It was Thursday, December 7th, when I walked out of my Doctor’s office with a prescription for Cipralex in my hand – a drug intended to balance out my serotonin. That familiar feeling was creeping in so I sped up my pace and by the time I got into my car the shaking and crying had already begun, and that dreadful tight feeling in my chest took my breath away.
On one hand, I was mourning my inability to naturally beat this thing, even though the practical part of me knew you can’t beat depression just by sheer force of will. The perfectionist in me didn’t care what the academics on the topic have to say – if I can’t gym and kale my way out of this then it can only mean I’m inadequate.
On the other hand, my Dr told me it could take weeks or even months to start noticing any impact. I could hear the clock ticking against my marriage, my career, my health, and my will to live – pure sheer terror at the realization that I might not actually make it was taking hold of my body, and I sat in my car waiting for my panic attack to subside all the while scolding myself for being so dramatic.
I drove home, and didn’t feel compelled to tell my husband about my episode. It can be so hard to stand across from normal sometimes.
At 8pm I took my 10 mgs, and at 2am I woke up wide awake and alert. My dog was standing over me staring intently at me. I can only imagine by the ache in my jaw that I must have been loudly grinding my teeth and he had come over to investigate. Hours later I fell back asleep, and then had to wake up much too soon for work. I felt groggy, light headed and more anxious than usual. Lovely, the medication might not start working for weeks or months, but the side effects weren’t quite so shy. At this point I can say with confidence that I was sprinting towards my mental break, but I was also inching ever so close to clarity and a certain kind of liberation that I never thought I would be brave enough to reach for. Stay with me.