Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mirthful Monday (and Me Monkeying with my Meds)

Okay. So it's a Mirthful Monday. Here's some funny (but not as funny as the last Mirthful Monday). (Also worth the parentheses: Can I just say that I am so, so, so, so ridiculously grateful that I have never peddled scentsy/stampin' up/or what-have-yous. Seems so awkward!)

And then the other part of my headline: I've been monkeying around with my meds.

It started five ish months ago, when I last saw my psych, who suggested I try going off my Paxil. I don't know that  my psych really believes I have/had the crazies. She's never seen me at my low so I don't think she really understood what she was saying. When I first started seeing her I was in a proactive, well-adjusted place. I have not always been well-adjusted. True, I've never been hospitalized or done anything dangerous. . . but still. She mentioned it in passing and I declined  saying that I wanted to get through the insanity that usually comes with weaning and she said all right and wrote me a scrip for another four months. Well. The Little Cannoli weaned five months ago and there was no drama. Then the meds ran out at the end of January and refills through my psych's office are crazy-inconvenient and usually require a $100 visit. So I didn't bother. Since I was on the lowest therapeutic does I just swallowed my last pill one night and didn't take any more. Because it's not like the psych wanted to see me or prescribe me my med. Or maybe it's because I was tired and frustrated? Because I wanted to show the psych that I really do need the meds? Or, maybe, because I wanted to show myself that I don't need them? It was an exercise in impulsive frustration and self-loathing.

I'm pretty sure that is not what my psych wanted to have happen.


I have to admit I was really shaken up just by her suggestion that I go off my meds. I mean, I've been doing so well why mess with it? What ever happened to, "If it ain't broke don't fix it"? Then I remembered something: I am broken. Even with meds. I'm depressed. I have a mood disorder.  A medical condition. That means I'm broken. If I didn't need fixing then I wouldn't need the meds, right?

All that didn't sit well with me, though. On the Paxil, I didn't feel broken. I felt functional--even a little awesome some days. But her suggestion made me feel like a fake. And, too, there's all this research out there about temperament and I'm pretty sure I'm a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)--which at this point still sounds like pseudo-science but it feels very true to my experience, minus all the stuff about being shy. Of course, the new hip thing with being an HSP is to avoid medication and say to myself, "This is my temperament. I need to honor it and let it do what it needs to do so I can be who I am." That means I get easily overwhelmed, cycle through a lot of emotions, don't multitask, and need a great deal of down time to process my life. The current thinking is that a lot of the world needs to bend around me and make exceptions for my temperament (some researchers even think HSPs are leading the world to new evolutionary heights!). But that's not how life works. That's not real. Real life is that people around you do what they do and you need to be on your game all the time so that you can push back when you need to and keep moving forward, always, so that you don't get trampled or left behind or screw things up.

When I'm on my meds none of that is true. I don't get as overstimulated. I don't get as tired. I don't react as emotionally (I can't tell you how many times I've cried over the news in the last month.  My husband has put me on a no-CNN-or-NPR media diet.). It's kind of nice.

Of course, on my meds I'm also not as creative (over the last couple weeks, as the last of the Paxil has cleared my system, I've felt my writing brain reawaken; I'm scribbling thoughts and snippets of prose in little notebooks all over the house; who knows if they are any good). I'm not as driven--but I also don't get as stymied by all the different directions I get pulled in. On my meds I'm not restless; I'm focused. I feel a pleasant and desirable placidity, but I also feel muted. Muted isn't always bad, though. It can actually be very, very restorative. The medicated me is very good for my husband (definitely HSP; whoever said opposites attract had no idea what they are talking about) and children (at least two of whom are HSPs). The unmedicated me feels a little self-indulgent and exciting. I kind of like it (?).

There has been some self-medicating through all this. Mostly in the form of sugar. One of the things I miss most when I'm medicine free is the little energy lift that comes with the SSRI. I've been considering a "medicinal" dose of Diet Coke. But then soda is really bad for you. So I've been noshing out on various kinds of sugar. This last week, during all the post-Valentine sales, I stocked up on dark chocolate. . . and have eaten about a bag and a half of Dove Promises in the last two days. I'm pretty undisciplined about when I eat it so I've gained a couple pounds, am incredibly bloated, and it's starting to screw with my sleep. Now I'm contemplating diet pills.  Which would basically be trading one FDA approved and researched pill for some hackneyed, unregulated, pill? Not awesome. (And no, I'm not actually taking a diet pill. But I am thisclose to climbing on that roller coaster. The inner monologue likes to rant about how fat and ugly and desperately unattractive I am. Medicated, I can tune that out. Seriously. It's like, Hmmm I think I'm fat. Well, that may or may not be true. But if it is, fat happens. It's not the end of the world. Which is waaay preferable to diet-pill-contemplation.) And Facebook. I've been spending a lot more time Facebooking, which I think is a mild mental/emotional stimulant. (Have you read about this study? FB = worse than cigarettes or alcohol. Cue Ensign, New Era, and The Friend articles!)

 Obviously I'm of two minds about all this. There is probably some middle ground which involves mindfulness, stress management/reduction, and maybe even a low dose of some sort of medication. But right now I guess I just feel like I'm going to ride this out a see what happens. Maybe there is a middle ground that I can stumble into somehow. Maybe now that I am no longer in the constant upheaval of birthing and nursing babies (the Little Cannoli is almost two!!) there is a way to be a little self-indulgent and still be that dependable, unexciting person that my family needs.

Or maybe the farther I get from my last little white pill the swifter I'll descend into the swirling mass of mental self-immolation that I like to think is no longer a part of me but probably still is.