Being Brave with Depression
July 15th, 2008
Floating Over the Circus marker and ink on watercolor paper, 9"x12"
I've been feeling a bit quiet and tender around the edges this week so far. One thing that really helped brighten my mood was getting out the door and taking a long walk. I brought some things I needed to mail and a bag to get some groceries in and walked a couple miles into town. All the beautiful flowers along the way filled me up. And I need to be especially true to self-care right now as I'm on a journey that fits right in with my Be Brave theme of the month.
I wondered about whether or not to write about this here. It's a personal subject and can be a touchy one. I've talked about my experiences with depression here before. I think a lot of creative folks struggle with it, perhaps we're more sensitive and therefore more vulnerable to dark moods. 1 in 5 women in the U.S. is on anti-depressants, so I know I'm hardly alone. And while I'm not feeling like discussing my history with depression at the moment, I do want to say that I'm currently trying (with the assistance of a doctor) to slowly come off my anti-depressants. The first month of this process (that may take 6 months or more to complete) went amazingly well. I didn't feel a difference at all, in fact I felt better than usual. I'm now in the second month and I've felt the dip. I know I'll rebound though. It's sort of the feeling of when you jump into water. You dip down a bit before coming back to the surface.
I know that there will probably be some withdrawal symptoms involved in the future. Anyone who has done any reading about or had experience with coming off anti-depressants knows that the withdrawal can be harsh. However, I feel like I'm in a place in my life where I'd like to approach depression from a different angle and it feels like now is the time to go for it. Plus, I feel like I have a great doctor to work with who will help me do this safely and smartly. I'm not anti-medication by any means. I've been on some sort of anti-depressant for nearly 7 years and I would never judge anyone's choice to be on or off medication. Whatever keeps you healthy and safe is the way to go. And I'm not positive that I'll be able to come off anti-depressants completely, but I do want to try. If I can't do it safely, that's o.k. too. There are many reasons for making this decision and perhaps I'll go into that more later, but I felt like I wanted to share where I'm at at the moment as it is a big part of what's going on for me currently. Part of my brave action today is writing about this here.
I'm a bit behind on email, but if I owe you one, I'll get to it soon, promise! Tomorrow is a day for returning emails and errands and hopefully some art and then Thursday is my birthday and I plan to do whatever I feel like. Hehe. Friday, I'm planning to meet my mom for a pedicure and a movie and then drive up to Artstream for Lisa Solomon and Lisa Congdon's art opening. I feel totally introverted at art openings, but it should be fun, inspiring, and hopefully I'll see some familiar faces!