Am I depression? Is depression me?

I have been thinking a lot about whether or not I should seek out a prescription for an SSRI during this difficult time. Many people have emailed or messages me privately expressing concern and assuring me that going on an SSRI makes sense and wouldn’t be an irresponsible choice.

The thing is, I’m not sure I NEED to go on an antidepressant. That might seem like a ridiculous statement to someone reading this blog. And maybe it is. I mean I’m obviously struggling significantly and even if this is a situational depression, I have no way of knowing when the situation will end. But the thing is, FOR ME this isn’t that bad. At least for me off of anything this isn’t that bad. Heck, even for me on something this isn’t that bad. This is just who I am.

Or is it? Am I like this because this is me? Or am I like this because I’m depressed. Are those the same questions? Is me, regular old me, depressed? Does there exist a me that is not depressed? I honestly don’t know. For as long as I’ve been adult–from the age of 16–I have dealt with this. And I’ve never really been sure if “this” is just who I am or if it’s a chemical imbalance in my brain. Or is who I am a chemical imbalance in my brain? Can I just be me, without meds, and not be depressed? I honestly don’t know.

Everyone is different. We’re all wired different ways, we have specific hardware that makes us who we are. And then our experiences further define us by writing software that operates within the confines of that hardware. I know of people who seem hard wired to be happy and despite incredible tragedy in their lives, they always seem positive and upbeat. And then there is me, who despite an incredibly cushy existence, struggles daily with dark and anxious thoughts. Are those thoughts caused by poorly constructed hardware or did I somehow write fault software on top of that, even though I’ve suffered very few tragedies in my life.

The reason I ask these questions is because the answer affects my next step. If this is just who I am, I will have to take medicine to manage it of the rest of my life. If this is how I’ve trained myself to be, then maybe meditation and mindfulness and bring light to the darkness.

Or maybe the faulty hardware causes the software to work wrong, and I’ll need a combination of both to run this messed up mind of mine smoothly. Maybe if I take meds now and then work on the mindfulness and meditation, I can some day manage without medication.

The truth is I have no idea if I just need an attitude adjustment of if my attitude is a symptom of my depression or a complicated combination of both. And honestly, I’m not sure if there is a pregnancy-safe antidepressant that I even want to take, because right now I’d rather deal with my own issues that the side effects of a SSRI I don’t really like.

It makes me so sad to think that my entire adulthood has been shaped by this and that I’m not even sure what “this” is. Maybe I’ll never know. I guess I just have to keep trying different combinations of “treatments” until I find one that works for me. Of course, when I finally figure it out, it will likely change, because life has a way of doing that to you.

3 responses

  1. Trying to figure out what is best for you is probably the hardest part of this whole thing. I have struggled with depression my whole life. But I have found a way to work with it, I guess. Depression is just one facet of who I am. I am not depressed all the time, but when it hits, it’s definitely ugly. But through talk therapy and my support group(this place), I have found a way to deal with those dark times and continue to live.

    Hoping you find a balance….here to support you no matter what! HUGS!

  2. I’ve seen you on medication and off. You’ve had a lot of stress this summer and fall with your classes, house and the unsupportive friends. Good and bad stress. Only you can answer this question of course, but in retrospect I wish I had considered an SSRI while TTC. I had such a rough time dealing with how hard that was and I wouldn’t wish that pain on anyone. We discussed this topic at length on Bitter Infertiles and Cristy (who knows this stuff really well as a result of her PhD) really changed my mind about SSRIs during TTC.

  3. Ugh, I’ve lost my comment three times now. But the essence is this: that I wish I could tell you what to do, but it’s such a personal decision … however, I do think that if an SSRI helps you to cope, then that would be useful … TTC is hard enough without all of the added stress of everything else coming crashing down on you. And your writing betrays that stress and anxiety and anger. It would be good to feel better, however that happens. For you, for B, for Isa, and for the small life you are trying to bring into the world.

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