I recently took a Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) to screen myself for depression. My score indicated that I was at a moderate risk for depression.
I believe I have been depressed most of my life, at least since High School. There were a lot of parts of my adolescence that were out of my control and as a result, I developed an eating disorder. Years of malnutrition and chronic anxiety, led to what I believe is a ‘chronically depressed’ state. Now, 15 years later, I have finally realized that I have a problem that requires some serious help. A month ago, I went to my primary care doctor and presented the facts. She prescribed me an antidepressant (a SSRI known as citalopram), however I developed severe nausea, low sex drive, and a flat affect. The symptoms persisted even after reducing the dose. At the time I stopped the drug, I felt great.
But now without medication, my brain feels disorganized. Sometimes I feel like I’m flat out drowning and a darkness takes over. As a result of my distractions, I can’t be there for my family, or for my friends. Instead I’m stuck in my own brain.
September was suicide awareness month. I can be honest to the internet world and say, I have had thoughts of suicide. Nothing serious, but the thoughts are there. “No one would miss you” . “Your ugly, stupid and fat”. These are what my thoughts tell me.
Right now my drugs of choice are caffeine, endorphins, and sex, with a jigger of alcohol. I think sex is my saving grace.
Today, I emailed my PCP with hopes of trying a new drug. I feel ok right now, stable. But I know the thoughts will return. I encourage all of you struggling to also reach out. Drugs aren’t always the choice, but if your neurotransmitters are off like mine likely are, a push in the right direction can’t hurt!