This scared me. But I knew how he must have felt, and understood the massive struggle he had surely gone through. The meds don’t work for everyone. I’m extremely lucky in that they work for me. In my worst days, that’s what I’ve always told myself. My life depended on them working, along with counselling and meditating.But that day in the car with my dad, I couldn’t imagine fighting an illness as overwhelmingly ferocious as depression where the meds don’t work. Because the illness can and tragically does win in some cases. People who suffer from depression don’t kill themselves . Depression kills them. It’s as heartbreakingly simple as that.

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