The other day, I was scrolling through some older posts, and stumbled across this one, about having been off my medication for a year. Looking at the date, I realised that now, I've been off my medication for two years.
I've had periods in my life where I've ended up on medication, then come off it and foolishly believed all that depression nonsense was behind me, all in the past, not to be thought of again.
Then, in 2010, I had a massive breakdown. After over a month signed off sick, I ended up feeling I had no choice but to leave a job I'd been in for six years, and had usually enjoyed and even loved.
While I was still recovering, and still very much on my medication, I met S's father - and any headway I'd made was wiped out by what went on over the course of that year. Falling pregnant meant I came off my medication a lot sooner than anyone would have liked. I had a somewhat traumatic pregnancy, and the first weeks of S's life weren't much fun either.
From the moment my twelfth week of pregnancy passed, to as recently as two weeks ago, my GP has made me aware the medication is still there for me, should I need it; that nobody would think any less of me for it. This has gone from "I really do think it would be best for you if you did this, and it wouldn't really harm your baby" to "only a little of it will come through in your milk, and weighed up against the risks of not taking it..." to "do you think you might need them?" to just "I can write you a prescription if you want one." She knows I won't accept, but she offers any way, so that I know the option is open to me.
This time, I am determined never to go back. I am not so stupid or naive enough to blithely wave goodbye to the option of medication. I know that what happened before could well happen again. It is something that hangs over me on an almost daily basis. I take supplements to keep the demons at bay religiously; every time I remember the supplements just as I'm going to bed, I think to myself, "no, it doesn't matter how tired you are; you need to take them because the alternative is not an option now you have S" and I trudge back off down the stairs to fetch them.
If I'm honest, my abject fear of ever going back there is probably a good thing. It means I am a lot more self aware than I ever was before. Before, I was convinced I was "cured," that my dalliance(s) with depression were more teenage/early 20s angst than genuine chemical imbalances or emotional issues to be dealt with. I think it was this cavalier spirit that ultimately did for me: I was so busy being convinced I was not a Depressed Person, the warning signs crept in and danced a jig under my nose. By the time I noticed them, they were no longer warning signs; they were waking at 3am and fantasising about taking as much Temazepam as I could get my hands on. They were sitting on the stairs, drinking shots of Pisang Ambon because that was the only place in the house I could be, and the only booze in the house I could find.
I never, ever want to go back there.
These days, I am much more self aware.
I notice the warning signs, and I try my best to do something about them.
I feel more like an addict in recovery, where the first bad day could send you right back to hell, than someone who has been cured of depression.
And that is why this time, I will succeed.