Anxiety, Pills, and Depression- oh my!
I tried to make the title cute so this post wouldn't be a total bummer... Did it work?
Before I get started I posted the video that inspired this post below. I happened to stumble upon it after watching several of her makeup tutorials (my youtube guilty pleasure). It's nice when these things end up finding you. I was able to relate to a lot of her thoughts on "deleting the bad" and trying to explain anxiety to others. Even if you don't want to watch this specific video, or don't want to read the rest of this blog post, her makeup tutorials are fun and cute and cool!
Okay, let's get into it:
A couple of months ago I decided to switch antidepressants for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I felt them interfering with my libido. Like seriously, what a bummer. I was finally feeling okay-ish about life again, but I felt like my relationship with my significant other was different and not in a good way. It took me a while to figure out why I was feeling this way, but when I was finally able to pin it down it all made sense. Interference with or a complete loss of sexual drive is really common while taking antidepressants (specifically SSRI's, which is what I was on). Great.
Secondly, while I was generally feeling "better," I wasn't really feeling like my normal self. I was kind of just numb to a lot of things. I wasn't ever really excited or happy, but I also wasn't sad anymore. At the time I thought that was an improvement from my depression. I felt like I was finally able to function again, but (with the risk of sounding unbelievably corny) I wasn't really living. I was kind of just going through the motions and not really engaging in anything. I even had a death in my family during this time and I still feel like I never appropriately grieved because my medication made it feel so distant. Also, what a bummer.
Luckily I had an upcoming doctor's appointment shortly after I figured all this stuff out. I brought it up to my doctor and she was really understanding and switched me to a non-SSRI antidepressant. She warned me that switching medications can be hard; that I might feel even worse during the transition period while my body was still getting used to the new meds. Most people had a strong preference for one type (SSRI's) or the other (non-SSRI's), but there was no way of knowing without trying. It seemed kind of scary but it also seemed worth it. I decided when I first got on antidepressants that I wasn't going to treat myself like a test subject and try out every medication on the market. I wanted to try one, maybe two different prescriptions, and call it a day. Unfortunately, I don't know if that's realistic anymore. While this new medication has definitely eliminated the major problems associated with the previous one, it came with its own set of problems.
I remembered only recently that one of the reasons my doctor decided to go with that specific type of SSRI was because it also had an anti-anxiety component to it. I was dealing with both depression and anxiety at the time so it made sense. And it worked. Maybe it worked a little tooooo good. I almost completely forgot I even had anxiety. I later realized that it was probably because, like everything else, I was just numb to it. Of course there were certain times when I dealt with severe anxiety but it seemed to pass pretty quickly then I would just forget about it. It didn't seem like a problem at the time, but now looking back on it I'm just like, "WHHHYYYY??"
My new medication essentially has no anti-anxiety component to it. So now, a couple of months later, I'm having to deal with what turned out to be pretty severe anxiety again. And I completely forgot how absolutely terrifying it is. I forgot how to cope with it, what it feels like, and what triggers it. It's like developing an anxiety disorder all over again. WTFFFFF. I'm at least glad that I know what it is now. At first I thought I was going crazy. I was worrying about the most insignificant things. I wasn't (and still am not) able to sleep. Breathing sometimes feels really difficult. I feel completely overwhelmed most of the time. And suddenly, sometimes (mostly in public), I get the sudden urge to cry. All of these things are issues that I used to deal with on a regular basis. Right now they feel new but I'm trying to remind myself that I've dealt with them before and it's only a matter of time before I get the hang of it again. Ironically, I've had anxiety for as long as I can remember, so obviously I know how to cope. Depression is the new guy in town, so shouldn't I be struggling with that? I guess not. Everything is kind of opposite right now and I'm definitely hoping it will change reeeeeeal fast.
I'm pretty optimistic right now and that's a good thing.