When I was sixteen, something inside me began to change. Suddenly, I was sad a lot. I thought about things I should have left alone. I don’t know what caused it. Perhaps because my biological father left me behind when I was four, caring so little about me that if he saw me in a store, he would walk the other way. I had a father, one who loved me, but something inside you begins to wonder if your own biological father, who had a part in giving you life doesn’t want you, then what is wrong with you. It could have been that I was the oldest of three children, what I call the “practice child” and I was starting to rebel. It could have been normal teenage horomones. It could have been something in my brain. Whatever it is, it didn’t get any better.
By the time I was seventeen, I had convinced myself no one loved me. I latched onto boyfriends. I wanted them to love me. I needed it. I had low self-esteem and just knew that I wasn’t good enough for anyone. I craved attention any way I could get it. I was a follower. I spent time, when I wasn’t with someone giving me attention, crying, thinking if I died, everyone would be happier. I would be happier. I even had ideas of how to make myself dead, but was too chicken to carry it out.
I met my husband when I was nineteen. Two months later, we moved in together. In less than a year, we were married. A year after that, I had my first child. Throughout the whole time, I “tested” him. I pushed and pushed. I tried, unbeknownst to my own self, to push him as far as I could to see if he would give up and leave. It’s what I expected, even if it wasn’t what I wanted.
After I had my son, it got worse. No one could tell me anything about being a mother. I bonded with him, but not as strongly as most mothers, I didn’t think. I sent him every Friday evening to my mother’s to spend the night just so I could get a break from him. I loved him, but I was tired. I was beginning to be tired of being a wife, mother, and even just me. I couldn’t take it anymore.
I called the mental health clinic in my area. They made me an appointment to see a counselor. She quickly sent me to see a psychiatrist in the same building. He diagnosed me as depressed and told me that everything from the time I was a teenager was depression related. I had spent six years with mood swings, rock bottom self-esteem, and dark, sinister thoughts.
The doctor started me on Prozac. Because I was basically poor, with no health insurance, they set me up with Pfizer to get the medications for free. Within two weeks, I was a new person. Not everything was sunshine and rainbows all of the time, but my outlook was 100% better. I no longer felt like ending my life. I was able to play with, and enjoy, my son. I didn’t pick fights with my husband. Everyone who knew me said I was a total new person.
A few times, I strayed from my antidepressants. When I was pregnant with my second son, I stopped taking them out of concern for the baby. Quickly, I went back to my old frame of mind. It got to the point where the risk of me taking them was actually better than the risk of me not. (Since my second son was born, there have been many reports of Prozac being safe to take in pregnancy.)
After several years on the Prozac, it got to the point it wasn’t helping me like it should. The psychologist I started going to a little over a year ago called it a “plateau”. I switched to Zoloft and have been doing remakable ever since. Antidepressants are the reason I am alive today. I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t gotten help. If you are reading this, and you have any of these thoughts, seek help. They CAN help you. They helped me make myself the person I am today.
Taking antidepressants does not make you weak. It does not make you less of a person. It does not make you a zombie. There is no shame in them. I totally believe I could not function for a long period of time without them. Nothing else I have ever tried has worked. Not diet, not exercise, not vitamins or even therapy on it’s own. Antidepressants have helped me live again. Take that, Tom Cruise.