I don’t usually talk about my medications. To anyone really. Except the people absolutely closest to me. Because, while I have become pretty good at taking my meds, I do sometimes falter and I need someone keeping me on track. But even my best friends only know that I take “meds”. They don’t know their specific names or what they are for. I just refer to them as “meds” in the most generic sense. But today, well today I feel like talking about them.
People have tried to get me on one medication or another since I was 18. I can’t even remember what they had me on back then because I would only take the pills for a couple days and then stop. I didn’t think I needed to be on medication. I had the notion that I could handle things on my own and didn’t need to be medicated. Then three years ago everything in my world changed. It started with OCD. I became terrified of germs. And it kind of just grew over time. I had to carry hand sanitizer everywhere I went. My hands were raw from me using it so much. And then I couldn’t touch anything for fear of what germs may be there. I would have to sanitize my entire workspace every morning. I didn’t want to go out anywhere because I was scared of the germs that I might pick up. I didn’t want to eat at any restaurants because I was scared I would get food poisoning. The fear consumed me. And I couldn’t control it on my own. It just kept getting worse. And people would of course notice it. And sometimes they made it worse too. Someone would say, “So you’re scared of this, but why aren’t you worried about xxxx?”. And then all of a sudden, I’d be scared of xxxx too. I couldn’t function. So I knew I needed something to help because it was getting out of my control. And that’s where I believe my journey truly started.
I’ve been on medications solidly for the last three years. Not the same ones or the same doses. But the entire time I’ve been on something. It started with Paxil. That stuff was just absolutely no good for me. I became extremely depressed after a couple weeks on it. To the point where I couldn’t even get out of bed to go to work. And that’s not me. I’ve always had pride in myself that I could get up in the morning and be responsible and go to work. It’s a small feat, I know. And most people don’t think it’s an accomplishment to just get out of bed in the morning. But for me, it was everything. It meant that, for that day, I beat the depression and emotional angst that was begging me to just curl in a ball and stay in bed all day. But on that medication, I was completely defeated. I had no drive or motivation for anything. So after only two weeks on they immediately took me off it. Then came Effexor. Which I was on for two years. And it helped with the anxiety. I could function again in that basic sense. But I was still constantly in emotional upheaval. I realize now that the OCD was a manifestation of me needing to be able to control something in my life. Because I have never been able to control my emotions or impulses. And the OCD was my way of dealing with that. But I always just thought my emotions were normal. I had never known any different. But my doctor noticed. And she wanted to get me more help then she could provide. Enter my psychiatrist. I have seen countless psychiatrists and therapists in my life. But the difference was that this time, I listened. He immediately put me on Seroquel and changed my Effexor prescription to Pristiq. So I’ve been on that combination for the last year. At first it was rough. I was not really myself at the beginning of taking Seroquel. I literally didn’t care about anyone or anything. I feel sorry for what I put my friends and loved ones through during that time. But I also couldn’t help it. It was my brain adjusting to new meds.
But I rode it out. And here I am. We just recently upped my dosage of Seroquel and I am really happy we did that. For the first time in a really long time I feel…..good. And it’s a constant feeling. Situations happen where I know how I want to react or how I would have reacted in the past, but I have much better control over my emotions. It is not such a rollercoaster in my life at the moment. I am much closer to being the even keeled person that I want to be. Yes, sometimes I can be a “zombie” from my medication. My girlfriend hates it. She says that for those moments she loses me. But for me, it feels amazing just to be able to handle my emotions. I’m not at such extremes all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I still definitely have my moments. It’s not like the meds take everything away and make me all better. They just allow me to be able to deal with things better then I could without them. They don’t necessarily make me happy, they just dull the pain of all the negative emotions for the most part. And with the absence of such constant extreme emotions, I find peace. I am able to breathe. It’s nice to be able to breathe.