This will likely be my last post for Skeptic Freethought, at least for the foreseeable future. The past four months have seen considerable changes in my life, especially with regards to my mental health. Over the past few months, I’ve started taking medication for my depression issues for the first time in my life, and I’ve adjusted to it enough to know that I’m responding well. This was a major step for me on several levels. I’ve known I needed medication for a long time, but until recently I’ve not had access to it. Doing this has allowed me to move forward in my overall treatment plan, and take more charge of my life, which is wonderful. It’s also a decision I know I couldn’t have made, at least calmly, several years ago, due to fears of stigma. I’ve reached a place where I feel much more equipped to make informed choices about my health, and a lot less concerned about public perception. But the biggest reason this is a change for me, is that it removes a huge obstacle I’ve had in my life for a long time.
As I’ve mentioned before, my issues started when I was pretty young. For years, I was torn between wanting to get better and the fear that treatment would change me. I got stuck in a loop where I didn’t like who I was, but I hated the thought of something outside of me impacting how I felt. A lot of this was simple immaturity, since no one is 100% self-determined; But a significant portion was caused by the awareness that my symptoms were providing a lot of fog, and I was scared of what I’d find when and if the fog lifted. I was scared that I might like myself even less when the curtain was pulled back, and that I’d be stuck with whatever was there.
I know now that this fear if very common to clinical depression; I knew that before, but knowing didn’t really make the fear go away. Now, I’ve been on medication for a while, I’ve responded positively, and my symptoms are diminishing at a reasonable rate. What I’ve found to my complete and utter surprise is that I might actually be ok. I may even be more than ok. For years, I’ve been bracing myself for a crisis that has, so far, failed to materialize.
A part of me is relieved to the point of tears by this, and I’ve already gathered a much clearer picture of how my symptoms effect my perception of myself; which I can use in the future. However, another part of me is confused about what I do next. It didn’t occur to me that I’d have the option of actually moving forward with my life, at least not this quickly. I’m still not sure what healthy me looks like completely, or what this person will do with the energy they usually expend on surviving. Luckily for me, other changes have been happening as well:
My family is growing. New career opportunities are opening up. I’m discovering skills I didn’t know I had. New people have fallen into my life with delightful regularity. I’ve become more involved with my community. I may be leaving the country next year on a grand adventure. I’ve been published multiple times now. In short, I’m finding that one big change in my life isn’t the end of anything. I suspected this pre-medication, but I couldn’t quite believe it. The only downside is that all the change, while positive, is overwhelming. I need to spend time processing what I want my life to look like in the future, and I’m going to take some time off from writing to do that. As confusing as the whole process is, for the first time in my life I don’t mind not knowing what to do.