I’ve been writing about Hepatitis C for some time but then I stopped abruptly. Why? My traveling companion, depression, has grown to the size of treatment. Ain’t no sunshine. My soul grays up. The world is flat. I don’t care about anything but checking out. I don’t want a drug or drink. I just want to step off the planet and catch my breath. There is no walking, exercise, no coming or going, no meetings and sometimes no grooming. Why bother? I check out with Project Runway reruns.
Now that might be okay if depression wasn’t accompanied by anxiety. Adding anxiety is like lying on a bed and setting it on fire. I want to get up because my mind is racing. I can’t get up because my mind is racing. I need to fight Humana, the prescription drug company to get my tier three drugs. Lexapro, yes, Lexapro, was replaced with generic escitalopram and this broke the dam holding back depression. So I purchased the brand name Lexapro for $600 for 90 tablets. My dose is 1 1/2 tablets a day, 45 days worth of treatment. Who can afford this? No one on a fixed income. And my income is a little better than average.
Over the course of my adult life, I have seen many depression gurus. I was always referred to as a high performing depressive. As long as I was in the top 10%, I was good with that. Prozac was launched in 1988 by Eli Lilly and Company while I worked there. I was the scientist teaching sales representatives about depression diagnosis and treatment. But I purchased my Prozac at a retail pharmacy rather that getting it free at the Lilly Clinic. In corporate settings (even those that create drugs), depression was considered a path to career derailment, a guarantee of a lateral movement. It was seen as a failing, not a disease. Even though Lilly was promoting depression diagnoses and treatment, there was an implied knowing. Nothing in writing of course, but it was whispered in the halls about someone with depression, drinking, or family problems. Then that person just faded away. Hell, you were supposed to get cancer treatments on your own time. My boss did. He even took work to the hospital.
For three years I became a brain on life support. No human attributes. Prozac and therapy propped me up even as I spiraled down. My psychiatrist recommended in-patient therapy, but alas I could not because of my blasted career. So, I dodged being inside the corporate building when possible, hiding out in the field. Then one day I was forced into a cubicle 10-11 hours a day or become a sales representative. I went to Abbott at the time, they were less soul sucking than Lilly.
This continued through several companies including mergers. Then, while working for AstraZeneca, my liver said it was time so I was forced into treatment for Hepatitis C (my secret diagnosis for 15 years). Through therapy and medications I had taped and sealed shut Pandora’s Box. But with hepatitis c treatment the box burst open and everything refused to yield, all but hope. Hope abandoned me immediately.
You might wish that everything worked out and I am set for life. The good news is that I am Hepatitis C free for six years after two rounds of treatment. But regarding depression, no. Simply switching Lexapro to generic kicked open Hell’s Gate and here I am eating fat and sugar, watching only programs that do not even stick a toe into the human condition. Where is my rabbit hole for hiding? I misplaced it.
This is my story, not yours. Depression has plagued my family for generations and continues on through my granddaughter. New Hepatitis C treatments without Interferon and Ribavirin certainly are greatly improved. But there are many genotypes that still use this old witch’s brew. Always monitor your own emotions or have a loved one if you cannot.