Are You Ready To Be Happy?
As it turns out, I am apparently not ready to be happy. A couple weeks ago I was sitting in my doctor's office having another crying jag, complaining I had lost my bounce, didn't feel I had any resilience left. We had a 10 minute appointment, so in all fairness to him, it wasn't like I could get into any great detail about the fact that my husband was made redundant 11 months ago, I am the "IT' gal in every sense of the word, financial worries are pressing like a 10,000 pound weight on my throat, my work is stressful and I had too much on my plate, I was recently hospitalized with a heart scare and complications of my thyroid disease, and final kickers, my 16 year old daughter decided to turn a one month holiday into estrangement, and with the support of other family members, create what is sure to be, one more family 'disaster'.
In absence of listening to that long litany of 'factors' - what my doctor did do was write me a prescription ... for Celexa, an anti-depressant. Not sleeping? Not hungry? Can't concentrate? Crying all the time? Here's a pill. I was still crying when he handed the prescription to me, and even though I knew I wouldn't 'cash the cheque' I took it anyway. When I got into the car with my husband, I told him about the prescription and we looked at each other for a few moments and went ... nahhhhh.
Before I launch into a ditribe about the over prescribing of anti-depressants, especially to women - I preface this by saying, I have nothing against anti-depressants. They help many people, who truly need them and for whom, without them, quality of life would be significantly compromised. There are times when anti-depressants are the 'right' answer, but for me, this is not one of those times. I could not help but wonder, why my dr didn't spend even one minute discussing proven anti-drug alternatives such as exercise, counseling, nutritional therapies, or meditation to support my obvious emotional distress, rather than scribbling a prescription for an antidepressant? A rightly cynical friend pointed out that dr's do not recieve 'kickbacks' for counseling referrals but they do for issuing prescriptions. I don't know if that was my dr's motivation, but point well made.
So, I asked myself, if I were to pull 100 people off the street who were going through the same things I was, how many of them would be crying in their dr's offices (or the super market, the car, the shower, and bedroom)? I am pretty sure the most of them would be faring about the same as I am. This means how I am feeling is not a result of some 'biochemical imbalance' in my brain. It means the problem is situational, and I need to find some ways to change the situations so I can feel better.
After some quick research on the internet about my prescription I realized, taking a pill whilst everything continues the same way isn't going to make me happier, just numb-er, with the risk of a whole bunch of side effects I really don't need at this point in time; abdominal pain, agitation, anxiety, diarrhea, drowsiness, dry mouth, fatigue, impotence, indigestion, insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea, painful menstruation, respiratory tract infection, sinus or nasal inflammation, sweating, tremor, vomiting etc.
Now I'm sorry, but I have enough going on, without risking any of those problems!
I feel for my dr, who is a pretty good guy. He did take some aggressive steps around my thyroid disease and heart scare and obviously he can't write me a prescription for:
- job for husband
- money to get out of rising debt
- a personal life assistant to pick up some of my slack
- a cure for my thyroid disease
- a reduction of my work stress
- a fix for an estranged family
- or returning my 16 year old daughter, home, where she belongs
He did what he could do. He wrote a prescription for an antidepressant, advised me to take two weeks off work and let my upgraded thyroid medication kick in.
I have a supportive boss and a great team and I took those two weeks off. I also chose to sit in the sun a bit, listen to relaxing music, meditate a little, and breathe. I have followed his advice, other than the antidepressant part, and guess what? I am feeling a bit better. Nothing has changed significantly, but I feel more rested, and almost ready to tackle some more life changes which will support me to better manage what is undoubtedly, a really stressful time.
There is an added bonus for me, in my situation, that has come by not traveling down the antidepressant road. I feel stronger, more capable, more resilient and convinced that I can make choices that will support me to feel better. Choices that don't involve medication and side effects.
Maybe I am ready to feel better after all.