I'm an intelligent, well-read, well-informed adult. I have lived with my body and mind for lo, these many moons. You would think I would have known better.
But it came back to bite me, big time...
What, you say????
Well, I decided to give up taking anti-depressants in July.
BIG MISTAKE. HUGE. REALLY REALLY DUMB.
Ok, there was rationale behind such a decision. And not the typical "I'm feeling great so I don't need them anymore" scenario that one often hears.
Let me fill you in...
Back about 8 years ago, I was on
Now the ex-husband just happened to be with me at my appointment, and HE asked the doctor if there was anything else I could take because (and boy do I remember THESE words) "she's acting like she was when she was 21." (Ah, isn't hindsight a lovely thing? But I digress....)
Well, that led to a small discussion 'twixt me and my MD. Seems that I have what we love to call in the family "sloppy synapses". That lovely neurotransmitter Seratonin has trouble getting cleanly through my brain from point A to point B, which in turn causes the fluctuations in mood I have felt all my life.
Yes, all my life. I remember quite clearly an episode when I was 10. I worried myself sick over some silly elementary school test. I have often described it as feeling like I was in a deep well. I could always hear people up on top of the ground, speaking to me, having a good time, but I could never quite get up to the lip of the well to join in with everyone's party.
So Doc put me on Lexapro. It is an SSRI- (that would be Selective Seratonin Re-uptake Inhibitor, for those of you interested in technical jargon) ... it's the stuff that lets the "happy mood juice" jump cleanly around your brain. OH I KNOW IT'S NOT AS SIMPLE AS THAT, BUT WORK WITH ME PEOPLE!!! I'm liberal arts, remember???? And I could, as I say, get out of the well. For the first time in my life.
It was a miracle.
Flash forward to last June. I began to wonder whether it was my brain that needed the SSRI , or if it was the (now ex-) husband to whom I had been married causing all the ups and downs of my moods.
So I decided to perform a little experiment on myself. I slowly weaned myself off the lexapro over a month, and waited to see what happened. I told Doc what I was doing, and he didn't say a word. Just nodded, made a note of it in my medical records, and smiled. He knows better than to try to talk me out of something once I've made my mind up.
Now, for those of you who aren't bosom buddies, let me quickly explain what's going on in my life right now.
My youngest child is off to college (the last baby bird to fly the nest).
I am alone in the nest (no partner).
I am selling my house of 12 years (where my kids have been since they were wee children).
I am changing careers (from mommy to who knows WHAT).
I have an ENORMOUS mortgage and an ex who is....well, that's for a future post.
My other child is graduating college, getting married, and moving 3500 miles away.
And presently, in Louisiana I am living with MY MOTHER until my home in Georgia sells.
On the Holmes and Rahe Stress scale, I score a MINIMUM of 327.
Which basically means my head should have exploded by now.
Looking back on the past 2 months...what the HELL was I thinking?
I guess it was about 4 weeks ago that I started to become a total basket case. Not sleeping. Feeling nauseous if I didn't eat, having heartburn if I did. Oh, just go read a few of the last dozen or so non-travel posts....you'll see it all over the screen.
Still, I thought of my buddhist practices. Stay in the moment. Try to use the emotions. Don't run away from pain. Go toward it, embrace it, work with it, work through it. Use it to understand and help someone else.
Yes that helped.
Then the crying started.
Not the grief-heaving sobs of when Alix left. This was tears at any moment. For no reason. They lasted about 90 seconds and happened anywhere from twice a day to every 15 minutes. Always worse when I was hungry, lonely, or tired. (As my darling friend Kris pointed out to me, add "angry" into this mix and you have the CLASSIC alcoholic/addict vulnerability scenario.)
Still convinced this was just an "I'm going through a lot of change" phase, I kept waiting for it to get better. Until last Wednesday when my brain chemicals and I had what we call here in Georgia a "Come to Jesus" meeting. Or as I could more graphically put it (and apologies to anyone who is offended by the f-bomb), but it is so much more "me"--- "This is a fucking ridiculous way to lead a life" .
Thank heavens for the "Girls" at Hanging By a Thread in Shreveport. It's the new/old needlepoint store in Pierremont Common. No, you don't know them yet, but you will get to know them. They are my new peeps- old and new friends who squarely have me covered from all angles. My new safe haven...my new source of income....my new clubhouse.
One particular "resident artist" (as I think we should call ourselves), my friend Johnette, advised me "Get yourself to the doctor, girlfriend. Now."
Didn't take me more than a nanosecond to make the call. I got back to Tennille at 11pm last night. I saw Doc at 11 am today. (Oh, and by "Doc" I should mention that he is the brilliantly wise Dr. E. Chandler McDavid of Sandersville Family Practice.)
To his credit, Doc did not even say "I told you so". Just nodded, made a note of it in my medical records, smiled and wrote me my 'scripts. Ok, it was a BIG smile. Like he DESPERATELY wanted to say "I told you so" but was biting his lip. He said I'd start to feel better in 48 hours.
Try 48 minutes. Ok, it's probably psychosomatic. But I will take it.
Did I learn a lesson?
Cut myself some slack. Don't try to be Superwoman.
Listen to my friends. One or two of them may have been to this rodeo before.
And let your doctor be your doctor. That's why he went to medical school.
Oh, and take my medicine.