This is the twenty-sixth in a series of episodes, detailing my dawning realization, that I have some mental issues, that I must address, or risk losing those around me, who mean so much to me. I do not know how many installments this will entail, because I do not have an outline, for this particular avenue, that my Life has chosen to pursue. Because I have always found writing to be therapeutic, I am going to share my journey with anyone, who cares to read along. Believe me, I am not having that much fun.
Life on the Med(s)iterranean
I know what you are thinking: “If he prattles on again about meds, I am going to have to go into the bathroom, and reach up into the medicine cabinet, and grab a handful of something or other.” It’s that kind of world. Except for the time during which I was taking the anxiety drug, Lorazapam, I have never had to take daily medication for illness. Now, I find myself examining every aspect of the potential medication, that I would be taking every day, in order to try and manage the illness known as “mood spectrum disorder” (MSD).
The goal of Annie and me, is to manage the illness through holistic means, which requires a great deal of self-monitoring, and a strict adherence to routine, especially involving patterns of sleep, eating, exercise, and anything that is deemed necessary to keep everything flowing smoothly. Generally speaking, an accepted component of holistic healing, when dealing with MSD, is medication, the specifics to be worked out with your psychiatrist.
In having already been prescribed Seroquel, now safely ensconced in the medicine cabinet, for sleep issues, and having decided to mark time for the present, until we have gathered more information, I now find myself at that worst of places, the proverbial crossroads. Here Annie and I must examine all the data, including the recently accessed statistics regarding specific instances of relevant side effects, assess all of the characteristics and symptoms of the illness, and then decide if there is a match. Otherwise, I have a future to face which includes manic episodes, and tangible instances of depression.
In attempting to articulate the one factor that looms the greatest, I still struggle. I am referring to the concept of losing a part of myself, by the ongoing ingestion of atypical antipsychotic drugs, that I am unaware is gone, and consequently do not miss it. I am not talking about loss of libido; believe me, I have my finger on the pulse of that one, and will at least know if I lose it. The assumption is that I will have the switch at my disposal to flick, in the form of stopping the meds, so that all will be good.
I am referring to a more nebulous part of me, that was missing since age ten, when I began my 48-year-long battle with panic attack syndrome, but has returned for the past eighteen months or so. Having rid myself of many of the anxiety issues which plagued me for so long, I now find that I enjoy the feeling of no fear. I enjoy going about my business, trying to please me, instead of pleasing all of the others around me. I do not have any reason to assume that the meds will have any ill effects at all, but I also do not want to assume that they will not. Medication doesn’t come with a litany of side-effects, if people who took the medication, did not experience them.
So would I first recognize changes within me, and secondly, would I care? Or would it be a case of, yes, I recognize that there is a difference, and I even know what that difference is, but I no longer care. That thought scares me, even though I am the champion of not catastrophizing. I do not like to focus on negative possibilities that lie before me. But usually one finds out immediately whether or not the catastrophizing materializes or not. In this case, the what-if question is about me, and the consequences are a lot more extreme.
Otherwise, I would say that the decision would seem to be a thumbs up, or rather, maybe just say a go. I am not feeling particularly thumbs up at all, but I am feeling that meds afford me a better chance of emerging intact, as opposed to submerging, beneath a blanket and pillow, on the couch. What I really wish was that I could speak to someone I know and trust, or could learn to trust, who suffers from this illness, so that I could ask my questions, and get information, that was not obtained through a study, or through the word of mouth of someone who is on the administering end of the whole process.
I am a big fan of being able to sit across from someone, so that I can make eye contact, and be able to simply converse. Not even the phone works for me, because I cannot see the person, to whom I am speaking. Until then I am operating on the information I have at my disposal, and will decide accordingly.
I have decided to ask Dr. Garratt if he can put me in touch with someone who would not mind having the kind of conversation I am describing. I have come a long way, but would like to make it to one last mile marker, before I capitulate. That’s a bad word and I know it, because it implies that someone is forcing me to take the meds. I know that that is not true. I just have to convince myself.