Fluoxetine 20 mg. Once Daily. Clonazepam 0.5 mg. As Needed.
Six Months ago, I finally broke down for the sake of everyone around me, and begrudgingly told my doctor that things weren’t quite right. I remember texting my friend as I sat in the waiting room, “What the hell am I doing here?”. This would be the first time I’d ever explain in great detail to anyone what was going on inside of my head.
You see, it’s extremely common for people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder to go to great lengths to hide it. OCD has a nasty way of making you think you’re a complete nut job. It will convince you that you’re a hanger to others, and a danger to yourself. It will tell you that you’re not to be trusted. Ironically, it will also convince you that everyone around you is also not to be trusted, that everyone around you is up to no good, and you should always expect and assume the worst. It also helped convince me that any medication they prescribed me was not to be trusted, either.
The best way to describe it, is that it’s like having two brains. One that is completely healthy and rational, and one that is dark and sees only the negative in life. From the time I wake up, to the time I finally manage to fall asleep at night, these two brains are in constant argument with each other. In case you were wondering, the normal side of my brain spends most of the day just repeating the words, “Stop. That’s ridiculous. Just shut up. Shut up.”
It’s a lot like having a jaded fairy tale villain operating one side of your brain. Maybe that’s why I was always so enamored with Maleficent as a kid…
My reservations about meds came from a combination of two major concerns… 1) This would require me actually telling a medical professional that I was crazy, leaving concrete evidence of my mental health history. Never leave a physical dossier that can easily be used against you in a court of law, am I right? 2) I have witnessed first hand the many nasty side effects that can occur due to medications designed to treat mental illness.
But I had a decision to make. Continue on like this, or do something to help myself. Unfortunately, there is no cure for my condition. There is only medication and therapy. And as fantastic as therapy may be, there are some of us that are always going to need the help of meds to keep ourselves mentally healthy.
So what’s it feel like to be medicated me?
At first there were the initial crappy side effects that happen as your body adjusts to the new medication. at first the Fluoxetine made me very tired, and a tad bit flu-ish feeling. Nothing awful, just enough to make me want to curl up on the couch with a cozy blanket and rest. My appetite became almost non-existent, so I had to be very mindful about how much I ate. But that was pretty much it. I felt normal, just a bit too tired to be as anxious as usual.
It didn’t take too long to start working. It was probably about 10 days in when I first started feeling a bit different. it almost felt like I was imagining it. Other people noticed it more than I did. I remember it feeling like I was “mentally sedated”. Words took longer to form and I felt almost too sleepy to be stressed. I would later realize that I had just started speaking at a normal human rate, rather than at my usual warp speed.
And then all of the sudden I really felt it.
The best I can describe it is that I felt really light weight, almost a bit floaty. And it felt like something was suddenly casting a warm, rosy colored light over the world.
The thing is, this felt both euphoric and frightening at the same time. I almost felt detached from my body, and dreamy. Dreaming a happy dream, but dreamy none the less.
All in all, the meds have made a world of difference. Good difference. The biggest life change is that I suddenly woke up one morning and decided to go to school to become and EMT. Right now. No time to lose. A few days later, I applied for college and jumped in head first. I think underneath the mental illness, this is what I’m really like…decide I want something, then make it happen.
The biggest challenge was (still sometimes is) this…
A tiny piece of me, the cynical piece, is incredibly indignant about the whole ordeal. It says this isn’t the real me. It says that everyone around me only likes me because I’m drugged. It asks angrily what the hell is so wrong with the real me? I’m good enough on my own and anyone who doesn’t agree can fuck off. It reminds me that I don’t need anyone. It tells me that I’m right to be afraid, and even more so, right to be angry. To quote the ice queen herself, the cold never bothered me anyway.
That’s the voice I must work really hard to ignore. But it’s also the voice I must acknowledge. After all, it is my voice. And it’s important for others who struggle to know that this is normal.
So there you have it. I’ll check back in on the matter at a later date.
Until then folks, I’ll leave you with this friendly reminder…
“Don’t believe everything you think.”
If you like this, keep reading! How I’m Raising My Son to Not Inherit my Anxiety & Why Your Mental Illness Isn’t Necessarily an Excuse for Your Actions