I have been getting off my mood stabilizer medication for depression at the request of my psychiatrist. It’s been a rocky road so far. Already resorted to isolation and shutting myself off… unfortunately, there has always been casualties with my depression. I hope everyone knows that I don’t mean it. I don’t mean to spread the pain, the loneliness, the ache, and then the emptiness. I am so incredibly sorry to all those who have been affected by my depression. I have spent the majority of my life struggling with depression and anxiety, as well as PTSD for awhile when I was younger. It’s been really hard trying to figure everything out and understand my emotions. I try my best to pull myself together… it just doesn’t always work.
I am sorry for the pain I’ve caused, the people I pushed away, the misplaced anger, and my sudden disappearance from some people. I try. I always try my best. Getting off my meds has, however, made keeping my act together a little more challenging.
My friend, her mom has been battling cancer and, recently, I went to relay for life with her to support her and her family. The truth is, I’m not very good at comforting people. I don’t think I ever have been. I don’t know what I’m doing when I comfort people. I just try and say what I think I’d want to hear and let them know I care. The other day, I went bowling with her, her brother, and my family. It had been a rough day. I got into a dispute with my mom about my medication and it was frustrating. I was feeling depressed and I didn’t want to do anything, I just wanted to be left alone. But, I said I would go, so I did. I wasn’t good company to say the least, and I know I was closing myself off, but I felt like that was the only way to hold myself together. I am not a person who is good at expressing my emotions, and I never let myself cry in front of others if I can help it. I texted my friend later that night to say I was sorry for my behavior, I’ve just been struggling lately. She read my text… but she didn’t respond.
I’m not mad or upset with her, I just wish I could show her it wasn’t intentional. I told my mom about it and she was surprised. I was a little shocked that she was surprised. I have lost many friends because of depression, and while I’m not sure I completely lost her, I know I hurt her. I take responsibility for some of the friends I have lost, some I couldn’t do anything about, and some left for their own reasons. Most people who I let into my life leave because life gets hard, my depression drags me back into the safety of the dark, or because they can’t handle being around me with my life being so complicated. Not that I ever asked for them to be involved, but I understand that some people feel the responsibility and they don’t want that.
I can’t make people understand my life or my choices, and I don’t expect them to. All I ask is that they accept that this is just the way things are. I won”t ask permission, nor will I seek acceptance. I will make the decisions that need to be made. I will pick up the pieces when things fall apart or the temporary glue that held everything together no longer keeps the pieces together. I do not expect help, nor will I ask most of the time. I am not looking to be saved or rescued, I have been independent and self-sufficient for a long time. All I ask is that those who love me stand by me. If that is too much, I understand. I am not mad, I just hate being abandoned all of a sudden. And, being lied to is absolutely unacceptable.
I have not been off meds in four years. I do not know exactly what to expect when I am off them, but I do know that I will not be exactly the same. I will be challenging and not the easiest to be around. I will do everything in my power to control it, but I will slip up.
My mom had lectured me about going off my medication, and at this point, I am not sure she will allow me to go off of it. If I do, I am sorry to everyone for the change in my behavior, I will just need adjustment time.
My mom’s lecture was part of the reason I am writing this. She thinks my decision is reckless. I understand this. She also thinks my reasons for wanting to attempt going off my medication are because I am ashamed, or think it’s wrong to be on it, or that I just want to please my psychiatrist, or that I want to be normal. I was a little hurt by that, but I understand that she is concerned and does not want my reasoning to be silly reasons such as those. I am not naive, I know it will be hard. It will be one of the most difficult fights I have faced in quite awhile and it will hurt like hell, but I don’t remember how I felt before meds, the good and the bad. I am afraid that if I don’t try going off my meds, I will not remember how to feel. It’s scary not having really lived much of a life without feeling like the only reason I was “happy” was because of my medication. Is that stupid? Maybe. But, when things were bad and I was getting on my meds, I didn’t feel anything. All I knew was apathy. I slept more, I ate more, I had less nightmares, I started socializing a little more, I was more proactive, etc. But, I didn’t feel anything. After a while, I started to feel better. Not necessarily happy, just better. The scary part to that though, is I was never sure if I was actually happy or if the permanent feeling of “better” was simply my medication. I am not sure I really ever stopped surviving and started living. I am scared I don’t know what it’s really like to feel anymore. I am sure this sounds ridiculous, and I probably seem naive. I may even seem stupid for being willing to face my depression and lose any feeling of “better”. Is it wrong to want to feel things without the cloak of medication? The answer I will get from my mom is no, it is not wrong, but any feelings of happiness will most likely be drowned and it is better that you stay on the mood stabilizer. Part of me thinks she is right… actually most of my knows she is right. Why go along with going off your medication then? Maybe it’s my fear, but that small, doubting part of me keeps nagging at me.
I want everyone to know that taking medication should never be a source of shame and if you need medication, you need it. Simple as that. There is absolutely nothing wrong with needing medication. And normal, that is simply a societal concept that should not have any impact on your decisions. (Besides, with our society, normal seems to be more of a derogatory term rather than something to be proud of.)
Life is hard. There are always problems, we cannot change that nor can we prevent that. We simply must continue to live our lives as best we can. We persist, keep moving, keep trudging along because that’s what people do. Things do get better, but there’s never a guarantee it will stay. We simply have to find our silver linings. Life is hard, sometimes even impossible it seems, but one thing that is always out of the question is giving up. We can be done with our problems, with everything, with life, but that does not mean we stop.
“You’re so much stronger than all of the white noise… Don’t let go.”- Jughead Jones 👑
Music always makes me feel better, so here is a link to another song I like, and I also think it fits with this post.