Let's backtrack to November-December, some of the most miserable months of my life. Despite the great progress I made in the year of 2012 as a whole, my suicidal thoughts got so out of control that I had a few close calls. I guess the better the good, the worse the bad? I don't like the idea of possibly ruining this photo for anyone, or also possibly coming off like a huge drama queen...but again..honesty. So let's talk about this picture.
These trees are taken from the front window of an apartment. They were taken two days before this incident and never fail to remind me of it when I see them. I was staying with a friend in December, in Sweden. It was before Christmas, and I had my usual pre-Christmas anxiety and feelings of dread and worthlessness and all those great things that happen to people with mental disorders and dysfunctional families at Christmas. My friend knew about my depression, and even suicide attempts, and was very supportive.
But my friend also had a job, and was at work, and also happened to live seven stories up in an apartment with a balcony. I don't know what made this day different, just like I don't know what makes any day different, but I sat on the couch in the morning crying for several hours. I tried to shake how I felt, I remember watching a few episodes of something pointless that I ended up not even noticing on tv. I didn't have the energy or willpower to motivate myself down the elevator and onto the subway and into town. I was a sad, depressed mess, and I decided to jump off the balcony.
I have been taking sertraline aka Zoloft since May of 2012. I've talked numerous times about how it's helped me, and changed my life--and I still maintain this, but I've also known that dependency on an SSRI is dangerous in a lot of ways and not something I want for myself long-term. I had plans to stop taking the pills when springtime came, but today I realized I haven't taken them for over a week now. While I have experienced some dizziness (a common withdrawal symptom) I feel pretty content and even in my mood, so I made the decision today once I realized I'd stopped taking my medicine, to continue without them. This was liberating
Reddit has a "suicide watch" subreddit where users can go and post if they need help with suicidal thoughts, and other members can reply to their rants/stories and offer support. It's kind of like a suicide hotline in text/forum format, and though I've never posted there for help, I decided to go in and do some support volunteering tonight because it's important to me to help others who deal with this mental disorder as well. I read story after story of people who were in the same mindset as I was that day on the cold glass-encased balcony with my nosebleed and poor problem-solving skills. I did manage to post a few replies to people, but I ended up getting overwhelmed by everything, and I left to collect myself.
Before I did though, I noticed a website someone had posted. Unfortunately I can't post that site here because I have long since closed all those windows, but anyway, it highlighted several popular antidepressants and their characteristics. I was curious and looked for sertraline...and saw something that made me feel like even more of a moron than not being able to open a glass door. When I was in the doctor's office being prescribed Zoloft, she told me this as well: Zoloft has the potential to increase suicidal thoughts with depressed patients. Jesus fucking Christ!!!! No WONDER I wanted to cast myself into oblivion every ten minutes. Once I read that statement on the website I sat there and facepalmed for the rest of the day. It makes sense now....while I still stand by the fact that Zoloft did give me a new life and the ability to wake up and feel halfway normal, it also really ended up negatively impacting my depression in the end. It's easy for a doctor or a website to say "oh and if you feel suicidal remember it's just the medicine! And call me!" Very easy to say. Not easy for someone who is convinced they need to end their life, to ....well...NOT do that. You could say depressed people get a little bit of tunnel vision.
Anyway, the point of this rant was two things: one, it's very important for me to get that experience out in the air. Delving into Reddit's Suicide Watch made me realize that I am holding onto that morning on the balcony and I need to stop internalizing it. So here it is, blog world, my lowest point of 2012. And two, I have a medical, proven, documented reason for my darker mindset toward the end of the year. On the BOTTLE, Zoloft says HEY THIS MAY CAUSE YOU TO WANT TO DIE. Why did I not pay attention? I'll tell you why, because dammit Jim I'm a writer, not a doctor.
But I found a great Lana Del Rey song tonight that, knowing her, is about a failed relationship, but I really liked the lyrics and thought they fit the mindset of someone with depression/suicidal thoughts. I put the chorus on the photo, because it is a reminder to me of that moment I