I like the strange and unusual because my life has been strange and unusual. I've had a lot of death in my life.  I lost my brother and parents when I was 10, one of my best friends was murdered my junior year of high school, a man who was like my second father died of lung cancer when I was 19, and 4 years ago my ex who was also one of my very beloved best friends was murdered in Brooklyn. Death is something I've had to get very acquainted with.

I've learned a lot about myself through death and loss. I've learned that I'm able to have an incredible sense of humor despite all of the suffering. I've also learned that I can get incredibly depressed because of my PTSD if I don't make my mental health a priority. 

Your brain stops producing the same amount of serotonin as it did before once it goes through a traumatic event thus creating a chemical imbalance. So lets say a perfectly happy guy that had a charmed upbringing joins the army and goes off to war.  He experiences some traumatic events, his life is in danger multiple times (they call this repeated trauma) and just like that...the serotonin levels in his brain are compromised. 

The same goes for anyone that experiences a life altering traumatic event or in my case, my father was going to kill me the same night he killed my mother (for some reason last minute he decided not to) and then I witnessed my parents die. 

It was gruesome and violent (I'll get more into that at a later time). I almost died and the weight of those experiences have changed the chemical make up of my brain. 

Depression shows up differently on everyone.  The way it showed up for me was that I really didn't/couldn't bring myself to care about anything.  Sure I loved my family, my friends, but when it came to my own personal life there was no fire.  I felt like a lighter that was almost out of fluid. I would try to ignite a flame but all I ever produced were tiny little sparks that showed up for a second then disappeared. 

It didn't matter what country or continent I lived on, who I was dating, what job I had, at the heart of it all was this listless lull that never went away. There were moments of distraction that made me think happiness had arrived, but it never lasted and I found myself looking for something else to take my mind off the fact that I felt nothing. 

I tried everything, moving, different lovers, different jobs, but nothing was able to take away the zombie feeling I had inside.  

The person I was seeing at the time told me they took antidepressants and had for the past decade.  I was floored.  I also cried. I had no idea he struggled with depression, here was this man who seemingly had "everything" and he had been fighting this internal war for years. It broke my heart but it also made me feel less alone. Around the time that I discovered this my therapist (yes I go to therapy ya'll everyone should) said that I was a great candidate for antidepressants. I took this as a sign.  I was also EXHAUSTED and at my wits end. I was so tired of trying EVERYTHING I possibly could and nothing was working. (Exercise helped a little but it never lasted) The one thing that I had never tried was medication. 

So I went to see a psychiatrist and started on a low dose of Zoloft. IT WAS LIFE CHANGING. Literally. I felt more like myself than I ever had. I felt as if my therapist, my partner at the time, and my psychiatrist had given me the greatest gift I had ever received, the return of my true self. 

See, I never felt that sadness, suffering, and then eventually numbness was my true essence. I felt that the circumstances that had transpired had altered who I was (understandably so) and I had been trying to get myself back ever since. 

Medication isn't for everyone and it is a deeply personal choice to make. 

All I offer is my experience and I hope by that sharing it lessens the stigma. I love Zoloft and I love the team that keeps my mental health in top form. 

I still take Zoloft every day and in conjuction with a healthy diet and exercise I feel better than I ever have. 

So f*ck the stigma, if you feel sad and can't get a handle on it, GO TALK TO A PROFESSIONAL and make it a priority to take control of your mental health.