So I’ve decided to give an update on my progress since going back on meds for depression 6 weeks ago. I have been on and off depression medication for many years, but since getting sober 3 and a half years ago, I decided that all my issues were due to alcoholism, and found it necessary to prove to the world and everyone in it that they were wrong about me needing medication. Clearly the doctors hadn’t got a clue what they were talking about and my recovery program was all I needed.
So I began tapering off the meds………..and so began the return to crazy town! Ok so at first, it was kinda hard to recognize my craziness had returned because I had stopped drinking and using. Externally life was becoming more manageable, my family found me more approachable and I was physically and mentally looking way better.
Picture courtesy of Yoga 4 all)
But after a year and a half of being off medication, one day I had a major melt down and realized that lately my brain was either saying “Ahhhhhhhhhhhh shit, fuck, panic”, or it was saying “Yawn I don’t want to, leave me alone, ”. There was no middle ground.
Does this sound like quality, balanced sobriety to you? Nah, me neither. Now believe me, I work a good program, prayer, meditation, meetings, I got a sponsor, I am a sponsor, I do lots of service work etc. Needless to say I was becoming a little baffled by why I was still crazy in my brain especially when I have total faith in my fellowship and what it offers and I was promised a life of happiness, joy and freedom. So why wasn’t I feeling all zen like?
Because alcoholism is not my only problem that’s why, and as much as I hate that fact, I have accepted it and am back on 15mg of lexapro every day. To say the results are miraculous is an understatement. Ask anyone who has the fortune or misfortune (depending on who you’re talking to) of having to spend time with me. My own brain is also grinning from ear to ear due to the fact that it now gets to sleep more than 3 hours every night and it gets to wake up sanely and calmly instead of being jump started on caffeine and adrenalin. I went through the stage of coming up with every conceivable negative outcome and reason for not taking meds again, everything from “they will stifle my creativity” to “I’ll get fat” and of course the major one “it will kill my sex drive”. I will admit, that there seems to be a few extra pounds around my tummy, but that’s because I’m eating too much cake and my exercise routine is not as consistent as it usually is because I’ve let myself slip into bad habits again, not because I’m on antidepressants.
And guess what else my brain can do, it can make decisions, rational big girl decisions without having to bounce around inside my head like a cage fighter. Even small decisions like what to wear on a particular day was a major catastrophe, now whatever I put on is just fine.
Another miraculous event is I am not reacting to every single thing in my life. Six weeks ago, my rational self would be taken over by my insane self at the slightest thing that seemed not quite right, and I honestly couldn’t control myself. I would fly off the handle, knowing that what I was saying and doing was not appropriate, but my emotional condition was so out of balance that as hard as I tried, it would break loose and attack like a wounded animal. Now “Let go and let God” and “Easy does it” are slogans that I can relate to. Before I could say them but couldn’t practice them.
Now I understand the concept of minding my own business. I can see others behave in a way that would usually send me into orbit, and it would be paramount that I have my say and of course be right at all costs. Now I can stand back, allow the annoyance to pass over and not get involved in a situation that has nothing to do with me. Now that right there is a big fat miracle for me because naturally I have a big mouth and an even bigger personality. I guess you could say my ego drove me at the rate of a speeding train. Now I’m kinda floating along in a gondola.
So really to cut a long story short, when I accepted that I had a chemical imbalance in my brain and decided to seek professional help, the result is that I am able to practice my program more efficiently and thoroughly. I am grateful for every itty bitty thing in my life (except the really bad stuff, I will never be grateful for that), I am not full of fear in the morning and on tender hooks with anxiety. I can also recognize feelings now, rather than experiencing extreme highs and lows and that not only benefits me but all those around me too.
I see my depression as something that needs to be respected and treated just like my addiction and my diabetes. I am grateful for doctors who know more than I and I am grateful for the passage in the Big Book that talks about seeking outside help when needed. There is most definitely a place in my recovery for tools that aid me staying clean and sober and that is how I view my having to take antidepressants these days.
So all in all, making the decision to go talk to my doctor has been a huge success. I didn’t do it without great thought and consideration and a lot of talking to and support from my friends in the fellowship. I have also been able to make a decision and find the strength to go to therapy and deal with some issues that I needed to face. I’m going to take up yoga when the kids go back to school, so with all this positive life change in progress, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to levitate in the not too distant future!