Tuesday, January 8, 2013

There's something not quite right up there

There is a huge stigma around mental illness and this was not the easiest thing for me to write. I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about posting it. If it weren't for the handful of people out there that I know for a fact will understand, I'm not sure I'd even bother. Though I'd be lying if I said it didn't help me to write this.

Even though I am a proponent of being open minded and non judgemental when it comes to other people, I am having a hard time with myself. I am so quick to NOT pass judgement yet I judge myself. I am someone who struggles with a few mental issues. Depression yes but more specifically, anxiety. I've written about it a few times.

A few years ago I came to admit that I have problems that I can't manage on my own. I started trying out different kinds of meds. It took me a good year or so to find the right med and strength that worked for me. Between anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications, I was finally able to cope with things it seemed. I noticed a definite change in my coping mechanisms.

I went merrily along since then feeling what I could only describe as - normal. It was comfortable to be me for a change. I soon forgot what it was like to struggle with things like anxiety and depression. Recently, I started lowering my dose in an attempt to seek life after meds. There were some side effects I was aiming to diminish or at least reduce. It also felt like the right time. It felt like all the components in my life were stable and I really just wanted to reduce the amount of drugs I take. The first drop in dose was uncomfortable at first but within a few days I seemed to adjust quite well. Sure there was a hint of the emotionally unstable Scully but it was nothing I couldn't get a grip on.

The second drop in dose was not the same at all. I don't know if I dropped too soon, too much, or if I just can't function without it. Maybe I had gotten so used to living without anxiety that the sudden onslaught was like a slap in the face. I no longer felt like I had a grip on myself. I was temperamental and an emotional train wreck. The past few days I have found myself feeling like I did many years ago. Constantly on the verge of anxiety attacks.

I don't like to admit it but I have anxiety issues and I can't control it without medications (it seems). Someone didn't wire my brain right when I was born.

It wasn't until recently (this past weekend) when we were planning a grocery store trip. I barely got dressed before feeling sick with crippling nausea, dizziness and fatigue. The thought of grocery shopping put me in such a state of irrational fear and panic. I didn't even recognize the connection at first. I thought the evil stomach bug was back for round two. It was then that it became completely apparent that I have an anxiety disorder. I mean, I knew years ago (since childhood) but after being able to cope on drugs for the past couple years gave me a false sense of freedom. The reality is, without the chemicals that seem to help balance out my brain, I am a freak. I have no way of coping and dealing. I can't seem to hold myself together. I forgot what it was like to be me. The me without drugs.

9 comments:

  1. Scully, I totally support you doing WHATEVER it takes to be you and be happy. And not to make light of it, but I'm not a big fan of grocery stores either.

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  2. Right there with you, woman. I've always been more of a depression girl, but I've had periods of weird anxiety -- including about going to the grocery store. And I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I'll have to take meds to control the monsters for the rest of my days.

    You are not alone, and you are rad.

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  3. Hi Scully,

    This is a brave post. Personally, I've pretty much accepted the fact that I will always be on anti-depressants just like I will be on insulin.

    As you say, there is an issue with my brain chemistry. I either don't have enough (like insulin) or too much (like glucose) of some chemical. Either way, I need my meds to help me feel the best I can.

    As you said, there is a huge stigma around mental illness, I know I often blamed myself for how I felt. Posts like this help break these stigmas down.

    And that's important because you are not a freak. There is nothing wrong with needing medications to treat an illness, physical or mental, if it is the best option for you as a person.

    So I really don't think it was a false sense of freedom, I think it was you feeling better which is what you deserve. Take your time, find your footing again and you'll do just fine

    luv ya!

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  4. Hats off to you for writing this difficult post. I can definitely relate to it. IMO, you should be the you that you most enjoy being, and if that requires drugs, so be it.

    You are still one of the strongest women I (sort of) know. You rock! Fuck stigmas!

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  5. I have a younger sister who suffers from depression. It was awful during her teen years, yet my parents refused to medicate her saying that there were "better ways to manage the disorder." Finally, after a suicide attempt and a near fatal eating disorder, she made the decision on her own, and chose medication. Once they found the proper dose and medication, her world opened up. She went to college. She made friends. She got in to sports and took cooking classes and, basically, LIVED. Knowing what you need and then taking the steps necessary to live your best life takes courage, especially when there is a stigma surrounding those choices. Only an idiot would judge harshly someone who seeks the resources they require to live fully. Good for you, Scully, for writing this!

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  6. Yep, brave post, like everyone has said. And I too fully support doing whatever you need to do to be you and be happy.

    I fight with depression. I take brain meds. I hate brain meds. They mess with, well, my brain. But I know that I'm a miserable jerk when I'm not taking them, and then everyone I'm around is miserable. I take that pill just like all of my other long-term maintenance pills.

    Hang in there, and keep exploring to find what works best for YOU. ((hugs))

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  7. I think it's ridiculous that there is stigma attached to mental illness that is not attached to (many) physical illnesses. It's not something YOU did and it's not a sign of weakness. We can't will ourselves to not have diabetes and you can't will yourself to not have anxiety. Insulin keeps us alive and there is nothing shameful about that. Brain meds (as Scott calls them) are just as vital for you. No problem there as far as I'm concerned.

    Take them and be proud that you are taking care of yourself.

    Brave post kiddo - I'm proud of you.

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  8. It's only a stigma to those who know nothing about it. Who fear it. You.....just keep being you. You rock!

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  9. This is an incredibly brave and important post. You shouldn't feel any stigma at all as you do what you need to do to be happy and healthy.

    As I was reading the other comments, I thought, "Wow! I didn't know so many people in the DOC take 'brain meds.'" Obviously it's not something that we talk about a lot, but it's so important to know. It helps other people who are on the fence make the best choices and do the right thing for themselves.

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