I’ve always been a serious kid, always kind of in the dumps. When people asked me how I was doing, rarely have I been like “Hey, I’m doing GREAT!” It’s generally been, “Hey, this is the new sucky thing in my life. <sigh>”
And it’s not that good things didn’t happen to me. I’ve had some wonderful times. I’ve just never been that happy of a guy, my resting state is a little bummed out. I didn’t notice this until a few years ago when a new friend mentioned to me that I’m great, I’m fun, but I’m always sad.
I’ve never really been too concerned with it. I’m from Washington state and started high school when Nirvana was at their peak. Being melancholic is a generational trait.
I have noticed an improvement over the years. I barely dated in my 20s. Never felt like I was ready or emotionally capable to have a grown up relationship. I would rather just go home every night and jump on my Playstation and have the months and years just stream together.
In my 30’s, I’m having more fun. I’m dating. A lot. A friend at work pointed out that I go on more first dates than anyone she knows. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I just know that it’s a sign that I’m finally comfortable enough with who I am that I can withstand the constant rejection which is dating in Los Angeles.
But still though, I’m still just kind of sad all the time. The months no longer blend together, but sometimes the days did.
At my last birthday, I realized that I’m 35 and need to start taking better care of myself. I started eating better, ice cream for dinner every week or two instead of every other day. Exercise a few times a week, instead of once or twice a month.
I also decided that whenever speaking with a doctor or member of clergy I would be completely honest. Those two professions are filled with loving men and women who have dedicated their life to make our lives better, and the best way they can help us is if we are honest with them.
I would also do whatever they said. I’m coming to them with my problems, if they ask me to try something, I will do it. You need to respect their opinion and give it a try. If it doesn’t work, then you can go back and try something else.
So I went in for my yearly physical (as we all should gentleman). The doctor asked me how I was doing, and I told him the truth.
I’m sad, like all the time. I wake in the middle of the night, worried about my life. I dread waking up. I dread going to bed.
The doctor told me that he wanted me to try taking Prozac.
PROZAC! Are you fucking kidding me? Prozac is for crazy people who can’t take care of themselves, for people who can’t sleep through the night or their depression gets in the way of maintaining relationships.
Could it be for someone like me?
As my friends can attest to, I have a whimsical view of reality. The world is a beautiful and tragic place. I don’t see the sunrise, I see a painting G-d has painted just for me. When I kiss someone, it’s not like “You sure kiss good.” It’s like “My world expands by leaps and bounds every time your lips touch mine.”
I’m a poet at heart and everything is either a blessing or a curse with no real middle ground. And I like that about myself. And I was terrified of losing that if I ever went on an anti-depressant.
I was also terrified of losing my creativity. I write several poems every day. There were times when I would stop whatever I was doing to write because I could see the lines and stanzas floating down like a waterfall and I needed to get that poem or play on paper so I could share it with the world.
And I was terrified of losing my sensuality. Even though I enjoy being single, I would love to meet someone who I can share my life with. The thought of losing all interest in love and sex is more frightening than the scariest horror movie.
Even if I did keep an interest in romance, some side effects include having a boner like an under or over inflated balloon. Really? That’s fucking horrible shit. Even if that meant just being able to make balloon animals out of my shvantz, I wouldn’t want it.
Lastly, I was terrified that I wouldn’t feel anything any longer. Nothing. Not a single thing. I would no longer feel sad or happy. I would simply be an uncaring shadow of who I was, floating through each day. A grey balloon drifting along in a monochromatic world. A zombie shuffling along through the steps of a former life.
All of these fears were somewhat justified. They are side effects that I heard about when someone goes on antidepressants, especially Prozac. At the same time, though, I want to live the healthiest lifestyle I can.
If the doctor wants me to go on Prozac, I’ll go on Prozac.
A friend of mine is a counselor and when I told her I was prescribed Prozac and terrified of taking it, she high-fived me. She sat me down and told me how it works. The Prozac binds to the serotonin receptors in my brain, leaving more serotonin in the brain. Happier people tend to have a higher amount of serotonin in the brain.
She went on to say that Prozac wouldn’t keep me from feeling or seeing the world in a magical light. If anything it would let me see the world as an even more beautiful place.
The big side affect that she told me about was suicidal thoughts. People on Prozac tend to be more determined to do things. You think about cleaning your apartment, then you’ll clean your apartment. You think about going for a jog, you go for a jog. You think about killing yourself, and well, you need to call for help right away.
I’m glad to say that my friend was right. I’ve been on Prozac for about a month and a half and, I gotta say, it’s pretty fantastic. I still see the world as a beautiful and wonderful place. Not more so, not less so. I just don’t have the lows that I used to have.
I have noticed that my instant inspiration has gone down in the meantime. I no longer have these moments where I see poetry falling down like rain.
To counter that, I have seen a great increase in my planned inspiration. I go home and night and instead of thinking, “I’ll write tomorrow,” I just write. I set aside the time I need to write and follow through, which makes me feel so happy and accomplished. The trade off is well worth it.
Also, I’m able to enjoy simple moments better. I hit a deer a few months ago, totaling my car. Since then I’ve been having to take the bus everywhere, dreading every moment. The other day I was taking the bus up the PCH, looked out over the ocean, and just enjoyed that moment. I felt so much gratitude to live in a beautiful city and have the chance to enjoy the view.
I’m finally able to relax. I no longer go to bed stressed out, worried about today’s mistakes or tomorrow’s problems. I sleep through the night, no longer waking up in a panicked sweat.
I was seeing a lady when I was prescribed the Prozac. Then we broke up. Which made me sad.
Which made me happy.
Being sad when I was supposed to be sad was such a relief. I was so terrified that I would just be emotionally unavailable; I wouldn’t have the spiritual reserves to be able to experience life in a healthy manner.
But when the break up happened, I cried and ate my breakup cookies, because that’s what I do when a relationship ends. I’m a healthy adult and now, a few weeks later, I’m back to dating, meeting new people.
I had a follow up with my doctor after being on the medicine for a month. I told him all about how I was feeling. How I had my ups and downs, but most importantly I felt better and really felt that the medicine was helping me. My doctor agreed with me. The dosage I’m on, which is the lowest available, is helping me greatly. I’ll let him know if I have any changes or any side effects that may come up.
It feels really great finally having a condition I’ve lived with my whole life under control.
So, please stay honest whenever you speak with your doctor, especially if you’re fighting depression. There’s no shame in it. Would you feel shame talking with your doctor if you thought you were diabetic? Would you be embarrassed if you had to take insulin?
Depression is a medical condition and working with your doctor is the fastest way to start feeling better.