Friday, July 30, 2010

Happy Pills


I'm a crazy person. At least, that's what I feel like some times. And it runs in my family.
No, not really crazy (and don't take offense if you are one of me), but just clinically depressed and filled with anxiety.

It's as if I don't have something to worry about in my head constantly, then I don't feel normal.

Luckily, there's a pill for that.

It's a bitter pill, one that I'll basically have to take the rest of my life, but I've slowly accepted that it's like any other disease, and just like diabetes or heart disease, that little pill is gonna make me better. But that little pill makes me gain weight, gives me the brain shivers when I miss it, and although I've tried to get off it multiple times, I just can't. So I guess that makes me an addict as well.

But it's a pill that my grandparents and family didn't always have, and they suffer from it as well, so I should be thankful for this little red capsule of happiness.

When I was pregnant, I took meds until my third trimester, then as soon as I gave birth, they put me back on them. I had some major post-partum depression until the stuff kicked back in. I couldn't imagine being left alone with my son, cringed at the thought of having to cut his fingernails, and panicked when I would think about taking him out of the house on my own.

I'm bitter and anxious and pretty much a lunatic when I'm not on them, so I take my crazy pills so I don't drive my family crazy too.

I've never talked about this on my blog, but today it just hit me as something to talk about. There's lots of discussion out there about anti-anxiety and depression medications, but I truly think they've saved me and I actually know quite a lot of people that are on something.

So, don't be ashamed if you need a happy pill to make it. A lot of us do.

My Name is Wendy and I'm a crazy person. And I'm ok with that.
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38 comments:

  1. Hold your head up...you are a survivor. If that's what it takes to keep you well, so be it. You aren't crazy...well, if you are, it's ok!!:) Love your blog!

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  2. Good for you. And all the best writers are nuts:).

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  3. Where can I sign up to get a happy pill??? I need one right now!! You are a great blogger and I love reading even though i never comment! I've been following for over 6 months!!

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  4. I know you're going to hate me, but these pills don't cure you. They just make you not care as much about your depression and anxiety. Which I'm guessing is pretty normal (i.e. not clinical). I think life is meant to be a struggle and mostly difficult and frustrating, with small moments of joy and happiness. If you accept that, you don't find it so depressing. Anyway, I never begrudge anyone doing whatever it takes to get them through the night, so I am not being critical. I'm just saying, these are not a cure, they simply mask the symptoms so you can get through life. And that's OK. You are a wonderful person and being a little nuts makes you wonderful!

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  5. Great post! We call them "psycho-girl drugs" at our house and there is no shame in doing what we need to do to function in a more 'normal' way. I'm glad Anonymous isn't judging, because those who haven't experienced depression, don't really understand it. You are right on the mark with your comparison to other diseases. I've also recently accepted that my struggle with weight is like a chronic illness. I'm thankful for any & all tools that help! Thanks for such a great blog!

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  6. I am right there with you...I could never stand to take an aspirin, but when I fell into what I refer to as "the big black hole"...there was no other way to get out...I take meds and they made me gain weight and I tried to stop and experienced the same things you did. I have strong feelings about clinical depression. I am not sure you can fully understand it unless you suffer from it. No one would wish this for themselves. I am no longer in the big black hole, but I can see it from here....it's sadness and anxiety and so many other things...more people should talk about it...it's not a sign of weakness or faultiness...it's just a disease like diabetes....insulin needs to be controlled for them. Serotonin needs to be controlled for us. There is no shame in that and trying to live through that shortage in your brain's chemistry is just not worth it. Not worth it to you or the people you love.

    You have made my day with this post! I am right there with you and your not crazy....

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  7. Oh but I have struggled with depression -- all of my life. What I have come to understand is that I am not clinically depressed, nor are 95% of you who call yourselves depressed. And that pills don't cure but can help if you understand what they do. My argument is that life is not meant to be a happy go lucky journey through time and if you don't expect it to be, you'll handle it a whole lot better.

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  8. But Anonymous, it's not a feeling you get just because something goes wrong or life is not like you want it to be. Everything can be going just right in the world, but that feeling is still there. It isn't unhappiness, it's just an feeling that takes you over. And my grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles all suffer from it. It's a chemical imbalance, simple as that. The meds balance you out. Make you feel like you can get out of that "black hole". Most people wouldn't describe me as an unhappy person, it's not about that. And I want other people to know it's ok to take something. I've seen people on and off their meds too often to know there is more to it then just emotions. It's physical too.

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  9. Very honest post... I have been struggling with anxiety lately, mostly revolving around getting everything done! Cleaning, cooking, making money, raising my family, etc. It shouldn't be this hard:-) Glad you've found what works for you!!

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  10. Ah, Southern Accent, I am exactly what you describe. The difference is, I do not expect to be happy. That's what children expect. Adults know that everything can be going great (or not) and sometimes you feel good and sometimes you don't for reasons that don't make sense. If you were truly suffering a chemical imbalance, then perhaps a drug like lithium would help. But I seriously doubt you have a chemical imbalance and the drug you are taking does not treat that anyway. The reactions you see are from the drug, not the illness. Life is hard. Accept it. Embrace it. Savor the moments of goodness. Let the bad stuff pass through you. Read this and be glad for the life you have: http://jenniferlawler.com/wordpress/?p=747

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  11. My dear, everybody has to do what they have to do to have the best quality life they can have. I'm with you 100%.

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  12. Welcome to Crazy, you are in good company. I thank Jesus every day for psychotropic drugs...can you imagine the world without them??? No thanks :O)

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  13. Hi Wendy I am CJ and also a crazy person too. I have been on my Happy Pill for 20 years now. I understand the anxiety attacks only too well. I actually got to the point I was afraid to leave my home. Mine reared it's ugly head when I went into Menopause extremely early. So I not only have my crazy pill but also my "Sybil At The Switch" pill (estrogen). Husband came up with the name for the estrogen because I really was a "Mad Woman". I hate taking pills but I have come to realize that these keep me alive just like my insulin. Yes I'm still a Dotty ole Woman but I don't care anymore. I really believe that all the depression and anxiety woman have is just because we are women, let's face it it's hard to be all things to all people. Women are made to be just that, mothers, wives, problem solvers and the list goes on. Hang in there you are a great woman and you are not an addict. Let all the "Crazy Women" unite..think of the fun we could have.

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  14. Thank you for sharing this Wendy! You are such a brave woman. I have always been a practical, and suck it up kind of person. I understand about the postpartum, having been through similar. Years of taking care of things, problem solving, sucking up, have taken their toll on my body mentally and physically as well. I recently went to the ER for what I thought was a heart attack, but after many tests turns out is anxiety, and am now on medication for. In reply to Anonymous: I don't expect to be "happy" and have always considered myself content and able, but it is a scientific fact that chemical, nutritional, and hormonal imbalances can impact mental and physical well being! If this new medicine helps, I am one crazy woman who will stick with it! Blessings, Theresa

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  15. I'm right there with you. My teenager daughter asked me today why I don't just "get on that pill that Ms. SoandSo takes and stop getting so stressed out all the time." I can be a pretty happy-go-lucky person, I have a good sense of humor, and I'm very fortunate in life - I have a good job, few money woes, healthy family, nice home, etc. But there are times when I just get so depressed that I want to go away and lock myself in a hotel room and bury my head under the covers and not come out for days. It's gotten worse lately, but that may be due to my age...just turned 40.

    I enjoyed your post - very honest.

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  16. Ooops, typo. It's my teenage daughter, not teenager daughter.

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  17. I cannot thank you enough for being open about what many of us endure with anxiety/depression. It also runs in my family, and I, like you, don't know how previous generations survived without "the little red pill." I tell my own daughter each day, "Thank God we have these meds to help us function." You are awesome for saying what so many of us live with, and doing it with such honesty. I relate.

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  18. Wow, this is just about the saddest "Comment" section I have ever read. The comment about "how did previous generations do without the "happy pills"?" is very telling of our society circa 21st century. As a clinical psychologist I noticed the spike in requests for "happy pills" from college students in the mid 1990s. These were not young people with a physical/chemical imbalance but rather a low tolerance for stress or disappointment.....For those who have been tested and diagnosed with a chemical imbalance, then thank goodness for medication. But, for those who do not have a medical problem, but an emotional one, I would encourage them to seek other ways to deal with everyday stress. And, please do not call them "happy pills" in front of you children - for the obvious reasons.....Best of luck to you Wendy.

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  19. Mad Kudos to you for the courage and self confidence to share your demons. Shame on people for judging or feeling like their opinions are the gospel truth. Lord knows how many people will seek answers or ask for help because if Southern Accent Mama can be such a rockstar and need help then there;s no shame in asking for help myself. Keep on with your bad self. God bless you!

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  20. Stand proud. Crazy is the new normal.

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  21. you are awesome. mad props to you! love from blogland!

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  22. Thank you for sharing this with us. You rock! And, keep smilin'!

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  23. It's only been a couple of weeks since our journey began but we are so over the moon excited! I just wanted to drop in and invite you along for the ride - either you're a follower of my OTHER blog or just a sweet person I'd love to come along!

    Hopefully, the secrecy won't last long... www.DefinitelyMaybeBaby.com

    Much love, luck, and blessings!!

    The *Maybe* Baby Mama

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  24. Hi Wendy,
    Thanks for that post. Obviously this "happy pill" is what makes all your other posts possible. When I read you I see you as:
    - Super achiever
    - Wonderful mother
    - Great career
    - Stylish
    - Believer
    - Family person
    After reading today's post, I still see you as all the above, however you've just added the fact that you are only human.
    Thank-you, best wishes!
    Cheryl

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  25. I cannot wait to go back on my Adderall (I am a diagnosed Adult ADHD patient) after my pregnancy! Good for you girl for standing proud of who you are! :)

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  26. Thank you for sharing this with us!

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  27. I started taking Lexapro after my daughter was born. I know exactly what you're going through. I've was diagnosed with an axiety disorder when I was 20. I'm 35 now. I'm sure anonymous means well but NOBODY understands that hole you can't claw yourself out of unless you've been there. Visit me anytime if you need to talk. : )

    I'm another southern blogger.

    nikki

    thehousewifechronicles.net

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  28. This post has inspired me to start a blog to get my feeling of depression off my shoulders.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  29. I've been on Lexapro since I was 14 (I'm 21 now) and I can honestly say that it has helped me so much...I'll probably be on it for the rest of my life but, as long as it keeps me level-headed, I'm fine with that. Thank you for sharing...as you can see you are not alone!

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  30. God bless you, girl! Really, when you think about it, most of the great authors, poets, actors, artists, etc etc were all "crazy" so there's an up side.

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  31. I agree with both sides of this "debate". Granted there are some that are just overwhelmed with life and no this pill isn't going to "cure" anything. But I have witnessed from several family members that suffer from mental issues that for a lot of people its a lot more than that.

    The family member that I am dealing with has no reason no to be happy. There is no outside pressure or stress causing her anxiety and depression but it is there and without the medication she become paranoid and suicidal.

    It is real and its happening to more and more people everyday. There are different levels and therefore different needs for the "happy pills"

    Congratulations on accepting it as your life and for not being ashamed of your need for help.

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  32. About two months ago I started taking Lexapro for anxiety and until then I thought it was normal to ALWAYS have multiple things to worry about. I didn't feel a huge difference but my husband noticed that I'm definitely better. I like that it didn't totally change me, just allowed me to calmly & rationally deal with things. I, too, have been ashamed to talk about it but it's nice to know I'm not the only one out there dealing with it.

    Thanks for putting it out there and giving everyone a chance to feel the support we need :-)

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  33. As one of the family members that suffers from crazy too I appreciate your openness! When I am depressed and crazy I just want to be left alone.

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  34. Well said! Thanks for your honesty. I too have been on and off and currently on the 'happy pills.'
    I always say that the real Crazies don't know they are! LOL

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  35. You are amazing and inspiring. Thank you for being so honest with your readers. It absolutely breaks my heart to read some of the negative comments on this post. What in the world? I just don't get it... I think you should hold your head high.

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  36. I'm a crazy person too Wendy! And you are also creative and beautiful and funny and an amazing wife and mother and imaginative and just like Wendy from Peter Pan - you can fly!
    Holley B. (weezie's mom!)

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I love to hear what you all think! Thanks for visiting and let me know you were here!