Monday, January 11, 2010

The Velveteen Habit: Moving Off Meds...and Finding What's Real

I've mentioned before my reticence around anti-depressants and other mood-altering meds. I've also confessed my own reliance on ADs (Effexor) when chronic stress from the betrayal mixed together with perhaps a predisposition to depression (thanks again, mom and dad!) created a recipe for disastrous coping skills and strong desire for life to just be over. I was so damn tired of the pain.
I had hoped to use ADs only briefly but my counsellor, who's also an MD, insisted that 18 months is really the minimum time period. Our brains ostensibly require at least that amount of time to get over depression and start producing the necessary chemicals to lift us out of despair. I am, 18 months later, being weaned off my "little helper".
So far, so good.
Thankfully I've experienced none of the potentially nasty withdrawal symptoms. The past few days, however, I've been feeling more down than usual. Admittedly, January generally tends to bring forth some mild depression. Perhaps its a combination of post-holiday let-down coupled with a recent visit to my in-laws (who, frankly, could turn the Dalai Lama into a gin-swilling depressive prone to random acts of violence).
The thing with having been on meds is that I no longer know if my feelings are legitimately mine...or due to some sort of chemical cha-cha in my brain. In other words, am I down because of everything that's happened the past few years...and the feelings have been simply laying in wait. Or am I feeling down because of what's going on now.
I guess time will tell. The thing with betrayal is that you never really get over it. Sure we've moved on...or so I think.
And then my husband will get annoyed with me for something such as forgetting to fill his car with gas after I've emptied the tank running errands...and I'll find myself wanting to scream that "at least I wasn't screwing the gas station attendant!" I don't, of course, but the temptation is there to measure every step and misstep of mine against his. And guess who loses every time.
I'm nonetheless looking forward to feeling again. I've always been mercurial...prone to extreme moods. And while I don't miss the deep dark lows, I do miss the glorious highs.
I, wonder, though, if that me is simply gone. Lost to experience. To betrayal. To time.
I feel like the Velveteen Rabbit. A bit battered. Shabbier. Certainly wiser from having been loved...and cast aside at least temporarily. And learning to discern what's real.

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