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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Life without antidepressants

I am not going to lie. I will not even sugar-coat the truth for mysel,f or anyone else bothering to read this. I remember now that life without antidepressants is hard. At the time of my diagnosis, I fought hard to avoid all meds. It took a year before I went on Copaxone, and another year before I finally committed to taking Effexor for depression and anxiety. I think the thing that finally brought me to the Effexor was my anxiety. I found myself absolutely incapable of being present. All I could focus on anymore is the stuff I thought I needed to do. I also felt guilty about not being able to shake off the bad feelings enough to even do the stuff I was worrying about. Being on antidepressants was like taking a two year vacation from worrying about anything for more than about five minutes. I learned to let go of my anxieties and to just enjoy and trust in the present. I found tools for coping with challenges, but with the help of Effexor, it was easy to use the tools. All the stuff that had previously gotten me down, just quit bothering me. I learned to worry less about what others thought, and to ignore my imaginary grand score-card in the sky. I stopped really being concerned about my ability to take care of stuff. I just trusted that I would take care of things effectively when I must. I did not waste any energy worrying about how and when I would take care of stuff. I even learned to feel better about just relaxing and hanging out. I was less driven by the nagging feeling that I must be forgetting something. Now, drug-free, I am looking at my world, my future and my mounting to do list, and I am not quite so confident. I am doubting myself more. I indulge in moments of "crazy" where I feel guilty about not running one more errand, or doing one more chore before I "reward" myself with a break. What the hell happened to all my positive momentum toward self-acceptance, happiness and actualization? I am glad I can still remember a bit of what life felt like on Effexor. It often helps me talk myself down from the crazy, but I admit to losing some sleep. I wake up in a sudden panic with ugly things in my mind, like competition or comparison of myself with others. And yet I know, down that path lies only bitterness and discontent. Lately I discover that I am again giving myself points or demerits on that imaginary score card and I hate it. Then I turn around and hate myself a bit. That too is a vicious cycle. Remembering life on the Effexor cloud is harder. Does this mean I will go back to the Effexor? Not just yet. I wanted to remember what it felt like to live life with out anything to block the "realness" of it. Now it's real, and sometimes it is hard, but I am not ready to give up on my current course yet. I really do believe I can do this!


Robert Parker said...

We need the support that we need. Sometimes the support we're given, albeit generously, is not the support we need. Sometimes it is !!!NOT!!! the support we need.

I'd be dead, several times over, were it not for five-element acupuncture. Right now, I can tell I need a few needles to get things working properly. I have some prescription herbs (love Chinese herbal medicine) that take the edge off when the edge is a little too sharp; I can't drive on them, but at least they dull the edge, and sometimes that's all I need.

Sometimes I do stuff that isn't really all that important but it falls into the category of "@#$dammit, I am so going to do this!!!" Sometimes I fall into a space of "I'm going to bed, and that's all there is to it." I haven't quite settled the "how do I feel about not being able to do things that, at least on paper, I 'want' to do." Don't really know how to settle that, specifically... but as with all things in the M.S. world (as with life itself), We'll See.

Denver Refashionista said...

Thanks for the support. I am glad to say that I feel much better today then when i wrote that post. While sometimes hard, it is a good life.

Dan Lowe said...

As a former user of Effexor and a recently new user of Copaxone as well as a whole other list of medications related to MS, I completely relate to the thoughts you relayed in this post. I am back on a different anti-depressant along with the Copaxone. This is not because I want to be. I do it to make myself more even keeled and easier to be around. Without the MS meds, I will continue to get worse. Without the Wellbutrin, I would continue to make myself and others miserable. This is not to say that what works for one person works for everyone.