Dealing With Depression: My Experience with and Thoughts on Medication

Written by: Jorinde Berben
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In my last post I mentioned that I’ve been feeling a bit better these days. I haven’t been sinking into complete nothingness for over a week now, and I believe one of the reasons for that is that I’ve been on St. John’s Wort, a natural antidepressant, for about 3 weeks now.

When it comes to dealing with depression, medication is a controversial subject. There are those who swear by it and those who think it only makes things worse. There are, thankfully, also more nuanced opinions, which seem more in line with how I feel about them.

My experience, first of all, is very limited. I’ve been on this natural anti-depressant for a few weeks now, and only tried a classical SSRI for a few days and then quit because the side effects were making me feel worse than I already did.

The reason I take anything at all is to be able to get myself to a baseline of functionality. I don’t want my children to be affected stronger than is necessary, and as my doctor explained: medication can help you get to a point where it’s possible again to tackle day to day tasks. I also want to be able to keep my anger in check so as to protect those around me. In times of really bad depression, my anger can get really destructive. I don’t want that to get out of hand. And it seems, so far, that it is helping me do both those things.

Yet, I also see why medication can prolong depression and sometimes even worsen it in the long run. When you start feeling better, it might seem, for a while, that there was really nothing to be depressed about. You are again able to sort of resume life as usual. If you do, however, you might forget about the reason you lost your joy of life, to begin with. You might forget to look for that source of pain so deep that it seemed better not to feel anything at all, rather than to experience it.

Knowing that you’re taking medication to be able to do normal day-to-day things also has its own psychological effect. What does it mean? Who does that make you? Is the medication bringing you back to yourself? Or is it pushing you away from your truth? And what happens when – if – you, stop taking it eventually?

There is so much that we still don’t know about depression and the way our mind works. Which chemicals play a role, what influences them, and which other types of treatments can be helpful… much of it is still a mystery.

Right now, I’m just glad to be having this little herb that’s been helping me get through my days and at times even enjoy them.

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