Among the many really fun things going on at the Cooper Clubhouse, I have decided to take a break from my antidepressants. I've been on them (this time) since October 2008 when the chronic pain I was in over my malformed and malfunctioning foot led to chronic despair and then a semi-permanent residence on the couch. I saw a doctor, I started taking anti-depressants, felt much better and eventually left the couch.
I'm a little worried about going off of them but I am trying to manage my mental health in other ways (exercise and abstinence from alcohol and some sort of positive self-talk) (I KNOW! Who am I and what have I done with Barb?) because when I'm ON medication?
At least I couldn't while on Cymbalta, which was the drug I was taking. In my entire life, this has never really happened to me before --along with death and taxes, the other certainty of the world is that I am always, can always and always will be WRITING. And boom, it was gone--the habit, the talent, the sheer need to get thoughts on paper.
It was the strangest thing. It was like having Pregnancy Brain all the time. My husband says it's like I was in a fog -- I had NO proper nouns for things. Actually, I had no appropriate words for anything. I once told our yowling kitty, with outrage in every fiber of my being, to "HUT UP!" (Which, you know, was about the funniest thing my kids had ever heard. It's what we say now.)
So, almost seven weeks ago, I cut back to a half dosage (which was interesting-- in a "woowhee, so THAT'S the edge of sanity" kind of way.) (Part of the withdrawal from medications that mess with your serotonin levels is this phenomena called "brain zaps." I cannot recommend them.) (I can't help it, I have to post this YouTube digression because I keep thinking about the zaps. (Plus, who else can use a YouTube video in a digression? ONLY I CAN, because only *I* have that kind of power. ) )
Then, almost three weeks ago, I stopped the medication altogether. I've been monitoring things very closely because I want to avoid another depressive cycle at all costs, but honestly? I'm really doing okay! I'm pretty cheerful and although there has been just an ungodly amount of stress in my life right now (house sale, Jane switching schools and turning ten-years-old, financial duress, Ana (12.6) losing her mind periodically as she morphs into a hormonally-poisoned teenager), I am handling it fairly well. Life unfiltered --it's not as bad as I remembered.
Except for the crying.
Y'all, you know what happens when you go off of antidepressants? You find yourself crying a LOT.
I think I've talked before about being an easy crier before (in the tips portion of that column) but this was freaking ridiculous. I would be just going along and suddenly, I'd have tears in my eyes over things like:
- the news
- something one of the kids said
- a spontaneous hug
- a DISNEY COMMERCIAL depicting a happy family being surprised by tickets to Disney World (And people, I have BEEN to Disney World. I should have been crying for the poor deceased bank account of said family. But no, there I was: the sappiest of the sappy criers. I mean those commercials are MEANT to grossly manipulate our feelings and I know that. Knowing didn't help.)
- an episode of Income Property on HGTV (Because that need for property income is...just...so...damn...sad.)
The best part is that I am also writing again, in my head, which is where it always starts for me, so I'm happy, happy, happy.
In fact, I'm so happy I could CRY.