I remember when I first told my closest friends that I had started on a course of antidepressants. A couple of them had some knowledge and understanding of depression told me it’s a long road to recovery. But the less informed among them asked if I’m ‘happy now’ for ‘feeling any better.’ Firstly, depression isn’t about being sad or unhappy. Second, that is not what antidepressants do. Thirdly, the journey from the bottom of the pit back up is not a sprint; it’s a marathon, a long, hard slog.
The first tablet I took (I’m on a low dosage, one tablet a day) after being prescribed the medication caused serious vomiting and diarrhoea. Fortunately I had taken the day off work. The following day, I went to college and had to leave after thirty minutes following another bout of vomiting. I suffered from insomnia for four weeks, getting barely an hour of sleep each night. I could ejaculate for weeks. At times I felt like I didn’t even exist.
Did I feel better? Was I happy? Not even in the slightest. I felt like total shit, I was suffering from worse mood swings than before, I wasn’t sleeping, I had so much pent up frustration (sexual, mainly). But I knew that there was no quick fix available to me – apart from the obvious, darker, less tempting option, the one I’d considered before…
Am I better now, after 10 months taking this medication? I’m better than I was. I still get the feelings of anger, loneliness, helplessness, hopelessness and emptiness. And I am a long way off still from the finish line. But I’ve made a start; I’m off the mark and making my way slowly but steadily along the route. There are going to be points where I feel like stopping, and times when I can increase my pace.
But I will make it. I will finish what I’ve started.