So, I haven’t written on here in forever but I would really like to start actually blogging. Problem is, everything I actually want to write about is usually so personal that I write it in my journal instead. This issue, however, is something I feel I should share. I know it’s something that I would be interested in reading about, so hopefully someone else out there will feel the same.
Let’s start from the beginning. About five years ago I was diagnosed with anxiety and panic attacks, and put on Zoloft daily to help. After a few days on the meds I was having intense heart palpitations and severe night sweats. I was sleeping on the couch a lot of nights, as I was waking up soaking wet at all hours. I eventually decided that it just wasn’t worth it and stopped taking the medication.
Cut to two years later; I’m depressed, suicidal, having such bad panic attacks that I’m blacking out, and I haven’t said a word to anyone. Talking about my feelings hasn’t ever been my forte, and I only closed in on myself more after my mom died. My saving grace is that I got stupid drunk one night and confessed it all to my best friend. A few days later I’m in her car on the way to the mental health ER with her making me promise that I’ll be honest with the doctors so that they can help me. That day I was diagnosed with clinical depression and told that I will most likely deal with it in some way for the rest of my life. I was then put on Citalopram (generic Celexa), daily.
I won’t say that the medicine was a miracle drug, I won’t say that I felt 100% better, but I will say that it made it bearable. Any thoughts of suicide were gone, and I wasn’t crying at the drop of a hat, or having panic attacks at all. I still had ups and downs, but they weren’t as extreme. And for the time being, that was what I needed. I needed time to work through everything I had experienced, and everything that I was feeling without being bombarded by mental chaos all the time.
It’s now been about three years I’ve been on the medicine. I’ve tried to stop taking it a couple times, and usually after a week or so the panic attacks come back full force. But it was never in my plan to be on medicine the rest of my life. That plan may not work out, and that’s okay, but I feel like I have to try to cope without it. I love that it dulls the bad emotions sometimes, but I can’t stand that it dulls the good ones too. I can still feel happy, but just a little lower on the spectrum of happiness than I could reach before. One of my favorite things in the world before the meds was sad music. It doesn’t always make me feel sad, it just makes me feel something so intense and deep, and that’s something I haven’t been able to feel when I’ve been medicated. I can’t write well on the meds. My writing has been very matter-of-fact and lacking the emotion that used to make it special, and therefore making it much less cathartic for me.
I don’t know exactly how long I’ve been off my medicine at this point. I know it’s somewhere around 6 or 7 weeks. I haven’t had a panic attack. I haven’t cried all night or felt suicidal. What I am starting to feel is whole. I’m starting to feel a depth of emotion that I haven’t felt in years. I never made a conscious decision to stop my meds. I just kept forgetting to take them, and then I realized it had been over a week, so I thought I should just wait and see how I feel.
Last night I made a playlist of all of the songs that used to make me feel so much, and I’m loving listening to it as I write. Today I found pictures that I haven’t seen since my mom’s memorial service, and as I looked at them I felt so much that I thought I might explode. It feels amazing.
I’m well aware that there’s always the possibility of my mind turning on me again. What’s different this time is that I’m in a better place. I’ve grieved, I’ve accepted what’s happened in my past, and I’ve made a new life for myself in a place that I love. I feel confident that if I start feeling bad again, I know how to reach out to the people I love and ask for help.
Right now, all I feel is excited for this new chapter.