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.  


Megan Topham said...

You and I have alot in common! Love ya sister!!❤

Megan Topham said...

You and I have alot in common! Love ya sister!!❤

Karen Dick said...

That's the best compliment I've had all week! Love you, and love your smile!

Katie said...

One of my favorite posts from you so far. I am so sorry you are going through this. It is hard faking day in and out just to get by. I hope you feel like your best self again. Sometimes it is very poignant to realize how much of what we view as "ourselves" is really our body, not us. It really hit me when I dealt with my mom - I knew without a doubt in her last year that her behavior was a reflection of her body (her brain specifically), not *her*, not a weakness of character. Any and all medication that helped her moods was a blessing. Why can't I give myself the same understanding when my body needs assistance? Sometimes I wonder how amazed we will be when we have a perfect body, and we discover how strong we really are.

Katie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Bailey Family said...

Would it be weird to say, "Yay! You've started anti-depressants!"? Because that's how I feel. I love you to the moon and back, and am so grateful that you keep on trying until you find something that works. Thank you for being so brave!

T.J. said...

I admire your ability to maintain hope through your struggle. I know better than anyone but you how real that struggle is. I more especially admire your ability to function at such a high level through your struggle. Judging by your accomplishments, you'd think you excel in mental wellness;you are an inspiration to me!

MaryAnn said...

Kari: my doctor told me years ago that anti depressants are like medicine for the brain! Others take incilian for diabetes, heart medicine for the heart, calcium for osteoporosis, breathing treatments for lungs, and so on and so on! Years ago they ended up with nervous break downs and hospitalized for the rest of their lives! I'll always have to take these meds! I am thankful that I live in the day that I can be well! The Lord gave us wisdom to do the best that is best for us! I feel it is my trial in life but, I can do it well! The Lord gives brilliant doctors inspiration on how to give us healing meds for us! We just have to make the choice! I'm so much happier and can live my life happy! I don't have any side effects! Which I'm thankful for! I have OCD THAT I TAKE Celexa! It's great for me! It is a heredity thing! Resurrection will heal all that! Until then I will be happy!

Karen Dick said...

Sheesh, I got behind here. Is it way too corny to respond to you four all at once?

Thanks, Katie, for your kindness. I can feel your love from far away. I miss your mom and I miss you.

Georgia, thank you for supporting me in every new treatment I undertake; I hope you're about to have a healthier sister to love.

TJ, you know.

MaryAnne, I think you're right! I'm so glad your meds are working for you and I hope can find the right one, too! Thanks for reading!

Quinnellabella said...

How are you doing with the medicine?