22 July 2008

Daily Dose

I had a conversation with someone who suffers from an anxiety disorder, quite different from my depression struggles. He takes Xanax for the anxiety, a dosage of it that I consider quite high, knowing how Xanax affects me. That's not passage of judgment, just observation. I think he needs a lot of it to quell the anxiety.

Like so many folks being treated for mental illnesses, he doesn't want to take the Xanax. Again, I empathize. Unfortunately, the entire class of meds that Xanax springs from don't lend themselves well to quitting cold turkey. You must, must taper the dosage of the benzotropines, because quitting just doesn't work.

Even knowing as I do that quitting my dosage of the anti-depressants would be stupid at best and fatal at worst, that doesn't stop me from foolishly, recklessly, wanting to tamper with my dosage. I'd like to not need the meds. That would be nice. I am not optimistic about my chances of being able to quit the meds at any time in the foreseeable future, though.

With the longer days, and the fact that we actually see the sun in the summer in Oh-hia-ia rather than 100% gloomy grey skies, I'm feeling better. Fantastic, most of the time, actually. As long as I continue the meds. Without them, things aren't so fantastic.

Last week, I had a day where I only took 300 mg of my 450 mg dose of Wellbutrin XL. It wasn't intentional; somehow, I have a bunch of the 300 mg pills from my prior refill, but none of the 150 mg. As a result, the 'old' 300 mgs are upstairs, and the 'new' 300 and 150 mgs are downstairs. I took an allergy pill and a 300 mg, intending to take the 150 mg as soon as I went downstairs, but I never remembered to do that, and I could tell by the evening that I was "off," somehow, like a puzzle missing a key piece.

Another day, I got up and got going, dragging a little, but didn't remember to take the meds until late in the afternoon. Gee, wonder why I was so off my usual form that day? Interestingly, small things that don't bother me when I am taking the meds take on the forms of crises of epic proportions when I am off them. I am more snarly, more apt to make cutting, biting, stinging sarcastic remarks when I don't take them. I struggle to put the bitter queen back into her box when I've not taken the drugs.

All of this brain chemistry alteration bothers me, but like something we know is looming and don't want to think about, I push it away to be concerned about another day. Call it whatever you like, but the fact is that the SSRIs are altering your brain chemistry.

I remember one of my early biology classes, grade 7 or so, where one of our vocabulary words was "drug" and it was defined as 'anything that alters the body's chemistry.' Christo, under that definition, anything you eat or drink is a drug. Food, water, even that sip of iced tea you just took. (Oh, wait, that was me. Have I mentioned? It is so effing hot that I can hardly breathe.) So any medication, then, alters your body's chemistry in some way. Insulin, allergy pills, the analgesics we take for our aches and pains, all of it. If you look at it that way, I suppose, then the alteration of brain chemistry that the SSRIs do isn't such a big deal. Or is that just me, rationalizing?


Dawna said...

I'm with ya there! Wouldn't it be nice if we could just quit? Not need them?

One day without and I am a certifiable basket case... and I didn't even realize that I was out of sorts until I went to bed and questioned "why the hell am I so mad and disappointed?" and "what's wrong with me?"

And then it dawns! Guess who didn't take her meds that morning?

That sucks AND blows.

Lucy Arin said...

It does indeed suck and blow! LOL, that line made me giggle, thanks for that.

Have you ever seen the bumper sticker that says I can only please one person a day. Today ain't your day. Tomorrow's not looking good either.? That's kind of how I am with the meds. One day, maybe, I'll be off them. Today ain't the day. Tomorrow's not so likely either. I prove it to myself over and over again when I do things like miss part of a dose. I am OK with the fact that I might need them forever. It would be nice if I didn't, though.

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