A year ago I began taking antidepressants.
Almost twenty years ago I tried to take my life. I spent three days hospitalized after ingesting half a bottle of pills.
Over ten years ago I fell into one of the worst depressions of my life. I was laughed at by the pastor of the church where I worked.
There was a time I would’ve been deeply ashamed to tell you all this. We’ve made a lot of progress on the stigma around mental health, but so many myths are still ingrained.
This year is the first time I’ve had entire weeks without thinking about suicide. I never knew it was possible. I used to think about it every single day. That was my norm. It still happens sometimes, but I don’t dread when it will. I also don’t dread happiness either. Antidepressants don’t suddenly make you “happy,” but they open the possibility that happiness is not attached to a trap door, small print, a karmic pay-off. It turns impossible into imaginable. For even a moment, joy becomes guilt-free.
A few months ago I managed to stopped taking medication for five weeks. But on week five, I spiraled out and went back on. I thought somehow I had failed. I knew that was objectively false, but that’s how deep the stigma goes. I’m finding it okay to be on medication for life, if I need it. And today, I need it. I’m thankful.
I don’t know if the next one will win. But I’m here. I’m still here. Thank God, I am here.
Thank you friends for your prayers, messages, stories.
You keep me alive too.