I’ve been mostly free of PND, depression and anxiety symptoms for a while now, I’d say for about 6 months or so, but I emphasise the word, MOSTLY.
Through my battle with the black dog, I’ve often felt that there’s a bit of misconception about the role of antidepressants and the thought that they ‘get rid’ of depression which is completely false and makes things more difficult for the person who is suffering. I have often felt that just because I seem better, happier and able to respond better to situations, that my depression and anxiety is gone. This is so far from the truth.
Antidepressants reduce your symptoms, not get rid of them.
Antidepressants don’t change personalities and they don’t make you feel happy all the time. I still have the odd depression or anxiety episodes even though I’m on antidepressant medication. Sometimes I’ll go through bouts of sadness or I’ll feel physical sickness and nervousness with my anxiety or I’ll have episodes of feeling worthless, but they aren’t as intense and I can use the exercises I have learnt during my psychologist sessions to help me to deal with these situations more effectively.
Even though I’m on antidepressants, I’m not always happy. They’re not happy drugs, they just help me to react more realistically to things that would have normally freaked me out or upset me. I can now wake up in the morning feeling decent, instead of waking up every morning with a nervous feeling in my gut and thinking about how on earth I was going to face the day or worrying about something that I had to do like meeting someone for coffee.
Antidepressants are not the only thing that is going to make me better. Antidepressants go hand in hand with psychology treatment and support from friends and family. My psychologist has shared some invaluable information with me that has helped me to think about things in a completely different light. You can read about them here and here.
Antidepressants may help reduce my symptoms, but they have side effects too. I have dizzy spells, I find I put on weight more easily than I used to and the worst of all, it affects my sex drive. It’s a catch 22 situation. I could have a sex drive but feel depressed and anxious all the time and let it rule my life (which would then likely kill my sex drive anyway), or I could be much happier and focussed and have a limited sex drive. I’m selecting the latter! I’d love to know what it’s like to have the best of both worlds but I also have to live with the fact that I may never be afforded this opportunity.
Will my anxiety and depression ever leave?
My worry is that this evil, depression and anxiety, is never going to leave me. I am thankful that I feel so much better than I did one year ago, I’ve been able to achieve so much more and live a more fulfilling life, but there’s always a fear hanging around me about this beast that still lives deep in my mind and can come out any time. It’s had too long an opportunity to shape me, to determine the path my life leads. It has affected my capability of being the Mum I wanted to be and I fear it will do it again if I decide to have another. I don’t want to lose early memories of another child or be the sorrowful, short tempered and incapable Mother that I once was. I want to be a Wife and a Mum that is happy, carefree and focused.
I know there are people that look at me and think how happy I look and that everything must be just fine and dandy, and yes, most of the time it is, but it doesn’t mean the black dog is gone, it’s just been put to bed for a while and when it comes out, it undergoes lots of obedience lessons, lessons it will keep receiving until the time where it can be trusted without the need for medication but I feel that time is still a while away.
I often think that if I picked up a shiny lamp and out came a genie who granted me three wishes; my first wish would be to be completely free of depression, stress and anxiety and to have the opportunity to reclaim the time and memories I have lost because of it.