Letter about Depression and Saying No to Medication

28th of October 2019

Hi A

I have wanted to write. But this time around depression hit me harder than ever before. For the first time I have experienced days of not being able to get out of bed. I haven’t been to work in weeks and I haven’t even been able to call in sick.

Things are bad here. And I know they are possibly even worse with you. And even though we often find comfort in not being alone, the fact that both of us are at an all time low at the same time, and that none of us have energy to reach out and really be there for each other makes me feel more alone and sad. I miss talking to you. And I wish I could do more to help you through right now. Please stay here with me A. Stay here with me, okay?

Right not I feels like my surroundings finally woke up and realised this is serious, that I am actually really ill and that I am not going to get better without outside help. My mom haven’t told me to just get together for several weeks. I’m impressed. But at the same time, I don’t trust it. How many times have I believed that the message finally got through, only to discover a few days or weeks later that no one thinks it’s serious.

Just last Christmas my mom told me I didn’t need help, I just needed to get a job. And it was so out of nowhere that I didn’t even know how to respond. We weren’t even having a conversation about that. And we had spend the last couple of month going to meetings and talking about my problems. And I thought she had understood my autism and depression diagnosis from the psychiatrist. But suddenly she didn’t.

And as I write this I am not for the first time struck by the thought that the way my parents react to things often becomes how I feel “everyone” reacts. Even it is just them. I am trying to reframe that in my head. But it’s not an easy task. I try to do this by reminding myself of all the amazing people who doesn’t react like this, and by actively asking myself to name someone else who shares their opinion. And then I try to rephrase what I just thought of as coming from everyone as a weird thing my parents’ do. But it’s a lot of work and it doesn’t always make me feel like it’s just them. But I do try to do it.

What is an everyone around me thing at the moment is the conversation about medication. And I hate that conversation. Because it’s not really a conversation. It’s other people “suggesting” it, me saying no and then the other people doing everything in their power to make it into a negotiation that they can win. And it’s not a negotiation. It’s a no. And I always walk away feeling terrible. I feel misunderstood, overwhelmed, disregarded and disrespected. How difficult is it to take no for an answer? Especially my mom have a hard time with this. Her an I have had this conversation for about 12 years now. And nothing about it changes.

It has been every doctor, and several psychiatrists and most of my friends and almost every person who I have talked to about my problems in the past 12 years has at some point wanted to have the medication conversation. But I can’t have that conversation. Because trauma. And trauma isn’t welcome in that conversation. And no matter how much trauma should be a valid argument it somehow just isn’t. And even if people seem open to listening to the trauma argument, I always end up discovering that they aren’t. It was a lie. It was a clever plot to give them reasons they can start to shoot at, so they can reason their way into changing my mind. And I walk away feeling disgusted, both at the tactic and that I feel for it again.

And I have more reasons to say no to medication. But at this point I am no longer willing to discuss a single one of them. Because it’s not me being listen to and understood. It’s me pouring out my pain and other people saying it’s not a valid reason and then stepping on my pain as if to see if it’s actually real.

I’m not sure I am making sense. I just have a lot of feelings about this. And that is part of why I needed to write today. And I already know I won’t be editing. I so feel like I should be doing better at this whole blogging thing.

But I had a plan for a few points I wanted to get to in this letter to you. And I am just going to try to get back to my points. Hopefully without breaking down crying. But then again… I believe the pain of writing is one of the most beautiful things and that I get in touch with parts of myself that way that I am unable to reach in any other way. And that might just be the closest to a definition of Here that I have in my current depression brain. It’s just that feeling that much seems a little inconvenient right now. Not that that has ever stopped me from writing and crying and feeling in the past.

So everyone wants me to say yes to medication. I don’t want to do that. In part because it feels like the opposite of what I need. Not that I am very sure I know what I need right now. But I want empathy, and kindness, I want care and understanding. I desperately need hope and help and a way forward. And that seems like a lot to ask from the world and people around me. I also happen to believe that they are necessities to survive and that no amount of medicating me will fix my depression and my hopelessness if I am not also provided with hope and help and care and understanding. I miss feeling connections to other people. I feel so disconnected. Especially from my family. And even though I have some great friends I don’t necessarily feel the deep connection that I need. I part because I am so depressed and in part because that is not how those friendships are (and that’s okay).

And instead of giving me hope and help, care and understanding I am met with medication. Take some pills and stop being depressed. And please please please stop being so stubborn. And I happen to believe my stubbornness is one of my greatest qualities and so far I see nothing wrong with how I use it. So why should I stop?

But more than anything I need to feel safe. And I don’t. I don’t feel safe. And that feeling permeates everything. Every moment, everywhere I am, even when I sleep. I don’tbfeel safe. And medication doesn’t feel like someone is offering me help. It feels like a violation, like violence. And I can’t do that to myself. I cannot say yes to taking a pill every day when I feel like taking that pill is committing an act of violence against myself. I cannot and I will not.
But maybe, someday, if I feel safe and have a very good doctor whom I trust, I will say yes to medication. But without that trust and feeling safe I cannot say yes to medication. No matter how many good arguments people throw in my face.

And that is the thing. I am desperately trying to keep myself safe. And alive. But mostly safe. And if I am safe, then I need help to realise that. If I am not safe then I need help to make myself more safe. Because I cannot take risk or change or do any of the amazing things that life has to offer, if I do not have a place of safety to start from and return to. I don’t believe in living my whole life inside my comfort zone. But living without a comfort zone makes it really hard to live at all. We all need a safe space in our lives. A safe physical space and a safe mental space. And I have neither. I have never had a safe space. The closest I got to feeling safe was being hugged by a man who raped and abused me. That felt safe compared to everything else in my life. And that is so messed up. I would like to get unmessed up. Or at least a little. I don’t expect or want my life to be too tidy, just more liveable. I want to have a safe space, in the world, in my body, in my mind. And that is not an unreasonable ask. And until I have that I am not letting any doctors treat me like a guinea pig, testing how I respond to medication till they find the right one.

I’ll fight my depression off. I’ll take whatever hard decisions I have to. I’ll die if I have to. Because this is the right decision for me. Taking medication isn’t. Not under these circumstances.

I am not depressed because my brain chemistry failed me. I am depressed because I have no hope and because I have been living in a constant state of overstimulation and stress for most of my life, because of undiagnosed autism and lack of resources and consideration. Those things cause a very natural reaction, and that reaction became a depression. And if we don’t fix those things fixingmy brain chemistry isn’t going to work. And when people tell me to take medication they are not willing to offer any other kind of help. They do not offer solutions, just chemicals. And honestly I am so afraid that even if I said yes and the medication worked it’s magic and everything turned out as best as we could hope for, the only result would be that everyone who pushed for the medication would go right back to ignoring my very real, very debilitating issues that won’t be fixed by giving me medication. And it feels like just a way to shut me up, more than it feels like away to actually help me with my actual problems. And depression might be destroying everything in my life right now, but even as it threatens to kill me, I don’t feel like it’s the most important problem. It’s just a symptom of the real problems. And if I am not given the tools and help to dig down an tear all the real problems out by the root, why even bother doing anything about the depression? I want real help. Real solutions. The kind that sticks. That kind that hurts and are hard won. Not quick fixes that makes everything look nice on the surface and makes me less of at problem for other people. Being a problem for other people is the only way to have my pain taken seriously. And I can’t live with this pain. So right not it needs to be visible, loud and take up space. Not because it helps me, but because hiding it and biting it in made me more ill. And gave everyone an excuse to not look at it and not help me. And I am done accepting that.

Which makes me sound like an awful person. But it’s that or die. The pain is killing me whether I am quiet or loud. People in my life tell me they want me to live. I choose to believe them. I can’t survive this on my own. So either I make sure my pain is seen or die. If I make it through I’ll have the rest of my life to make up for it and be a better person. Right now is all about survival.

I hope you fight too A. Fight for your life. Be everything you need to be. Loud and difficult and annoying. A, I need you here with me. Fighting the good fight. You are not alone. And neither am I. Even when we feel alone. I support you 1000% no matter what you choose. But I hope and hope and hope that you choose life. I believe in a future for us. Being friends. Remembering the hells we went through and maybe making the way out a little easier for someone else. Or maybe just being thankful we got out. I don’t know why, but writing to you always leaves me full of hope. Because I see your struggle. And as much as it hurts to know your pain, I know you can make it. And when I know you can make it I believe I can make it too. I hope someday you’ll write back. I want to write letters with you. Not just at you. And please don’t take this as anything other than I like you, and miss you and being your friend is so rewarding. Even when you are down and walking through you own hell next to mine. I hope you find your way to Here. I hope you find your way out of surviving and into living. And I hope to meet you there when you do.

A there was so much more I wanted to write. But some of it was to painful for today. Maybe I’ll try again tomorrow. Maybe it’ll be a while. I am not putting myself back on a writing schedule. I am just writing when I can and hopefully that is often. It might not be. This depression is making me very unreliable. That’s new and weird. But I am trying to not apologise for being me and instead just say here I am. And here is a surprise letter I didn’t think I would write. Isn’t that awesome? I feel so accomplished.
And now I need to get to bed and get some sleep.
I’ll try to write soon. Thinking of you A.

Looking forward to hearing from you.