Six Days: A Guest Blog Post by Kerri Blessing
In almost a year of figuring out I was depressed (again), seeking counseling, and taking an antidepressant (again), it seemed to only take 6 days to slide backwards, almost to where I began.
In my previous experience with depression, I saw my doctor and was prescribed an antidepressant. Once I felt “better”, with my doctor’s permission, I quit taking the medication. This time around, it took me a long time to figure out I was depressed…again. At least it felt like a long time to me. I always thought I would recognize my symptoms right away, but those symptoms were sneaky. They were masked as a change in routine, PMS, or legitimate sad moments in my life. I could finally no longer handle my symptoms on my own and sought help.
I began with counseling, which I had never tried before. I was referred to a very caring therapist who has listened to me and challenged me in ways I never imagined. I have found that much of the “work” I put in happens between sessions when I have time to think. I look forward to sharing my new thoughts at my next session and especially knowing that time is just for me.
Fast forward 11 months. It is summer again. I feel good. I see my doctor for a check-up about my prescription. Things have been going so well that I ask if I can cut back on my medication. My doctor quizzes me about how I have been feeling and is very excited that I am doing so well. She agrees that cutting my dose in half is a fine idea and to check back in with her in a month. That night, after breaking a pill in half, I take my new half a dose.
In the few days after that, I begin to notice slight changes. On a family boating day at the lake, the sun is shining, the temperature is comfortable, and I am with my husband and daughter. Out of the blue and for no reason at all, I feel like crying. Thankful for the sunglasses I was wearing, I allowed myself a few tears and moved on with the wonderful day. Some days I just didn’t feel “right” in a way I can’t describe even to myself. On the 7th day, I blew up at my daughter while I was supposed to be helping her clean her room and she got frustrated. So, I got frustrated at her. She cried. I left the house and rode my bike down our lane, and I cried, too.
If I have learned nothing else in therapy, it is to reach out in my times of need. After texting two people, my husband was the first one to call me back. I didn’t hold back. Through my tears, I told him everything that had happened. I even admitted that maybe I need to go back to my regular dose of medicine. I believe he was surprised to hear me say this, but he reassured me that our daughter would forgive me if I just returned home and apologized. So, I did just that.
I knew in that moment I would be taking the full dose of my medication that night.
In texting with a few friends after apologizing to my daughter, some assured me that I am a normal Mom and to not be so hard on myself. Another friend reminded me that my depression can be biological, and it’s not a sign of weakness to need more meds. Still one more friend suggested I tried taking 75% of my original dose instead of 50%.
It only took me 6 days to figure out what I already knew. Taking less medicine doesn’t change who I am, and why mess with my happiness just to take less medicine. I have worked very hard to be happy again, and I don’t intend to let 10 mg change that.
Thank you Kerri, for sharing your experience and letting others know they are not alone, taking antidepressants is not shameful, and those with depression can still be wonderful parents.