on depression and medication
dropping the jokes to be totally serious here for a moment. i’ve been on antidepressants, bupropion/wellbutrin specifically, for a little under a month now. it has already improved my life so much it’s ridiculous. i talk about my antidepressant use so enthusiastically and publicly with the hope of destigmatizing it as much as possible, because i know there are people who perceive the use of pills to achieve mental health as some kind of denial of selfhood. this is absolutely not true. i’ve also known people who relied on medication to function but were ashamed to admit it due to the stigma of mental illness at all.
when you consistently feel one way for a very long time, it skews your frame of reference until you perceive it as a normal way to feel. i didn’t think my depression was that bad til i started to chemically climb out of it. now that i’m far enough away from it to get perspective on it i’m realizing i was climbing out of a sarlacc pit. i’m never completely better. i still have work to do.
bupropion has not changed my sense of self in any way. it has enhanced it. i am clearer, funnier, more functional, and HAPPIER. you have no idea how thankful i am that i can go to the store and buy groceries without having to control my breathing while i panic-sweat. being in the outside world, in basic social interaction, used to feel like i was constantly doing pushups and i would get exhausted and have to recuperate at home. the only public situations i felt okay in were ones where i was performing.
last weekend i spent an entire day out and about with people i had never met before and i actually enjoyed myself and didn’t panic at all. that is something that, a few months ago, would have been absolutely fucking inconceivable.
now, don’t get me wrong: the world is still a nightmare dominated by armed governance and institutionalized oppression in many forms reinforced by patriarchal capitalism. obviously, this is depressing. but it shouldn’t crush you. it is possible to feel hope. if you hate the world, if you want to change the world for the better, i recommend you start with changing yourself into a functional person that can do things. and if it takes psychoactive medication to do that: go for it.
for a long time i was under the impression that, because i’m smart and funny, i should be able to think my way out of depression. this is bullshit. the organ with the problem cannot fix itself. telling someone with real depression to just snap out of it or think happy thoughts is like telling someone with a hole in their lung to suck it up and breathe deeper- the more they breathe in, the more the pressure in their chest will crush the lung, incapacitating it more.
don’t be afraid to ask for help. get help any way you can. i know it is daunting. but it is worth it. it is possible to feel hope. it is possible to be happy.
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