Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Depressed, Much ?

One thing I’ve found out is that people have unusually strong feelings about antidepressants.

You guys may or may not know that I take part in quite a few discussion forums on the internet. Recently I was in a gay mental health forum and read a posting from a guy in England that was constantly experiencing unexplained long bouts of depression. I replied that perhaps he might speak to his doctor about prescribing an antidepressant.

Well, folks… You’d think I’d just suggested he start smoking crack for his depression because I was instantly bombarded with negative feedback from all the other readers about the fact that I had advocated and advised a depressed man to “dope” himself with mood-altering chemicals instead of trying calming, holistic stuff like yoga and crystals (do people really still do that ?).

Well, # 1 : Wouldn’t a depressed person be the best candidate for antidepressants ? Duh huh.

And # 2 : A good antidepressant is going to be much more effective in treating severe depression than holding some multi-colored stones in your hands and chanting.

# 3 : Yoga is a very good idea. Exercise is great for depression. Why do you think I run all the time ?

I dated a guy named Frank when I younger. The first night I went over to his house he noticed me staring at him while he took a pill and nonchalantly explained to me that it was his antidepressant. I was amazed that this man would willingly admit that he took antidepressants. To me it was the same as admitting that he was completely stone cold crazy. I began to view him as a loose cannon, weak-minded and just downright pitiful. I know, I know… I was a big-fat-jerk. I discriminated again him and for that I’m ashamed.

In 1999, I interned with an interior-decorating firm for the summer while I was attending The Art Institute. As you might imagine, there was a very colorful, close-knit group of employees there and we all became fast friends. Jean, one of the ladies I worked with was one of those bored, childless housewives that get their interior-decorating degree all because somebody once complimented her on the curtains they’d made from old Wamsutta twin sheets. Jean always seemed to be in daze and off somewhere in lala land about 95% of the time. Occasionally she would pop out of it and be clear as a bell, but not that often. When I discretely (right) inquired about it, I was told that she was on antidepressants. All I can say was WOW. That must have been some strong shit she was taking. That’s what my doctor would call over-medicated.

Dr. Barker (my shrink) described it to me this way: you moods and feelings should read like an healthy EKG, lot’s of ups and down – normal.

 Over-medicated on antidepressants, it would be like reading an EKG of someone that had just flat-lined. Jean was definitely a mental code blue.

 I take an antidepressant called Celexa twice a day. It has truly saved my life, literally. I can’t begin to tell you how much better I feel now. Sure, there are some side effects like a constant dry mouth and a decrease in sex drive. But for what it does for me, I can live with that.

I seldom talk about my use of antidepressants with my family or my friends because unfortunately that stigma still exists that people that who take antidepressants must be bordering on crazy or just about to go postal.

Ya’ll be good and hug a depressed buddy.


DeepBlue said...

I know very well what you're talking about. My mom was hit by a very severe nervous break-down due to accumulated stressful events in her life. And it was so difficult to convince her, her doctor and i, to go on medication. She was afraid of becomming totally "stone" like a drug addict. She considered also the depression as a failure from her part.

Turns out it did her much good. But we must remember that the pill doesn't heal you. All it does it stabalize your nervous system. Then you must do your own part: learn to deal with stress. A therapy could be helpful if one can afford it. Have a trustful friend you can talk to and who has the time to listen to you is also a big plus.
My mom and i also don't talk much about the fact she takes an antidepressant (the same as you) because people are so ignorant and judgmental. It's incredible how much people don't educate themselves and then wonder why the world is so screw up!!!

Depression is not a joke. It's not a failure either. It could happen to anybody.
If we take medication for pneumonia, why shouldn't we take medication for depression?

Thanks for your post.

Mimi said...

Antidepressants have their place, trust me, I've been there. I think it takes someone who knows how they can save someone, even if it's just for a period of time, to not be judgemental. It's like everything else. Sometimes you have to be there to know what the hype is about. that being said, they have their place. It's not for everyone.

Max Date said...

Among men in particular it seems that the statistics lean that male head of households who are unemployed followed by homosexual men in general are the highest users antidepressants, which explains the negative stigma held against users because these are the men who are seen as weak with our society.

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MTaylor813 said...

It is so interesting that you post this. I just recently opened up about my depression on my blog this week. The anti depressant really helped me as well.