Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

#629: JUST BECAUSE THE STEPS ARE LITTLE DOESN'T MEAN THEY'RE NOT HUGE

When I went for an appointment with my doctor on Friday to discuss medicating my frazzled brain, I had no idea how I was going to broach the subject. It is far easier to say I have a leaky cyst or My hoo-ha is itchy than it is to say that I'm sad and I am at a point where I need to at least partially medicalize that sadness. I think that is because a leaky cyst is obvious; it is exactly what it is. There is no blame with a leaky cyst. By the time I have gone to the doctor to get it lanced, I have not spent years dissecting my relationships with my family and decisions I did and did not make that helped me to arrive at the point of needing a cyst lanced. With my anxiety and depression, though, I have done that.

I have been sad since I was self-aware enough to recognize my own emotions at the age of two, and I have struggled through all the years since then to maintain a sane equilibrium. All my hard work over that time, the meditation and psychiatrists and self-medication and herbs and diet and lucid dreaming and deep thinking and writing it out, has brought me to a tremendously anti-climactic spot: I found myself under fluorescent lighting on a vinyl-covered chair in a doctor's office answering the requisite questions to gain that small piece of white paper, my ticket to what they tell me will be a chemical balance.

I am skeptical, but this is what I must do. I am hoping that the drugs can convince me.

I grew up thinking I would be somehow great. During my most delusional phase in my teenage years, I toyed with the idea that I might be the next great prophet, but mostly I thought I would be famous for some talent or other, even though I was unclear as to how that would happen. I imagined myself on a stage or on the dust jacket of a book, and lights would shine on me, and people would praise my good work. Even as a grown-up, I want that spotlight, a five-hundred voice choir, something grand, when I have moved forward and achieved a goal, but I've found that most grown-up achievements are small and far too personally local to cause the heavens to open up. There was no disembodied chorus for me when I was handed my prescription for an anti-depressant. As anti-climactic as this part of my life feels, it is a big step toward something better for myself, and I wanted to experience its bigness. I wanted that rush of success. I wanted to feel that I had arrived.

What I have instead is a good plan with my doctor to find the right dosage and medication for my condition. I am seeing her every two weeks and keeping a daily chart of different aspects of my physical and psychological experience so that she can see how I'm doing in between appointments. She explained that this could be a slow process, that it can take a while to find the right medication or combination of medications for an individual, and that I had to commit to being patient with the process. She makes me feel secure and taken care of, and I really do feel that I could find medication that doesn't do the harm to me that others have done in the past.

So much of life happens in what feels like baby steps, and sometimes I get the feeling that I am toddling along the sidelines, trying to figure out if my shoes even fit. I know that's not the case, and that I have made a great leap in my decision to actively pursue my mental health, but damn, it would be nice if I could have at least gotten one of those small trophies with a statuette on top or even a t-shirt out of it.

Oh, fuck it. Why can't I reward myself? It took me thirty-four years to arrive at this point, but I think I still deserve to recognize this as a success. Of course I do! I get one big freaking gold star:

gold star


Here's to day two of this new round of antidepressants.