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It’s exhausting being me

July 27th, 2010 by biscuit

We’re putting our serious faces on today, people.

Once or twice before, I mentioned that I take meds for anxiety. I have, on and off, for a couple of years. I started for complicated reasons, and I was scared to death of them, but they helped. I always sort of wished I could stop them because the idea of chemically altering my brain makes me feel sort of dishonest. As if I am cheating, somehow, by not playing the hand I was dealt.

While Crockett and I were sailing, what with the puking and stuff, I didn’t take them for a few days. I take a very low dose of Zoloft, if you’re wondering, and it’s kind of hard on my stomach, so adding it on top of the seasickness seemed like straight up medieval torture. By the time we got back to dry land and my insides had sort of evened out, I realized it had been a week since I’d taken them.

With the head start, I figured – hell, why not just quit?

Yes, for those of you who know, even on a low dose cold turkey isn’t the best way to do things. You do go through withdrawal, but my symptoms were mostly lost in the morass that was my inner ear hell. I don’t recommend it, although I did fine.

It’s been over a month, and I’m going back on, and I’d like to explain why.

Pretend you bought a new pair of pants. You look super cute in them. When you wear them to work for the first time, after half an hour you realize something is poking you in the side – a stiff fiber, a leftover plastic piece from the tab, who knows, but whatever it is is rubbing your skin every time you sit down. You feel for it but you can’t find it – you keep thinking it’s gone and then you switch positions and boom, there it is. You give up on finding it, thinking you’ll deal with it when you get home, but every time you move it scrapes you just a teeny bit. By lunchtime you don’t want to walk down the hall to talk to a coworker because you know it’ll rub the raw spot. By midafternoon you’re considering sneaking to the gym and changing into your workout pants.

At the end of the day, you meet your super cute boyfriend for a drink, and instead of the buffalo chicken wings you ordered the bartender accidentally brings you chili rubbed chicken wings.

You cry, right in the middle of the restaurant. You cry because you got the wrong wings and because you had an email fight with your coworker and least of all but also most of all because that DAMN POKEY THING IS STILL POKING YOU.

My anxiety is like that. It’s just a splinter that you can’t get out, and it makes everything else less tolerable. Feeling like that makes me cranky and being cranky makes me snap at people, cry more, and generally be less nice.

So. I’m going back on my pills. I do still feel, despite my best efforts, that there’s something dishonest about them, but I’m working on it. In the meantime, being splinter-free seems like a good deal for me, and being nicer seems like a good deal for everyone else.

It’s weirdly embarrassing and personal for me to tell you all this – like somehow this is a failing. It’s not, though.

If you do take medication, or you don’t but maybe should, I say embrace it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. My brain is a little low on seratonin. If my blood were a little low in insulin, I wouldn’t be embarrassed about that shit. We are lucky to live now, when anxiety is as treatable as strep throat.

I would have been one bitchy cavewoman.

On a lighter note, I’m over at The Road today talking about how I’m going to avoid living under a bridge when I grow up.

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4 Responses to “It’s exhausting being me”

  1. Awlbiste says:

    I used to take Zoloft, though my doctor prescribed a much much higher dose than I needed and it was almost worse than not taking it. Then I took Lexapro, then I went off that because I didn’t have insurance. So I learned to cope behaviorally, which is possible for some and not possible for others and doesn’t make me any better than someone who needs meds and also, to be honest, is a lot harder than just taking medication. And now I’m on NuvaRing which works (for me) to balance out my moods, since all I need is a low dose, and I combine that with behavioral things.

    I make a LOT of lists. And force myself to do things because I’m lucky enough to have the ability to know that after I do something I will feel better. Some people don’t have that option to know they will feel better after “just doing it”.

    ANYWAYS! You’re not cheating and it’s totally not dishonest. If anything you’ll filling in a blank that should have worked a little bit better, but doesn’t.

  2. Awlbiste says:

    Also I meant you’re, not you’ll. SIGH.

  3. biscuit says:

    1) The behavioral coping was my plan, but I am currently without therapist and between that and the job leaving/school starting/ends meet making that is my life it was just a little overwhelming, and as you said harder than just smoothing out the edges with a little pill. Kudos to you for having the strength and internal resources to pull it off!
    2) I didn’t even notice the ‘you’ll’. I would have bet $5 it said ‘you’re’.

  4. D says:

    Sorry honey… you probably got that from me. I’ve been on meds for 15 years and it was life saving. Nothing to be ashamed of. My friend M told me of some newer ones I should look into, and probably will. I love you – BD

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