About a month ago I began a journey. I didn’t tell anyone about it (except my adoring husband and a few very close friends) cause it wasn’t such a big deal.
Plus, I kind of assumed I’d fail and it wouldn’t matter.
I began to wean myself off of the anxiety medication, or rather off of the ungodly high dose of anxiety medication, I have been taking for 3.5 years.
Not because my anxiety is “cured” but because I really wanted to see where I was at, what coping mechanisms I had in place, and what my baseline was.
More importantly, however, I wanted to feel again. For all the wonder of modern medicine, pure joy and sadness, had become all but a distant memory.
I felt numb. I felt unable to articulate myself – which is a bad things when you are a writer. I felt like I was in a chronic ambivalent fog.
The withdrawal symptoms have been sucktastic. Vertigo, nausea, brain zaps, chills,
rage irritability, and insomnia just to name a few.
At worst I thought I was going to die, at best I thought I would have to go back on the meds and be on them forever just to avoid the shear unpleasantness of this whole experience.
What kept me going were the glimpses of emotion I worried had long ago abandoned me.
I began to enjoy laughing.
I began to relish the release of crying.
This morning I heard the BBC News intro music and I teared up with sentiment.
”I sure do love the BBC. It’s so nice of my local NPR station to bring it to me commercial free. I should really increase my monthly pledge. Life is beautiful.”
Every day the side effects get better. Notably, my anxiety has not worsened, which I take as a good sign that I have learned some coping mechanisms on this journey.
It’s possible I might need to take the medication again at some point (maybe even tomorrow). It’s possible I might have to take it forever. I’m okay with that.
But I had to try.
Some of the very traits that leave me most vulnerable to living in a permanently medicated state are the very same that make me the empathetic and expressive person that I am.
So I’m coming out. I am un-medicated and loving it.
I kind of like me this way. I kind of enjoy laughing maniacally at Peter’s knock knock jokes and tearing up at the awesomeness of the dollar bin Hello Kitty swag at Target. It’s definitely an extreme variance from the norm, but I know the the time will come soon enough that everything evens out again and I don’t notice or appreciate the novelty anymore.
In the meantime I fully expect that between the laughter and the tears I’ll lose some water weight and build up some abdominal muscles too.
So if you see me at Target with a buggy full of Hello Kitty swag laughing manically while tears roll down my face, just remember one thing…
If it get’s really bad, they have a pharmacy.