I didn’t have a boyfriend until I was nearly 20. I was a chubby, shy teen who saw boys as somehow “other” and therefore scary. Even when I got a bit less shy and more attractive as I grew into my looks (and plucked my ginormous eyebrows) I had absolutely no game. Looking back there were boys who I now realise fancied me but at the time I was convinced they had a thing for my friend. Oblivious. Or even when I had an inkling just not confident enough to actually believe it. The boyfriend I did get at 19 was a bit of a fluke, I grabbed him and snogged him while drunk and it just kind of turned into a (really bad) relationship.
My point is that I spent my formative years yearning for a boyfriend and deeply miserable that boys didn’t like me. All of my sad was put down to that. Having a boyfriend would fix me. And it’s something I unknowingly brought with me into adulthood.
I was depressed for a large portion of my relationship with The Ex but I didn’t face it. My immune system was shot to pieces, the doctor kept asking me if I was stressed and I was saying no then whining to people that that’s their answer to everything. Not actually stopping to think he might be right. Deep down I think I thought, but I’m in a relationship, how can I be depressed?
Then when it ended I had such a huge crash. Because I’d finally admitted to myself that something was wrong. Well that everything was wrong as it felt back then.
Learning that has been a really good thing for me because right now I know that my mental state is not good and I’m not just ignoring it because I’m in a (really happy this time) relationship. I can be sad and stressed out and still be in love with my boyfriend. Admitting that I need some help is not saying that he’s not enough. Because how could you ever expect one person to fix you. It’s your job to make sure you’re happy, not someone else’s.
So I went to see my doctor last week. I ummed and ahhed over it for a while because really I knew what I wanted him to do was to put me back on citalopram and going on antidepressants felt a bit like giving in to it. Then I stopped and I thought, no one would baulk at taking an antacid before going out for a big meal if they’re prone to heartburn or indigestion. And who would turn down a neurofen if they had a migraine? So why shouldn’t I go on antidepressants when I’m going through a stressful time (having to apply for my job and trying to buy a house, by myself) and I know I’m prone to depressive episodes?
I’ve been taking them again for a few days and I already feel a bit better. Not because they’re working yet, that will take a couple of weeks, but because I’ve done something. I’m not playing ostrich again. Knowing myself and having the sense to seek help makes me feel strangely strong, in a situation that many people probably perceive as weakness. I’m also proud of myself because I’ve told people at work. I’m not going to be ashamed. You wouldn’t be ashamed of taking insulin or high blood pressure tablets so I’m not going to be ashamed about taking tablets for my slightly off kilter brain.