I haven’t written in a while and honestly I couldn’t tell you if it’s from not wanting to write or not being able to write. My mind is mush, so to speak, and I’m trying to find the pathways that make me who I am and sometimes it’s a damnably hard thing.
I started seeing a psychiatrist a few months ago. Here is what I have learned: brain chemicals are the psychiatrists playground and they are only interested in an end goal. I’m not entirely sure what that goal is for me. I was started on a wonderful little drug called Lamictal. It’s a mood stabilizer (this Dr is leaning towards Major Depressive Disorder with mixed symptoms…lovely) and you have to stop it immediately if you develop a rash. I totally got the rash. Okay, well, Dr says, let’s try you on Viibryd. Holy Aggression, Batman! I told him by email that I was very agitated on it. Dr says okay, well here, have some Klonopin. I went and saw the Dr and he said since I wasn’t having apathy and depression per se that the Viibryd was doing it’s job so just use Klonopin when you want to kill people. Oh, and here, try some Topamax for a mood stabilizer. I took the Topamax one night and felt like I was having seizures all night. I wasn’t…that I know of…but that’s what it felt like. I woke up that morning and cried for a couple hours for no apparent reason. I’m not a crier. It’s just not something I do very often at all.
I have made the decision to say screw the meds. After a couple of my closest friends and my daughter told me that I had been very angry lately I decided that I would much rather have depression than anger. I was getting mad about things that never bother me. I was furious. I would have racing thoughts for hours, planning rants that I would tell people in my head whilst I should be asleep.
Add onto this that I’m wearing the nicotine patch to try to stop smoking cigarettes (13 days cigarette free yay), that I’m having some kind of flare up that is making my hands hurt like hell, and just the stress of being a single parent. I am utterly exhausted. Maybe a little depressed.
I’ve started titrating down from the Viibryd and I am starting to feel a little better. I’m still cranky. I’m still moody. I had to take a half a Klonopin tonight instead of buying a pack of cigarettes. Everyone says “reduce your stress!” Ummmm….how?! How do I reduce the stress of bills, kids, work, illness, and trying to quit smoking? Oh, and here’s a fun fact for you…depressed people are more likely to smoke because the nicotine has fun with your serotonin and dopamine making you feel a little better after a cigarette. I don’t know if it’s worse or better to have that information.
All in all, I do know that I need to be writing more. I have startling moments of clarity (especially when driving) where I know exactly how I want to make a presentation on mental health to a high school student body, where I want one of my books to go, how I’m going to overcome EVERYTHING with working out and eating better, and how to enjoy life. I lose my grasp on the clarity though so easily. It falls like sand through my hands and then I’m down on my knees, sifting through the grains, trying to put the pieces of the sand into a coherent picture once again. It’s maddening.
Depression and all mental illness is a horrible thing to deal with because what works for one may not work for others. Medications and I do not get along. I don’t like not feeling like I am ME. If there is one thing that I can say about my life it’s that I have always tried to hold onto who I am as a person…not even as a person. As a soul. I want my soul to remain true to how God created it. It’s been banged up, there are some black marks on it, and some jagged scars but it is still mine and it is still me. Medications make me feel like they are making the decisions in my life and that just doesn’t work for me. Good or bad I will be true to myself.
On the plus side, depression always leads to some of my best writing (that’s a secret you know…creative people with mental illness enjoy it somewhat. The darkness is where the truth hides). So does hypomania…or whatever it is. The meds lead to no creativity, passion, or truth at all. I cannot abide that sort of life. It is not who I was created to be.