It’s been a good long time since I last posted. At that time, I was feeling pretty glum and down in the mouth. More than blue. Black. I was feeling like the subject of one of those “Depression Hurts” commercials. What got to me most was that, despite fairly minor issues, there was no real reason for feeling so dangerously depressed. I was feeling so distracted and distraught that I found myself Googling “How to fight depression at work” instead of grading papers and working during my planning periods. That’s how I knew that I needed to start making some choices and changes stat.
I write on this third day of November feeling somewhat more hopeful and optimistic than the day of my last entry (or entries, for that matter). I owe this to a few different factors (in no particular order):
- I started working out. I now use the stationary bike that we recently purchased for our apartment a few times a week in the morning, even if it is for as little as just twenty minutes. I’ve also begun exercising with a personal trainer and setting goals in terms of my health and my weight. As of today, since my peak weight a few weeks ago, I’ve lost about 3 kg. Dare I say it, I am proud of myself for taking the first couple of steps. As I’ve mentioned before, my ultimate goal is to lose about 30 kg or so, so I’m on my way. One pound (or kilo) at a time…
- After years of being on the same mood stabilizer (Abilify) without a single modification, and after a few sessions with my psychiatrist and weighing the pros and cons, I wound up going on Prozac. It turned out to be a very good decision after all, it has helped me immensely. I want to be clear that I know that there is no such thing as a magic pill, but I firmly believe that antidepressants (if they are the right ones) do not change who you are or turn you into a zombie or some other undesirable, unrecognizable being. I acknowledge that psychiatry is a somewhat controversial taboo, even in this day and age. But even more importantly, there is no point and no reason to continue suffering if you can avail of help. When the tears are always just below the surface, and the dam is perpetually threatening to burst, it becomes unspeakably exhausting, and it seems to affect every aspect of your life, every decision, every thought. It is painful, destructive, and does not have to be this way. No one deserves to suffer like this. This is why I am open and unashamed when I accredit a part of my recuperation to the proper use of prescription antidepressants.
- The unwavering support of my incredibly wonderful (and patient) husband. There is no doubt in my mind how damn lucky I am to have Fede in my life. He is my media naranja (half orange), my best friend, my rock, my better half, my soul mate, and all other clichés times a million. It is uncommon to find someone who does not judge you, no matter how much you let it all hang out, who is a compassionate shoulder to cry on, and who continues loving you no matter what. Over the four years that we have been together, I have thrown everything at him but the kitchen sink (ugh, yet another cliché, but so very true). And he has never faltered, never hesitated to be there for me and support me, and occasionally give me the push or slight kick in the butt that I need to be able to help myself. Hence the reason I only grow to love him more with each passing day. As the writer Paulo Coehlo once said, “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.” I love my husband and I love who I am when I am with him. Over the years, he has made me a happier, better, and more complete person, and I thank whatever higher being that may be for having him in my life.
It’s not to say that my issues with sadness and depression are a thing of the past; quite the contrary. It is something that I face every day, and while some days are fine, some are significantly harder to handle what life throws at me. But for the time being, even in the moment as I sip my lemon tea and type out these last few lines, I know that I am in a better place that I was just a short while ago. I have a lot to be grateful for, and for the first time in what seems like forever, I have some hope to hold onto. It’s going to be okay.