Little Blue Pill Blues

(NOT A POEM)

I’ve struggled a lot with how I felt about taking anti-depressants. There is no doubt in my mind that they work – and they help and safe millions every year. They are incredibly important and without them, I can’t say whether or not I’d be here today.
I started taking them when I was about fourteen, and I stopped when I was around sixteen/seventeen.  As I’ve stated before, I stopped taking them because I didn’t feel like they were necessary anymore, as my depression had weaned away quite a bit and didn’t feel like such a constant presence to warrant taking them everyday. I didn’t want to take pills that changed how I thought and how I felt – once I felt like I was stable, I simply wanted to be me with all the feelings that came with it, even if it meant the occasional spell of depression.

I didn’t want to be defined by my pills. I didn’t want to be that person that took anti-depressants – stupid or not, as that may be. I know there are people out there with depression and bipolar disorder like myself that simply can’t function without medication – and that’s just fine. That is completely understandable, and I feel incredibly lucky that despite having this mental illness, I was able to ever be stable enough not to take them.
And I didn’t want to have to take them forever. I wanted to be able to utilize them for a time, bring myself together, and move forward. And I did, for a time, as I got better.

But as I stated before, the depression came back, and it hit hard.
It took a long time before I even thought about getting back on my medication. I waited for weeks for the illness to go away – I tried doing things that made me happy, I accomplished things that I had waited for years to do, I lived round the clock with the love of my life – but a lot of the time, when it cuts this deep, there really isn’t anything that can be done to temper the effects. And it’s difficult, for yourself and the people around you that maybe can’t understand what it’s like, and expect you to be a certain way and aren’t sure how to take it when you aren’t.
And when it affects so many aspects in your life, you have to really sit back and consider what would be best – and that’s what I did.

I could,

A) Try and wait for the depression to go and hope for the best
B) Get back on my medication and do something about it
C) Wait until it completely engulfed me and something even worse happened

With that hand of cards and no end in sight, I knew that something had to be done, and after a great deal of time thinking and considering, I went to my doctor and was given a new prescription of a medication that I’ve had a long history with, Zoloft.
It was the first medication I started taking way back when. Young, angsty me even wrote a poem about it called ‘Zoey’ when I was fifteen or sixteen.

I don’t like that I have to take them, but I understand that I need them. There are somethings that can’t be solved with fresh air and meditation – somethings that can’t even be solved with love, attention, and care.
Sometimes you need the extra help, and I certainly do. It’s not anyone’s fault that I can’t produce happiness the way other brains do, but it’s my responsibility to myself and the people I care about to make sure that I do what I can to make myself better.

At this point in time, I’ve been taking them for under a week. There’s no signs yet of whether or not it’s going to help, though I already feel a little better knowing that I have them. Anti-depressants usually take four to six weeks to kick in to full capacity, so I suppose we’ll see where I’m at at that point in time – and hopefully there’s nothing but good to look forward to, with any luck.

Hope the last few months of 2017 are treating anyone that reads this well.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

– Brandon, 5:31 PM

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I Don’t Know Why I’m Sad

(NOT A POEM)

If has not been made obvious yet, either through the content and themes of my poetry or the few and scattered journal-like posts, I have depression.

I’ve dealt with serious depression since I was roughly fourteen years old. I remember vividly being younger than that – perhaps around ten – and writing in my journal something along the lines of :

“I feel sad a lot for some reason. I feel depressed – not the medical kind, but I don’t feel too happy.”

Little did young me know that it was, what I had called, the ‘medical kind’ of depression. Inherited through my mother’s side, it kicked in hard when I was in my early teens and I started taking medication. My depression was a very key factor in my growing up and a factor in my personality, for better or worse. I started writing poetry and short stories as catharsis for my many sad thoughts, my lack of a social or love life, and just the constant feeling of being alone. It helped me feel better. It helped me feel like I wasn’t alone, even though I was just reading my own writing.

When I reached seventeen or so, I stopped taking my medication. I had reached a point where my depression was no long a constant roommate – always looming and poking at me and being an active part of my life. It had been relegated to a recurring character in the story of my life, hitting me in small bouts every so often through out the year, and kicking in with my Seasonal Affective Disorder in the second half of the year. But it was no longer a big part of me – and being able to function and be me without the medication was a worthwhile trade.

I was okay. Maybe not happy, because I have only felt truly happy a few times in my life – but content. And okay.

And it stayed like that for a while. About two and a half, three years. I even stopped writing poetry, for the most part. I was a changed person, and I mostly embraced it – sometimes I would worry that my depression was too much a part of me, and that something was missing in my life without it.
But ultimately, I knew that that was a ridiculous notion and I continued moving forward – and mostly had a great deal of fond memories wrapped around it. I was in the first serious relationship of my life, I had entered theatre in my junior year of high school and after trying a handful of various activities I finally felt like I found the place I belonged – I had friends. I had people who liked me. I was as happy as I felt like I could’ve been, and I didn’t want to let it go.

That’s why I ended my first relationshjp – because I felt that as I was attempting to rise above the confines of my depression that I had let define me for so long and finally become someone new in of myself, the woman I was with refused to do the same. I felt that she wanted to stay depressed and I felt like she was pulling me down with me – so I ended it after nearly two years, and I went back into my life with confidence and by god… I was actually happy. For about three months, I felt truly and completely happy – I was popular and liked and I felt attractive and wanted and talented and I fell in love with someone new who didn’t compromise my emotional growth and I. Was. Happy.

It quickly faded. I jumped out of theatre to work more hours at my job to pay the medical bill I had been given after a car wreck, and that stands as the biggest regret I have so far. I faced a lot of those little bouts of depression off and on as the year went on, and I hated how things regressed so quickly.

A couple months later, something happened and then my depression showed up on my front door with its suitcases full of sad songs and tattered clothing and anxious thoughts and reminders of my mortality.

He lives with me now, full-time, a constant companion again for the first time in years – but in those years we weren’t together, he went to the gym and ate well and came back as some sort of jacked up mother fucker who not only made me sad, but gave me more anxiety than I have ever had before – done in such a way that I am never out of their grasps. I get anxious, and it makes me depressed, then I’ll get anxious about why I’m so depressed, and it’s a vicious cycle that shows no signs of relenting.

I have many of the things that I always thought would make me happy, back in the old days of being depressed. Not all, but many of them – and yet, none of it makes me any less depressed.

I don’t know why I’m sad. Sometimes I feel sad about things that I know I’m not sad about. Sometimes I just sit and soak in a pool of black – and nothing is real to me except for the fact that I feel terrible and it’s who I am right now.
For god’s sake, I wrote a whole new poetry book in just under a year dealing with a lot of it.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where to go. I don’t know what to say. Would theatre make me happy again? Would actually having some god damn friends make me happy again? I have no fucking clue. Things have passed that I thought would mark the end of my depression, but surprise! It’s still there. So for all I know, none of that would make it go away, and that’s the scary part – I just don’t know what to do.

I feel helpless. I even considered rethinking religion because I feel so damned lost, but I can’t bring myself to do it because it’s so damned ridiculous.

At the beginning of this year, I asked myself and whoever the hell reads this if I was, and if you were, happy. And here at almost the end of the year, I can say – I am not. I don’t know when I will be. I’ll ask the same question next year just to check in, but things don’t seem to hopeful.

Though I am always hoping things get better. Every day. Because no matter what I sometimes feel, I am not depression and depression doesn’t make me who I am.

Also – “The Rubble Before Us; Fleeing Dreams and Other Things” will be out sometime in the next six months, hopefully, maybe. You can read all of the poems in it on here, anyways.

Well… we’ll see.
See you next year.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

– Brandon, 8:45 PM