Wednesday, August 26, 2009

stop the ride -- i wanna get off!!

I hate roller coasters.

I always have. The slow initial climb, stomach in knots, as you wait for the quick plummet that will take that knotted-up stomach and drop it so far that you think you will never again get it back. Then you get ripped around a corner so fast it makes your head spin.

There are a few parts of the ride that you might actually be able to calmly enjoy -- but just when you think things are under control, you get spun, twirled, turned upsidedown and don't know if you're coming or going (Disclaimer: While I have been on a few roller coasters in my 30 years of life, I have never actually been on one that takes you upside-down).

I think it's a crazy ride, and I was always the one screaming "Stop the ride -- I wanna get off!" Of course, it was to no avail; the ride always continued until finally it came to a long-overdue end, and I would climb out with legs so rubbery I could barely walk. I don't know why I ever went on more than one!!

My life lately has been like a crazy roller coaster ride. Where I feel like I am being spun, twirled and turned upsidedown and don't know if I'm coming or going. And yes, I'm talking about my journey with depression and anti-depressant meds. I know the last post I did was about how things were slowly on the rise and that there were more good days than bad days. And at the time, I thought I was telling the truth. But I think it was just a desire rather than a truth.

Ever since I have been on Wellbutrin (which has been for about 2 months now), I have never really felt like myself. Even on the good days. But I so desperately wanted this medication to be "the one". The one that treated my anxiety & depression as good as Paxil, yet prevented the weight gain. Not only did I want this medication to merely be a success; but I was also t-e-r-r-i-f-i-e-d of having to go through another withdrawal process and start all over again. So I tried to convince myself that it was indeed working.

But it's not.

Yes, I have had some much better days -- but I have also still had too many not-so-good days. Days where I feel like my body is just getting put through too much and I can hardly stand it. Days where I just want to crawl out of my skin, because living inside of it is just too hard. Days when I wonder how I am supposed to make it through one more day, never mind the rest of my life. Days where I just wanna get off this ride!

So, as of today, I am starting the weaning process off of Wellbutrin. I have a doctor's appointment next week Wednesday, and she is out of town this week so I can't even call her for her advice. But after speaking to a pharmacist this morning, he gave me the go-ahead that it was safe to start decreasing my meds already. So I am half-dosing it right now, and will continue to do that until my appointment next week and I will see what she recommends from there.

My goal -- believe it or not -- is to try going off of all meds altogether. Before going off of Paxil, I was feeling great, and had been feeling great for quite awhile. Now of course at the beginning it was due to the meds -- but how do I know that I hadn't reached a point where I would be doing great all on my own? Looking back now, I wish that before going on a new drug (Wellbutrin), I would've just tried being on nothing after my withdrawal from Paxil. You never know unless you try, right?

But I didn't and I can't turn back time (as much as I wish that I could). So this time I am going to do it. Before trying yet another drug -- which makes me shudder just thinking of doing that to my body again -- I am going to try being medication-free.

Sometimes I wonder if Wellbutrin was not only not helping me -- but that it is also what's causing me to feel the way I am feeling. And as much as I know how wonderful medication can be for a person (afterall, it was a complete life-saver for me when I first started taking it), I want to see how I can handle life on my own now.

I want to wake up in the morning and know that whether I slept good or was up with insomnia, that it wasn't due to a medication in my body. I want to know that when I step on the scale and see either a rise or fall in numbers, that it wasn't due to a medication in my body. I want to have 'normal' mood swings, stress and anxiety and know that it's not due to a medication in my body. I want to have a high or low "you-know-what" drive and know that it's not due to a medication in my body. I want to be able to cry when someone gets a standing ovation on So You Think You Can Dance, or when someone looks so great at the end of an episode of What Not To Wear and know that it's not due to a medication in my body.

See the theme? I want to be ME and know that it's not because of a medication in my body.

I talked to Les last night about my idea to go off of all meds, and while he is supportive of my decision, he is also concerned about me falling back into a deep depression. Especially given the time of year that is very quickly approaching. But I have to at least try. I am not saying that I am opposed to going back on something if it appears that it is essential; but I want to give myself the chance of living my life the way I want to live it.

And I feel completely at peace.


pam d said...

I'll definitely be praying for you during this time. If you need to talk or cry or scream or whatever... I'm here for you.

Jenn said...

Yup, me too.
I'm sure this was a tough decision to make - hopefully your withdrawal will not be so intense this time around. Did the pharmacist tell you anything about that?

PamJ said...

oh darling, that is aweful. i will definitely be praying for you too, and be that extra ear or hug for you anytime you need it, even if you don't think you need it. have you looked into those oils i told you about? i hope you can look into those as an alternative method...

ValleyGirl said...

This has to have been a tough decision, but I think you're doing the right thing. You know I'll be praying for you, too.

One thing I think has really helped me over the last few months has been listening to the daily Revive Our Hearts radio show. I know I must sound like a walking advertisement for them already, but it really is amazing how filling my mind with that kind of encouragement and inspiration first thing in the morning can make a difference on the whole tone of my day. I love doing my Bible reading and then plugging in the headphones and enjoying a second cup of coffee while I listen to the current day's show.

For myself, this has gone a long way to overcoming feelings of inadequacy, envy, impatience, resentment, and self-pity, which are MY biggest sources of depression. I don't know that we're alike in that way necessarily, but I've just been so encouraged and inspired there that it's become a pretty vital part of my day. I definitely want to make sure I recommend it because we can all use that kind of a pick-me-up, and I want to make sure everyone knows there's at least one great place to get it!

Sheila said...

You will definitly be in my prayers, Andrea!

andrea said...

we just had a sermon on depression this last week...has it ever opened my eyes! Andrea, you are a deal with this in your life! I have so much respect for you. I'll be praying for you as you make more med choices and decided where to go from here!

Kathy and Carl said...

When I took meds, I always wondered too, is it just the pills talking. Sigh...Well, I too will be praying for you as you journey. It's not an easy one, but if you have to work through it, in the end, it will be so fruitful. Keeping you in my prayers.

TammyIsBlessed said...

I think this is a great decision Andrea. There's definitely no point on being ON medication if it's not working. And it certainly makes sense to try it without anything first before adding a new one to the mix. Praying for you!

Jamie said...

Must be such a tough decision. I really hope it goes well for you and that you can live happily medication free!

Joanna said...

Glad you're at peace. Sometimes just writing it down in a notebook for no one else helps me vent my feelings. Then there is blogging which is cheap therapy. Do whatever works. And if it doesn't move on to something else. The fact that you're still putting one foot in front of the other one is a good sign. Hugs! :)