"I’m back on anti-depressants and feel like I’ve failed."

I was first prescribed anti-depressants in my twenties after a big crash which was nearly the end of me. Medication was part of an emergency plan put in place for me, to help me get back on my feet, and I did what I was told to do. A couple of months later the heavy clouds started to lift and I zipped on with my life.

As the years have ticked by, the cycle’s repeated itself several times. That wretched black dog is no friend of mine, but he seeks out my company even though I try to tell him to leave me alone. I dread him being at my door.

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When I gave up drinking alcohol nearly two years ago, it absorbed my entire positive focus. I changed my whole way of life to make being sober sustainable. I wanted it to fix me. I wanted it to take away all of my brokenness and piece me back together.

But it didn’t, of course. I’m left with the same minefield of a mind that drove me into darkness as a teenager. It’s not pretty in there. The longer I go without alcohol, the more I understand why I turned to it in the first place to self-medicate and escape.

woman drinking
Giving up drinking wasn't the fix I needed. (Image via iStock.)

Trying to keep my head above water in the harsh light of day with no emotional crutch finally became too much a couple of months ago.

As I walked to my doctor’s with tears streaming behind sunglasses, and heaviness pounding in my heart, I was inconsolable. I sat in the waiting room picking at my fingers, sunglasses on, desperately trying not to let out an audible whimper or screech. I was in emotional agony.


Of course, I’ve walked this path before. I know what to ask for and I know what works for me. I collected the prescription from the chemist, took what would help to mend me, and walked along the beach with no destination in mind.

Tears wouldn’t stop.

I felt like I’d failed.

Why couldn’t I get my own head under control? Why couldn’t I get out of bed? Why couldn’t I stop crying? Why was I incapable of running my own life?


It sat on my shoulders like a dead weight as I paced along the sand. It burnt into my skin with the rays of the sun and scorched unstoppable hot tears down my face.

"Sometimes, there’s no point in sitting up until an acceptable bedtime." (Image via iStock.)

I walked and walked and tried to shake off the exhausting gloom. When I got home, I climbed into bed and gave up with the day. Sometimes, there’s no point in sitting up until an acceptable bedtime. Sometimes you have to draw a line in the day and tell yourself you’ve done the best you could. I’d got up, asked for help, done what I was told, and what I knew would eventually help, and walked in the fresh air.


That was enough.

I believe they call it being kind to yourself. I force myself to do it even when self-destruction tries to take the reins.

The next day, I did the same; I got up, did what I needed to do and went back to bed. Heavy.
Weeks have ticked by and today failure didn’t walk with me along the beach. With every stride I took, I looked ahead. I took off my sunglasses, saw how beautiful the beach is and did not cry. What stretches in front of me is pretty and full of opportunity.

"Weeks have ticked by and today failure didn’t walk with me along the beach."(Image via iStock.)

I surprised myself by talking to two friends about it; one I knew is also taking medication.

“Thank god for you talking about it,” he said. “Please can you write about it? I feel like I can’t tell anyone. That feeling of guilt, shame and failure is the worst thing. I hate even walking into the chemist because I feel like they’re all watching me. You are brave... Are we both brave?”

As I put the phone down, that buzz of human connection made me smile.

He hasn’t failed.

Neither have I. And yes, we are both brave.

We’ve both chosen life, and sometimes, that’s the very bravest thing you can do.

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