One Month & Change

Eeyore Everything sucks.

So, I’ve been on antidepressants for just over a month now. Most people feel the effects of antidpressants at this point, though it can take up to six weeks to really kick in. I felt the effects literally the moment I took the first pill. That was just the placebo effect though, since antidepressants do not work that fast. However, just knowing that I was taking something to eventually calm Eeyore down, helped immensely and immediately.

Eeyore is what I call the stupid, loud voice in my head that tells me that everything is useless so I should just die. Ever since I can remember, Eeyore has been in my head telling me untrue, depressing things. No one loves you. You are worthless. Go ahead and die–it’ll be easier than struggling…

For the longest time, I didn’t see Eeyore as a distinct voice. It was in my head, so it must be me, right? Maybe life isn’t worth living… Wrong. Once I singled it out and gave it the name of a sad little stuffed donkey, I was able to shut it down a bit.

Everything sucks.

It’s easier not to listen to a stuffed donkey than it is an insidious, unnamed voice that hides in the shadow of your mind. Shut up, Eeyore.

A month or two ago, I wouldn’t have been able to write a post like this one, because Eeyore would have fought me on it every word of the way. Eeyore hates being called out. It hates when I talk about depression in general and it in particular. It wants me to crawl into the darkness with it and never come back out; pretty much the opposite of being in a spotlight like this post.

And that is why depression is so hard to quell. When you’re deep in the throes of it, it’s nearly impossible to reach out for help. In a really bad spell, it’s nearly impossible to get out of bed even to pee. I’ve allowed Eeyore to pull me into that hole a few times. I’ve been there, done that and I don’t want to be there again, which is why I’m medicated again. In May, I forced myself to get help. I’m glad I did, because Eeyore’s volume right now is about a 2.

Now, that’s not to say that antidpressants are a cure for depression, because they most certainly are not. There is no cure for depression. Just to be clear, when I say depression, I mean chronic depression, or Major Depressive Disorder, not the acute kind of depression that people experience, e.g., when they lose a loved one.

Chronic depression has no cure–a fact, which in and of itself, is depressing. Chronic depression does not go away when you exercise more, sleep more/less, do yoga, meditate, ingest medicinal herbs, or any of the other well-meaning, but nonsensical advice people give you if you say you’re depressed. Chronic depression does not lessen with time like acute depression does. It ebbs and flows like the ocean pulled by the gravitational force of the moon, but it always, always comes back.

One of the most externally annoying things about depression is that there are two different kinds. If the voice in your head even allows you to admit that you are depressed, people assume it’s acute… “I had a sad once too.” Chronic depression isn’t being sad. In fact, I’m rarely sad when I’m depressed. Instead, I am either completely devoid of emotion or I feel all of them at once (except the good ones). Sad is one of the lesser emotions, like a side dish or a dipping sauce. Sad is actually a nicer emotion than the despair of feeling like everything is worthless and that you should just die. I’d prefer sad to that.

The fact that “I had a sad once” can be confused with what’s happening inside my head is supremely annoying. It would be like telling someone you have malignant cancer and having them respond that they had a paper cut once, so they know what it’s like. You should just use a bandage, get more sleep, and do some yoga or something. It would be better if acute and chronic depression had two entirely different terms like headache and migraine.

So, here I am a month later, and while Eeyore is still there and will always be there, it is much quieter now and I’m able to say, “Shut up, Eeyore,” and maybe get on with the business of living.