Figuring Out 'Regular' Sadness After Starting Medication for a Mental Illness

I started medication about a month and a half ago. It’s going great. For the first time in a long time, I’m happy. Really and truly happy.

I walk through the halls of my work, my body humming with excitement for teaching my students. I look at their little faces with wonder. Thinking about the beauty of a human child’s existence.

I walk through my front door and love seeing my dog. His tail wagging and his dark eyes looking at me, like I’m the only thing that matters to him. My heart swells with gratitude.

I lay down in bed at night thankful for the man lying next to me. Thankful that he has loved me through my worst moments. Thankful for his support.

I love my life.

I started medication about a month and a half ago. It’s going great, but I am confused. For the first time in years, I feel more than a crushing sense of dread. I feel more than an empty cavity that consumes every emotion that runs through my scattered and cloudy heart.

I can recognize happy. I can recognize thankful, and I can recognize amazement. However, I do not recognize sad, bummed or bored.

This is the first time in my life that sad doesn’t mean curling into a ball for days. It doesn’t mean a physical pain that will drop me to my knees. This is the first time that bummed doesn’t mean sleeping for five hours while skipping work with the shades drawn. This is the first time that bored doesn’t mean eating everything around me or turning my thoughts to poison.

Luckily, I have someone who can tell me, “Oh honey, that’s just what Monday’s feel like,” or “You had a tough day yesterday. Sometimes, it carries over to the next one.” When these feelings confuse me, I’m thankful for the help.

I’m so thankful I get to see how fortunate I am. I’m amazed at how beautiful life is around me. I’m in awe of the capacity that humans have for love, but I’m also thankful I can feel sad. That I can feel bummed. That I can feel again.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

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