Depression and Clarity

English: Silhouette of cranes and buildings, B...

Beijing, China. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Three months ago, I realized my hearing had suddenly gotten worse. I had to keep the TV at a higher volume, and my husband needed to repeat everything he said, which annoyed both of us. After visiting a specialist, it was decided my ears were fine. But I knew something was wrong since my hearing had decreased so suddenly, so I turned to the internet and found the cause was probably my new antidepressants.

At that time, my next appointment with my doctor was only a month away, so I didn’t want to go through hassle of trying to go in sooner. But I didn’t want to deal with hearing loss anymore since I thought I knew the cause. So, I did what everyone knows not to do, and I started to cut my dosage.

I’ve been taking antidepressants for three years, and because it’s been a year since I got away from my bad home situation and because I’ve felt fine, I’ve been wondering lately if I need antidepressants anymore. I cut up my pills, and for a week or two, I took 75% of my prescribed dosage. I left fine, so then I started on 50%. On Day 2 of 50%, I felt Bad. The depressed kind of Bad. It was a familiar feeling, one I’d forgotten. It was like pulling on an old sweater not worn since the previous winter.

The day I felt Bad, I was sad about things that had been troubling me, but I could push them away with my normal dosage. I didn’t feel all was hopeless like I sometimes did before I began antidepressants. Instead, I felt able to be more honest with myself about what I want and what I’m unhappy about. It was like I was able to see so clearly, like everything had a harder edge and a deepness to them. I felt like I could clearly see the changes needed to make myself happier and how to follow a path I want to take. It’s like the meds blind me and make me content with where I am and what I have, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but is it true to who I am? Is it better to be medicated and stable, or is it better to feel everything without interference from medication? For many, the answer is very obviously and decidedly the former, but now I’m not so sure.

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far it is possible to go. – T.S. Eliot

But with only 50% of my dosage, I wasn’t able to interact with my husband the way I usually do, and he became worried. Being married, now I’m responsible for another person’s well-being. I don’t want my choices to negatively affect my husband. And without my meds, I risk falling too far into depression to be able to climb back out again. So, I’ve been taking my prescribed dosage since the Bad day. My doctor appointment is tomorrow, and I will ask him to switch me back to my old antidepressants, which will hopefully let my hearing come back.

But the chance to feel the same clarity will still be in the back of my mind. I wonder what I’m missing by being clinically happy. And it’s scary how dependent I am on a pill to keep me safe.

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