Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Visit with the Enemy (Part I)

I read on the bottle that one of the side effects was depression. I remember laughing, chuckling to myself, and thinking, That’s for the sad people; it’s not for me.

Then I remember thinking, it’s just ten days. In ten days I’ll be healed of this infection. This drug can’t possibly have any sway over me in that short period of time. It just didn’t seem logical to me, a fiercely logical woman, that years of a strong, healthy lifestyle could be undone in a week and a half of prescription medication.

There’s no way.

But then the investigator in me decided to do a little research on the drug (which shall remain nameless to protect the drug companies) around the web, and what I found was disturbing to say the least.

People called it “poison.” And every type of ailment or reaction I could conjure up in my hypochondriac-of-a-mind was spilling across the computer screen as I scrolled further and further down the page. One person after another explained the physical pain that came to live in their otherwise healthy body and joints. Others meticulously described a tailspin into depression. The most disturbing parts were the accounts that exposed the long-term effects of the drug. Even AFTER getting off this medication, people still experienced the devastating effects of physical aches and depression.

It was only day two, and I was determined, despite the mounting evidence, to stay optimistic...

Well, on day three, the little researcher in me was at it again, and this time I was determined to find out how I could decrease the chances of having these ill side effects. I wanted to be the model patient. So I started digging. And sure enough, I found a laundry list of “do nots.”

First it was “Don’t drink any caffeine because you won’t be able to process it.” Then it was “Don’t have any dairy products because it will induce nausea.” Then it was “Restrain from any physical activity to avoid damage to the tendons and joints.” And following those edicts were “Don’t take pain relievers. Don’t take supplements. Don’t go in the sun.”

So in one fell swoop, I was forced to relinquish everything that made me… well, ME.

I couldn’t garden. I couldn’t revel in my morning cup of joe. No yoga. No exercise. No bike rides. No going to the beach, swimming at the pool, or reading in the sun. No daily vitamins or supplements… "No, no, no," was I could hear.

Despite my efforts, by day five I was dragging and aching all over my body. My joints were stiff and popping. I had never felt this type of aching lethargy before. Lucky me; I was in that minute “1%” of patients that would react in such a way.

And by day six, I was depressed. Yes, I said it... Depressed! I couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed. I kept my blinds drawn. For fear of what, I do not know. I couldn’t bring myself to see my friends, so I canceled plans with lame excuses. What was I going to say to them? “I’m sorry, but I am really depressed right now”? That wasn’t going to happen.

And then the lack of control set in. For no reason, I felt like I could cry, and I did. For what exactly, I didn’t really know. When I looked in the mirror, I saw a grayish, drawn girl that resembled me, but she wasn't me. My poor husband looked at me as if someone had come along and sucked his wife right out of her body during the night. Even when he was home from work, I still just wanted to be alone.

And in all of this alone time, I started thinking about the warning on that darn bottle again. Here I was, thinking just eight days before, that this warning about depression was just for the sad people. But now it all made perfect sense. In ten day’s time, when someone is stripped of all the healthy things that make them vibrant, and that lifestyle is replaced with a man-made prescription drug, of course the side effects are going to be depressing. Of course we aren’t going to have an overall sense of wellbeing.

I wasn't different from anyone else. Depression was knocking at my door. He was settling in at my kitchenette. He was resting on my pillow.

In just ten days, he was making himself quite at home. And he was starting to undo me...

But trust me, I am determined that this is just a visit. I am outing him now; I'm opening the blinds and letting the sun in. My bout with this nuisance will go down in my history book as a personal victory. Because unlike so many sufferers, my ten days are over today. The foreigner will be out of my body and out of my house in 24 hours. And to be SURE of this, I have a plan to heal myself…

I have a very good plan indeed…


A Personal Note:

I decided to share this very personal story about myself for a few reason.

First, I share this story with you on the tale-end of our “Journey from Darkness to Light” series. It was perfect timing that my good friend Nihcole shared her three part series. And from the reactions and the discussions on our Facebook community, I know it’s touched more people than just me. So thank you to Nihcole and our readers for giving me the courage to share this.

Also, in sharing this, I hope everyone sees how easy it is to become depressed, and that if they are depressed, that they are not alone. There are so many people who love you and there are so many natural tools, as Nihcole shared, that can lift you up out of your depression.

And finally, I wanted everyone to understand why I am doing what I am going to do next. I have a plan to get myself back on track, and I’d like to share that journey with you all, and I thought it would be strange to share the journey without sharing the origins of its inception.

So please stay tuned…


  1. I think you should be very proud of yourself for having the good sense to do your own research on what you were taking and do everything in your power to combat the side effects. Too many times patients just get a prescription filled with no knowledge of what could happen. Congratulations you did good and I can't wait to see what you are going to do next!!

  2. Thank you for your uplifting words of support. Knowledge is power... and it can set you free. I am really looking forward to getting back to my old self over the coming weeks.


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