“You have a dragon to kill”
“Oh you still have issues to sort through”
“You need more tools”
“You need to teach your brain to produce it without help”
“You need to rewire your brain”
So I’ve decided to go back on sertraline. I realised by week 2 completely off (week 10 or 11 of tapering) that I was a wreck and I’m better off on, but I waited until I was 6 weeks completely off before saying ‘ok, the only person I’m fighting now is myself’ and making the decision. So while I was making the decision, aside from my closest and dearest – no one was there for me or offering me help…. after I made the decision however.. the above is some of the ridiculous things which have been said to me. Does a diabetic get told they need to rewire their pancreas, or that their pancreas needs to be told how to produce insulin? Do people with cardiac arrhythymia get told they can live without their pacemaker if they learnt the right coping tools?
People think that clinical depression mean I am having trouble coping. You know what I felt when I came off sertraline?
No, really… I felt nothing.
I stopped caring. I stopped caring about my partners and tried to break up with them. I stopped enjoying music and baking. I stopped volunteering because I didn’t care. I haven’t spoken to my father since before I started tapering. I read immersive fantasy fiction because it was immersive. I stopped reading my counselling books because I no longer cared for them. Each week was maybe 1-2 days total of feeling low, but 5-6 days of total blank apathy. My memory was shot too, but I didn’t care about that.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter. Is it far fetch to think that the areas of my brain which is most affected by shortage of this neurotransmitter is the link to my empathic response? To love, to care, and to happiness?
The public response seem to be that there is something wrong with me if I’m taking an anti-depressant. But I argue that there isn’t, and more neurotransmitters just make me more whole, more me. It doesn’t change me, it just helps me to be more in touch with me, more in touch with the world.
I am one of the invisible ones, the ones no one hears about. There are millions of people out there on anti depressants who hold full time jobs and live normal-to-the-outside lives. I don’t spend days curled up crying. Sometimes hours maybe…. but we manage to get out of bed and live. Every day. I don’t have much ‘trouble coping’. I just have a chemical imbalance. That my life is so much improved and so much more wholesome, fulfilling and filled with love is testament to how far biochemistry and neuroscience have come along. Counselling helped too off course – if i didn’t believe in counselling I wouldn’t be training in the field… but counselling cannot correct chemical imbalances. It is physical. It is chemical. At the end of the day we are but a large back of mostly water, some protein, a few bones, and a million different chemical transmitters.
I don’t have a dragon to kill. I don’t have trouble coping. I don’t have trouble getting out of bed and going to work. I do not need to rewire my brain or collect more tools.
I have a chemical imbalance which I correct with medication.
And that is okay.