It was a profound moment when I found myself standing filling a glass of water at the antique buffet sideboard which I had turned into a double vanity for sinks in my master bathroom. I stood there with the glass of water and held in my other hand was a sample bubble sealed package of Prozac. I was 29 years-old.
Had it really come to this?
I was unhappy in my life. This was true. I had told my family physician that I was struggling with bouts of the blues which seemed to cluster round the natural hormonal mood swings related to my period. This was not a lie, but it was not completely true either. As a result of my carefully crafted conversation, he had given me a one month sample of the pills to try and I had arrived at the moment of deciding to actually take them or not.
The real, deeper truth which I had not disclosed to my doctor was that I had just begun to be honest enough with myself to know that I had a harder time pretending within myself that I was happy when I also was dealing with the effects of PMS. The illusion and untruth of being happy unraveled past what I could pretend in those moments. I had never been one to indulge in the “woe is me” during the monthly hormonal rides gifted to females, rather always just allowing my body to get on with it, but this was beginning to get harder and harder to do when what I was getting on with creating in my life was not supporting the allowance of joy or real satisfaction to be experienced.
So it was I found myself stood in that bathroom. I got as far as popping open one of the little foil blisters and stood with a little green and white chemical ride into an altered state rolling around in my palm. It felt like a little piece of dry coolness, plastic and smooth to the touch. Here was what seemed by all reports to be a safe, chemical path to a change in my feelings to gift a change in mood.
It would have been so easy to swallow that pill. However, through my own observations at work (working as a therapist within a private practice with LCSWs), I had enough experience with use of chemicals prescribed as part of the therapeutic process to know that at it’s root, this pill popping path did not address the reasons why the emotions and texture of depression was there to begin with. Emotions, when there is no organic damage present, are outcomes… just symptoms of the beliefs we have assigned to thoughts which have turned into experiences which generate the opportunity of the feeling of them to begin with. When living, we in this way continuously experience a feedback loop. It is a loop that when we consciously choose to assign meaning, can be seen as for our good and for our growth. Seeing unhappiness and depression as a good thing is then always available one different choice in thought and assigned meaning away.
What would I be creating by giving the power to change the way I felt in this loop to an artificially introduced outside source? Just what was I about to do to myself and my own ability to balance and heal what I felt if I swallowed an externalized additive, thereby introducing a synthetic crutch for an alteration of my physical chemistry?
In a moment of utter clarity, I realized that if I took that pill, I was just about to synthetically drive away the feeling of a symptom that was appearing as a result of my not living a life being true to who I authentically knew myself to be. I had been lying to myself about what was happening in my life and I did not yet want to take the full responsibility of knowing it was my own choices and my belief about them that had brought me to those feelings in the first place.
Unhappiness creates depression usually initially as the result of something untrue that we try to believe is true and then is reinforced by choices that we make in action based on that initial lie. Unhappiness for me, then comes about as a gifted request for change in the feedback loop. It is a request for realignment and if it is ignored long enough, this is what leads to depression.
What was it in my thinking and behavior that was actually causing me unhappiness? What was I not wanting to change? What was it that I was afraid of thinking, doing, and being within the creation of unhappiness that was leading me to feel depressed? If I took that pill I realized I would loose the ability to track how I actually organically felt as an outcome in response to what I was doing in my life.
In this flash of real clarity regarding the importance of the teaching tools that emotional states actually are and our ability to empower and dis-empower our chance to change the root causes, I turned with the pill still in my hand and flushed it down the toilet. I still drank the glass of water while looking myself squarely in the eyes in the mirror and promised myself not to medicate away my unhappiness, thereby creating an artificial reality when in truth in my case, the root cause of my unhappiness and depression was about a fear I had about changing things I was doing that were creating the experience of unhappiness to begin with. It was a fear of taking the full responsibility for perpetuating this feeling leading to depression by not changing. The unhappiness and depression itself was the map pointing the way back to beliefs and thoughts that were resulting in behavior patterns in my life that I was living that were untrue.
I had several requests to follow through with writing this post after leaving a comment for Me My Magnificent Self. She inspired the rememberence of this moment in my life with her important share here: X
Also, as I was just online writing this post this morning, Anacephalaeos popped this into my reader: X
It is wonderful to get tangible and concrete reminders that we are all here in this together. -x.M