Sunday, August 26, 2012
I've gone a bit of time without posting here...there are times I feel I have so much to say and other times that are more reflective. The ebb and flow of life plays itself out in my moods like the phases of the moon, sometimes outspoken and shining, sometimes withdrawing into the smallest crescent hiding in the dark. But don't let the common association of the word dark with something dreadful or foreboding. The dark places are silent and peaceful, in the darkness we look within as we cannot see outward. I often follow the phases of the moon as a guide to setting my intentions as where to focus my energies, building and creating as she waxes, thinking, processing and resting as she wanes. I listen to my own inner rhythms as well. Sometimes it is my mind that guides me, either bursting with chatter or sometimes resting, tending to listen rather than create output. Other times it's my body that speaks to me, filled with energy, needing to roam or to dance and at other times tired, achy, begging for rest and long sleepy nights filled with dreams. And then there's my spirit or intuition if you will, tugging at my gut with a message either active or passive, energetic or tranquil.
So far so good, right? Well lest you think I've got it all together, I will tell you there are times when each voice is carrying it's own tune and the mind, body and spirit are clashing in a strange cacophony of paradoxical impulses. These are the times I am "frozen", these are the times I need desperately to find a way to give all those voices a way to be heard, so their messages can be synthesized into some sort of coherent meaning.
A few years back when the discord was especially troublesome my doctor suggested a mild anti depressant/anti anxiety medication. I was going through pretty 'challenging' time, we will say, so I relented and figured I'd give it a try. The first couple of days were kind of euphoric, everything shone a little brighter, my energy level was high but not manic and I felt great. It was a bit like cocaine, without the dreadful crash. Naturally I thought 'hey I could get to like this'.
Over the next couple of days all the chatter in my head stopped, it just shut the hell up. It was a little strange, but liberating. You know what it's like to be incessantly nagged when there's no one else in the room?
Unfortunately that nice shiny euphoria faded after a few days, otherwise this stuff would have street value and would be frowned upon by the medical community. Too bad about all that. Everything kind of stabilized and I went on with my life, messy as it was at the time.
This is how anti-depressants are supposed to be used, unless of course you suffer from chronic and severe depression which makes you unable to function...(that's my disclaimer in case anyone decides to rail on me for causing someone to disregard medical advice). Once my life became more stable and after many hours, weeks, months of counseling, mediation, yoga, journaling and other self help routines I decided I missed my moods.
Here comes another quick disclaimer DO NOT STOP TAKING SSRIs COLD TURKEY. No, no, no. You will be convinced you are stark raving mad and unable to exist without them. But seriously, follow your doctors instructions for scaling down your dose and weaning yourself off them. Since they don't do anything fun once you've been taking them for a while, like inducing euphoria, this won't be difficult. Also make sure you've done something else, counseling, group therapy, mediation, clearing your environment of people who make you crazy, whatever you need to do to make your life belong to you and not to the internal and external influences that made you resort to medication in the first place.
I've been off my anti depressants for about 6 months now. I survived the loss of my Dad and a few other rough times all with my feelings intact. I feel things now. Of course it's not all happy fun time, but life is not about being happy all the time. Sometimes I indulge my sad days by withdrawing, shutting off the phone and drowning in sorrow. I find that if I let myself feel crappy the crappy feelings eventually pass. I also feel joy much more intensely than I did while on anti-depressants and I appreciate every moment of it that graces my day. When I was on the SSRIs my moods were more even keel but they were also blunted, muted and not quite organic feeling, if that makes sense. Emotions are, and should be, visceral and gritty. Emotions are the catalyst for action and creation. Emotions are what makes us who we are, dynamic changing beings. We are part of the Earth and are designed to live in sync with her cycles.
© 2010-2012 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard