Sunday, July 17, 2016

Wellbutrin Tastes like Humble Pie

I hope you like the title, because I'm pretty in love with it myself.  It doesn't match the tone of this post, though, so if you're in the mood for witty observations, I'm not your girl.  In fact, I want to take this moment to say that I'm sorry for being a little too chipper sometimes.  To be perfectly clear: I'm messed up.  What you read here is the healthiest, most positive, shining version of Kari, cheerleading her sad little heart to the finish line--and it's funny that I chose that metaphor, because I find cheerleaders annoying.  The nature of blogging is such that you see me on my best days and not my worst. The idea that anyone might think I have all the answers is too ridiculous for words, especially given the awful state I've been in lately.

Even accounting for the grief I'm still going through, which I consider a separate matter, I'm in pretty tough shape.  Anxiety, hopelessness, frustration, guilt, and deep inadequacy are my constant companions these days.  I spend a lot of time crying, avoiding, hiding, being mean, begging for forgiveness, and watching lame Youtube videos.

My therapist recommended medication, which idea I rejected out of hand.  The whole idea behind seeking counseling in the first place, was to do the cognitive work that would help me heal without the use of antidepressants.  After all, I am the cheerleader of drug-free depression here.  Please don't stop reading.  I hate what I just wrote, too.

I experienced a lot of relief when I took Zoloft about ten years ago.  After awhile, it started losing its effectiveness, and the side effects were bugging, so I went off and tried one or two other medications with no success.  Finally I sought out other options, such as light therapy and exercise, which have been huge for me.  So huge that I write about them here all the time.  But back to why I didn't like my counselor's suggestion that I start on an antidepressant while continuing my cognitive therapy--why was my goal to heal without the use of antidepressants?  Shouldn't my goal just be to heal?

So I've been digging into all my reasons for not taking an antidepressant, and finding most of them to be irrational.  I've found so much food for thought that I'm sure this post is just the first of many.  But I think one of my biggest obstacles to taking medication is my perception that it would just mask my symptoms without addressing the underlying causes of the disease.  To consider the possibility that medication may just be my very best method of treatment for the rest of my life, feels like giving up on real healing.  But here's the thing: all these years I've been trying to get to the root or cause of the depression and fix it.  It must be that my body needs more light in the winter.  It must be that I have unresolved issues from my childhood.  It must be that I need more exercise.  All these things are probably true, but years of attacking the problem from that angle have brought only limited success.  Maybe the "root" really is the chemical imbalance, and I'll be better-equipped to address peripheral attacks on my sanity if I can just get the baseline right.

I started Wellbutrin yesterday.  After all I've written here about beating depression the hard way, I feel like you deserve to be the first to know.  I believe in the easy way, too, if it can be called that.  Facing the very real stigmas still associated with antidepressants isn't easy.  The exhaustive search for the medication that will work for your body isn't easy.  Dealing with side effects isn't easy.  Really, out of all the steps I've taken to beat depression, this may end up being the hardest.  Isn't that just classic depressed thinking--I'll seek medical attention only after I've exhausted every other possible hope for healing.

So here I go, trying another option.  I really hope you find me here in a few weeks telling you how well it's working.  I remember the way the world's weight rolled off my shoulders when I started Zoloft, and I long for that relief.  I remember feeling truly myself for the first time in years: like I didn't have to fake being me anymore. I know that finding the right medication can be a journey.  In fact, from my experience and observations I may well be dealing with this illness for the rest of my life.  Oh, how I long for the permanent healing that will come when I arise to meet the Lord!  Until then, it's my job to cope and to hope.  Maybe I won't have to wait that long.