Not taking happiness for granted, I remain alert to signs that my chemistry is sabotaging my brain. Sometimes, life is better with chemistry.

So simply happy.

An unfamiliar feeling settled in my heart. Introspective as I am, I studied myself to define the trigger and the emotion. With alarm, I realized that it was happiness. How long had I gone without feeling happy?

I returned to my physician to report on my first two weeks on Lexapro. He laughed then apologized when I related my story to him.

Met with my confession of depression, friends and family would ask, “What are you depressed about?” It was frustrating to answer, “nothing.” Life was good. I had a loving husband, independent children, good jobs, beautiful home, many good friends and family. But a friend took one look and urged me to visit the doctor and, reluctantly, I brought up the subject to him. He was understanding, explaining that depression or anxiety is often manifested as a lack of interest in subjects formerly interesting. He started me on Lexapro, assuring me that I would see quick results.

Within two weeks I experienced the mystifying condition now recognized as happiness. Within six weeks I was astounded at how well I could handle the challenges of life.

Why was I alarmed that first week? My depression was mild, not incapacitating. How easy it would be slide into a mire of darkness. My heart goes out to people who are cemented in that mire. Not taking happiness for granted, I remain alert to signs that my chemistry is sabotaging my brain. Sometimes, life is better with chemistry.

Debilitating depression

It is insidious, slinking in over time, evoking reactions of anger and irritation against annoying people, inoperative software, immature politics. Eventually, I give up, staying in my room reading, watching TV, playing video games!! I crave sugar, pasta, and alcohol. The circle spins as my body doesn’t move and is filled with poisons, leading to deeper despondency.

My depression does not prevent me from doing the necessities. I complete my job responsibilities, laundry, housework and social obligations. Without friends and family to pry me from the house, though, I need only the thought of facing a group of people to keep me at home and away from fitness classes.

Depression does not need a reason. The answer to the question of “what do I have to be depressed about?” is “nothing!” I am fully aware that well over 99% of the world views me correctly as privileged. I enjoy relatively economic stability as well as good health for myself and my loved ones and have escaped the horrors of addiction that plague so many good families.

Medication certainly helps, and I take it regularly. But this week, with my exercise buddies out of town and heat driving me indoors, it is apparent that medication doesn’t do it all. So I need to be extra kind to myself and others. This shall pass, I remind myself.