I recently had to make a phone call to a doctor about my medication. It has become a sort of mundane task, now. I generally have to explain my feelings, along with my job situation, relationship status, whether or not I’m getting out enough, and how often I cry/have panic attacks/whatever else.
I have a long and ongoing relationship with medication. I’ve been using it for nearly thirteen years, although there have been significant gaps in my use, as I’ve fought with feelings of being dependent, and wanting to have a break from putting chemicals in my body. This might sound too long-term to some people, which I can understand.
I take medication, specifically SSRI’s, to help deal with emotional dysregulation. Which is to say that my emotional response to things is constantly extreme. Even with medication. I cry at the last episode of Gilmore Girls. Sure, who doesn’t? (If you don’t, please re watch the entire series and get back to me.) But my crying turns into something bigger and more difficult. Suddenly I’m dealing with extreme feelings of abandonment and fear, I’m sobbing and I don’t want to get up from the ball I’m curled up in. It takes all day for me to recover.
Or I think I hear something outside and become confused by the sound, where it’s coming from, and what it is. I think through all kinds of weird and wonderful possibilities, become frightened and panic. Really, really panic. Hyperventilate. Put my face in a pillow in a dark room trying to simulate a feeling of safety. Basically, life is exhausting. And it’s really embarrassing and difficult to write about it because I know I sound weird. I know I’ll get some judgement from some people and I don’t feel good about that fact, but I do feel that writing honestly about this stuff is good.
Recently, I noticed that I was experiencing withdrawal symptoms from my meds, even though I had been taking them at the same time daily. I was extremely dizzy and my moods were getting more and more extreme. I tried to ignore it for a bit, then I let myself google what was happening to me, and discovered that there is a chance, with long-term use of antidepressants, that you actually start to build a sort of resistance to them.
I didn’t like the sound of this. Not least because I use those tablets as something to help me live a normal, productive life. The idea of them not working anymore definitely scared me. So, I called the doctor to talk about it.
We decided that I should double my dosage, for a month, and if there are still problems or I find that there are negative side effects, I can look at switching to something else. That scares me, too.
I’m a week into taking a higher dosage, and my mood is very much the same, only now, I can’t stop sleeping. I fall asleep early at night, stay asleep, and wake up feeling refreshed, instead of exhausted. The only downside is that I’m also falling asleep during the daytime, at random. I’ll sit down between tasks and suddenly I’ve dozed off for an hour.
When I’m not sleeping, I’m feeling pretty weird, like I’m really focused on something, but I don’t know what it is. I usually have a pretty erratic thought process, going through about ten things at any one time. Suddenly I find myself only really being able to look at one thing at a time. Distractions are really noticeable.
So, I’m trying. I’m scared. I’m enjoying the rest. I’m feeling kind of weird. I’m thinking a lot about what taking medication means to me, whether or not I want to be on them for the rest of my life, how and if I can handle life without them, whether or not I’ll just become immune to their effectiveness.
Meds that affect your mood are weird. I know they’ve helped me immeasurably, and I want to share my experience with them. But I don’t have a definitive summary to offer you. I still don’t know what I’m going to do. But here I am right now. Feeling kind of spaced out, and thinking about the future.