Medication Maintenance: Too Much of a Good Thing?

About a month ago, I had a lot of anxiety-inducing events happening all around the same time. I strategized and planned how to deal with everything and figured, at the end of the day, I would just “get ‘er done.” But in the approaching weeks, I just didn’t feel like myself. I had assumed I would be super-hyper and anxious, perhaps a bit petulant, but not this. I was exhausted but couldn’t sleep through the night. I was punishing myself with food control and I noticed my internal thoughts were getting sharper, meaner, deeper. Still, I told myself it would pass.

I had a terrible social hangover for a few days after the main event. That was to be expected. But a week passed and I still felt like shit. I panicked and went to my psychiatrist. We decided to move my medication up. I felt like I was slowly falling and didn’t want to dip too low before it was too late to pull myself back up.

I already have side effects from this drug. (It’s my super drug – the one that pulled me out from my three-year chemical depressive slump.) Dry mouth, disturbed sleep, pee issues, hair issues, anxiety, memory loss, inability to find words. But once I went up, I started to notice other things. My current side effects got worse: my dry mouth has now created a metallic taste in my mouth. I can’t have disturbed sleep because I can’t even fall asleep – my brain can’t shut down. And new side effects have decided to join the others. I’ve started getting tremors, dizziness, and light-headedness. I don’t have any energy – when I start spinning, my legs feel like I’ve been at it for an hour already. I’m sweating more. The worst and most disconcerting component is that my anxiety has really increased. The same drug that in the past made me feel like I had a couple cups of coffee, is making me feel like a squirrel on coke. (Yeah, not sure why that metaphor, but it just seems right.)

And honestly, I could handle all this. I believe that side effects are just part of the package and you live with them. They suck, they’re annoying, but you chew gum, drink more water, put your hair up, take more meds during the day for your anxiety, and just wait out the light-headedness.

But I’m not feeling emotionally better. (After all, that’s the other part of the package deal.) It’s probably the anxiety, but I’m actually feeling worse. I’m thinking thoughts I haven’t had for almost a year now. I find myself fluctuating my mood multiple times in an hour, let alone in a day. It’s exhausting. I’m starting to get anxious about going into the supermarket and the gym – the people, the noise. Small things feel huge and unmanageable. I catastrophize more than usual and find myself falling into self-hate vortexes.

I’m terrified. I’m nauseous. I’m scared. Hopefully we will go back down on this med and I will be better. We might have to go on another drug expedition to deal with this sadness. That, I detest. But I don’t want to go back. I don’t want to cut. I don’t want to think about dying. I don’t want to wish I didn’t exist. I don’t want to go back.

Update: I spoke to my psychiatrist yesterday and I went back to my past dosage. Here’s hoping this post will soon be a distant memory.

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Living vs. Being Alive

Today would be the day I registered for my classes if I had gone to London. This past week, I’ve approached each day in relation to what I would be doing if I had made the decision to go. And it’s made worse by the fact that I’m basically doing nothing to move my life forward. After all, I decided not to go because I wasn’t emotionally ready and wanted to grow stronger. I’ve spent the last month taking two classes at a community college and going to the gym when I can get up the nerve. I’m guessing this isn’t going to cut it.

When I tell others about what my day “could have been like,” they tell me not to worry; I’ll be there in a year. I mean, that was the plan in deferring. But I think I know I’m not. I wasn’t even planning on going, the whole idea was just an experiment to see if I had the guts to apply. And then once I got in, it was just assumed I would attend. A part of me thinks I said I’d go because I wanted to be that person who could.

I know you never know when you’ll be ready for something in life. And that you can find reasoning and purpose behind almost all choices. But I feel like I failed. I’m angry that I can’t be that person and that I may never be. I can’t even tell if I want to be that person that could. And I hate the people who can.

One of my main issues with my depression was that I felt like I was alive but not living. I was breathing, peeing, eating, sleeping, but I wasn’t living, not really. I was sticking around physically for the people around me so they wouldn’t have to deal with the grief of my absence. I suppose they preferred the burden of my depression, rather than the grief of my passing.

The chemical depression has mostly worn off. (More on that later.) But I still don’t feel like I’m living. Sometimes, I’ll be engaged in a conversation with someone and for those minutes, I do feel alive. When I’m in class, or doing homework, I feel alive. And then I walk back to my car and I feel alone – just me and my breathing. Time passing, me just being.

At what point is being alive not enough? I suppose it has something to do with hope. With believing in a future. With finding peace in the present. I keep thinking to myself: “What would it take for you to feel satisfied? To feel you had a life worth living?” And then I take a propranolol and turn on the tv. It’s just not a question I’m willing to face.

Today would be registration day. Today I could be living. Today I grieve who I am and what I have lost or never have had. Maybe tomorrow will be different.

I’m not falling off tonight. Not because I don’t want to. Because I can’t.

No, I refuse.

I’m not ready yet and I don’t deserve it.

It’s got to be circumstantial. I mean, a lot has gone on, good and bad, and there’s a lot of pressure all around me. Maybe I’m just a little tipped off because of it all.

I keep thinking as long as I can get through my necessary responsibilities, I can do nothing for the rest of the day, push everything off another day, and eventually one day I’m going to wake up and I’m not going to feel like this. My strength will come back to me.

I really don’t want to increase my dosage. See, I have a medication that is finally working and I’ve had to increase it once, and it worked. But there’s only so high you can go, only so many times you can increase a medication, and I don’t want to do it unless it’s absolutely necessary. I don’t want to run out of options. But I won’t really know if it’s absolutely necessary until it’s really too late and I don’t want to deconstruct too far before I get help.

It’s hard to know when you need to ask for help. When you don’t want it to be a passing thing. Or just a weak disposition. Or you are just being dramatic. Or…

But you don’t want to NOT ask for help because what if it is? And what if it can get worse? How frustrating that you can’t really know because it’s not something you can evaluate like whether you have a sprain or a break; a cold or just allergies?

I’m scared to get ready for bed, or do anything that prepares me for it. I don’t want to lie down and have my brain go into overdrive. Tonight is not the night to beat myself up for taking a xanax for three days straight on top of my other meds to fall asleep. Tonight is not the night to beat myself up for just bingeing and now feeling so sick. To analyze all the implications, to analyze anything really because I can’t get to that place.

I need to zone out. Stay enclosed. Safe. My mind unable to concentrate so it can’t try to analyze what might be happening. Tomorrow will be here and I can figure it out then. I just need more time away from myself, I can’t fall overboard. I can’t do it again. I can do this, because I can’t do anything else.

I can’t believe it’s only midnight.