I read several blogs and articles about how antidepressants are supposed to make you feel when they work. Many of them stated that they don’t change your personality, they make you be the person you were before you were depressed. That really got me thinking about who I am without depression because the truth is I don’t know.
At 14, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. Since then it’s always been a persistent thing in my life. On and off for over a decade, I tried many antidepressants. None of them helped. Instead they made me feel numb, like I was in a mental fog or no change at all.
For the last decade I’ve been on an antidepressant that works. It’s not perfect. I still get sad sometimes, but I barely feel the need to cry anymore. My thoughts don’t race all the time. It’s easier to fall asleep at night and get out of bed in the morning. The pervasive feeling of tiredness like life is wearing me down is gone. Those things are huge improvements! My life is so much easier. Most of the time, I feel okay.
The other day a relative told me that they think I need a new antidepressant because I’m still too sad.
I spent the whole day ruminating on that and looking up antidepressants online. When I read the thing about being the person you were before, I realized I had no idea who exactly that would be. Depression and anxiety skewed my path in life before I developed into an adult, so I’ll never really know who I could have been.
Really thinking about this is confusing because I can’t decide if the way I am right now is the real me or if the real me is hidden beneath depression. I was deeply depressed for so long that the way I feel now is what I think normal should be. Then again I never really knew what normal was, so I don’t have a baseline to work with.
The thing is who I could have been is irrelevant. Being depression free isn’t in the cards I was dealt. Antidepressants help. They help a lot, but they’re not happy pills. They can’t make something that isn’t there appear. It does make me sad to think if things had gone differently maybe I never would have been depressed. I wish I knew who that person would have been, but in the end it doesn’t matter. It didn’t happen, and what’s happened can’t be changed. I’m not saying there isn’t room for improvement because there always is, but I am who I am. For my entire life, I have always been quiet, serious, and not very social. I still am those things, so maybe this is way I was meant to be. All I do know is that constantly searching for happiness leads to hopelessness and playing the what if game does more harm than good (if you’re like me and overthink everything to death).
Anyway I hope this makes sense. I’d love to hear any thoughts you have on this topic.