Twenty years ago, my third psychologist gave me a diagnosis of Clinical Depression. Therapists #4, 5 and 6 always wrote me up as Anxiety Disorder, but I'm pretty sure it was just to be polite. (My first psychologist never diagnosed me. Plus, she only wore purple, so I feel like she doesn’t count. And my second psychologist wasn’t actually degreed – she was sort of a yogi/shaman type who sometimes practiced talk therapy. Before you roll your eyes, please know that she has passed from this life and was one of the most helpful of the bunch.)
The first time I went to my Medical Intuit (I don’t really know what to call her – Energy Healer sounds so 1970s) she said that the “information” she was getting for me was that I should start taking antidepressants. This was jarring counsel for her to pass on and she said so. “Usually my work with people involves helping them get off of antidepressants. I’ve never had this kind of advice come up for a client before,” she said. And to drive her point home, she wouldn’t accept payment for the session.
Despite years (decades, really) of professionals and paraprofessionals all suggesting that drug therapy might be just what I need, I have not ever – not even once – tried antidepressants. One reason is that I’m a hypochondriac. If there are any known side effects associated with a drug, I will surely manifest them.
Another reason is that antidepressants are known to make you gain weight and suppress your sex drive, two conditions that I am absolutely positive will never help my supposed depression.
Finally, (and this might be the clincher), I was afraid of who I’d become if I were stripped of my sadness. Or my cynicism. Or even once-removed from my negativity. These characteristics feel like my calling card. I was afraid that the friends that I have liked me because I was gloomy, not in spite of it. I was afraid I would lose my sense of humor. I believed I’d no longer be able to write.
This is the point in the story where it seems natural for me to confess that I have started antidepressants and that none of those fears materialized. But that’s not at all what happened.
I remain drug-free, but I joined a chanting group about five months ago and, almost instantaneously, everything changed. I felt my sadness and my cynicism fall away and my knee jerk reaction in almost every situation is to now see my glass full and brimming. I joke with my friend Ann that it feels like I’ve turned into her mother.
The other change is that I don’t write. I was about to say, “I can’t write,” but here I am typing away, so I know that’s not true. And it’s not so much that I don’t want to write. I couldn't be happier at this moment.
I think it’s that I don’t feel like I need to write.
Which is sad to me. But in a joyous, bubbly, brimming glass kind of way.
This blog has been a great place for me to hang out for a long time; I hope I can find my way back here again soon.