Earlier this year when I first started to blog about my experience with depression, a friend reached out to me. She was sick and I could tell. She had sought counseling and while it was helping, it wasn’t completely fixing the problem. I encouraged her to talk with her OB about medication the next time she went in for a checkup. She explained to me that her husband was not on board with drug therapy because she was pregnant. I didn’t go into detail, but explained that I had taken antidepressants when I was pregnant with Patton and he was fine.
While I tried to gently encourage her to at least be honest with her doctor, my mind rushed back to the time I was first diagnosed and treated for depression. I was about 6 months pregnant with my second child and my then husband was openly having an affair. To say I was depressed was a complete understatement. After being pressed by a concerned friend, I made an appointment with my midwife to talk about how I was feeling. She acted as if she heard this all the time and simply wrote me a script for Zoloft, explaining it was completely safe for my baby. I filled the prescription and went home.
But I didn’t take the medication. I could not wrap my mind around how this tiny half a pill was going to change my station in life. It just didn’t make sense that this little anecdote would help me find the strength to get out of bed every day or to have the desire to play with my three year old. So I waited. I waited and waited until one day, I found myself with a razor blade in one hand and the phone on the edge of the tub as I tried to convince myself that if I picked up the phone quickly enough after making the cut, they would be able to get here quickly enough to save my baby. And in that moment, I truly thought my children would be better off without me and my obvious issues in their life.
Instead, I picked up the phone and called my friend who had encouraged me to seek help in the first place. She rushed over, burst into my bathroom and held me as I sobbed. When I finally calmed down, she walked over to the medicine cabinet, handed me a pill and a glass of water. She told me that her first instinct was to take me to the Emergency Room, but as a mom, she knew leaving my child would be the worst thing for me. She explained that she would be checking up on me regularly, making sure I was taking my medication and the next time she felt I was in danger, she would not hesitate to have me admitted. She then sat with me until I fell asleep and called regularly to check up on me over the next few days.
Over the next few days, the fog began to lift from my brain. Things became clearer to me & I couldn’t even remember what on earth had made me feel that my children would have ever been better off without me, because I knew that was simply not true.
After reliving those days in my mind, I became angry with her husband & posed a question. I asked, “If you had diabetes and your doctor prescribed insulin, would he ask you not to take it? Would he assume that if you just tried harder, you could overcome it?” She said without hesitation that he would certainly want her to get the help she needed.
Then why oh why was this situation any different? It isn’t.
So why do so many people feel justified in telling someone with depression or anxiety to just “stop”? Leaving us to feel that if we just tried harder we wouldn’t feel the way we do. Don’t they realize we want that more than anything? No one wants to be reliant on medication in order to live a normal life.
So, I am going to ask for something from you. Stop standing in the way of those seeking help. Stop posting on Facebook about how you don’t believe in the use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), the most commonly prescribed form of antidepressant. Please don’t be yet another hurdle in someone’s path to seeking help. Be part of the solution, not another part of the world that has made us feel inadequate to begin with.
~Tonyia Doyle is a Navy Spouse, mom to 2 handsome sons, and back with another round in her blog series, Tonyia: My Real Life. She continues to blog as a way of talking about her own struggles with depression and other mental health issues. Through therapy and medication, she is working towards her own healing and has chosen to again share her real life with MSoS readers in hopes of raising mental health awareness. Please join her over the next six weeks as she shares her continuing journey.