Oh my God! Look! There’s a woman in the parking lot with a gun in her mouth! Is she crazy! Oh my God! She looks crazy! Who is she?
Sounds like a psycho thriller, doesn’t it? The scene would be riveting on the big screen, as I’m sure it was to bystanders in real life. It is a horrifying memory for me. I was the woman with the gun in her mouth. I was hurt. I was angry, confused, and out of control. I came close to doing the unthinkable.
The first thing I want you to know is that I’m not proud of that scene. It is humiliating and painful to know that there are people in the world who will always believe that I’m crazy. There are people in the world who will tell their friends that I am crazy. There are people in the world who will be afraid of me even though I never pointed the gun at anyone but myself.
I have no way of knowing how long or how far this reputation will follow me. I’ve created this website partly to set the record straight. I am also sharing my experience with the hope of helping others who struggle with mood disorders.
I will confess up front that all I have to offer you is my own experience with a very inexact science. I have fought chronic depression and emotional insecurities with prescribed and approved medications for over 20 years. For reasons that I will discuss later, my prescription was changed a couple of years ago. The change caused me to go from comfortably numb to manic. As a result, I have damaged relationships with the people I love the most. The meds have done me no favors.
Actually, I’m not going to tell my full life story. At least not now. I’ve repeated most of it ad nauseam to my truest friends. I’ve spilled my guts to anyone who would listen for years to get it out of my system. My mother would Be horrified if she knew that other people knew my family secrets, but I guess that’s what she gets for dying on me.
Yep. I was a little kid. My Mom took pills that a good doctor prescribed for her and went out and had a fatal car accident. She left me with a hard working, but unloving, cold hearted, alcoholic dad. That’s pretty much all I’ll say about that for now. You can fill in the blanks. There isn’t much that you can come up with that didn’t happen, so go for it. Speculate. Assume. I don’t care. Please note, however, that I have never come close to being an alcoholic. I’ve never been a user of illegal drugs, and my Dad did not physically molest me.
I lost my childhood at a tender young age and grew up with little guidance, emotional support, and nurturing. I’ve heard that people who do not experience a secure, healthy childhood never really grow up. It’s as if a small part of the psyche remains undeveloped and hungry. I think that is true. I have never developed a healthy sense of self worth or emotional intelligence.
I’ve struggled with depression, emotional outbursts, and social anxiety all my life. It is difficult to deal with the rest of the world when you don’t understand yourself. If someone was angry, I never questioned whether anger directed at me was justified. I questioned myself. What did I do wrong? What did I say that I shouldn’t have said? When my relationships fail, and they invariably do, I always question what I did wrong. I don’t question the other party’s part in the downfall. I have always been willing to accept all failures as my fault. I tend to view all accomplishments as God’s favor or luck. These tendencies have left me with a lifelong battle for stability within my own brain.
This is why I am here. Spilling my guts to the world. My experience with antidepressants has not been good, and I want to make my experiences known. I want others to know that these medicines can have serious side effects. Many doctors will prescribe them like candy to anyone who asks for them. They offer few precautions. Vulnerable patients must read and comprehend the fine print and medical gobbledygook from a pamphlet to learn about side effects. Many people, like me, never read it thoroughly.
I should probably use the word disclaimer here, but I won’t. I know that many people skip disclaimers. I am one of those people. What I have to say here is very important. Please don’t skip this paragraph. I have decided to drop or greatly decrease the dosage of my antidepressant medications. I have made this decision for me and me alone. I will in no way discourage you from getting whatever help you need. Many cannot live fully functioning lives without the help of meds. If you need help, get it. There is no shame whatsoever in doing whatever you have to do live an emotionally stable life. If you are on mood stabilizing meds do not stop taking them because I have decided to do so.
Please never, ever let anyone treat you, or make you feel, as if you are crazy or worthless. A chemical imbalance is not a mental problem as believed. It is a problem caused by an imbalance of complicated interactions within your brain. It’s not something that you can force yourself to control any more than a diabetic can change their thought patterns to control their pancreas.
Please work together with your physician and the world around you to decide what is best for you. I encourage you to pay attention to yourself. Study the side effects of any and all medications. Research, research, research. Question, question, question. You are the only person who knows what you are feeling. Seek guidance, seek feedback, seek instruction and information from others. Seek professional help. Always search for the mental and emotional equalibruim that you need and deserve. Always take the absolute best care of you.