This is such an interesting prompt.
As we adjust my meds yet again, I was reminiscing about a time when all I had to remember to do every day was take my vitamins. I didn’t have to worry about taking daily medicine–not even for allergies. It was kind of nice.
But then again, the depression and anxiety wasn’t so nice. Nor were the migraines. Of course, I didn’t realize what was wrong–I just knew that I must be terrible and lazy because it was so hard to focus on anything. My senior year of high school was horrific. I was so depressed that I constantly fantasized about cutting. Or taking pills.
What held me back was the fear of going to hell. Which is a pretty healthy fear to have, you know? I’d read about people who asked for forgiveness right after committing the act but before they died, and I wondered if I would have enough time to ask God for forgiveness so I could still go to heaven. Just put me in purgatory for a while, but I wanted relief, and I wanted to avoid the “loss of heaven and pain of hell.”
I wanted so badly to jump over the pews during Lent and jam the crown of thorns, laying decoratively on purple cloth and some rocks, on my head just to feel something. Anything.
I wanted badly to run away for years before then. I needed escape. I wanted to go to the rectory and ask the priest for help…but what would I say? That dad sometimes got angry? They wouldn’t believe me. I had migraines weekly, or more frequently, and a doctor put me on daily medication for that–if I forgot, I would get a migraine.
Once, I did allow myself to run to the top of the hill in the common area behind our house–just for a few minutes–but my mom panicked when I got back because she couldn’t find me anywhere. There was no escape.
I was numb.
I was numb when I finally asked for help. And I was numb when yelled at by my dad for being a spoiled selfish lazy brat too big for her britches.
I somehow made my way through college by overscheduling myself. If I had too much to do, then I could panic about deadlines, instead of panicking that I was going to somehow be attacked, raped, slashed, robbed the short distance from the parking garage to my classes. That said, I still worried about those things, and about the CIA following me, but academics gave me purpose. An outlet for that anxiety.
I started taking daily antidepressants after I moved out, when I could finally sneak off to the doctor for some help. Zoloft.
Then came Lexapro. Effexor. Luvox. Wellbutrin. Abilify. Rexulti.
It’s trial and error. I really hate this part. Trial and error. We’ll think we’ve found something, but then something else goes wrong. Or the side effects are unbearable, like how Abilify made me gain weight rapidly.
I think my psychiatrist and I have a decent balance of medication right now–we’re still tweaking it, but it’s still better than before.
While I would rather not have to be reliant on medication to make me functional, I do absolutely, positively need them. Going back to utter depression, to paranoia, to severe anxieties over suicidal ideation, is not an option, so I bear with it. I bear with taking the medications, and I bear with the side effects.
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