Depression Remission?

I had a conversation with a friend recently where I mentioned that I’m supposed to go off my antidepressants this spring. Her reaction? “Oh, that’s good!” And that’s a pretty normal reaction; I’ve the same reaction in the same situation. Why? Why is that good? Because it’s supposed to indicate that I’m “all better now”? Because I’m supposed to be able to handle my emotions on my own? And maybe that is/should be the goal of happy meds: help you get over the hump of depression, when they can, so you can get back to living a happy life without them. I suppose it’s no different than blood pressure meds, or meds for diabetes. If you can get your body to a point where it’s healthy enough without them, it’s a good thing to be able to stop taking them. I’m just sensitive to the subject of meds for mental health, and when the reaction to going off them is “Good!”, then I start thinking, “Wait, does that mean it’s bad that I was on them?” And the answer to that is always NO, it’s not bad. If you struggle with depression and can’t manage it on your own, and your doctor has prescribed them, and you take them properly, and they HELP? That’s not bad, that’s great.

Am I all better now? Who knows, right? I believe my depression was caused (for lack of a better word) by a lot of stressful, crappy things going on in my life at the same time, and my mind/body sort of collapsed. So now that I’m past the worst of the stress/grief/pain/anger, I am in a much better place emotionally. I feel happy these days. I worried about my broken foot bringing me down again, and it did, but I didn’t realize how much until it was healed. It’s like you don’t know how much something hurts until it stops, right? I’m back to my calm, peaceful, content place again. THAT’S what’s good, whether it’s with meds or without. And I *think* I’ll be fine to stop the meds, I really do. But it’s still scary. I don’t want to go back to where I was before I started taking them. And if I do, I’ll have no reservations about going back on them.

So it’s not “good” that I’m going off my meds; it’s “I’m glad you’re doing well!” Just like it’s not “bad” if someone starts taking meds; it’s “I’m sorry you’re struggling.”

I know what my friend meant; that part is fine. But it just got me thinking, and I want to be aware of the effects of my words. Maybe I’m overthinking this, maybe I’m too sensitive. The most important thing when dealing with depression is finding something that works for YOU, be it exercise, diet, therapy, meds, or any combination of things. For me, it’s been my meds, and my knitting. (I’m going to start exercising soon. I think. I mean, I am. Sighhhh.) The meds may go away, but the knitting will be here forever. IMG_5007

7 thoughts on “Depression Remission?

  1. I’m very glad you are doing well enough to go off meds! And I’m glad you found something that worked when you were having problems, instead of continuing to struggle when you don’t have to.
    People do not understand mental illness, and they say all sorts of insensitive things with the intent to help. I have a crippling anxiety disorder. It affects everyday things, like being able to travel on busy highways. I’ve learned to just not share it with people, because everyone knows how to fix my issue. I’ve received all kinds of “helpful” advice, such as, ” just close your eyes when you get nervous”. Or, “you have to just do it, and eventually it will get easier.” Or, my personal favorite, “If your faith in God was strong enough, you would not feel this fear”. I know everyone means well, but it’s infuriating. I used to feel it was my job to educate people on how an anxiety disorder actually works, but now I just keep it to myself.
    Didn’t mean to take over your blog post. If I ever say anything insensitive to you (or anyone else), please understand that I probably mean well, and please tell me I’m being an insensitive jerk 🙂

  2. Glad you are doing well my friend and I’m proud of you for seeking out help. I know you are one of few who knows where I am and where I have been. It’s not easy. I’m thankful for the understanding friend that I have found in you. Wishing you a happy smooth sailing future.

    • Thank you so much, Missy. It’s so nice to have a community of people who understand. I really think there’s a huge gap between people who have had a big loss and those who haven’t. And no, it’s not easy, but we keep pushing through!

  3. I don’t think that you’re over thinking this. I’m on a lot of meds and I get comments from people who feel I should get off them and manage my disease(s) by exercising and eating special diets. (I sometimes wonder if they would act this way with a person getting cancer treatment. Maybe they would.) Somehow there has grown an anti-meds climate in this country that is linked to the anti-Vax movement. It is just nuts! It is almost like you are being judged for resorting to medical management of your condition. If you had said you were getting off insulin for diabetes you probably would have gotten the same reaction.

    My reaction is the same as it would be if you were stopping insulin. I’m glad you are better. Don’t hesitate to go back on meds down the road if you need them.

    Knitting is the best therapy ever! I love the colors in that yarn!

    • Thank you so much! It’s really too bad that so many people think that just because something works for them, or they’ve read that it works, that therefore it is The Right Way and would work for you as well. For our sakes, I’m glad we have the meds to help keep us happy and healthy! (And the yarn too!)

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