Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Just Say No, or Yes, Or, What Was the Question?
Since my 21st birthday when I was christened, by a what I now believe to be quack doctor, with bipolar disorder, I have been highly medicated. I have been on a whole slew of antidepressants: Lithium, Effexor, Lexapro, Carbamazepine, Paxil, Wellbutrin, Amitriptyline and my favorite, Xanax.
Let me tell you something about Lithium. It is not only a drug, it is a responsibility and a way of life. When you are on Lithium sodium can build up in your system and you can die. Which is why you have to complete lab tests while you are on it. Of course this is a worse case scenario, but it's serious stuff. I had just turned 21, was living the life of a typical 21 year old and was not ready for such serious medicine. The 2 weeks I was on Lithium I was a zombie. I felt completely numb of any type of emotion and not in a good "hey I just smoked a joint and took a Valium" type of way. I literally felt like an alien on this medicine. So I did what I do best and denied the diagnosis and haven't approached the subject since. Carbamozepine and Effexor are what the doctor put me on after I refused to take Lithium.
Try as they may, they could never take my sadness away.
When I look back at the situation I realize I was completely broken inside. I was going through a lot of issues with my father, I was struggling with whether or not I wanted to move to North Carolina, my brother was, well, my brother was my brother, and I had just moved out on my own. All that normal stress added to a mood disorder or chronic depression, whatever I have, and I was a mess. Since I'm naturally a bubbly person I was putting on a major show every day and not letting anything out. I needed help. And I refused to see a therapist on the thought process of "I don't listen very well, so what's the point?". I was so completely desperate for help and so very very sad and hopeless.
My point is, if I'm trying to make one, when do we stop looking for an answer in the form of a pill? Is treating depression with pharmaceuticals the same as treating a cut with Neosporin? Recommended but not absolutely neccessary? For me, in my life right now, it's absolutely necessary. When I attempt to go off my medications I go into complete emotional shock. I can't function in all aspects of life whether it be as a wife, an assistant at work, a friend, a daughter, etc. I shut down and make a mess of myself and those I love most. Spend one day with me when I am non-medicated and you will be ready to pull your hair out. It's intolerable.
What do you do? What do I do? I choose to take it day by day. 3 weeks ago I was ready to completely purge myself of my personal holy grail of vices: Nicotine, Lexapro and Caffiene. I failed. I'm smoking again. I do plan on stopping soon again. I know know my triggers and have made plans to avoid them. Caffeine was a sucess. I've cut down signifigantly. Lexapro. Different story. I went for 5 days completely off of it. I broke down on my way to work, at work, at lunch I would call my mother sobbing, go back to work, break down in the bathroom, come home, pick fights with Alan, cry again, repeat. I am down to 2.5 mgs now, so I'm still on the way slow slope to being Lexapro free. I'm not so pressured about these vices anymore as we've decided to wait until summer to start thinking about having a kid. This makes it better to me, almost as if I have permission to fuck up.
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