Adjustments

I started getting lost in my head again. My body wasn’t cooperating with my brain. I was slipping back to the before. The weight of days were becoming heavier and heavier. 

The doctor told me it would take about two weeks for the zoloft to even out in my system. The first few days went really well, the second week continued the upswing, the third week began to plateau exactly as expected.

Then I started feeling anxiety like I’d felt four years ago when I was first diagnosed. It wasn’t a full blow panic, but it was a persistent and rising hum of being unable to catch my breath, dizziness, chest pressure, and racing thoughts. I took half of my xanax after two days of researching whether or not it was okay to take the xanax with the zoloft (of course it is, the doctor even mentioned that in the initial appointment). I found relief from the anxiety, and the next day I spent the entire day on the couch watching netflix and barely speaking a word. I looked around at everything that needed to be done and said “Fuck it. I don’t care.” I figured I was just having an off day since things had been going mostly okay.

A few days later the anxiety was back with a vengeance, threatening a crescendo into a full blown panic. I took another half of my xanax before bed. The next day felt like I hadn’t even been on zoloft for almost a month. I waited another day to see if things would even out. I felt a little more buoyant, but still as if I was trudging through quicksand.

Time to call the doctor.

I went in yesterday with all my nervous anxiety that had returned–which was probably the only thing keeping me from sinking in the metaphorical mud, and left with a klonopin prescription and double the zoloft dose.

“How do you feel about that?” my friend Alicia asked.

“I think it makes for great ‘crazy meds’ jokes…”

I don’t know why but klonopin sounds way scarier than xanax, and I can just see the look on someone’s face when the topic of mental health comes up and I casually and self-deprecatingly toss out “Oh yeah, I’m on zoloft and klonopin.” There’s something uncomfortable and hilarious about catching someone trying to hide their immediate expression of shock that I’m on something so scary sounding or that flash of judgment, disgust, and fear…at least to me, but that could be the meds. 

Today is the first day of the double dose zoloft. It’s been a pretty good day. I feel like maybe this is what real life is supposed to feel like. Maybe I’m actually supposed to laugh at stuff and not have one single thing ruin my entire mood or send me into a giant spiral of hopelessness and frustration. I dunno, but I’m hopeful…dare I say even cheerful! Fingers crossed this is how it’s supposed to be!

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The Well is Poisoned

There are wells within all of us that our thoughts and actions spring forth from. It is a source of our identity; the internal place where who we are and what we do intertwine and originate to manifest who we are in our external lives.

I didn’t realize until recently the well I have been drawing from, for what seems like my entire life, has slowly been poisoned by depression and anxiety. It wasn’t until I went to draw from that well for motivation and found the snake at the bottom telling me it was easier to give up than to continue living that I realized how truly poisoned the well had become.

It feels like the meds have covered the well, which is good because it’s where the darkness resides. It’s difficult because it’s the place I’ve seemingly always drawn my thoughts and feelings and actions from, and now I have to find other ways to express my identity. This is frustrating in the way breaking a habit by finding a new, healthier habit to replace it is and I’m having to consciously remind myself to seek out other avenues to explore and communicate

I am excited and terrified about this. I’m worried I will settle on a single well and the process will repeat, or worse– I will never find a depth of identity I am comfortable with, but I also feel like I have the opportunity to rediscover who I am and what I am meant to be and find new ways to express myself…and I think if I can remind myself trust that positive vibe of rediscovery, I will continue to get better.

 

 

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Cautiously Optimistic

I’ve been making a lot of “crazy meds” jokes with people who are aware of my situation. I don’t think they find it as funny as I do. I can’t tell if it’s awkward like making a joke at a funeral and no one knows it’s okay to laugh, or a “this is a serious thing, why are you joking?”

Honestly, I don’t know that I care. I see a returning sense of humor as an improvement. It feels good to laugh again.

Sorry, not sorry.

Sorry, not sorry.

It’s been five days on the Zoloft now, and I don’t want to jump to conclusions or anything, but this stuff is pretty great. The first day I was a little loopy, but in a good way. My husband even mentioned how nice it was to see me smiling. Mostly, it’s been feeling like I’m hovering just above the abyss of depression, which is pretty amazing after feeling like I’ve been drowning in that abyss for so long.

It really does feel like I’ve been thrown a life raft.

The only downside I’m seeing is I’m kind of indifferent to some things. Which isn’t bad in some cases–like seeing the articles about the giant earthquake predicted to hit the pacific north west or the mini-ice age prediction for 2030–which normally would have sent me into a tailspin of despair and hopelessness. I do worry the zoloft might inhibit my capacity for deeply feeling the things I want to feel or are accustomed to feeling, but if that does happen, I don’t think it will happen for long.

I’m more focused though. I’m less anxious about incomplete tasks. I’m more forgiving of myself. I’m better at positive self-talk. I feel like I can breathe again. I have a desire to move and do things and be a real person.

It’s pretty great so far. It’s a little up and down in some places, but it’s much easier to get back up.

It’s supposed to take about two weeks to even out and my dosage goes up the day after tomorrow, so we will see what happens.

 

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The Results Are In

Last night my husband and I had a long talk about the depths of my most recent issues. It was the first time I have really come completely clean with everything going on inside my head. I didn’t want to go into the full depth of my depression with him because I was afraid he would worry too much about me or feel some sort of responsibility for my mental state, or worse, he would treat me differently–like a toxic and fragile thing to be handled with the utmost care and a healthy dose of fear.

I’m still not positive he won’t treat me differently, but he did remind me that we are a team and that as married people that is pretty much the entirety of our responsibility to one another. To be teammates, to listen, to understand, and to work through it. I love that guy, he gets me. Even though this is all new territory, he is kind and gentle and cautious and understanding.

Today my blood test results came in. I apparently have a slightly elevated MCV level. They want to do another blood test just to see for certain if it’s a folate or B12 deficiency or if maybe the blood just sat too long before they tested it.

The MCV level was the only abnormal aspect of my blood test, and those levels weren’t enough to be the cause of the depression and anxiety issues. So the doctor has prescribed Zoloft.

After reading all of the literature on it, I decided it would be better if I started it on Saturday since it can cause dizziness and sleepiness and things like driving aren’t recommended. Also, no drinking on it.

No drinking is going to be tough, but I’ve been working on the toning down the drinking for a little while now, so hopefully it won’t be bad. And if I have to trade my wine for some sanity, I’m willing to make that trade. Anyone who knows me, knows that means my desperation to feel better has reached a monumental level.


 

I was texting with one of my best friends today and we were discussing how we rarely talk anymore and how much of it is due to my depression. I realized that back in February or March I was having a lot of really great days, then when I finally sat down and wrote everything out about the anxiety and depression and really thoroughly examined everything, things started to slip.

The funny thing is, I think even with as bad as things have felt lately, that first moment of detailing what it’s like to live inside of my head during my general anxiety, panic attacks, and depression, blew the doors off of the proverbial closet I was hiding all of my mental shit in. It’s like I’m an emotional hoarder and now the doors and windows are all open and I pulled everything out and now I have to sort through it all.

It sucks when depression cripples you. At first it only feels like a sprain, or maybe a fracture, you’re still functioning. Then, before you realize it you’re paralyzed.


 

I am fortunate that my brain claws at life with a beautiful rage. That rage is what has given me the strength to seek help, to fight for living.

I went to yoga on Tuesday night for the second time in a month. That is more than I’ve been in years. The entire day was difficult. Everything felt hopeless and exhausting, but I kept reminding myself that I had yoga to look forward to. Even if it would have been easier to skip yoga and go home and wallow, I had to look forward to it. I had to convince myself that my very survival depended on it.

Funny thing about rage and pain, it needs to be inflicted. I was in such misery and being propelled by rage and I wanted nothing more than to lash out at someone. I wanted to inflict intellectual and emotional torment on someone so they would be equally as tortured as I was.

I wanted the power of fear.

And on some level I think I attained it.

Working through the postures, I remembered:

I am powerful beyond measure, even in my weakest moments. 

I proved it to myself through two 90 minutes hot yoga classes in the last few weeks, stepping back on to my mat and making it through as if I hadn’t been gone more than a few weeks.

The first class nearly brought me to tears with gratitude and relief, waves of absolution rolling over me. I wondered if that’s what confession felt like to a sinner. It was the final lock on the final closet door. Everything was finally out.

The second class was about harnessing my power, no matter where it came from, to pull my shit together and clean it up and make room for healing, discipline, and compassion for myself.


I’m finally realizing I have more than one or two tools in my toolbox and that those tools can be used consecutively to really and truly help me through this mess. While I’m nervous about the zoloft, I am excited about getting back to yoga, working through talk therapy, and having maybe an extra boost from the meds to help me iron my shit out and get back to good.

I have hope of getting back to good. It’s so fucking exciting.

 

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