Today is the day I’ve been waiting for, for a very long time. Today is the day I worried would never come. Today is the day I’ve taken my last pill of Zoloft.
I’ve dealt with depression for over two years now. I had been sick for much longer, but either didn’t realize it, or didn’t want to face the reality. After a long string of increasingly harder depressive episodes, and with my boyfriend’s support, I’ve decided to seek help.
I’ve started the treatment back in November of 2015. I remember the day very clearly. I woke up indifferent, resigned, and tired. Something that passed as normal in my life back then. I went to a psychiatrist feeling like it was pointless, thinking that only weak people needed to talk to a mental health doctor.
The visit itself didn’t feel groundbreaking. Just me, talking about how miserable I was. After I was done, the doctor described my illness as major depressive disorder.
Frankly, I was quite indifferent to it all. I just wanted all that bad stuff to go away. If it was supposed to be pills, so be it. I was prescribed Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor aka Sertraline. I started taking it that day. I was told that the recovery wouldn’t be quick, it would take minimum of 6 months, but more likely, years.
Six months passed and I wasn’t cured. I’ve started to feel some stability, though. There were days where I wouldn’t get out of bed for hours, unmotivated, the old normal. But the deep suicidal dives stopped.
I had my ups and downs. I’ve finished my thesis, I’ve found a job. One day everything was ok, but the next one I was suddenly sad and didn’t eat for the whole day.
But I was alive. I wasn’t giving up. I was constantly reminded of my dead cousin. She didn’t make it as she commited a suicide few months before I started the treatment. In some ways, she was one of the reasons why I started figuring out my issues. I still felt like I had people and dreams to live for. I knew that. But the recovery wasn't really visible, I didn’t really feel that different. It was hard.
I wasn’t feeling much better. But I didn’t get worse, either. I didn’t cry so often anymore. I was getting up everyday. I wasn’t necessairly happy, but the last time I was truly happy was so long ago, I didn’t really remember how that felt, so I just figured that’s how life feels. Just kind of… “meh”.
So I started reducing my dose, with the intention to quit treatment. See, one can’t just stop taking antidepressants cold turkey. You have to gradually lower the dose. Then it all collapsed again. I’ve immediately went back to full-dose treatment, feeling like I’d have to keep taking those pills for the rest of my life.
Days passed and… I felt better. I don’t know exactly when I fully recovered from the disease. It was a process. A long process. But one day I woke up and I noticed that the sky was no longer gray. It was blue. I finally started feeling well.
It’s October 2017 and I’ve just took my last pill, after gradually commig off of the treatment for the last six months. And I’ve never been happier!
I wanted to share my story to show that curing depression is possible.
What’s more, I think the disease changes you. I am not the same person I was before. I am better. I don’t worry about irrelevant things anymore. I’m not anxious. I feel comfortable around strangers. I appreciate every minute of my life. I’m glad I’m alive. I’m truly happy.
One thing you have to understand is that depression is a disease based in human’s body chemistry, and with psychological and social implications. It’s not a weakness that somebody should get over.
There could be people around you that suffer from depression and you might not realize that. It’s not always obvious and visible. The illness itself makes you reclusive and it can be almost impossible for a person to seek help directly.
I certainly didn’t. Only a few people knew about my disease. And many sick people are afraid to admit that they’re actually sick. That’s because there’s still stigma around depression, and some don’t consider it thoughtfully. It’s not like heart disease or cancer.