18 Months (or How I’m Learning to Embrace Being a Member of Medicated Nation)

Time goes on. There are books and counselors that tell you this.  Everyone else you that there are good days and bad days. I’ve compared the process before to waves in the ocean. That’s the only way the idea of the process makes sense in my mind.

There are periods of calm and stillness. There are times of peace and easy breathing. The air is just right and enjoyable. Then suddenly, there is an increase in the number of waves that roll in. They increase in steadily. Slowly becoming more and more powerful. Suddenly, you can’t stand. You have to turn away and try to regain your footing and catch your breath but you can’t because the waves are coming too fast and they are too big.

This is the process. This is how it feels. This feeling isn’t always tied to the grief I have.  It’s tied to other things. Lately, I can’t figure out what is causing my inability to catch my breath and find my feet. However, I knew the waves were getting too big. They were constant. There was no relief. So, I went back to something I had hoped I was done with.

I’ve made it now secret that I went on anxiety and depression medication after my father passed away. I knew I needed something because I didn’t feel anything emotionally and when the overwhelming feeling of panic would creep up into my being after the smallest thing happened. The only thing I would feel was the sick, hot, nauseating feeling of crushing anxiety. There was no drive. I wasn’t eating or sleeping. I was not enjoyable to be around, I’m sure. I became a shell. I also became concerned. So, I went to the doctor and got of medicinal help.

Science is amazing and the fact that a little pill and some exercises (physical and mental) can help so much was a true blessing. Friends, “blessing” is not a word I use lightly. It made a tremendous difference. I felt better. I got back to doing things that are normal. I felt again. Genuinely felt. Like, the spectrum of emotions, not just three. It did wonders. I continued to move through the process and take my meds like a good girl and 10 months later felt safe and “good” enough to stop.

Looking back 10 months might have been too soon. While I’ve maneuvered my way through this process- which is, yes, largely grief related but there are other things at play too- and I thought I was hitting a new level. I thought I was reaching a point where I could venture out further from shore. I could hold myself up a better when the waters stirred again. However, I realize now that there are steady holding patterns of being stuck pretty much in the same spot. There actually wasn’t a great difference.

I have been standing in the same spot for months. While I think some slight improvements have been made, I’ve realized I’m not quite as strong as I hoped. After an extended period of being on the cusp of a panic attack for almost 3 months, I surrendered. I can’t explain where the anxiety came from or why it had such a hold. I tried using the tools and tips I’ve gained to help resolve the issue but it was to no avail. I made the call and asked for a new prescription. It feels like a huge backslide. It feels like a failure. While I have no shame of actually taking the medication. I do feel shame about not being able to combat the waves. I feel defeated that I couldn’t stand. Even the techniques I learned in counseling helped but they didn’t have the

Now, there is no shame in taking medication for what ales ya. If you take a medication for a condition like depression, anxiety, OCD, or anything else, please be affirmed. You are doing the right thing. Make sure and take your meds. Drink plenty of water. Eat healthy foods. Get some exercise and have some laughs.

However, it feels like a huge backslide for me personally. It feels like a failure. While I have no shame of actually taking the medication. I do feel shame about not being able to combat the waves. I feel defeated that I couldn’t stand. The waves got too big and stayed big for too long. I was drowning. I didn’t want to be but I was. Maybe no one realized it but its kind of hard for drowning to go unnoticed. So, here I am. Feeling like I’m almost back at the beginning of what life was like 18 months ago.

I will continue on, though. Is it something to really be ashamed of? No. It is part of the process. (I’ve got to find another word for this. I’m over that term. Suggestions welcomed.) This is real life and it’s part of my story. The ups and downs keep coming and you do what you have to do to make it through. Time goes on.

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