New year, same me. Obviously. At least I’m consistent?!
Before the holidays I saw a doctor for the first time in a lot of years (I literally see one every 5-ish years because, fuck that). She was recommended to me by a friend who also hates the medical profession and after talking about potentially registering with her for over a year, I managed to do it. She wasn’t accepting new patients but thankfully my friend is a hero and convinced her to add me to her caseload. And, well, she was great. Ugh. Part of me wanted her to be a psychopath so that I could rest my case about all medical professionals being idiots, but she truly was extremely patient and understanding, and she didn’t treat me like a freak. She said that I really need to consider having a full medical but that she’ll wait for me to build trust with her first (so, like, in a decade probably). She asked for a medical history and I unintentionally said that I’m usually healthy and don’t have any underlying medical conditions or a history worth disclosing. I didn’t think twice about it because I am physically pretty healthy and rarely get sick, hence never seeing a doctor. But then she started asking me questions and we both just ended up laughing at how long my list of ‘things’ actually is. I am a disaster.
We talked for a while about my current struggles and how I basically feel like getting through a day is like trying to run a marathon through molasses with weights on my feet. I’m tired ALL the time, my concentration is at a record low, I have very little motivation for anything, I’m dissociating a lot, and I go through waves of real darkness that feel almost impossible to swim through. I thought this was just a side-effect of PTSD but wanted to check that it wasn’t something else. Turns out it is something else and it’s called clinical depression. YAY. I know that I’ve mentioned in an earlier post that I’ve been fighting the depression diagnosis for over a decade but I think this time I was just so exhausted and ready to throw in the towel that I just sat there looking at the floor. I wasn’t surprised and I couldn’t be bothered to argue because that involves energy that I don’t have. Case in point, I guess. We sat in silence for an awkward amount of time before she finally interjected and asked if I’d considered medication. It’s been recommended to me several times but I’ve been so set against going down that route that it’s never been an option to me. I didn’t want it. I didn’t want to need it. I wanted to fix myself with pure will, but turns out no amount of wishing will change the chemicals in your brain. Huh. Go figure.
We chatted about options and she explained how drugs work and reiterated a million times that I am in control. I told her each one of my fears and triggers associated with medication and she took the time to explain each one in a way that made it really difficult to want to punch her in the face. She reminded me that she won’t be there in my house every morning shaking the bottle at me, and that if I don’t want to take them nobody is going to force me. That if I start taking them and they don’t feel right, or it’s too triggering, or if I feel like I’m gaining weight that I can stop and go back to see her and we’d try something else. She said she’d start me on a low dose that I can increase incrementally and that I’d have to go back and see her a month after I start taking them so we could reassess and check in. I don’t really know what was different at that time, but I didn’t have an ounce of fight in me to say ‘no’. I just nodded when she asked if I was ready for her to write out the prescription. She reassured me that I am in control and I left with this piece of paper in my hand.
I didn’t even know how to turn said paper into fucking drugs. I’ve never gotten a prescription as an adult, other than birth control, but the nurse would just give those to me there and then at the clinic so even stupid people knew how to do that. I messaged my pharmacist friend who told me how to turn the paper into medication and then spent the rest of the afternoon staring at them, expecting them to jump out of the package and kill me at any point. Last week – a month later – I felt myself going downhill again. My eating disorder and body bullshit is back with a vengeance, I’ve been exhausted, I’ve been panicking and finding myself having to fight hard to stay afloat and keep interacting and working. So, I started trying to take the medication aaaaand I. Am. A. Head. Case. I won’t even go into detail about what me trying to put pills in my body looked like last week, but I was a MESS. With help from a friend I somehow made it to Day 7 of ‘Pill-Gate’. I felt nauseous and had a four-day headache and felt pretty awful during that time. I clearly can’t even read a label properly and totally increased my dosage way too early which didn’t help, but I figured that out pretty quickly. Days 8 and 9 didn’t happen, yesterday was a massive ordeal and puke-fest, and today (Day 11) I had to throw one in a shake and try not to throw up for three hours. I’M REALLY GOOD AT THIS.
It probably didn’t help that I have also been bat-shit crazy with the ED stuff. I had to give my scale to a friend a few days ago because apparently I’m incapable of throwing it out and leaving it in the garbage overnight. The first night sans scale, I lost my shit and walked to the drugstore to buy another one. It’s still in the packaging in my bedroom which is causing me way more anxiety and sleepless nights, but I’m stuck and don’t know what to do with it. Gahh. I know that medication takes a while to kick in, and that you actually have to take it for it to work, but FUCK!!! It’s so hard. I actually think I feel worse than I did before I started taking this stuff, but I don’t know when it’s supposed to start feeling better. I was told Day 8-10, so if someone could just magically make shit start happening that’d be GREAT. I got so stressed that I talked to my therapist last week (yep, with words, out loud) about the diagnosis and about the medication. She was also amazing about it (ugh), and, well, I have to keep going back to things she’s told me: people with chronic PTSD usually end up with depression because the body and brain simply can’t stay in the panicked/heightened state for years at a time, so they begin to shut down. You become chronically exhausted, you isolate and slow your system down into depression as a protective measure because you can’t sustain the fight/flight state. But, that’s not good because it actually makes you more vulnerable to danger (my biggest fear) because your system is slower to react and making decisions feels like the world is about to implode. She also reminded me that SSRIs don’t “put chemicals into your body”, they instead prevent (inhibit) your brain from using up all of the serotonin and dopamine too quickly, which is what causes depression in the first place. So, yeah, I know I can’t argue with the science, but I can apparently fight it really well.
I thought being stubborn was a good thing. I guess I still think that and I’ve been told it’s what got me to my 30s without falling completely off the rails, but sometimes I’m also fully aware – mainly because people tell me – that it is one of my biggest obstacles. I’m miserable and I’m stuck. I’m relapsing and I’m exhausted and I’m pissed off. And now I have to ingest my biggest trigger every day. And I haven’t been to my yoga studio since November. And I have a scale in my bedroom. And I have a sports massage this evening. And I hate people touching me. And I feel like if I don’t stop typing I’m just going to keep writing a list of all the negative shit and that isn’t helpful.
I’ve been working out so, woo.