Wednesday, 29 March 2017

No judgement

I had coffee with a dear friend of mine this morning. We griped, we laughed, we talked about our successes and our failures. Making and taking the time to sit down and just hash it out over a steaming mug of Les' cappuccino is always a good way to start a day. It was a good reminder that we all face challenges with our self esteem, our relationships, our work and just life in general. It's not just me. Not just us. And having good friends to listen without judgement makes all the difference.

No judgement.

The movie "Me before you" was released when I first started going to Parkwood as an outpatient. It's about a guy with paralysis who falls in love with his support worker. He is not happy even though they are in love. *spoiler alert* in the end of the movie he flies off to Europe in his private jet in order to have assisted suicide. I must have been in some strange "I can do anything" phase of recovery, because I found this storyline to be so unbelievable that I said as much to my Parkwood friends. Open mouth, insert both feet, and roll away. Yup, one of my friends had just lost one of her friends to suicide. Way to go Julie.

Depression is as common as 1 in 20 in the general population, and in people with a spinal cord injury it is 1 in 5.

Most of November, December and part of January were pretty bleak for me. When I ruled out that it was a not a string of back to back UTIs I didn't know where to look next. So I went to my Dr. and tried to explain how I was feeling. How incredibly sad I felt all the time. How I cried. Well, if you've been following, you'll remember the dark days. It was my Dr's idea that I try to get out that dark place by using medication. It had not occurred to me that I might need some chemical help for my brain, but as soon as he suggested it, I knew that it was the next thing to try.

I have been sitting on this post idea for a while now. Eight weeks to be exact. I knew I wanted to write about taking antidepressants; about how it made me feel to take them and about how they actually made me feel. Both are things that require time to adjust too. First, how I felt taking them was not like I was giving up. It just seemed to be the logical next step on a road to trying to feel better. And I have to say that it is working. Aside from the foggy head and the hundred mile stare that I had for the first couple of weeks (ask Elaine), it has helped me feel more positive. Feeling more positive means that I have the energy to do more therapy (and see results), do more work on the projects I have taken on and spend more time with my family. All good and necessary things.

Depression is just as much an open and festering wound as any other physical ailment - we just can not see it with our eyes. You would treat that open wound right away, wouldn't you? So why not, when depression is identified, would you not try and treat it? Now, having said that, there are other non-medication ways to treat depression like sunlight, exercise, diet and sleep. But when all of those options have been exhausted, one has to take other measures. Like antibiotics for an infection. In the end, when I die, no one is going to say "she was only able to make it work because she took antidepressants..." No one will say that about me. No one will say that about you.

Pet therapy. And I have started reading again, which has been great. 


  1. Hi Julie, I have followed your story with great interest and I think you are doing a very good thing by blogging about what is happening. Thank you for sharing. I am a nurse of retirement age, but I work for the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation. Check them out at They fund research for people who have have brain and spinal cord injury. I live in Brussels and work from home, so I do get to see your follow up in the Citizen. Bless you for your courage and generosity.

  2. We don't look down on someone with diabetes or a thyroid condition for taking helpful medication... Why should antidepressants (where warranted) be any different?
    Good to see you're enjoying reading again, too! 😃

  3. The best thing I have done for myself in the past year, is to get treatment for my anxiety. I feel like a totally different person (actually I feel like me again!). I am proud of you Julie for seeking help, it is difficult, but very important for your health and the health of your family.

  4. Thank you.....I hope that one day I have your strength and can share with my friends and family. Depression is a daily struggle for me but with the help of my meds I am able to function and feel. Bless are an amazing soul.