I began this blog in earnest on the April 10, 2002 after a few PTSD-laced entries from a few months before. As I’ve no doubt said before, the original mandate had nothing to do with politics, pictures of cute babies or the sex lives of our dear commenters (although those have been awesome). No, it was a droningly quotidian diary of the first night I went on the antidepressant Celexa, and I swore I’d write every night for a year.
I would quantify that particular journey as a success, given that I’m now 87% functional, as opposed to the 34% functionality of those times. Come what may, I have many things to thank for my present sanity, but Celexa is a huge part of it. As I told Tessa, I’m not sure which third of the serenity prayer the drug is responsible for, but it definitely gets partial credit.
That said, the Celexa is like an old perennial flower that is finding it harder to sprout. Under no circumstances should a person on a good dose of SSRI have the kind of nervous breakdown I had in January, which, if you can believe it, I softpedaled on the blog. The truth was, I was about fifteen neurons away from just walking into the snow the way Kate Chopin walks into an ocean.
Since then, I’ve buttressed myself with work, talk therapy, exercise, some meditation and of course, distraction – but after a chat with my psychopharmacologist, we decided to make a gradual switch over to Cymbalta, an SNRI shown to be a fantastic replacement therapy for SSRIs.
go Team Duloxetine go go go!
(Some side notes: Edna, the protagonist in Kate Chopin’s novel “The Awakening”, lived in Grand Isle, Louisiana. When she walks into the ocean, she is actually walking into what would now be the most polluted shores in America thanks to the BP oilcano… thus the chemicals would kill her, rather than Victorian-era oppression. Also: “psychopharmacologist” is easily the longest word I regularly have to say. And to answer your question, yes, “Cymbalta” is a stupid name.)
Anyway, this is all to say that I’m switching off a drug that has become an intrinsic part of who I am, and as much as I trust the process, it’s still scary. I know many of you distrust all pharmacology, both the drugs themselves and the people that make them. I mostly agree with you – I still have a case of Vioxx from the dot-com days.
But I feel like I have first-hand, first-cerebellum proof that at least one of these drugs saved my life in a real way, and I have to open myself up to the fine-tuning process inherent in any slightly-mysterious discipline. In other words, if I turn into a wobbly, emotional, unpredictable fuck with meteoric mood swings, you’ll know why!