At long last, medication

TRIGGER WARNING: There may be a little more of too much information in the following post than you want. I don’t have a lot of boundaries when I write. Some might say (Hell, some have said) I over-share. Maybe. But, you’ve been warned.

drugs-january-2017What decades of bad genetics, lousy life choices, heart breaks, betrayals and abuse by friends and family, execrable taste in romantic partners, and loss after fail after loss after fail after loss after fail after loss could not manage to do has been done by the asshat installed one torturously long week ago in the position where he has control of the nuclear codes:

I’ve agreed to take medication for my depression.

Well, technically, says my latest Physician’s Assistant (more on that later), I am suffering from an adjustment disorder with mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct. I had to write it down as she said it. Three times. This diagnosis is based on a twenty minute discussion which began with me explaining my inability to go a day without sobbing since November 9, 2016, with a marked increase in tears following the inauguration and actions taken by the gop cabal of homophobic, misogynist, xenophobic, christer, ignorant, bigots since then, which daily weep-fest had now been joined by sore throat, headaches, and — for the first time in my life — hives.

The P.A. proceeded to ask me a series of questions about my sleeping, eating, energy, outlook, focus, forgetfulness, loss of vocabulary, and ability to make cogent sentences, along with an inquiry about whether or not I had increased my indulgence in risky behaviors, discussion of which made me even weepier, coda to which lamentation was my howl of, “And now, Mary Tyler Moore died.”

Thus did I snot-sob my way into a prescription for off-brand Wellbutrin.

Here’s the thing: I’ve resisted psychotropic medication for much of my adult life. I had my reasons. In general, I try not to take drugs. Discounting my youthful forays into illegal substances, I have long been an advocate of trying to heal my body and mind without screwing too much with the chemical make-up. I usually refuse antibiotics, and the prevalence of what I thought of as cosmetic pharmaceuticals — prescriptions being used to cover a problem rather than a person addressing the issues they had — seemed increasingly trendy to me. When something like 15% of U.S. adults (a near 400% increase in the last decade) are taking antidepressants, my belief was there was a bigger problem to do with over-prescribing pills to mask a problem with the make-up of a person’s life and belief system, when we ought — as a nation — be addressing the question of why so many people were depressed.

I wanted to fix my own. I wanted to think I could do it without any more help. Too, I had seen a lot of people taking psychotropics to little effect; they still hated their lives.

But, that was me being judge-y. Not, mind you, about those taking the drugs. I am all for people taking antidepressants and whatever else they need. But I had huge energy invested in believing I could fix myself by myself, without any outside interference. I had to be able to, didn’t I? I mean, I was the one who gave good advice to everyone. Who comforted everyone. Who took care of others. I was strong. And, you see, I failed at everything else. I wasn’t a successful actor or director or producer. I didn’t publish great novels. I hadn’t managed to live a life that afforded me the ability to re-purchase the family home in Libertytown and restore it. Many of my closest relationships, with people in whom I placed great trust and faith, had turned out to be shams. I was — I am — trying to make sense of my life in a world where who and what I am, my way of operating and being, is outlier.

I was making progress. I was seeing — I thought — a world expanding. Equality was becoming the norm. Fear and ignorance were giving way to love and acceptance. People were beginning to explore ways of being that didn’t have to do with acquisition of wealth and exploitation of resources human and cultural and planetary.

And then the election happened. And then the inauguration. And then the things those horrors started signing into reality and threatening. And I kept getting weaker and weaker, lower and lower, increasingly terrified and without hope.

Yes, I wanted to be able to fix myself by myself, but I couldn’t stop crying. My immune system was collapsing. I could feel it. I needed help. Admitting that was extremely difficult for me.

Typing it was difficult. Pushing publish is going to be a challenge. But, there it is. And here I am, still going, my second day on Bupropion HCL SR. I know it takes a few weeks to kick in (please, hurry) but, honestly, I feel better just taking it. There is a nasty dryness in my mouth and throat which is causing me to choke, but I am hoping that will pass, and it is probably being exacerbated by the Benadryl I keep having to take to keep the hives down when they periodically appear — which is usually if I watch the news or read my Twitter feed.

I’m grateful to my P.A. who took a great deal of time with me, reassured me, talked me into at least trying the medication, and explained that they had seen a lot of patients with new and increased anxiety issues since the election, that she, herself, was not sure she could take this administration for four years. So, she promised we’d see how things were going and make a more long-term plan on my follow-up in thirty days. Now, listen, I have a version of ACA (or, you can call it Obamacare, if you like) which is a version of Medicaid, so, there were very few practices that would accept me as a patient. This practice has an incredibly high turnover of P.A.s and Nurse Practitioners, meaning I have never seen the same person twice, even when my follow-up visits were in a matter of weeks, so, please, let’s all send a good thought to the universe asking that my competent and attentive P.A. actually is there when I go back.

And, further, let’s hope these asshats running the country don’t make it so that I can’t afford to get care when I need it, because without the ACA, I would never have had this visit, certainly couldn’t have afforded these drugs, and would — I’m sorry to admit — probably have resorted to self-harm, albeit in the shape of worrying myself to death or landing in the clutches of Mr. Goodbar.

Now, that’s enough for tonight. I need to lose myself in a good book. I need to self-care, still, because the drugs can’t do it alone. They won’t change the world, I know, but maybe they will help me be a little more at ease and hopeful in it.

Love and Light, dear ones.

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “At long last, medication

  1. You are more brave than I. I have finally admitted to myself, and aloud to my therapist what he has been saying for some time. But my diagnosis just makes me embarrassed. Can’t quite write the words.
    I am, as always, so proud of you. I hope that doesn’t sound patronizing.

    • You’re wonderfully kind, not at all patronizing, and I completely get your reluctance. I resisted medication through both of my periods of regular therapy, and despite long knowing I was dysthymic, and feeling myself in decline. I hesitated to “need” to take something every day; wanted my exercise, diet, meditations, writing, etcetera, to be enough. Well, I faced it in these past few weeks as I became increasingly unable to cope with ANYTHING without tears; I need help. Maybe not permanently, but at least for now, I needed to take this active step as a self-care, life-saving move. Thank you for reaching out.

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