I was very hopeful that the meds would work. 2 weeks later, I’m still sobbing uncontrollably every day. I feel like there is someone sitting on my chest – this heaviness that I can’t explain, like a vice of sadness that is squeezing me all day long so I don’t forget it’s there…and I knew I should be feeling better by now…even if it was just a tiny bit. I have a complete breakdown and end up calling the emergency number for my doctor in the middle of the night and they told me to double my dose. A week later, with still no improvements, my psychiatrist/former boss decided it was time to switch to Zoloft.
Within a week of changing meds, I have a “good” day. And by good, I mean I woke up with the strangest feeling – I wasn’t sad. It was surreal to wake up and not immediately start the struggle that would last all day – the struggle of fighting against tears, feeling overwhelmed and anxious, being an emotional train wreck, not being able to cope, and trying to ignore the waves of sadness that crashed against me. My baseline was always sadness. If I stopped fighting for one second I would slip underwater and the day was shot. Then one day I wake up and I don’t have to fight anymore? The sadness just….isn’t there? Just like that?!
I couldn’t BELIEVE it. I could not believe that this is how people live – not sad. Emotionally speaking, life has always seemed so much harder for me than my peers. I would see similar situations in our lives, and compare my inability to recover with their calm indifference and wonder, ‘What is wrong with me?’ I’ve asked myself that question for decades. What is wrong with me? Well, depression. Totally eliminates coping mechanisms. I don’t say this lightly. During the crux of my deepest valley, I got very stressed about a simple discussion with my family and was only able to sit on the floor, rocking back and forth with my head in my hands, and scream for everyone to stop talking. Yeah, scary shit. I didn’t know why I was doing it. It was instinctual and reactive and visceral.
Luckily, I have a psychiatrist who knows me well and who I trust and adore, so I freely share with him that I waited too long to get help and now my brain has crossed over into psychosis. He first reassured me that there is no such thing as waiting too long, then explained that serotonin works as a lubricant for life, smoothing out minor bumps and snafus (what a word!) and helping us cope without getting overwhelmed. When you take serotonin away, there is nothing to help you cope – hence my aggressive reactions and inability to deal with stressors. Many of his patients he sees for depression come after a serious medical trauma, because medical issues drain the neurotransmitters you need to have balanced emotions. My levels were already low, so everything that I went through with the endo just continually slammed against me depleting things so much that I had no chance of recovery on my own.