Turns out you CAN buy happiness–for $40 a month.

At the age of 19, the summer after my freshman year of college, I came down with appendicitis.  I knew exactly what it was when I woke up with a dull pain directly beneath my bellybutton, and my mom took me straight to the E.R. when I told her.  I rated my pain as a 7 on a scale of 1-10 when the hospital staff asked me, so they gave me a morphine drip as we awaited the inevitable diagnosis.  On the morphine, the pain was still there, but I couldn’t care less about it.

After a while, the doctor walked into the room and said gravely, “we’re going to have to take you to surgery.”

I grinned and replied, “I’m so happy!”

I had hoped that antidepressants would be something like that.

Unsurprisingly, they’re not.  Or, mine isn’t, anyway.  The experiences are somewhat similar, in that the pain I was feeling before the medication took effect is still there.  I still feel the boredom and the tedium of daily life.  I still feel the heartbreak and the sadness.  It’s still a struggle to get my ass into the shower every morning.  But the main difference is that I DO care.  I care about where the pain is coming from, and I see that I’m the only one who can make it stop.  And I feel equipped and motivated to make it stop.

In short, the hopelessness is abolished.

My follow-up doctor’s visit was last Thursday.  I felt like a completely different person from the girl who sat in the same examination room a month ago sobbing.  This time I smiled brightly and told my doctor about what’s changed over the past month.  How I went on a job interview last week, whereas a month ago I felt stuck in a job that’s not giving me any meaning.  How I can’t get enough of Jason Lytle’s new album, whereas a month ago I wasn’t even listening to any music at all.  How I love hanging out with friends again, whereas a month ago I felt unsuitable to be around other people.  How I think I finally know what to do about my marriage, whereas a month ago I was utterly drowning under the huge, life-altering decisions ahead of me.

These are hard things, I told her, but not unmanageable.  She said she was glad I’m feeling so much better and gave me a 2-month prescription for more Lexapro.

“You might need it longer than that,” she said.  And then with a wink, “But we’ll see.”

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Turns out you CAN buy happiness–for $40 a month.

  1. congrats on the improvement! Keep working hard and I’m sure the meds will be a temporary necessity. I’m very proud of you for tackling your depression. I know that sounds odd perhaps, but it can be hard to come to terms with it, to try to attack the problem and fix it, but you were brave enough to do so. And I’m very happy for you. =)

  2. juliennejiggs

    I’m with Word Perv on this one, congrats are in order! Especially the fact that you’re not passively waiting to start feeling better. You’re actively trying to make changes – like looking for a new job. You took the leap and you’re figuring things out. Congratulations are definitely in order!

  3. Amen to the above. It takes a lot of guts to a. admit to yourself (and everyone else) that something is wrong and b. to take proactive steps to healing yourself. Good luck with the job hunt, the social circle, the marriage, and any other issues that you’re tackling at the moment. You’re amazing.

  4. humanbeingblog

    Good for you, CG.

    I’m rooting for you.

    Lynn

  5. kristijenene

    ok.
    you’ve inspired me.

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