Dear Depression: No More Sword and Shield

I said two weeks ago depression would not beat me. I admitted the battle had gotten harder, and talked about wanting reinforcements on the field with me.

In the time since then, I have restarted ADHD medication. I am taking Concerta again, as I did from 1996 through around 2010.

I’m not sure how to describe the immediate impact it has had on my thinking. So much makes sense now that once didn’t, and so much else that enters my brain seems so unimportant.

I am suddenly in control of my mind again. Gone are the anxiety spins and the inability to pull out of negative thought patterns. I feel grounded and present in my reality.

I am nervous. I do not know if the effect will stay this way.

I am grateful someone who can write prescriptions finally returned my call. We have met twice thus far. I will continue to see them in addition to continuing to see my psychotherapist.

While speaking with this new person, I likened what I have been feeling recently to a battle becoming more heated.

I spoke of my battlefield analogy. I talked about being in this fight alone, on this battlefield, all by myself. I have people in my life who are cheering me on, but they are not at the front with me. They cannot fight battles with me when the battles only occur inside my head.

I spoke, however, of my determination to not be beaten. I boasted at great length about how I will continue to fight with all that I have.

I am in a constant fight with this large yet formless enemy, and I will never back down.

I described my feelings of courage and strength as I stand on this field. I continue to brandish my sword and shield high, with no regard to how heavy they are or how often it feels as though I will collapse under their weight.

I announced I was there, in that office, because I could see that the tenor of the battles had changed. I needed help in order to win the battles I was facing. I could feel my hold slipping. I was proud of realizing that, too. I was proud to be there. I was proud to admit I wasn’t too proud to ask for help.

I was there looking for whatever assistance might be available so I can continue to hold this formidable foe at bay.

My analogy was summarily rejected. I deflated.

I was reminded of something I long ago forgot: My goal is not to continue winning battles.

My goal is to not have to battle anymore at all. My goal is for the battles to be over. My goal is for the entirety of my war with depression to be a thing of the past.

I thought I wanted someone who would help me in my fight. I now realize I do not.

What I want is someone to help me orchestrate peace.

I want to lay down my sword and shield and relieve myself of their weight. I want to be able to relax. I want a life that is free of depression, not one that is a perpetual struggle and a fight to survive.

The idea of this war ending is beyond what I’m capable of imagining at this moment. The notion of not fighting the demons in my head, of simply leaving them in my past and being happy, is fantastical.

I want it. And I am eager to pursue it.

For now, I’m not yet taking any anti-depressants. I’ll probably add one in after a few more weeks, so I get a longer-term sense of how the Concerta feels on its own before adding something else into the mix.

For now, Concerta is definitely helping. It does not numb my emotions, but it helps me make sense of them and feel them in a more healthy way. I do not get distracted by the chatter in my head, and I can feel confident in the workings of my brain.

It is quiet up there right now. It is peaceful. I can recharge during my down time instead of spinning, instead of being in a constant state of guilt, self-judgment, fear, and self-hatred.

For a long time, I have been incapable of remembering what happiness feels like. Now I am seeing light and joy and beauty around me again. I am aware of them and able to absorb them into me, instead of feeling as though I am seeing them from afar.

I feel optimistic about my abilities and the possibility of achieving my many goals.

I knew finding help would be hard, and it was. Asking for it wasn’t easy. That was the hardest part of all. The help I received from my people and the suggestions they offered got me through. I would not have thought to contact my PCP on my own. I would not have known to explore that avenue if it weren’t for my people, and my people would not have known to suggest it if I had not been open and vulnerable with them.

I’m so glad I did it. I’m so glad I tried, and I’m so glad I didn’t give up. And I’m so glad a mental health professional did finally return my calls. I understand I am tremendously fortunate in that regard, and I am deeply grateful.

More than anything else, though, I’m simply so glad to be feeling better.


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