Feb 21, 2017

What’s on my mind today?

Energy drinks+anxiety, medications, and anger. Oh, and water. Need more of that.

  1. So this morning at work I was tired. Like moreso than usual. Physically tired, which today (like most days) increased my anxiety levels, and brought with it a wonderful mental fog. Best way to describe it would be that I went to work. Or at least the physical part of me did. But most of whatever it is that makes me “me” (apart from my body) really wasn’t there. It was off in La-La land somewhere. Coffee wasn’t helping. A chocolate bar wasn’t helping. A bottle of OJ wasn’t helping. Finally late morning I decided to grab an energy drink. Normally I’ll go for an iced tea (sweet tea for you Americans!) because energy drinks often will give me a racing heart, jack up my anxiety, make me slightly twitchy/shaky, but they will give me a few hours worth of energy (more than coffee) and sometimes help me focus my thoughts better — they’re just focused at Mach 3…. (hang on to your hats…. 3 trains of thought, intertwining and jumping from one to the other, at Mach 3. But at least they’re fairly focused, and it’s only 3. Or 4.)

However today, it settled me down. I didn’t have the twitchiness, and while i did feel the familiar racing heart I get when I have one, I didn’t feel more anxious — I felt more settled and relaxed. I didn’t have the Mach 3 thoughts. It gave me the energy I wanted — but none of the usual negatives that cause me to use an energy drink as a last resort. Strange, but it’s happened before.

2) Medications. Good lord are there a lot of medications out there. For so many different conditions and illnesses. There are people who will take a couple of tylenol at the first hint of a headache, or maybe even before. Or run for the bandages and polysporin for a small scratch. Then there are other people who will pretty much avoid medications of any kind — for fear of addiction, or not wanting to put those kinds of chemicals into their bodies, or for other reasons.

Personally, I tend to lean more toward the later catagory than the former. I’ll take an advil or 2 for a bad headache or sore back. But I certainly don’t pop them like candy. I willingly take my 300mg of Welbutrin daily. (which reminds me, I really need to get back to taking Vitamin D daily!). I was fairly against taking medication of any sort to treat my anxiety and depression. I made that clear to my doctor, my counsellor, and the psychiatrist who diagnosed me.

However — here’s the thing. There comes a point when you’re doing yourself more harm than good by avoiding medication. And that thought is what keeps me taking my Wellbutrin. I don’t like taking pills, I’d much prefer going without if I can. And honestly I think I’ve stabilized quite well over the last few months, and would happily dump the rest down the toilet.

However, I have 2 options. Both have some scary implications.

Option 1 is to stop taking meds for now, knowing sooner or later I’ll regress. I may or may not seek help in time, and best case scenario is I’ll again live daily with suicidal thoughts for months before seeking help and slowly climbing out of that pit, and fight to get back to “stable” (I really hesitate to say normal, because even though I’m fairly high functioning, I don’t really know what a normal/healthy mental and emotional life feels like).

Option 2 is to keep taking my meds…. For. The. Rest. Of. My. Life. Potentially that’s 40+ years of taking pills every day. 40 years, times 2 pills a day, times 365 days. Over 29,000 pills. But, eventually my body will adapt to the current dose, and either I’ll have to take a higher dose, or change to another medication. Then there’s the fact that these medications are not that great for the body. No, they’re not nearly as brutal as cancer treatment (with it’s 1–2 punch of chemo and radiation) but still. Several years on this stuff will start affecting my internal organs at some point. And that’s something to consider too — is being stable NOW going to be worth hoping I can score a new kidney when I’m 70? Better quality of life now, hoping they can treat it better or come up with a cure “later”? My head tends to spin when I start to think about it, so I just don’t. I take my pills and hope that I recognize when things start to slide, so I can talk to my doc about increasing or changing my meds, so that I can keep having quality of life now. Because despite the risks, it sure beats the alternative.

Anger. Not as a byproduct of, nor caused by my anxiety or depression. Well, yes in a way but not directly. You see, for the most part I haven’t had to fight against the stigma of mental illness. Maybe it’s because I’m higher functioning and people may not realize how hard I’ve fought. Maybe it’s because I’m very very lucky to have understanding and supportive friends, AND family, AND co-workers (well for the most part!). But I’m angry that I see and hear stories that would break your heart. People are treated like absolute garbage for a recognized illness that has been professionally diagnosed. “Suck it up and get on with your life already. Quit moping and being lazy!”. This, sadly, is a widely accepted response when it comes to depression. Not so much for say, kidney disease. Or Cancer.

Now, before anyone jumps down my throat, yes things have come quite a ways, even over the last 10 or so years. That’s good, don’t get me wrong. But why isn’t it at the same level as say, kidney disease? or cancer? or a million other physical diseases? That’s what makes me angry. And sad. And frustrated. Not at the minor amounts of put-downs and slights that I’ve experienced. No, its the stories I’ve read and heard from contacts I’ve made. Stuff that gives me chills to hear of the blatant ignorance and abusive attitudes that some people display. THAT’S what makes me angry. The other thing that makes me angry is when it’s even hinted that I’m weak — I have a hard time keeping my temper and my tongue in check when I hear that.

Thats enough for today. I need to do something more brain-off for the rest of the night. As always, hit that heart button if something resonated with you!

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