I’m going to let you into a little secret. Two weeks ago I started taking 25mg of sertraline (that’s an anti depressant). I started taking it because everything that had been building up over a period of time, suddenly hit its peak. It kind of came out of nowhere. I toppled over and came crashing down.
A couple of things had tipped the balance. One was a surprising emotional confession during my triads at college (I’m studying to become a counsellor), and the other was basically a rejection, that I new was coming but I failed to deal with. It sent me into a paranoid spin and left me feeling worried that I would somehow get left behind.
I knew that if I carried on with so many feelings of low self worth and anxiety, I would stay in this pit hopelessly trying to claw my way back up. I was putting myself at risk of losing things I’d worked so hard to build.
I’d been prescribed the sertraline previously but the dose was 50mg and it made me feel wired and gittery so I shut them away in a drawer, only to reopen it 7 months later. This time I lowered the dose to 25mg and prepared for the brain buzz.
Thankfully it was minimal and after a couple of sleeplessness nights, and feeling a little disconnected from the world, I think they are actually starting to do their job.
I’ve spent the majority of this weekend at a local village event which happens every year, and which I always try and avoid. There are lots of local people and it makes me anxious, shaky and tearful. I get a sick feeling in my solar plexus and I start to distance myself. I think by doing that, I am protecting myself, but all it really does is isolate me even more.
I step away from the things that I think make me anxious, only to become more anxious that I am now missing out on those things.
It becomes a viscous circle of anxiety and loss.
So this year, 2 weeks after taking my first dose of sertraline, I attended the Friday evening Donkey Derby, and the Saturday carnival without a hint of anxiety. I got my vintage on, walked around the event with my family, happily chatting to neighbours, friends, family and acquaintances and actually enjoyed myself. It’s as if the sertraline has taken over the role of my protector. It’s shielding me from the people and situations that make me anxious, by absorbing the feelings that they generate. It felt kind of liberating and new.
Now I know that I have more ‘tests’ to come. I will have disappointments, fear, anger and sadness, to deal with in my life and I need to know that I can still ‘feel’ emotionally. I don’t want to be like a zombie. The chemicals in my brain may have been making me over emotionalise things throughout my life, but those feelings are still very much a part of who I am. They have helped me form friendships and relationships, raise my children, work within a caring profession and aspire to become a counsellor. They are part of who I am. I’m an empathetic person. I feel everything. But sometimes I need to feel it all a little less.
So my point in all this, and I could ramble on, is that for me, the drugs do (seem to) work…..so far.
It’s not about blocking things out and ignoring issues that need to be faced, but rather about giving my poor over emotionalised brain a chance to relax and recover so that it can help me deal with with life more rationally.
To be continued…