Wednesday, July 12, 2017
I don't remember what finally made me take action, but I found myself whispering into my cell phone at work to my doctor that I needed help ... soon. I was initially prescribed a daily dose of 10mg of Lexapro. Three weeks into the regime, I began to feel a real difference, a calm. I felt much more rational and in control. Still, the emotional episodes continued - although much less frequently. After two visits to a therapist, we agreed to up my dosage to 20mg a day of Lexapro.
Now life got reeeeeallllly calm. I had to be careful not to take it too close to bedtime or I would be practically comatose when the alarm went off the next morning. Eventually, my body adjusted. This seemed like a miracle pill. Literally nothing phased me. I had been struggling to see my future. Unsure of the state of my marriage and with our only child living on the other side of the state, the second half of my life stretched ahead of me like an empty void. Now I could calmly analyze the things in my life that weren't working and decide on an action. I switched jobs, switched church choirs and took a leave from my other chorus.
With all of these positive changes accomplished, I should be feeling terrific, right? Not so fast. Suddenly, I feel too calm. Things that used to move me no longer do. It seems that the happy, "good" emotions are just as quick to vanish as the bad ones. I retired from the Board of my chorus after serving for 14 years of the good, the bad and the ugly. I was walking away from the thing that brought my best friend into my life. I expected to be in tears when the end came. So, I wouldn't go as far as to say that I felt nothing, but I just couldn't muster up the feelings that I should have been feeling. I can't even think of the words to describe my feelings - relief, mostly, that the season was over. The idea that I wasn't more moved was disturbing to me. I started having doubts about my miracle pill.
10mg.... 20mg........ how about 15mg? I dug up my handy dandy little pill cutter and went to work. Should I have called my therapist? Probably, but I'm guessing she would have told me to try exactly what I was doing first before making any prescription changes. I noticed a different about a week after making the change. Someone at my new job told me about some tragedies that had happened to her in the past year, and I actually felt tears welling up in my eyes. Not the uncontrollable ones that would have run down my face pre-Lexapro, just some welcome wetness. Thank God! My libido resurfaced (another Thank God!).
Not so fast..... there's ALWAYS a down side. Someone forgot to remind my brain that I was living with the emotional equivalent of a hormonal teenager. Someone forgot to remind my brain that my best friend is one of the most un-retired retired people on earth who also happens to be 20 years older than me. When I was taking 20mg of Lexapro, being alone didn't seem so bad. I could hang with the cats all day, all weekend and be perfectly fine.
So now the dilemma. Face my demons and hope that 15mg helps me figure out a real solution? Or jump back to 20mg so that I don't have to face the fact that I am a #1 priority for absolutely nobody within a 500 mile radius of me. I'm tired of playing second fiddle to a car. It seems I'm the right model year for my spouse...now if only I had 4 wheels instead of 2 feet. As for my best friend...her priorities are in line - home and family first. We established a while ago that I am a high maintenance friend, which explains a lot of why she's the only one I've got.
Maybe I need to go back to the therapist. I need to do some thinking, I guess. One thing I know for sure. Nothing is ever as easy as it looks at first. And happiness can't be found in a pill.
Monday, August 29, 2016
"Well, Mom, you won't believe this, but __________."
"Maybe we can all see the new _____ movie this weekend?"
"Sure! Talk to you tomorrow."
"Ok. Bye! Love you"
"Love you too"
That's how I see my life in that world where my daughter lives in Western New York. Unfortunately, my real world does not resemble this in any way, shape or form. Instead, we see each other sporadically for concentrated periods of time during which we attempt to cram weeks or months of conversation into 2 days. What happens next is that uncomfortable phenomenon that happens at the end of vacations where nobody can think of one more blessed thing to say to one another, but we feel like we have to keep talking while we have the chance.
This is not to be confused with the silence that happens when you see each other all the time and are just comfortable enough with each other that words aren't really necessary. This is the "I really need to get away from here because my brain hurts from trying to think of something to say" situation.
I miss the everyday stuff. Occasional dinners or brunches instead of gorging ourselves for 2 days straight. Picking things up for each other at the store. Pet-sitting. Shopping.
Well, this may be the world's shortest blog post, but it's really all I have to say about this right now. Everyone needs a dream, right?
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Friday, May 20, 2016
A few years ago, I put myself in the position of being the "great communicator" in one of my volunteer positions. It just dawned on me that, in my current condition, I must be insane to continue in this position. What's coming around the bend for me and the people I serve? Should I view this as "good practice"? Or maybe as self-help exercises? It doesn't seem quite fair to the people who find themselves having to put up with me.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Suicide is a mystery to those who have never contemplated it. Why do some people choose to end their lives while others who appear to be so alone in the world choose to soldier on, day after day? Catastrophe. The stock market crash of 1929. The poor souls who chose to jump from the upper floors of One World Trade Center on 9/11. People with severe addictions. Even people with terminal illnesses. But what about the others? What about the people who look like they have it all together- even to their loved ones?
When the answer is not easily known, then I think that only the deceased can know the entire story. Suicide is so personal, so individual as to almost be beyond the comprehension of anyone other than a higher power. I reject the idea that it is an unpardonable sin that condemns the deceased to Hell. I choose, rather, to hope that the deceased had strong faith in a merciful God who will thereafter cradle that person in his arms and will grant the thing that the deceased wanted above all else – peace.
My fatal flaw is my total inability to deal with uncertainty. I’m not talking about everyday uncertainty like what to order in a restaurant. I’m talking about real conflict resolution that involves major pieces of my life. I don’t know why I do what I do, and maybe only a psychiatrist would ever be able to figure it out. When serious conflict arises that jeopardizes the future, my coping mechanism is to do whatever I have to do to identify steps to a solution. I compulsively must do this. Whether the solution be in the near future or far off does not matter. Maybe the real solution has yet to really be defined. But if I can at least know in my head that there is a path leading to peace, I will be ok.
How do I go about identifying those steps on that path…. that’s the hitch. Usually I talk to the other parties involved until the path reveals itself. The parties are not always happy about this. I would even go so far as to say that the parties are usually not happy about this and sometimes will even tell me what they think I want to hear just to shut me up. This tends to backfire – on me, not them – when the path never actually happens and I end up feeling betrayed. Sometimes I write rather than talk. Writing is not the ultimate solution but at least it allows me to “get it out”.
I am writing now because I am talked out and don’t know what else to do. Because every major aspect of my life is in a state of uncertainty and conflict, and I’m fairly sure that the other people are tired of my talking, while in other cases, there really is nobody to talk to.
When I write about looking for a path, what I really mean is that path that I was on has ended. Imagine that you are hiking deep in the forest by yourself on a path miles from anywhere or anyone, and the path just ends and you are staring at tall woods. That is what my life feels like right now. Only this is a one-way path. There is no turning around and going back from whence I came. I must go forward…. except I’m lost. I don’t know which direction to go or what I’m going toward. As I struggle to cope, my brain will not shut off. It is filled day and night with scenarios and outcomes. I have conversations with myself. “What will I do if………” “Who can I talk to about……?” “If this turns out like _____, then…………, but what if _______ happens?” One of my conflicts is so unpredictable on a day-to-day basis that it sometimes feels like walking in a never-ending minefield where the only way out is to step on a mine. Or if I do somehow find my way out, I might have to run away from it as fast as I can. I find myself having imaginary conversations with people because the real thing has just become too difficult.
Everything resolves. Or so I’m told. The act of suicide has been described as cowardly and selfish. I don’t know if I totally agree with that. I actually think it takes a lot of courage. I know I could never pull it off, and I know that the people who care about me don’t deserve to be punished in that way just for living their lives to the best of their ability based who they are deep inside – whether or not their act of living does anything to help me. What I know for sure is this. We all have a path that we are destined to walk. Sometimes we stray down wrong paths. The worst is when the path disappears completely. For some people, there is only so long they can struggle to find it again before it all just becomes too much. As for me, I don’t think I will ever again be one of the people who ponders a suicide and thinks – “We never saw it coming. What could have happened?” Every story is unique, but ultimately it comes down to the undiscovered path.