Joan, my therapist, helped a little, but to be honest, at that point I was beyond repair-by-talking.
"Maybe I should go on antidepressants," I told her. "I don't know what else to do. If I could get better by myself I would have by now."
"I think that's probably true," she said. "Once the chemicals of depression start flowing, it's hard to reverse them on your own."
"And I can't live like this. My family is suffering. I can't function."
"What would you do if you couldn't get help from your doctor?"
I thought about it. "If I stayed with my family, I'd have to become an alcoholic or start taking a lot of nonprescribed drugs." It's how my grandma did it when her five kids were small. She drank a six pack before noon, leaving beer cans all over the house as she did her chores.
"I think a lot about Percocet. And pot. And about drinking and smoking, all the time."
"Those drugs are all depressants," I observed.
"You'd be self-medicating," Joan observed.
Of course. So my choice was to self-medicate with depressants that would make me sicker, run away from home, or have my doctor prescribe antidepressants and monitor me closely.
It seems like a no-brainer. Still, sunk in Joan's office chair, I allowed myself the illusion of choice. What would it be like to veer off into alcoholism? I had such great role models for this; it couldn't possibly be that hard to get there. Of course, I'd have get treatment, because my husband would insist on it and I didn't want to screw up my kids in exactly the same way I am screwed up. And then I could give up all my responsibilities and go somewhere bucolic for 28 days to detox and get better. There was something very satisfying about that picture, about just...