The year (year and half? Two years? Something like that) of ‘What the fuck, God, did I do some minor thing to offend you? Must you insist on throwing all these tiny problems in my way until I can’t walk through all the bullshit? See, this is why I don’t go to church’ continues. The shit show of non-life-threatening problems continues, but I can’t actually air several of them to all you strange internet people, so I’ll just stick with the big, public one: The Change.
Now, I believe most of the time when women talk about ‘The Change’ they are referring to menopause. But based on the fact I’m 23 and my last period roundhouse kicked me in the face right on time, that is not what I am referring to. Not that I would put it past my body or my luck to start menopause at some impossibly young age. I’m sure that will happen. For now though, I am actually talking about changing my anxiety/depression medication, which is just as fun as it is cracked up to be (as in not at all).
I will say that changing medication by lowering the dosage of my old meds and slowly starting the new meds is a much more pleasant experience compared to when I just didn’t have my meds for 6 weeks and went through withdrawals. It’s not fun, but I don’t feel like I need to start mugging people on the street to steal their money/drugs, like I did before. I’m sad, but I’m not almost fainting when I walk up stairs and right now that’s about as big as a win as I’m going to get.
What I am going through is some definite increased anxiety (aided by all the other wonderful events going on in my life), weird sleeping patterns, headaches, nausea, and general sadness that marks the return of depression. Honestly, from that list the only thing really slowing me down is the headaches and nausea. Depression? Pff, easy, zombie mode. Not much fun to be around, but it’s functional. Anxiety? I’ll just shove those feelings down beneath zombie mode until I have privacy to deal with them. And sleep problems? Ha! I’ve never not had sleep problems. Come at me, bro. Is it a healthy way to live? Not particularly, but I did it for 21 years before and I survived. The headaches and nausea are harder to tune out now that the headaches have progressed to migraines and the nausea has me dry heaving at random times throughout the day. That has seriously cut into my productivity (but probably made zombie mode more realistic).
Overall it’s pretty much what I expected. Which is why I played ‘It’s fine that I have to sleep for 12 hours to feel rested on this medication’ for a few months before finally deciding to switch. I don’t want to go through this. I just want something that works. And if someone else tells me yoga is the answer to all my problems I will rip out their still beating heart and eat it (zombie mode is very aggressive).
And hey, I’m already in a bad mood, so let’s do an emotional, profanity riddled rant about exercise, depression, and assholes. Sometimes, exercise if the answer. If you’re depressed I encourage you to exercise, because even if it doesn’t fix everything, there is actually something to that endorphin bullshit. And I know, way easier said than done. It pretty much goes over like this: “I’m having a existential life or death crisis and you want me to go for a run? You can go take a long walk off a short cliff, my friend.” (Only more angry, I just really like that expression.)
So I am in no way saying that exercise is a bad suggestion, but if you get all ‘holier-than-thou’ on me and start spewing shit like depressed people are just lazy, I will end you. If it worked for you, that is fantastic, but don’t you dare shame me for taking medication. Do not call me weak, do not call me lazy. You have no idea all the things I’ve tried to make myself better (hint: exercise was one of the first things, didn’t help). And if you’re thinking to yourself, ‘Oh, I’m sure people don’t say that to you’ THINK AGAIN. While it is generally on the internet, where everyone is an asshole who thinks they’re a genius, it happens in real life too. Most of the time, the people are well-meaning and I do try not to be a dick about it. But I once sat in a church for an hour listening to a priest preach that depression didn’t used to exist because people weren’t so lazy. That medication was the easy way out. That no one would have depression if they just would go for a run. At the time, I had just started my medication. The dosage wasn’t right yet and I was already in a bad place, so I just sat there in the pews and cried. But if it happened again I would tell that guy to fuck right off. And throw a bible at him or something, for good measure.
Because guess what? No one wants to be on medication to function normally. There is already a stigma around drugs, especially those for mental illnesses, so anyone on them has probably felt like a weak, lazy failure. Reinforcing this stereotype is not helpful and it prevents people who do need medication from getting the help they need. I know I resisted it for a long time because of how it is portrayed. Hell, going to therapy has a stigma, even though everyone who can go should go because life is just really hard, man. We could all use a little help. So going to therapy, agreeing to try medication, these aren’t decisions that most people take lightly. It takes a lot of guts to get there. People go through hell to get there. Don’t make it worse.