Tag Archives: Dealing with Depression

A Month on Prozac

On December 14th, 2018 I started taking Prozac. For those of you who don’t know, Prozac is a synthetic compound which inhibits the uptake of serotonin in the brain and is taken to treat depression. In other words, it’s an antidepressant. Two years ago, I almost began taking a medication to help my mental state, but for a number of reasons, I decided against actually getting the prescription filled. Fast forward to the end of this past semester, I’m crying in the doctor’s office, my pride finally broken down and hesitantly agreeing to spend my four weeks off of school getting used to this new tool in my life.

The first few days, I was mad. I didn’t want to be medicated. I felt defeated. Why couldn’t I have taken care of myself before now, doing the things that would make me feel better without the help of these new chemicals being added to my system? I have had people in my life express that they didn’t believe medication did more good than they do harm. While no one ever told me to my face that they would be disappointed, there was always a little voice in the back of my head that worried my closest friends would judge me for having to use medicine to be a happier person.

Most of the time, the first few weeks of a medication are a little rough, and I can attest that this is true. I hosted a Christmas party five days after I began the meds and let me tell you, I felt super nauseous in the middle of the get-together after taking it. (Shout out to Avery for being my emotional rock during that party.) Then, for about eight days, I lost my appetite. While I still made myself eat something throughout the day, I ended up losing five pounds. I also began dealing with dryness in my throat, which, as a singer, scared me to death (Biotene is a life saver).

However, after all of this, my follow-up appointment with our family doctor was much different than the first (the only tears that happened were when I had to get blood work). After regaining my appetite and beginning to have motivation to actually take care of myself physically, emotionally and spiritually, life was becoming so much more bearable. In fact, it was so much more than bearable. It was full of joy and expectancy towards the future. I wasn’t scared about going back to school. I was having a much easier time communicating to the people I love. Little things that used to really bug me were becoming less bothersome.

My classes started back up on January 14th, one month after beginning the medication. A month before, any thought of school, work, or the shows I’m working on would make me feel panicky and want to hide away from the world. Beyond any expectation I could have had for myself, that first Monday back at school was marvelous. It was by no means perfect. Several instances popped up that threw off my uncommonly good mood. This time however, there was so much more clarity for how to deal with these annoying happenstances. The next morning, I fully processed how miraculous it truly was how I handled the curve balls that were thrown at me.

So, it’s been a month. And frankly, I feel great right now. I am more at ease with daily troubles that arise. I am able to recognize when I need to take time for myself to recharge. I am now much more aware just how truly blessed and loved I am by the people God has put into my life. I am fully aware that things will get tough again, possibly very soon, but I am abundantly grateful for this past month of rest, recovery, and rediscovery of myself.

I write this to the person who is being stubborn about getting help, to the one who is scared of what others will say, and to the one who doesn’t think it’s worth the trouble: getting help does not make you weak. You are a valuable human being and modern medicine is an incredible thing. While I don’t believe that all problems can be solved with medication, I am now a firm believer that they can do major good. A dear friend of mine once explained it to me this way: you wouldn’t tell a diabetic to pray harder for their illness to go away. While there are good foods that can help a diabetic and exercise can do wonders for anyone, but you wouldn’t tell a diabetic not to take their medication. The same applies to mental illnesses. There’s natural ways to treat depression and anxiety, but sometimes, your brain needs some extra help to function fully.

And to the Christian who is on the fence on starting a medication, I have one last nugget for you: God wants you to feel better, and He’s not gonna be mad at you for not praying more to Him to take your depression away. We live in a world of brokenness and unrest, but praise the Lord for His gift of knowledge that He has given to modern physicians. Use your resources, and know that you are not alone in your struggle. If you want, I’ll let you use some of my washi tape to wrap up your orange bottle.

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Until Next Time,

Abby

 

Prisoner In My Own Mind

Visual art is one of the most powerful ways to express emotion. In my Drawing 2 class, the five of us were assigned to do a project based off of a very deep emotion or mood for our final project before spring break. I did a lot of thumbnail drawings trying to pin down which idea I would do for this project, and I finally settled on a project that was a bit out of my comfort zone: I was going to do a project visualizing depression.

I know, stereotypical artist emotion, right? Well, many people deal with deep sadness for different reasons, and it’s not just creative people who get really down (though it can inspire some awesome art). I have gone through some crazy up and downs the past few years. There were a few periods of time where I hated getting up every morning. All I wanted to do was stay in bed and cry, but I would end up hiding behind a smile and jokes while I felt like I was being held captive by my mind. When you feel depressed, you often feel as though you are weighed down by heavy chains that you can’t get out of. That feeling I felt a few months ago was what inspired this piece.

The first few days working on this were a little frustrating. I hate doing portraits. I do better drawing cartoon style people, and I usually dread drawing realistic people, especially myself. I don’t know why I hate drawing myself so much, but I do. The way I ended up doing the project was to cover my entire paper in charcoal and to draw myself with an eraser and darker charcoal. It’s a difficult method of drawing. Right of the bat, I set myself up for a very difficult project.

IMG_3321My biggest problem was drawing my face. Mostly because I looked like a man for a while. My short hair was making it especially manly looking because I haven’t drawn myself with my new style before this project. By the third day though, I finally got my face down how I wanted it. It took a lot of work, and I ended up getting really messy that day. I earned the nick name “Oliver” from my buddy Garza because I had charcoal everywhere.

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Adding chains wrapped around myself was the hardest part of drawing this. I ended up listening to a musical called “Next to Normal” that is horribly depressing to help me kind of channel the right emotion. You can’t really see it in the photo that I have, but on some of the links, there are words written on them, like “Loser”, “Pathetic”, “Needy” and “Stupid”, which are a few things that I’ve felt in the past. It’s kind of funny, because the words were one of my teacher’s favorite parts of the entire piece. He said it added to the impact of the piece, making it more personal and real.

This morning, we had our critique where we all pinned out drawings up on the board to comment IMG_3328on and get feedback. Mine was the last one to be talked about, and to be completely honest, it was kind of hard to talk about. The concept is uncomfortable. It’s terrifying to put such a personal part of your life up on a board to let other people see and talk about. But I’m really glad that I did it. Everyone in my class loved the drawing, and I feel that I really made an impact on them.

Most importantly though, I made an impact on myself. Working on this drawing made me really evaluate my life and I realized that it’s not worth it to let heavy feelings beat me up.  Granted, sometimes, it’s very hard to fight those feelings. Everyone has times where they feel like crap and just want to give up. Stuff happens. People get sick. People break our hearts. People die. But everyday you have to make the choice to break out of those chains that are holding you down. You can’t do it alone. Without Jesus, I don’t know where I’d be. While times can suck, God has always pulled me through; to deny that would be foolish.

I am very glad to be done with this project. I am going to take a picture of it and put it in my portfolio for “art auditions”, but once I’m doing getting the shots I need, I am going to put it in a box and there it will stay. I don’t want to look at it any more. This drawing is a representation of my past, but my past does not define me. While I know that it is possible that I might experience the deep sadness I have felt before again, I want to keep growing and learning through life. The time we have is an incredible gift, and I don’t want to waste another second of it.

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“Prisoner In My Own Mind”

Until next time,

Abby

If you want to check out my art page on Facebook, here’s a link to check it out with. I post often about my current projects, shows I’m in, or art that I’m selling. I would appreciate it if you liked the page! https://www.facebook.com/ColorfulWorldOfAbby