My Antidepressant Journey

Day one was easy. It was SO easy. I didn’t feel affected. I didn’t look back. I was proud of myself.

Day two was hard. It was SO hard. I grieved my grandma the way the medication wouldn’t allow.

Day three is harder. It is SO much harder. I feel the emotions other people felt or are feeling right now.

Day four is a mystery. That is what scares me. I don’t know how I will feel. Will I be able to help my students? Will I be able to show up for my boyfriend? For my friends, for my community?

What I do know… is that it is so much better than before. Not before when I was on medication, but before my mother (God Bless her soul) brought me to a psychiatrist. Before I even knew what it felt like to dull the ache and constant swirling thoughts in my head.

I was four when I realized my thought patterns weren’t like anyone else’s.

I would lie awake at night with the nerves in my left armpit making it too hard to sleep. You know when you are wearing a tank top and it goes into your armpit and you get that feeling of discomfort? I had that every time I tried to go to sleep. It would feel like my shirt wouldn’t leave my armpit, so I would take it off, but the feeling was still there. I HATED bedtime from the time I was four until I got medication when I was sixteen. It terrified me. I didn’t know how bad my nerves would be once I got into bed.

To dull the uncomfortable feeling I would think about anything and everything. I would think about my friends and the boy I had a crush on, I would play out scenarios in my head to try to forget about the feeling in my armpit. They never worked. I would go to sleep with my arm above my head, trying to trick my brain into thinking that everything was okay.

I was nine when I realized I had OCD.

I would fold and re-fold shirts in my drawers until I thought they were just right. I would turn the light switch on and off until I no longer felt anxious.

Thank God my mom talked about her mental illness. If she didn’t I know for a fact I would have full-blown OCD by now.

Because my mom spoke to my brother and I from a young age about the symptoms she had as a child I was able to correct myself. I was able to tell myself that what I was doing to the light switch was not normal and that I had to stop.

I no longer present with the symptoms of OCD.

I was thirteen when I would yell uncontrollably.

I would scream at the top of my lunges over really stupid things because I wanted the people around me to feel the pain I was feeling. Every time I screamed I felt a sense of relief, it helped me to not focus on the thoughts in my head. I would feel relieved when my father would intercept me screaming at my mother so that I could yell at him instead. I liked the arguments. It allowed me to forget.

I was sixteen when I realized that sex and sleep were the only two ways to stop hurting.

I struggled with getting to sleep, but once I was asleep I never wanted to get up. To prevent my mind from thinking about the pain of the day or to come up with irrational scenarios I would masturbate. I would do anything to make myself feel better and allow my brain to go to sleep. I allowed my abusive boyfriend to do anything to me sexually because I needed to let go. I would seek out other boys as well. Anything that could leave me feeling happy for a moment. Thank God I had Kirk. Thank God he was my best friend and kept me on track. Thank God he loved me because I would be so much worse off than I am right now.

This journey that I am on is scary. It’s not only scary because I am dealing with feelings I haven’t had to in a LONG time, but it is scary because I don’t know if I will go back. I never want to feel the way I did before that first faithful trip to the psychiatrists office. I am scared, but I am also proud and so grateful that I have an amazing community around me that is so supportive.

Tomorrow is a mystery, but you will be here with me every step of the way, and for that I am so thankful.

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