Apr 30, 2009

Depression Hurts

A lot of you have seen the commercials on T.V. about depression and it’s symptoms. But I realized this weekend that recognizing the symptoms isn’t enough. My counselor told me some time back that he thought I should see my primary doctor about meds for my depression, as it was coming out mostly as anger. But I have been extremely hesitant to do so. Mostly due to a mental barrier about medications.

Mindy was at one point or another on pretty much every anti-depressant available and some helped; some did not but they all had side effects. I’ve never had a problem with drugs of any kind, but I saw how they grabbed hold of my wife and wouldn’t let go and that scares me. Do I think it’s a reasonable fear? No, not really. There’s also the fact that I was in the middle of an adoption and I didn’t want to give the other party any ammunition to work with; I didn’t want them to get any ideas that I was in any way less than capable of taking care of all of my children.

But I guess that plays into my fairly extensive knowledge of, and complete lack of understanding for, depression. I’ve seen it’s effect on my family and I’ve read several books about bipolar and depression; knowing how it could affect someone doesn’t really help me understand it any better. I know it in my head, but it doesn’t translate well past an intellectual comprehension. I just want to fix it. Add in the fact that it seems to be a “popular diagnosis” lately that everyone is depressed and needs meds bothers me. Not to mention that the pharmaceutical companies aren’t even always sure how the meds work!

Of all the conversations I’ve had with widows and widowers over the last several months no one has mentioned anti depressants. I only know of one other person that took them so I just figured most of us fit into one of two categories on this topic; 1) they didn’t need and/or didn’t want them or 2) they just didn’t want to talk about it. If they felt anything like me they probably didn’t want them. It’s like announcing that your now officially a crazy, nut. No offense intended to anyone else that was just my perception. But I guess now…ha, I’m a crazy nut. My doctor put me on some “crazy pills” and I’m supposed to “…feel better soon. In one to three weeks.” I don’t know that I feel any better yet (it’s only been a few days)….but I have a headache, and dry mouth; both of which are listed side effects of this particular crazy pill. The side effects are said to subside within the first week, so I’ll continue for a few more days but I wasn’t thrilled to get on this bandwagon to start with. But the doc said that most depressed people have a hard time realizing they are depressed. So I figure, if I really do feel better then all is well. If not, throw away the crazy pills and go back to being me. No harm, no foul; or so I hope.

If any one is concerned, yes I researched the pill and the side effects before I started taking it. I’m probably bent a little towards OCD when it comes to pills and prescriptions. That would be a side effect of the last seven years of my marriage. I won’t even let my Teen get her own antibiotics out of the medicine cabinet, I feel more comfortable administering all the meds. Maybe now I’ll feel more comfortable in general; we’ll have to wait and see. At least for now I’m not making the pharmaceutical companies any richer; I’m just using the samples from the doc’s office.

If anyone out there in Widowerland has two cents to share about anti depressants I’m curious to find out how they have, or haven’t, helped any one else.


  1. I haven't ever personally taken anti-depressants, but my wife was on one and it helped her immensely. Luckily they were able to find one that worked with relative ease and she did not have to try one after another. She had depression and anxiety, so the one she was on helped regulate both.

    Unfortunately there is still a stigma attached to taking medication for depression. I have known others besides my wife who took it, but it is not something that is often talked about (positively, at least). I'd bet there are other widow/ers out there who just haven't been comfortable sharing. Hopefully your willingness to share will help others to open up as well.

    I'm glad to hear you were able to get to a point where you could take them, despite your wife's history with medications. I think we all suffer from our own limiting effects of grief, but I can imagine that this one was a particularly big hurdle for you. I'll be praying that it continues to diminish in size.

  2. I have been on anti-depressants off and on for years, mostly on. I am not crazy (society stigma)Although, I will tell you I do not like Tom Cruise for his comments about antidepressants:) I am a mother of two wonderful children. It changed my life for the better. It eases your tension and anxiety. You are able to think clearer and respond less emotional than before. I do suggest talking to your doctor about the right one for you. Remember, that you don't have to be on them the rest of your life. There is a reason we have doctors, counselors and medicine....God wants us to use what he has given us to help us when times are tough ALONG with prayer and devotion to him. I will be praying for you.