I’ve started taking this med, Cipralex, which is supposed to help with anxiety and depression. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about anti-depressants – ‘I got fat!’ ‘I was suicidal!’ ‘I tried to eat my parakeet!’ – so I was a little gun-shy. Plus, I now know, NEVER GOOGLE medication as no one goes online to post a story about how great of an experience they had.
Well. Actually. I’m making a liar out of myself here, because I’m having a pretty damn good experience with this Cipralex business. I’ve had this annoying, lingering cold for a few weeks, so it’s a bit hard to tell, but I’m certainly not hallucinating or nauseated or, flip side of that coin, packing on the pounds*. I feel clear-headed, like I can think again. It feels as though some more things are possible. I have hope. It feels good – not great, not amazing, the world has not started turning cartwheels – I just feel clear, and I smile more easily. All the work I need to do on myself and on my life doesn’t seem so…intimidating? Brick-wall-ish? Daunting, that’s the word. Daunting.
I read the blog of a man who is having a go at beating depression without meds, and I think he’s succeeding. For my part, I think that’s great – each person should do what is right for him or herself. For me, the meds get me over a brick wall (as it were) so that I can do the things of which I know I am capable. For others, the experience of meds is the equivalent of dropping that brick wall on their heads. I understand the reactions and side effects can be pretty terrible, and I’m counting myself lucky.
There’s another component, too. A lot of people I’ve talked to over the years have said they would never, no way, never go on anti-depressants. I actually used to sit comfortably in that camp as well. It seemed like admitting some kind of failure in myself – an inability to get over it, buck up, whatever. I’ve known a few people since then who have used meds as a tool to get to a point where they could help themselves, and my opinion started to shift. Now I’m firmly in the ‘if they work on you, why the hell not’ camp. What I’m saying here is, meds are great if they’re right for you. If they’re not, there are options. Most importantly, if you are taking something, I think it’s important to realize that there’s still work you have to do. They’re not magic pills, you know? They don’t fix all of your problems. They just give you the ability to fix them yourself.
Oh, another thing: They’re bloody expensive.
Anyhow, as clear-headed gal, I’ve settled on a dose that works for me (along with my doctor, whom I adore, because she listened when I said that I felt like my dosage was right) and now I am starting on the work. This is the hard part – I have a tiny, bitchy voice in my head that I need to calmly listen to, acknowledge, and then care for, according to my therapy sessions. (Oh, this isn’t a proper voices-in-head-schizophrenia thing, just your run-of-the-mill self-critic.) Most of the time, all I want her to do is shut the hell up, so all of this caring and listening to fear is, um, counter-intuitive. To say the least. I’m not used to being all touchy-feely; least of all with what I view as my own failures and laziness. I’m afraid that if I stop berating myself, I won’t get anything done.
But here’s the thing. I’m not getting anything done this way, either. So I figure it’s worth a shot.