It may come as a surprise to anyone who’s read my writing to hear that I was reluctant to start antidepressant treatment for my depression. While I would not call myself “pro” medication, my life has been changed by antidepressants, and I know quite a few other people who feel the same way.
However, my initial reaction to my psychiatrist’s suggestion that I start antidepressants was a firm “no.” Or, that is, as firm as I was about anything at that time. I was in the middle of the third, and worst, major depressive episode of my life. Most of the time I was either numb or crying. I had made an appointment for a mental health evaluation after reading William Styron’s Darkness Visible and realizing that in all likelihood I was suffering from clinical depression.
My psychiatrist’s confirmation that I did have clinical depression was a huge relief to me. I think he was somewhat surprised; I’m sure some of his patients were resistant to the diagnosis. I was just relieved that what I was going through had a name and that my symptoms were part of a medical condition. I wasn’t, however, ready to treat it with medication.