Teach Me How To Feel
Abby Norman

Thank you for this article. Like the other commenters I too have my own unique antidepressant narrative, with parts shared by many. 2004 was my first round, when I just couldn’t get out of bed. And I’ve been on and off and on since then.

Your comments about not feeling anything reminded me of that time when a new doctor decided to stray from the known (wellbutrin) and try something different (zoloft). I too experienced the same exact lack of emotional response that you talk about, and it was scary. During my life I have realized that the best way for me to understand is to make my own visualization. I thought that sharing might help.

My antidepressant story’s underlying theme is anxiety and being overwhelmed. Too much information flowing in for my brain to handle and process. Wellbutrin became what I refer to as my gatekeeper, creating a buffer between me and the world. Slowing down the information as it came in so that I could process it in a more effective way. (Kind of like putting a youtube video at .5x while watching a tutorial so you can actually get all the information). It helps the brain to heal, to fix those synaptic connections.

The Zoloft was exactly the same thing except that the buffer was waaaay too far away. Like I was in the basement and the doorbell was ringing. The information got through the door but it first had to stop and change shoes and sweater (ala Mr. Rodgers). Maybe go to the bathroom, get a snack and then it would eventually find me in the basement. By then it wasn’t really information anymore, and the emotional response was not elicited.

So, for me the drugs didn’t fix me, they helped me to fix me. But finding the right balance of too much, not enough and just right (Goldilocks and the Three Bears?) was important.