Wednesday, July 12, 2017

To Drug or Not to Drug

Ten months ago, I finally decided that I'd had enough of the emotional ups and downs of my daily life.   I was tired of having even the slightest disappointment send me into tears and depression.  I was tired of my husband manipulating me like a yo-yo.   I could tell myself a million times that he wasn't any more in control than I was, but it didn't save me from these episodes that washed over me without warning at any time of the day.

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 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.