I’m not a big fan of January. It’s full of resolutions you’re meant to keep for 365 days. Grey drizzly days. Promises of snow that never actually happen. Or worse flooding. Diets. Exercise plans. Too much stuff. Holidays that seem too far away. Dark days and nights.
But most of all its the people. The people who tell me they’re depressed. ‘I’m depressed, I ate/drank/spent too much. I’m going to diet/have a dry January/not spend anything’.
Firstly, you’re not depressed. Secondly, depression can not be fixed.
Depression is an illness. It’s complicated. It’s exhausting. It’s not often caused by one thing. It’s not made better simply by taking medication. Sufferers have to work hard to get better – they have to face their demons, fight them and then run them out of town. Medication can help but it can also hinder. It can mask the illness and make you think you are better when you are anything but.
I know because I fell in this trap. And worse it was January. Worse still it was this January. Two weeks ago in actual fact.
My drugs are working. I’m not so tired. I’m enjoying my kids and my life. Dark thoughts hardly ever cross my mind. I only cry when watching ‘call the midwife’ or see the homeless person at the top of my street. I am managing my anger. I am productive – making plans and looking forward to the future. I had been looking after other people’s children. All was going so well.
But foolishly I thought that meant I was better. That I didnt need my drugs anymore. And then I did something really foolish. My drugs ran out and I didn’t get my usual repeat prescription. I just did nothing. I thought I would wing it. I thought it would be fine. I thought cold turkey was the answer. I thought I was better.
I was wrong.
The first thing I felt was an unbalance. Like something wasn’t right. Then I felt an extreme sadness. And loneliness. And then guilt kicked in. And finally my anger. Still I was in denial telling myself I just needed time. More time to adapt. Thankfully I am surrounded by people who have seen these signs before and who took no time in telling me to get back to my GP and my drugs.
I am now back on them and starting another step on my journey to recovery. I’m hoping I haven’t f*cked it up too much. I mainly feel ashamed. Ashamed I could be so foolish. Ashamed I didn’t do the step approach I know I should do before coming off antidepressants.
But I’m a little bit glad. The old me would have thrown caution to the wind too. She would have tried to wing it. She would have had the courage to try. She had hope. And I’m not giving up on that. Some day it will be my time to reduce my dependencey on my drugs. But not today.