Friday, April 10, 2009

I've been feeling a lot better, been handling life and sadness and happiness and problems and failures and opportunities a lot better lately. I am better, and I decided that I'd like to talk about that some.

About two or three months ago I saw a new therapist, and it was nice and she was helpful and understanding and we seemed to mesh well, or something else equally mushy sounding. She recommended that I keep seeing her and that I have a psychiatric evaluation and consider a prescription drug "to get over the hump." So about a month-and-a-half ago I saw a psychiatrist. He recommended that I try some kind of prescription because "it seems like you're having some really dark, severe problems right now." So I took his advice.

He prescribed Prozac, and I've been taking it for just over six weeks. Right there in that article it says, Fluoxetine is approved for the treatment of major depression (including pediatric depression), obsessive-compulsive disorder (in both adult and pediatric populations), bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, panic disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. I can tell you that four of those six apply to me. I have frequently thought that I might have premenstrual dysphoric disorder; the main symptoms include feelings of deep sadness or despair, possible suicide ideation, feelings of tension or anxiety, panic attacks, diarrhea, mood swings, crying, lasting irritability or anger, increased interpersonal conflicts, apathy or disinterest in daily activities and relationships, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, food cravings or binge eating, insomnia or hypersomnia, feeling "out of control", increase or decrease in sex drive, increased need for emotional closeness, and physical symptoms such as bloating, heart palpitations, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint or muscle pain. If one has five or more of those symptoms it could indicate pmdd.

Um, hello? Hi there. My name is Buffy and I have all of those symptoms. ALL OF 'EM.

When I left the doctor that day I called Jason to sort of talk it out. I explained all the reasons that I thought I ought to give the medicine a shot- my emotions were out of control, I felt terrible most of the time, toughing it out wasn't working, things were getting worse and worse, and I know several people who I love and trust who say things like "prozac saved my life". After I said my piece I asked Jason, "So what do you think about all this? Honestly." He immediately said, very forcefully, "I think you should just take the medicine."

Jason? He's the dude who has watched me implode over the last three years, further and further, until I was just a tiny speck of myself. My condition was so bad that it was like my default setting was sad, just sad all the time, and when my body would tire of sitting around and being sad the CRAZY BITCH screen saver would pop up for a while.

And, you know, I'm still wrestling with some stuff. But the thing is now I am me, now I am ME wrestling with this stuff, instead of a tiny, wafty particle of my leftovers trying to wrestle with mountains of things that a wafty particle can't understand, can't even see all of. I FEEL LIKE MYSELF and that's something that I haven't been able to say for a very long time. I am BETTER, a better wife, a better mom, a better daughter, a better friend, a better employee, a better human. I still sometimes feel hurt, suspicious, mad, tired, useless, reclusive, heartbroken, weepy. But those feelings now reside in the minority of my time, while the majority of my time I am just me. When I was a tiny, wafty particle EVERYTHING was bigger than me. Now I am big enough to have some perspective, to get a grip on things. Sometimes things are still bigger than me, but now I have the ability to turn around and walk away from it instead of being blown towards it, closer and closer until it's all I can see.

Do I feel disappointed that I achieved this with a drug? A little. Do I worry that I'll have to take a drug forever to be me? A little. Do I worry that one day the drug won't affect me the same way, won't work any more? A little. But mostly I just don't care. Mostly I am trying to enjoy this time that I feel better. Mostly I am thankful that I still have a marriage to preserve, that I have a kid who loves me and who I can take care of, that I have friends who are still around to be glad that I'm feeling better. Mostly I am just grateful that I climbed out of the hole in time to see all this stuff, and I'm letting myself revel in it a little bit.

Because perhaps this feeling won't last forever. But that just seems like all the more reason to enjoy it right now.


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you decided to do it. I'm elated that this is how it is now. At the risk of sounding trite, this is an important thing to say.

Anonymous said...

--not what I'm saying, but what you just said!

Susan Ramey Cleveland said...

Would you worry that you were able to get rid of an infection only by taking and antibiotic--or a headache only by taking an analgesic? I think not. I'm one of those whose life was saved by Prozac, and I'm not a bit sorry. I don't take it now, but I'm surely glad it was there when I needed it.

John Fields said...

yeah, Buff. when it comes to this kind of stuff, its the end result that matters...

Ramey Channell said...

Hooray for you! That's what mediciine is for.

Birdie said...

taking an antidepressant and going to therapy was one of the best things i ever did for myself. i was on the pills for 4 years...they provided a sort of space in my head so that i could tackle the issues that were dragging me down. one day, i just knew that i was ready to stop taking them and so i did. i still have my moments (OMG do i) but i think they are more normal in-the-course-of-living-life-on-earth type moments and not OMG-i'm-going to-drink-a fifth-of-jameson-and jump-off-a-bridge moments.

so, way to go. i'm behind you 111%.