I have always had social anxiety and typically see the glass as half empty. But when I was nineteen, depression hit me with an almost crippling force. I couldn’t see my way. The world was lost to my internal darkness. I didn’t want to live anymore. At night I cried and cried. Mornings I woke up wishing I was dead.
I thought the cause was due to my circumstances. At the time I was dating a mildly abusive, jobless guy. I broke up with him. The feelings didn’t go away. I tried dating two other guys in quick succession. No improvement. I couldn’t cope.
What is Depression?
Through research I came to understand that depression is when the chemistry in the brain is off. Depression is caused by real chemistry in the physical body and the physical brain. Depression is not an emotional disorder. Depression is a physical brain chemistry problem.
My mom took me to see a doctor. I got medication. Zoloft. The Zoloft helped me almost immediately. I didn’t feel so desperately bereft. But Zoloft flatlined me emotionally so that I didn’t feel much happiness either. I didn’t dream and I couldn’t write anymore. It wasn’t doing a perfect job at fixing my brain/body chemistry issues but it was certainly better than nothing so I stuck with it.
Time passed. I got married, finished University and started working. Then I got a different doctor. We talked about anti-depressant medication. He explained that there were many different types and I could try some others to see if something else would work better for me. I tried medications one at a time to see what would work better – Effexor, Paxil, Celexa, and Serzone. Serzone worked the best of everything I tried. I could even write while I was taking it! So I was on that for quite some time.
Then I got pregnant. I was scared of getting depressed again but I went off the medication to protect the baby. My doctor said it was fine to continue with the medication but my research showed that not enough studies had been done to see if the medication was really safe for the baby. Surprisingly, I was mostly fine while pregnant. After the baby was born, the depression didn’t come back.
Then I weaned the baby. Whoosh! It was crazy. The depression was back with a fury. I was scared of what I might do. I felt I couldn’t control myself. Unfortunately, Serzone had been taken off the market due to the fact that it caused liver damage in some people. I was devastated.
I took vitamin B, folic acid and the herbal supplement 5HTP. I jumped on my trampoline. It helped but not enough.
It occurred to me that while I was pregnant and nursing I wasn’t depressed. Maybe hormones would help me. I clung to that hope as I went to the doctor to get a prescription for the pill. The pill totally worked for me to stabilize my emotions so I was able to cope with life again. I continued on the pill for eight years.
Then I got blood clots in my lungs and the doctors told my I had to stop taking the pill. That was six months ago. It was a very hard time, trying to cope with my crazy emotions again. I started making sure I took vitamin B and folic acid every day. Sadly, 5HTP stopped working for me. Jumping on my trampoline had always made me feel better. However, just prior to the blood clots I damaged my knee quite badly so that jumping was out of the question. My emotions were taking a nose-dive and I knew I needed to do something. I found another way to bounce. The Bounce Back Fitness Chair. Don’t laugh; it feels seriously awesome and I use it every day!
So, that’s my story. I researched my condition and then fought the physical causes of depression using anti-depressant medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, hormone therapy and bouncing. As my situation changed over time, I changed my approach to continue to fight the physical cause of the depression. I went from wishing I was dead every morning to now, when it is rather infrequent. I used to have no hope for happiness in this life. And now I have happiness most days. I never thought I’d be able to feel this way. I was able to change my brain chemistry. You can too.
Perhaps you’ve tried medication and most of the other options listed but still struggle with severe depression. Depression is not necessarily only a physical condition. This is really only half my story. Depression can also have spiritual causes or complications. I also fought my depression on a spiritual plane. I believe that my spiritual battles have given me an even greater freedom from depression and I am so thankful that God has helped me learn how to fight depression spiritually.