Tag Archives: SAD

Medication Frustration

This is the top drawer of my bedside table, a.k.a. the “med drawer”:

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This is where I keep the stuff that most folks organize neatly in a medicine cabinet. Mostly, it’s full of your typical and over-the-counter remedies: ibuprofen, pepto bismol, benadryl, cold medicine. It’s also where I keep my meds for anxiety, depression, and migraines. It’s a necessary, if messy, drawer. Usually, I open this drawer at night to take my daily medications without so much as a thought; it’s automatic, an action I’ve taken every night for years.

Sometimes, however, I really fucking hate opening that drawer. This week is one of those times.

I’ve been on some sort of daily medication to treat anxiety and depression pretty consistently since I was sixteen, which makes fifteen years of me opening this drawer (or its previous incarnations at my parents’ house and other apartments and dorms) every night. I’m incredibly grateful for this drawer, for the drugs in it (which have changed over the years several times–if you want to talk about the benefits and drawbacks of prozac vs. zoloft vs. lamictal vs. lexapro vs. a couple others I don’t remember at this point, I’m your gal) and for the doctors and therapists and friends and family members who have helped me get my shit together and get the help and medication I need to treat my anxiety and depression.

And yet, right now, I really hate that fucking drawer.

I hate that I have to cut my lexapro doses into little quarters as I wean off a higher “winter” dose to treat SAD (seasonal affective disorder). I hate the bitter taste of the pill residue that gets caught in my throat sometimes when I don’t cut the pills perfectly. I hate the fact that that higher dose made me incredibly drowsy in the afternoons for two months and eliminated my libido. I hate that these pills make it hard for me to lose weight and even, sometimes, to experience joy. I hate the fact that I rely, to some extent, on a pill to make myself “normal,” if there is such a thing.

I know that these feelings are valid–and likely temporary. I also know that there are alternatives to medication that I may try down the road in addition to my current therapy regimen. I also know that if I decide to try those methods and they work, that’s great. I also know that if I decide to try those methods and they don’t work, that’s okay, too, and meds will still be there and probably still be able to help me from falling into a non-functional depressive black hole.

I sincerely hope no one thinks that I’m saying meds are inherently bad or that no one should take them; I don’t think that at all. If you are feeling low, and especially if you are thinking of harming yourself, please go get help, and if a doctor or therapist thinks meds will help, consider their advice seriously. I’m also not advocating that anyone take meds if they truly feel they aren’t working for them. Basically, I’m the non-judgmental ninja over here, promise!

All I’m doing is sharing with you that, for whatever reason, this week I’m just tired of the process. I’m tired of opening that drawer. I think it’s okay to be tired sometimes. It’s okay to hate the drawer and to feel grateful for it at the same time. I hope, if you have a drawer, you know that, too.

 

 

Paris, je t’aime

 

Sappiness Warning: this post is sappy but I am sappy so yeah.

Last week was pretty terrible.  On top of ISIS The First Evil’s attacks in Beirut and Iraq, earthquakes in Japan, the continuing Syrian refugee crisis, general racism, and a million other awful shitty things I am no doubt forgetting, there was Paris.

Paris is one of my favorite places in the world.  I returned there for the first time since college this past August, when I was overjoyed to introduce one of my best friends to the city where I first discovered the joy of cheese for dessert (and lunch, and a snack, and breakfast).  Paris is the subject of more than half of the “artwork” pieces “decorating” my lame apartment.  It’s where I spent more evenings than I care to admit drinking two euro wine next to a dirty canal while various Frenchmen asked me if I was Mexican(?).  It’s where I fell sleep on the bus after a night of clubbing and ended up stranded in the suburbs at 3 am in a skimpy dress and heels higher than any I’ve worn since the age of twenty.  It’s where I got the news that a friend had died in an accident and cried my eyes out in a café at the thought missing her funeral while the usually stuffy waitstaff looked on sympathetically.  It’s where I learned to be an adult.  It’s where I first understood that I am a citizen of both the United States and the world. Seeing Paris under siege for hours on TV Friday night left me paralyzed for a good 24 hours.

None of this is different from what anyone else who loves Paris (or Beirut, or New York, or any other place ravaged by terrorism) has said or written before, but I just had to get it out, here and, as it turns out, on paper.  A new piece of (extremely lame) “artwork” now adorns the walls of my (extremely lame) apartment, in honor of the city that helped me grow up.  Paris, je t’aime.  Mon coeur est à toi pour toujours.

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Fall and SADness: When the SAD Pumpkin Gets You Down

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I don’t know about you all, but I LOVE Fall.  There’s a perky chill in the air, everything has pumpkin spice in it (even those things that really, REALLY shouldn’t have pumpkin spice in them), HALLOWEEEEEEENNN!  It’s a time for apple picking, and haunted hayrides, and sweatshirts.  Unfortunately, it can also be a time for depression.

Most people have heard about Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.  It can really suck.  It can especially suck if you have baseline depression that you’re already managing with medication and therapy, because it’s like an extra depression garnish your body decides to add on to the soup bowl of your general malaise.

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The green stuff is SAD, in case you didn’t get the metaphor.  The soup is general depression.  This soup actually looks pretty good.  Now I want soup, but I don’t have any 😦

I generally don’t get SAD until the holidays/January (which is also my birthday), but for some reason I’ve been feeling a bit of it these last two weeks.  Part of it was being SO COMPLETELY ILL with an awful stomach flu last week, but today, which was a rainy (which is actually great as we’re in a drought) and chilly day in San Francisco, seemed to sap the energy out of me and make me an irritable, anxious mess.  It was hard to get out of bed or force myself to be productive.  Today, I doubt EVERYTHING I do and every decision I make, from my writing to social engagements to what to eat for lunch.  The demon voice in the back of my head telling me that I am a useless failure who is most definitely going to die alone in a pumpkin spice-colored van down by the river is piping up more than usual.

Now, I KNOW that I am NOT a useless failure.  I KNOW that while I maybe didn’t exactly need those chips with my sandwich yesterday, I am not a disgusting blob person who deserves to die alone.  I KNOW that I am making progress with writing and other professional endeavors.  But the SAD Pumpkin of Fall is trying to make me forget what I know.

I’m going to monitor things over the next couple of days, and if I need extra help I’ll ask for it.  I’m going to try to exercise every day, structure my work time more efficiently, and eat well and do fun things to try to stave off the SAD Pumpkin.

I’m sure there are many of you out there dealing with the same thing, and I wish you luck – and remember, when the SAD Pumpkin gets you down, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your friends, family, medical professionals, therapists, or even (ha!) the internet.  It’s not something we have to go through without support – just because it’s seasonal doesn’t mean it’s something we just have to put up with until days start lengthening again in the New Year.

Love you all, and remember – the SAD Pumpkin always rots, if he’s not smashed to death by neighborhood punks in the dead of night – so keep truckin’!

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Bye, SAD Pumpkin!