Monday, January 18, 2010


I have kept my blogs light and mostly happy. I don't delve into serious issues. I don't share all sorts of serious issues even with my closest friends. But I just need work through some things and I don't care anymore how many people know.

I have dealt with depression since high school, and anxiety/panic disorder since a few years ago. I don't know why I so often feel the way that I do. I had a good childhood. I can't blame it on my parents. Maybe it is just an imbalance of chemicals in my brain... but it feels more personal than that.
I started taking medication for depression when I was 17. I think that I was only mildly depressed. I was not suicidal. Just sad and lethargic. But I was dating a boy who convinced me that there was something wrong. That I needed help. He made me go see a doctor. I don't resent him for encouraging me to see a psychologist, but to be completely honest, I do blame him for my going on medication. I hate taking pills. But he, along with the doctors, convinced me that medication was what I needed. I really had no say in the matter. I just listened to him and ignored my parents who also thought that I didn't need it.
I thought that he knew me better than anyone in the world. I didn't talk to my parents about my problems, so I was convinced that they didn't know me at all. I let myself be controlled by him. I am just as much to blame.
Pills never really helped. I switched from one to the other, never really feeling anything but the side effects. Then there was one that didn't make me shaky or sick. One that didn't make me so tired that I couldn't stay awake in class. So I stayed on it. And things eventually ended with my high school boyfriend.
A year or so after that, I decided that I really didn't need medication. I was fine. Other than having a few bad days here and there where I just didn't want to get out of bed, or crying for no reason, I was happy. So I went of the meds. I still saw a doctor for awhile, made sure there were no serious withdrawal symptoms. I felt great for awhile.
Then one day I didn't. There were other things going on in my life. I was stressed out of my mind trying to work full time (actually 50 hours) and go to school full time and maintain a social life which included my new boyfriend. There were other things also that aren't worth mentioning, but it was obvious that I wasn't in a good place. This is when the panic attacks set in.
I still can't talk about the month I went through of constant panic attacks without crying from humiliation. Without sleep, the stress of school, the stress of work, the stress of trying to hide what was happening to me was too much. I went crazy. It took me months to recover to the point where I could go a couple weeks without having a panic attack. But I continue to struggle with sleep, and I am obviously not recovered emotionally. This was over two years ago. It sounds like a weird thing to be embarrassed about. But I am.
So, needless to say, I went back on medication. More this time. Sleeping pills, antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds, mild sedatives. I still take some of them. I got off the sleeping pills. That was the longest to recover from. I tried so many different kinds. Some made me hallucinate. Some made me feel like a train wreck in the morning. Sometimes I would miss classes because I couldn't wake up, or if I did I was too dizzy to walk to the bus. Sometimes I would sleep through classes because I was either not awake yet or hadn't slept in days. Somehow I made it through and my grades didn't suffer too badly. But I don't remember much from those months.
I remember I quite smoking, drinking, and drinking caffeine all in the same day. I was the biggest bitch for a whole week. It took a tole on my body.
So did everything else. I was underweight. I couldn't make myself eat enough to sustain being awake twenty hours a day. I don't eat when I get stressed. You could see my ribs. All of them. After dropping under 120 (I'm 5'7) people started to worry. They thought I was on drugs or anorexic. I wasn't. It was all psychological.
All these thing, they are all embarrassing to me. And there are more, many more, that I can't even bring myself to repeat. I hated my life at this point. I hated what I had become. And I never want to go there again. I never want to feel this afraid to live.

But I don't want to be on medication anymore.

I don't want to have to take this substance just to make me normal. I don't remember to take it everyday, and when I forget I get so dizzy I can barely stand.

I half blame being on medication in the first place for making me so crazy. Sure they may have helped a bit. But when I went off them, the shit really hit the fan. I feel like having started on them at such a young age may have made my brain chemistry reliant on them to produce certain amounts of serotonin or whatever it is that keeps you sane. So that when I went off them, my brain freaked out.
I know that the stress at the time had a lot to do with it as well, but I am much more equipped to deal with stress than I was two years ago. Not to mention that I am not that stupid or desperate to try and work full time while going to school full time.

I read in the news recently that there have been recent studies that show that antidepressants don't do anything for people with mild depression. As I said, I never would have qualified my depression as more than mild. But the anxiety. Do I have a severe anxiety disorder? I haven't had a panic attack since that horrible month or two. I don't feel like I have a panic disorder. Other than being a worry wart, I don't feel anxious. (and I get the worry wart ness from my mom) But that is not affecting my life in seriously negative ways. But is that the drugs? Is the only reason that I can be level headed now because I have been on medication for two years?

I don't know what to do.

Sure, I deal with depression. I deal with anxiety. I am moody. There are days that I don't want to talk to people or get out of bed. I cry for no reason whatsoever. I have a hard time forgiving myself and people who have seriously let me down. But sometimes I am too nice for my own good.
But this is me. This is what gives me my quirky literature art nerd creativity. At the risk of sounding narcissistic, I kinda like me. Even though I often struggle with it, and have issues with my past, I like who I am deep down inside. And I have friends and family who also like me. They even love me.
Why should I take some stupid pill to make me a drone?

But I can't help feeling like going off medication will repeat the worst year of my life. I am scared to go back to where I was. I am scared of losing things that I had to try so hard to get back. I don't know that I would make it out if I had to go through it again. I don't want to risk all that I have accomplished in the past two years. All that I have learned. All that I have grown. My job, my school, my friends, my boyfriend, my sanity.
I'm just stuck.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Kaitlyn, does this ever hit home with me. Especially right now because I am in the process of taking myself off my antidepressant. I have been weaning myself down and have 2 pills left. It's actually a good thing cause I'm suppose to get them in the mail but they haven't come and I'm pretty sure work comp. is denying paying for them. It cost $350 for a months perscription. Ugh.

    That's not why I'm going off of them. I feel just like you do with them. I hate taking them and how it makes me feel. I accidently ended up on this message board about 3 weeks ago and they were talking about Cymbalta(what I'm on). They were all talking about how taking it slowly made them numb and lose interest in what they usually liked doing. It's like instead of feeling depressed, they talked about feeling nothing which is exactly how I've felt. It interfered with how I slept and if I missed it at all, I got really dizzy. I knew in quitting smoking I would maybe gain some weight but I was working out a lot and then I hurt my shoulder so had to stop working out. That was around the time the doctor started me on the Cymbalta. He thought it would help my PTSD and menopause symptoms. Anyways, in spite of eating really healthy and not eating a lot, I have gained at least 30 lbs...ugh!!! Come to read on this message board that most of them gained an average of 30 lbs. Here I was blaming it on menoapause, quitting smoking and not exercising...which it probabally is a combination of all these things.

    Kaitlyn, I am really glad that you are not holding back on your blog. This is your place to be real and yourself. I know for me, writing helps me figure things out and getting feedback from others helps too.

    I can see how you feel stuck. Have you talked to your doctor about going off? Have you looked any of this up on-line? I know for me, I figure if for some reason I fall apart in a bad way I can always go back on. But for right now I am going off traditional medicines. I take the lady I work for to a naturalpathic doctor...he is amazing...she takes something from him, that is homeopathic's some flower extract(I think) and I think it's helped. I am thinking about trying something like that instead. I would much rather take something natural. I know you have to be careful of this stuff too but I do trust it more.

    I do think stress has a negative affect on some of us more then others. I think some of us feel more deeply then others too. Some of us care way too much about humanity. Some of us are very hard on ourselves. Combine all of these and I think that is why we struggle with getting down or with anxious feelings. Maybe once your done with school, you will have less stress? Maybe the more you write and do your art(which your very good at by the way)the better you will feel. Sometimes having an outlet releases those things we tend to keep bottled up inside.

    Please don't feel embarrassed for what you've been through Kaitlyn. These experiences make you the kind of person you are today. I think you know I relate to so much of these experiences and yet I've talked about them so little because it's shaming to admit.

    But I do understand your struggles. They really do suck. One thing I've learned is that the more people I share these things with, the more these ugly things lose their power. And the less crazy I feel. :)

    After writing my post today and pushing publish I was scared that people were going to think I was some crazy lunatic they've been reading. :) Instead I recieved a lot of love and realizing I am not the only one that feels these things.

    Thank you for your sweet supportive comment on my post today. Your words meant the world to me. I hope you know I am a phone call or e-mail or drive away, day or night. Kaitlyn, I truly hope you know what an amazing young woman you are. I am looking forward to the day that you really realize this...look out world!!! Love you sweetie...((((Kaitlyn)))) Lori