The Alternate Universe Game
Have you ever wondered if somewhere, there is another you, existing in a different universe, making different decisions? Sort of an “I wonder what would have happened if” universe? When I was younger, I played this game a lot. I would wonder if somewhere in time, there was an Erin whose mom didn’t die young, who was still around and would offer me advice and hugs and all the normal things that moms do. As I got older, I had really bad insomnia, and I would play this game well into the night, assuming I hadn’t had enough bourbon to knock me out.
Maybe there’s an Erin who graduated from VCU and is a really successful… Something…
Maybe there’s an Erin who stayed in Connecticut and married the wrong man and is slowly starving herself to death in silent protest.
Maybe there’s an Erin who never met Bradford.
Lately, I wonder if there’s an Erin who was diagnosed with depression early, instead of last year. I’ve been struggling a lot lately, wondering what would have happened if I had been properly diagnosed and put on Prozac in high school. It’s both heartbreaking and infuriating to think about how much easier things would have been for me.
It’s not particularly surprising that it wasn’t caught sooner. I went to a boarding school for all of high school, so I wasn’t home for long periods of time. Any weird behavior was determined to be adolescence. No one was watching at school, despite the fact that I was acting out constantly. When I graduated high school and moved to Richmond, I figured out that if I drank enough, I could fall asleep. Problem solved. It wasn’t until a few months after I gave birth, and everything intensified to the point that I could no longer function that I got help.
Little things have changed since I started taking what one idiot doctor at Patient First referred to as “Mommy’s Little Helper”.(I always thought that was Valium.) The constant insomnia that plagued me for twenty years is gone. The extreme anxiety has vanished. The overwhelming feeling that there was something wrong with me… All of the things that I thought were just normal facets of my personality became abnormalities that disappeared within a couple of weeks. Suddenly, I felt like I could breathe.
My prescription for Prozac is up in a couple of months, and I’ve been debating whether or not to stop taking it. On one hand, I don’t want to be dependent on a pill for the rest of my life. On the other, I’ve been a kinder, more rational, normal feeling version of myself and I’m terrified to let that go. It’s a decision I’ll probably struggle with right up until I actually have to make it, but I’m so glad that it’s one that I can make. Not addressing the problem certainly didn’t make anything better.
Whether or not there are any alternate universe Erins out there, I am so thankful for where I ended up. I’d like to think that all roads would have eventually led me here, but who knows. Maybe there’s a Ralph Lauren clad Erin who hates tattoos and loves Dave Matthews out there…
***Please note, I am not a doctor, although I’m patiently waiting on my medical degree from Google. I am only relating my experiences with depression and medication, and am no way qualified to talk about anything else. ***
I had depression from early middle school until about three years ago (21 years old). I was given Paxil when I turned 18. It helped at first …but eventually it made me worse. My doctor continued to up the dosage but it didn’t help long and I started feeling and acting crazy (literally, like sitting under the table banging my head on a chair crazy). I even went to therapy for a year to no avail. I hit rock bottom one month and knew something had to change. I read tons of books on depression. I realized I needed to learn coping skills because the ones I had were terrible. I learned a positive attitude was something you had to learn and work towards everyday. I learned so much and somewhere along the way I stopped being depressed. I started being positive and happy. I started loving myself and forgiving myself for the mistakes I’ve made. I’m glad the medicine works for you. I also hope someday you can get rid of it for good so you don’t have to take a pill everyday for the rest of your life. Wishing you the best 🙂
Thank you! I appreciate you taking the time to share your story and insights. Hopefully one day I can go without the prozac, but I am so thankful that I do have it and that it’s made such a huge impact.