There’s an advertisement that airs frequently on daytime tv lately for some medication that helps with a physical condition, where the man talks about how he’s accepted the fact that he’s not as young as he used to be, he’s not able to do the things he used to, and the changes he’s learned to live with because of all of this. He then goes on to say how whatever medication he’s taking helps him better accept all these facts and still live a vibrant, productive life.
I wonder sometimes how an ad for one of the many anti-depressants that are are available now would employ that same script.
‘I realize I’m not the happy person I used to be’.
‘I accept the fact that there will be days when I just can’t manage to get out of bed’.
‘I understand that many of my friends and family may not be able to deal with how my depression affects me’.
If you’re laughing, don’t feel guilty, because so am I. Obviously, an ad this honest would not be effective at all. But, as a person who’s lived with Major Clinical depression for most of my life, I can tell you, most of the above statements are true. And I’ve experienced most of those realizations or consequences. To be honest, some of them are worse than the long list of side effects that usually are rattled off at the end of those ads.
Let’s face it. Living with depression sucks. It drains your energy, robs you of any hope or belief that things will get better or anything good will happen. It’s isolating, lonely, and in some cases, unfortunately as terminal as cancer or any other debilitating illness. On my worst days, I feel isolated, alone, and hopeless, and I feel as though nothing can help.
That all said, because I’ve lived with Major Depression for so long, I’ve learned, that when I’m able, I can manage it. Distraction helps. I listen to music, watch or read something light-hearted to get my mind off my sadness and get out of my own head. Sometimes it helps. Sometimes. And sometimes I just ride it out, trusting in the strength that my friends say I possess really does exist.
And sometimes, I let all my sadness, fear, and any other emotion come out in my writing. I’ve been writing since I was seven and I find that creativity can be the most powerful antidepressant at all.
This is a poem I wrote recently. I hope it helps anyone who reads it, to know that they are not alone, and that even though it may be difficult to believe on some days, things can get better.
Dancing with the Black Dog
On a barren stage
Or night bird song
Accompany our steps
Which falter and stagger
And pull me by its lead
The stage is set
And I tread the boards lightly
To sweet soft playing
Of my muse
Fuelling my struggle
To bring the inside,