Monday, September 05, 2005

Music Reviews + Depression: What I've Been Doing in My Spare Time

Some of you may have noticed a significant decline in new posts. That's because 1) I've been depressed, and 2) I've been writing reviews for a music web site (links: Moondance review, Dark Side of the Moon review). But don't worry, I found an old bottle of 5-htp and have started taking them to help my mood. That's a joke, but also serious. I did find a bottle of 5-htp and I am taking them again. How can a joke be serious, you're asking? I'm not sure. The point is that I realize pills don't make you happy. I decide to be happy and come hell or highwater, I'm happy.

You may not know this, but I'm a recovering anti-depressant addict. No, joking again. I wasn't addicted in the sense that I went on them voluntarily and I had to get a daily fix to function normally. Not like that. I went through depression in junior high school, when I was 13. So my mom took me to a psychologist, we deduced that I had a problem and then she suggested anti-depressants. First Prozac, then Zoloft, followed by Paxil. Not all at once, of course. One at a time. We finally settled on Paxil. Tom Cruise may find this hard to believe, but it worked for me.

The truth is, I didn't even know anything was wrong with me. I was just having a hell of a time in school and in my life. I was tired all the time and I thought about suicide often. Well, death more than suicide. So, I was really messed up because only messed up people think about death that often. Really, I'm not kidding. But I thought life was like that, you know. Messed up.

There are plenty of deeply embedded reasons that I became depressed. Puberty is the worst time of life, I think, and I was amidst that hell-storm. Plus my dad had gone psycho, so my mom divorced him and we were always on the run from him. For a year there were times when we'd pack up spur of the moment and head to my grandma's, because my mom had received death threats from my father (some may take death threats lightly, we didn't. Especially not when the violence and abuse he was capable of had already been exhibited) or his psychiatrist had called to tell her he was in a psychotic mental state.

Then after a year of this, my mom got remarried. My step-dad was a good guy, but I didn't like him at first. All of it was tough for me, but up to that point it was all I had known.

It wasn't like the psychologist dredged up repressed memories of abuse or anything (I just want to point that out). She helped me realize that it's not normal to want to sleep all day and to sleep through class, and to hate your family (oh yeah, and I hated my family, for reasons I can't fathom now). But it was normal to struggle and to feel alone and be upset that your dad left you. So therapy helped and so did the anti-depressants. And I was on them until I was 20 or something.

I'm not pushing anti-depressants or anything. And I'm also not complaining about my life, because my life has been fine. Good. Wonderful, and I'm rather pleased with how things have turned out. I don't have expectations that it's supposed to be easy. But I'm not the person who's going to point a finger and say that anti-depressants don't work and you should be ashamed for taking them. I feel otherwise. I've seen how they work for some people (me, duh).

And yes, I'm going to take advantage of a bottle of 5-htp I found in my medicine cabinet when I feel like it, because you know, sometimes it's just really tough to be happy even when you know you should feel happy, come hell or high water.


Oh great One said...

I think sometimes we don't see that we are feeling depressed because it can happen so slowly you don't see it. When we moved from CO. to NM. I fell into a depression but it took me a while to realize it. Once I did I could attack it. It sounds like you have had lots of changes recently. It is understandable that it may cause some stress.
Hang in there!! said...

oh, depression, how well i know you! screw tom cruise. zoloft saved me from wanting to sleep for an eternity. actually, my doc gave me zoloft after i went in to try & convince her i had insomnia & needed ambien. i didn't have insomnia. i just wanted to sleep more so i didn't have to deal with waking life. i feel like that alot, actually. i don't know what i'm trying to say, but you're not alone. and only people who don't understand would say that taking pills is the wrong way to deal with it. sure, there's no magic pill to make you happy and make everything okay, but sometimes you need something to get through the rough patches. and there's nothing wrong with that. good luck. and tell that bitch depression to stay away from my house. i don't want her there.

Matthew said...

To me, there are no stigmas associated with antidepressants. I know they can be helpful in treating a very real malady. A family member is exhibiting all the symptoms of depression, and I wish he would consult someone who could prescribe medication and provide therapy.

linda said...

I suggest putting "Dark Side of the Moon" away for a little while and switching to "Wish You Were Here," at least until your spirits lift a bit. That almost always works for me. ;)

(Nice review, btw)

the beautiful diabetic said...

Hey there! I really enjoy reading your blog! i was on Xanex for awhile after my little sister died. I don't think it is an anti-depressent, but it did help. Anyway, I feel for you and the whole change of seasons thing in Arizona. I come from Texas originally. Houston. And we have 4 seasons. Warm, Hot, HOtter, and MISERABLE HOT. So, since moving to Norway, I Love the change of seasons. It's nice. Going to work now, thanks for sharing so much of yourself in your blog. I am going to get my husband to show me how to add pictures and links to my blog tonight so i can create a link to yours...i just can't seem to figure it out on my own!!!! Have a great day!

Aries327 said...

Thanks for all the comments.

Great one -- I'm hanging in there. I think the 5-htp is helping. This week I've run 4+ miles, so far. I think that helps too. Since I romanticize everything, I had no idea that moving to a new location so far from home could spur depression. In my imagination, though, I'm always tougher than I really am.

red hot mama -- thanks for relating your experience. It's nice to know that other people struggle too. And it's very good to know that they get through it.

Matthew -- I understand your feelings. I know people who struggle too and wish that I could tell them they need help. I'm not sure how to tactfully do that. But telling someone you know they're having a hard time always helps.

Linda -- don't kid yourself, after I finished that review, I had the album committed to memory and didn't even need to play it. It was playing in my head. Echoing. Are our brains canyons? Sometimes they seem like they are. Anyway, I'm sick of the album, as much as I praised it. I have "Wish you were here" but don't feel inclined to listen to Pink Floyd at all. Great as they are. Abba might be good or The Killers. Abba is good for what ails you, I've always thought. Thanks for reading the review. I always love your comments, and was worried you'd given up reading my blog. I'm glad you're still out there.

Purewaterfall -- thanks for relating your experience, too. Life is a struggle and sometimes we fall into a contented place where we forget the pain. Though I struggled in Utah, I had a large support network. Now I can only reach that network through the phone or email. I miss their faces and their hugs. Silly, I know. As you might have gathered, I also miss the seasons. Right now it will be cooling down in Utah. In the higher elevations, the leaves might even be beginning to turn. I long for that and the feeling that goes with it.

But I appreciate that you're still reading my blog. I also wondered about you and whether you were out there. I hope you're doing well. If you need any help with working out your blog, feel free to email me.

p.s. I'm so sorry about your little sister. Again.