I’m Back and Out of the Black Hole

At least mostly.

Carol Burt


Here I am again. I bet some of you thought I died, or at least stopped writing on Medium. Well, obviously neither one of those events came to pass.

Laying on the sofa for a couple of months is not the same as dying. It’s just a bout of my old enemy MDD, major depressive disorder. It visits me more often now that I am old(er) it seems.

One day I am minding my business, going along quite well in my lazy, retired, but interesting retirement, and WHAM, it hits me. But wait. It’s not really like that. I can feel it coming but usually choose to ignore it and carry on with my life. I think the monster is annoyed by this, surprised I’m still out of bed, so it hits me harder until I go down.

My first memory of being depressed is from when I was about 9. I don’t remember what kicked it off, but I remember laying in bed, crying pretty much continuously and telling my mom I was sick and couldn’t possibly go to school. She let me stay home a day, but after that it was back to school. I remember trying not to cry right there is class and sometimes failing.

Teachers and other students were always asking me what was wrong. I made up stuff. I couldn’t have said what was wrong even if I had been much older. I was just sad, I just couldn’t stop crying. Most maddeningly, I could not speak without crying.

I just read a book by Matt Haig that I first learned about from reading his articles here on Medium. It’s a good book entitled “Reasons To Stay Alive.” My problem with his book is it kind of makes it seem as if people can think their way out of depression. That has not been my experience. He also shares his doubt that medications do any good. He got well without them. Good for Matt, and I mean that. He developed a regimen that works for him and is kind enough to share it in a book.

Regimens and happy habits and all that does not work for me. Therapy works minimally when I can find a sane therapist.

I am on three antidepressants and in my adult life have been on two of them for as long as I can remember. They have more modern pills now. I was on Elavil as a young woman and gained 12 pounds in a month. I was on Zoloft and lost all capacity for a sex life.

I get the idea, sometimes, like Matt must have, that I can do without them; that they aren’t helping me; that I can do better without them. The last two times I decided I…



Carol Burt

Former print journalist, former mayor, retired law enforcement officer. Writing about politics and government along with random personal essays.