Denise Day Spencer

February 25, 2007

Four weeks in

Filed under: Personal reflections — denisedayspencer @ 10:41 am

For those of you who may be wondering, yes, I took the pill. And I’ve been taking it faithfully every day for the past four weeks. The first couple of days I felt pretty strange, both physically and emotionally. In fact, the first entire week everything was a little “off.” I just didn’t feel like myself. But by the start of week two, things began to get to my new state of “normal.”

It’s been just like everyone said it would be. I’m still me, for good or for ill. But instead of being controlled by my emotions, I’m now better able to control them. Instead of being pushed to a point of despair when the stress mounts, I’m now better able to take it in stride. I still feel happy. I still feel sad. But it’s what a person should feel in day-to-day life, without the unhealthy extremes. (It has been giving me some pretty freaky dreams, but I won’t complain about that.) Oh, and God and I remain on speaking terms.

Early on, it helped my perception of being medicated to know that mine is an SSRI. It doesn’t work by adding some foreign substance to my brain chemistry; it simply helps me make better use of my body’s own serotonin. I really like that. I hope the medication helps me be more of the person my Creator intended me to be than ever before. But this whole thing has gotten me to thinking…

I shared some time back the story of my 30th high school reunion. I had been such a wallflower during my teen years; I was shocked at the number of people who remembered me. I had been fully convinced back then that hardly anybody–even among my circle of friends–really liked me, that they were just tolerating me. Yet at the reunion, folks recalled the good times we’d had together. They seemed to remember me in a fully positive way, not as the school weirdo.

Michael says the adolescent feelings I recall are just that–the universal experience of being a teenager. Perhaps so. I was never overtly depressed as a kid. I certainly never hurt myself or even thought about it. Yet I do remember not liking me, and always feeling somehow different from everyone else. One particularly low night I secluded myself in my bedroom, crying. When my mom came in to see what was wrong, I blurted out, “I don’t even have a personality!” Now I can’t help but wonder how far back my depression goes.

How long has it been there, lurking just under the surface? I don’t mean an enemy attacking my emotions, really. I was happy enough, I guess, as adolescence goes. I’m talking about those subtleties of depression–negative thoughts about myself and others, an inability to even remotely perceive myself as friends and teachers apparently perceived me. Was it, even in my youth, holding me prisoner?

I’ll never know for sure. What I do know is that I now wish I had sought help long, long ago. I have no doubt that I would have been a better parent, a better employee, a better friend, sister, daughter. I very well might have been able to avoid many of our worst marriage problems. All water under the bridge now, but hopefully someone else might learn from my mistake.

Thank you to all of the wonderful people who commented on my earlier post. You truly encouraged me as I began this journey. Thank you to Tamara, who prayed for me and watched over me at work the first couple of weeks. (Yes, I noticed you were watching!) Thank you to my sister for encouraging me, and to my parents for always being there for me in so many different ways. Thank you to a couple of other dear folks who called me up to see how I was doing. And as always, thank you to my wonderful husband and children who have supported me through this.

I may have gotten help later rather than sooner, but I’m so grateful to have gotten help at all. If you struggle as I did, take heart. You don’t have to do this alone.



  1. […] Denise reports four weeks in to her antidepressant meds journey.   This entry was posted on Sunday, February 25th, 2007 at 11:18 am by Michael Spencer and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. 🙂 Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site. […]

    Pingback by The Barth’s Head Tavern » Blog Archive » Building a case — February 25, 2007 @ 10:47 am | Reply

  2. This is very interesting and encouraging. I wish you all the best with your recovery.

    But I just have to ask, are you really sure it’s a good idea to be blogging about this? I mean it’s such a personal topic, and you’re using your (I assume) real name. That’s a big level of privacy to surrender. I don’t think I could ever do it.

    Comment by John M. — February 26, 2007 @ 10:19 am | Reply

  3. I read your post four weeks ago, and have been wondering how you are doing. Thank you so much for sharing. I took an SSRI for a few months several years ago when a counselor suggested I might have dysthymic disorder. I think she was right, and the medication seemed to help regulate my anxiety and depression. Eventually, though, (because of a few unpleasant side-affects) I switched to an exercise and diet regimen which also seemed to help.

    Depression is neither straightforward nor easily-solved. Best wishes to you on your courageous journey.

    Comment by Naomi — March 5, 2007 @ 10:52 am | Reply

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