06 February 2008

heath ledger

I'm going to share with you something controversial about myself. It's not something that is talked about and I think that's sad.

I am a depressed individual. I have atypical depression, the most common type of depression. It affects more women than men.

Now I don't mean that I am sad sometimes. Everyone is sad sometimes. It's a natural thing. I can recognize sadness. What I am saying is I reached a point where the feeling I felt went beyond normal sadness. It felt impossible to bridge. It seemed like I was never going to be happy again. This happened about a year and a half ago. But I have felt a little different beginning the end of my sophmore year of college. Things just seemed hopeless. I never thought about the concept of despair much before. It seemed like despair was all I thought about. I because nervous because of this. Everything seemed uncertain. What was the point of anything if I was always going to feel like this?
FInally, I saw a doctor. I'm on medication. I am definely not the poster child for antidepressants. I do think that Americans are overmedicated. I think if you can find your way out of despair another way, you should probably do it. The medication does not fix your problems. What it did for me was give me my tools back. Waking up was no longer something I dreaded. My body stopped hurting. I could get my tasks done for the day. I could pick up the phone and call people. I began to make my way back into the world. It really was like waking up. I do not think I will be on medication forever but I know it is working for me now.
This is why it particularly saddened me when Heath Ledger died. Heath Ledger was becoming one of my favorite actors. I was excited to see him in the new Batman movie and I loved Brokeback Mountain. I dont know if Ledger was depressed. I know though that he was taking medicines that really shouldnt be mixed together. Also the medications can cause short term memory loss. It's possible that he could have taken pills then gone and taken pills again without realizing. He could have had no idea the number of pills he took. We will never know what he was thinking or exactly what happen. What I do know is this, talk to your doctor. Question what they give you. Do be suspicious if they just write you a prescription after a 5 minute chat. Recognize that, although very commonly prescribed, benzos (such as Xanax,Valium,Restoril) are habit forming and can be extremely dangerous. People get addicted to them. People overdose. People go to rehab.
I am doing great now. Most days depression is not something I even think about. Still I think it is important to know that you can get help if you need it. Depression is varied and widespread but it doesnt have to end in despair. Their is a way out even if you are unable to see it.

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