It’s been awhile since I wrote about my brain and my mental health.
Today feels like the right day to do it.
Because right now? I’m feeling all the things. And I can’t decide if I love it or hate it.
A few months ago, I mentioned that I talked to Dr. Batman about the possibility of reducing and eventually eliminating the medications that make me not crazy. I was feeling awesome. Constantly smiling and feeling genuinely happy all the time.
Well, the doc shot that getting-off-the-meds thought down quicker than anything. No follow up questions. No suggestions of reducing dosages to see how things went.
Just a simple, “No, you’ll need to be medicated for life.”
Something about that statement didn’t sit right for me. Not just because it wasn’t the answer I wanted, but mostly because I felt so dismissed.
And you don’t just dismiss me and get away with it.
So I consulted with my therapist about it and told him I felt ready to shift away from pharmaceuticals. He was all in favor of it, as long as I consulted with my doctor. The doctor that already said no.
This was going to be tricky.
I made a decision that I was done with Dr. Batman. I went back a few more times for refills because he makes all of his patients come to the office at least monthly for new prescriptions. He doesn’t write them with refills so that patients have to come see him in person. I’m sure it’s just to stay on top of how each patient is doing and has nothing to do with getting a hundred bucks a pop for each 2-4 minute appointment.
So over the course of several months, I slowly weaned myself off those medications. I was taking three. Two of them had no noticeable withdrawal symptoms, but the third, the main one (Effexor/Venlafaxine) gave me all kinds of horrible problems, none of which were emotional. Things like brain zaps that felt like electrical shocks. Nausea. Trouble sleeping. Night sweats. Headaches.
It took about four months, but I am finally off of ALL of my medication.
And how am I feeling?
I feel EVERYTHING.
It basically feels like all of my emotions were locked up (except Joy) and someone just opened the door and let them all out of solitary confinement and they don’t know how to get along with each other and they don’t understand their new surroundings and they LITERALLY CAN’T EVEN.
I get upset by little things. I cry at big things. I am easily irritated by things that are seriously no big deal.
It’s a roller coaster.
But I don’t want to get off. At least not right now. It’s kind of like in the movie Enchanted when Amy Adams first discovers that she’s angry and it makes her happy to feel angry. It’s kind of like that. Because feeling happy all the time had it’s advantages, but the truth is that it wasn’t me. It was the meds. And I don’t want to feel how the meds tell me to feel. I want to feel what’s real. To get mad at injustices and speak my mind when someone’s bugging me.
Do I regret the years I was medicated and seeing Dr. Batman?
Because that definitely had a purpose and I needed it. Well, the medication. I DO wish I had done a little more shopping around when it came to mental health professionals. Do you know I haven’t been to see him in three months and NO ONE has called to check on me. Good looking out, guys.
But I feel like now is the right time for this.
We’ll see if I feel the same after a few more months of Presidential campaigning and car problems.
ADDENDUM: I need to be clear that this is MY journey. This is what works for ME. Medication can be and usually is a very good thing. It helps a LOT of people and I would implore anyone that is suffering from any kind of mental anguish or illness to seek advice from a mental health care professional on the best course of treatment for YOU. There is NO SHAME in medication.