Depression lies, in wait

Jenny Lawson of The Bloggess writes “Depression lies.” One lie it tells me is “You aren’t depressed. You’re just lazy. You don’t have a mental illness, you have an attitude problem.” I read varied writers and genres, and one of the bloggers I follow declares that mental illness doesn’t exist. It is as mythical as the unicorn.

It isn’t just my own brain spreading this “You aren’t depressed; you’re lazy (and fat)”, depression lie.

I’ve been taking 50 mgs of Zoloft since Pringles was six months old. You can read the gripping story here

“Never again,” I professed in that post, referring to my decision to stop taking medication. What a cocky little shit I can be.

Never Again should be the title of my autobiography. Subtitle: “A memoir of repeated patterns of behavior.”

There’s a reason people don’t stand up in AA meetings and declare, “I took my last drink! I will never take another drink! Hurray for me!” followed by the friends of Bill W chanting “Every day at once!”

I was running low on pills and made an appointment for December 27. In the carnage of Christmas I forgot all about it. Instead of immediately making another, I decided to taper down my medication and see. Another of my character defects is shame. I didn’t want to call and be scolded for not showing.

Nevermind that I’m still breastfeeding at bedtime so my hormones are still affecting my mood. Nevermind that I have a diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Major Depression. I can beat my illness WITH MY MIND. I cut my dose without doctor supervision or consultation until I ran out.

The withdrawal is terrible. There’s this zapping feeling that happens in my brain, making me feel like I’m being shocked from inside my ear canals or looking at pictures of Courtney Stodden kissing Doug Hutchinson.

Oh, and my intrusive thoughts returned. Screaming ravens crashing through my window of serenity, showing me visions of my children suffering and screaming in pain and fear. Pecking at me relentlessly night and day until I was afraid to think. With the help of a compassionate doctor friend, I got a few Zoloft to hold me over until my regular physician could see me two weeks later.

The windows went back up almost instantly, pushing the intrusive, obsessive thoughts back out of my consciousness. I feel amazing. I feel like myself again. Maybe I’m even a little wiser this time. I will definitely not be making pronouncements about my future. One day at a time.

If you think there’s any topic people are indifferent to, let me introduce you to a little thing I like to call “The Internet.” A person’s individual choice to treat her mood disorder with Zoloft would seem to be no one else’s concern. Zounds, what a naive thought! It probably came from the mind control drugs the government is scamming me into swallowing.

World War “Z” rages all over the internet. My least favorite argument is how our ancestors didn’t need Zoloft to function, so why should we? Done much hunting or gathering lately? Me neither.

A news report says 13% of the U.S. population is on SSRIs and 13% is on pain medications. The inherent judgment in that statement is insidious and damaging to those of us who live with mood disorders and pain. Why not declare victory? 87% of the U.S. population is not taking SSRIs! If you got 87% on your chemistry exam, you’d be stoked.


About Mrs Odie

Friendly Pedant; Humble Genius
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13 Responses to Depression lies, in wait

  1. Amie D says:

    Depression, anxiety, addiction….they all are cunning assholes. Sneak up on you when you least expect it, when you have your guard down almost like herpes if you don’t take the meds they flare up! Happy to hear you took control though when you saw a spiral down. Good for you that takes loads of courage. Be proud of yourself.


  2. Carol-Anne says:

    I’ve described the feeling as waking up some mornings and I look over and see Depression (with a capital ‘D’) sitting in the chair in the corner, smirking at me. I convince myself that I’m just being overly dramatic, and that I really don’t have depression. So I go off my medication for a bit. And then I wake up one morning…..and there it is. In that chair. Smirking.

    Only after repeated episodes of this over the years, have I finally stopped trying to stop the medication.

    But it’s still there….that idea that I probably *could* go off of it if I really tried.

  3. So I know who that said blogger is, of course. I for one am a big proponent for the dispersion of multiple discourses on the subject of the kind of afflictions we are talking about. A clinical discourse has suppressed a lot of other discourses that could help someone to make sense of what they are going trough. I do not deny the reality of mental illness like Nicole does, but I do believe it is not just something that is only a hard, natural, biological fact, not just a disease in the head, I also believe that such afflictions are idioms that are developed between patients, doctors and the culture that surrounds them, in other words I see them as socio-cultural constructions in which the patients themselves play an active role (next to doctors, family member, society at large..). I believe that the various discourses that exist actually chape and change the phenomenon of “mental ilnesses”. So I think it is important that all those discourses are out there. For myself I find some consolation in this way of thinking (patients playing an active role), because it means that I can change things, although I do understand there lies a danger in it as well: the temptation of going of ones meds, as you point out. I take fluoxone, and as the clean eating machine I aspire to be (but often am not) I’m against pumping chemical shit into my body. But at the same time I have experienced that this time around (I have taken prozac as a teenager as well and that was just an epic fail, a too high a dosage, doctors giving me more and more because I wasn’t responding, me becoming a nervous wreck, so them prescribing some tranquilizers and sleeping pills I got addicted too…) anyway, this time around it does help me control my bingeing. I went off them last december and things really spun out of control, 50 pounds heavier I agreed to take them again. It doesn’t make the bingeing or depression disapear for me, but it really gives me that teeny tiny bit more fighting power. So now I have declared “never again” as well, but yeah, one day at a time.

  4. Kelly says:

    I have been on antidepressants twice, each time for about six months. I’ve been able to be without them now for almost seven years. But, my depression was “situational,” and I certainly would take the medicine again if I felt I needed it. The side effects, though, were tough for me to deal with . . . mainly the insomnia and weight gain. It is wonderful to have someone not only as honest as you are, but also as articulate as you are talking about the realities of depression.

    • Mrs Odie 2 says:

      The side effects get me too, Kelly. Particularly the sex ones. They’re the reason my husband won’t even try them. Men are lucky, though, because they have Viagra-like drugs to counteract the libido-killing or performance-affecting effects of the drugs. The month I was completely cold turkey off of my medicine, I had an unmedicated ovulation and I was all over Odie like Jodi Arias. He was understandably sad to see me go back on the meds. On Zoloft, I’m aware of a different feeling in my body when I ovulate, but it’s quite subtle. For now, I’m doing great, but I plan to ask my doctor if we can find a different drug or perhaps an additional one. Psychopharmacology is an art and a science. Thank you for reading and commenting.

      • Mrs Odie 2 says:

        I should clarify that Odie ultimately supports me feeling happy and sane, even though it means he doesn’t get a crazed nymphomaniac tearing his clothes off with the ardor of a 23 year-old psychopath for 48 hours a month. He’s smart enough to do the cost-benefit analysis on this one.

        • Kelly says:

          Odie sounds like a smart man, and a good one. Funny (for me) to note that the insomnia and weight gain bothered me more than the sexual side effects. Oh, well.

          • Mrs Odie 2 says:

            If I had those side effects, they’d bother me more too. I just don’t. Although I’m having a harder time losing weight than ever in my life, but I attribute that to being older than I’ve ever been before.

  5. Lisa says:

    Good for you for writing about this; depression remains something people don’t like to talk about. I’m really glad that you have found a treatment that is working for you, and that you’ve wisened (is that a word?) up about your need to keep treating it.

    I have suffered degrees of depression my whole life, it seems like, and I’ve never done anything to treat it except therapy. And I think therapy can be great! But sometimes it’s not enough. And I’ll be honest: medication has always scared me, so I’ve steered clear. But now that I’m well into my forties, fucking-A, enough is enough. As soon as I wean this last baby, I’m hightailing it to demand a prescription for Prozac, or SOMETHING (I can’t bring myself to do it while I’m still nursing – I have enough guilt that I have to take two different high blood pressure meds). And hell, menopause is right around the corner – if I don’t do something before then, I’ll surely go off the deep end.

    Keep on keepin’ on, Mrs. Odie.

  6. Adelae says:

    Thank you for writing about this again. I would never attempt going off my SSRI just because I also have panic disorder and they keep the attacks (mostly) at bay. I will do anything to avoid panic attacks. But the “I’m not depressed, I’m just lazy” lie is one I’ve fallen for over and over again. Even on the SSRI I have my days of depression when I sink into lethargy, but the days of mental health and clarity that Paxil affords helps me to see the truth of the illness.

  7. Sue says:

    I think that if 87% of the population isn’t on SSRIs, then there’s about 130million people who are suffering from untreated depression and anxiety. They should put it in the water, like fluoride.

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