“Any suicidal thoughts?” She didn’t look up from the screen in front of her. Eyes directed downward and away. Fingers typing swiftly on the keyboard.
I could lie, I thought. Audibly gasp and tell her I could never even imagine thinking about doing such a thing. Not in a million years would the thought creep into my brain. I chose, instead, to be honest. “I wouldn’t say I’ve contemplated suicide, lately. Things are bad right now, yes, but not so bad that I want to die. I know that road. I’ve been down it before. I know how easy it is to find my way there. Like when you have arrived at work but don’t actually remember driving there. That’s why I’m here. I want to be present.”
What I didn’t mention to my doctor was that I genuinely had no other options.
I had spent the majority of my summer fighting for rest that never came. No amount of sleep left me rested. I was exhausted for most of the day. My kids had big plans for the summer, but I spent a lot of my week crying and apologizing for something I felt I should have been able to control. I tried to work out more. More endorphins, less crying was my theory. Only the more I worked out, the more tired I became. The depression diet. I’ll manage it through clean eating and no junk. I will give my body the nutrients it needs and that will make my brain happy. My body disagreed.
I still cried. I cried in my car. I cried at church. I cried at the grocery store. I cried at work. I teared up at the pool (God bless you, sunglasses). I shower-cried like Hilary Swank. I cried while I watched Cheers.
This might be normal for some. People cry. It happens. My husband will cry during a Subaru commercial or for any armed forces member that comes home and surprises a loved one. I just don’t cry that easily. (Minus the Season Three Finale of Peaky Blinders. I cried like a baby during the Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy scene. The talent of those two men brought me to literal tears.) So for me, crying every day, multiple times a day for absolutely no reason whatsoever, was incredibly abnormal and it ultimately demanded medical attention.
Finally, I admitted I needed more. My arrogant way of thinking that I was above modern medicine was absolutely not working. I didn’t want to be chained to a pill for the rest of my life. In my mind, it was admitting defeat. I was completely cool with other people taking medicine, but me? I got this. I can totally do this on my own. I managed it for years. Only now, I couldn’t. And I was furious about it.
So, now, I take a little blue pill. Half, actually, thanks to some weird medicinal sensitivity I have. I cried when I picked it up from the pharmacy. That orange bottle felt like failure that day. But now, weeks later, picking up that bottle of failure was close to the best possible thing I could have done for myself and my family.
Depression is going to be a part of my life. I can get pissed at my body for not producing the chemicals it needs to be a normal, functioning human being, but in the end, I still need that blue pill.
I’m learning to accept it. To live with it. To allow myself bad days. To rejoice and give thanks for the good ones. I can allow myself to be sad. I give myself permission to take a blue pill and sit on my couch and read a book. I’m finally allowing myself time and space to be okay.
Cheers to Prozac. The generic version, of course.