I’m 40 years old, a Prairie guy born and raised. We’re tough out here. We’re a beer drinking, hockey watching, Roughrider loving folk. We’re also about 40 years behind how we deal with folks like me who have both physical disabilities (I was born with Spina Biffida) and this black cloud called mental illness.
It was June 2008. A few days before my cousin’s wedding. My anxiety was so bad I could barely speak clearly (which still happens to this day, on rare occasions). I went to the doc and he prescribed a common antidepressant, which made the situation worse. I lasted for about ten days on it, if that.
I then stopped it cold turkey – figuring I’d throw myself into work and friends and I’d be okay. Unfortunately, as anyone who’s ever started and stopped antidepressants will tell you, it was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made (and one which I would repeat several times. I’m kind of an idiot when it comes to figuring out what I can and can’t do sometimes. Heh…)
Fast forward to late October 2008. Sitting in the same doctor’s office, he finally gave me a formal, proper, depression and anxiety test, which he didn’t do in June. GAD. Clinical Depression. FINALLY a diagnosis.
Where am I now, sitting here as of early February 2017? Back on the same medication that sounds like something you’d find on a drum kit since May of last year. On the advice of a psychiatrist (who I began seeing in December) he had me up the dose to a level that I didn’t think I needed. As it turns out, I did. I was also enrolled in a four week intensive mental health rehab course in December and January, and I’m now back working full weeks for the first time in years.
To be offered the opportunity to write like this is an amazing blessing for me. When I woke up this morning, I was probably about a 2 on the SickTer Scale. Now? Easily a 7. The “voice of depression” is silent. It’s a sunny, crisp, prairie morning.