But the Medication Was Supposed To Work...
I love hearing other people who have mental illness talk about their experiences. It’s nice to hear others put into words the thing I feel and have experienced. It’s good. It’s comforting. You know, until the point where they say something like, “And then I went on medication, and things got better.” That’s when you lose me. That’s when that hopeless feeling regains control. I wish I had that story to tell. I don’t.
I’ve been trying to find a medication that works for me for about a year now. I never wanted to try medication. I was always afraid of it. Couldn’t get myself to trust it. I wanted to just be able to talk through my problems. Harness the power of positive thinking and whatnot. I thought I could do that. I thought I could help myself. I tried. I tried up to the point where I couldn’t anymore. Well, I mean, past that point, but once you’re in the darkness, it takes a lot to pull yourself out of it.
It wasn’t until the suicidal thoughts started becoming a common occurrence. They went for only popping up once or twice, then maybe a couple of times a month, then a week, then a day. It was always easy to talk myself out of those thoughts, again, until it wasn’t. I never attempted, but they were there, and they were there to stay. That’s when I knew that this illness was not just something I could power through. I needed help. I needed the next step.
I’ve been told so many times that it might take a couple of tries to find a medication that works for you. That it may take some time, trial and error. That you just have to stick with it. Commit. I was there for that. Skeptical, but there. I wanted to be ok. I wanted to believe that there would be a pill that would clear up some of the fog. Relieve some of the darkness. Make it easier to go from day to day.
Lexapro brought me so far down that I couldn’t see any light. Then, it made me so manic that, within a day, I was ready to quit my job, end my relationship, sell everything I own, and move somewhere new. When I came down from that, I was taken off Lexapro.
I tried Trileptal for about a month, and it did nothing for me. Mixed it with Wellbutrin, still nothing. Off the Trileptal and upped the Wellbutrin, and the depression got worse. After a couple of months of that, I was taken off the Wellbutrin and given Lamictal. Nothing. Added Geodon to the Lamictal, and boy did that fuck me up. Geodon was worse than anything. It was a tranquilizer. I couldn’t function. Those suicidal feelings got even worse. I was angry and exhausted and wanted nothing more than death. Off the Geodon.
Then I tried Risperdal with the Lamictal. I didn’t want the Risperdal, but I had to try it before my insurance would cover Abilify, which my doctor highly recommended. If the Risperdalhelped, great! That’s all I wanted, and if I could get there without trying anything else, how could that be bad? The Risperdal didn’t help. It didn’t do much of anything. Just that same empty feeling that I just couldn’t shake. But, hey! Abilify! That would be the one. Even the name sounds positive. Branding works. I want to be able. Able would be great. Abilify me, please!
Fuck Abilify. I can take a drug that does nothing. I’m used to nothing. I’ve worked with nothing for a long time. But goddammit I hate the drugs that make things worse. I have enough problems as it is without the “cure” ruining me. I had no idea it was the Abilify at first. All I knew is that I was weaker than usual. I wasn’t comfortable in my body. I couldn’t get off the floor. My limbs were weak. I couldn’t stand for long periods of time. I couldn’t drive because I felt so foggy. I thought I was just sick. Let me tell you, the closest I ever come to that feeling that those people who have found their medication describe is when I stop taking a bad medication. I had energy again! I could function again! All I needed was nothing! Sure, I was still depressed as all hell, anxious about everything, and wishing for death every day, but at least I could go outside and walk again. And so, here we are. Nearly a year into this process. I’m still taking the Lamictal, because, even if there are no positive effects that I am aware of, at least it’s not making my life worse.
My doctor doesn’t think I’m trying hard enough. She says one of my problems is that I’m not open to all options. But why would I want to try “all” options? That’s far too many options. That’s exhausting. I don’t want that life. I don’t want to be hospitalized, because I can’t see a life for me after that. I don’t want to try ECT. It’s requires too much from me and feels too risky. If there’s a chance that it might not work for me, I can’t see it working for me. I want to be wrong, but I just haven’t been yet.
I just want a pill. There has to be once that works for me. I never thought I was THAT bad. That I was THAT sick. It works for so many people. Why not me? What makes me so goddamned special? What kind of fucked up mental lottery did I win?
You know what the biggest problem is right now? I don’t even know if I want to be better. I can’t picture what “better” is. What it could be. It’s an abstract concept. It means nothing. I just want to be done. That’s something, at least. That’s concrete. That’s a solution. A terrible solution that I would recommend or wish on anyone, but a solution nonetheless. It’s just so hard right now. I don’t see a future that I want to be a part of. I don’t see any way that that will change or if it even matters. It’s so hard to come out of that loop once it starts. “I want to die.” “I want to die.” “I want to die.”
Some days, it only happens once or twice in passing. Just going through my day, and then the dark force hits me and I think, “I should just be dead.” Then it passes. It doesn’t go away. It doesn’t leave completely. It just passes. Other days are harder. Today, as I write this, it’s harder. I’m writing this in a real dark place. And, I’m sure, there will come a point where it’s not as dark, because that point always comes, but I just fucking hate the cycle. It always circles back around. And I never do anything about it. I just think about it. I think about it a lot.
People want to give you advice, but, when you’re thinking about the end, advice is just words.
“You’d feel better if you tried exercising.”
No thank you. I want to die.
“Try changing your diet. Eating healthy can really help with depression.”
No thank you. I want to die.
“Maybe you need to be more social. Be around people you like. People you care about. People who care about you.”
I can try that, but I’m also going to be thinking about how I want to die, and I’ll probably tell them that, and then they’ll feel bad and start worrying about me, and I’ll have to comfort them and tell them that I’m actually ok. That I’ll be fine. You know, it hardly seems worth it. Maybe I shouldn’t.
At least I can still write. I should be writing more. Writing is good. I just don’t know what I should write. I can’t only be writing about this stuff. It’s repetitive. Even I get sick of it after a while. I can’t imagine people wanting to read the same thing again and again and again. It sounds so negative. Gross. But also, it’s the bulk of what I’m thinking about. Maybe if I could find a way to make a living off of writing the same essay over and over again, that would be good. But that job doesn’t exist, and even if it did, I’d be far too under-qualified for it.
Besides, that won’t fix me. Because, even in the best case scenarios I can imagine, I’m still not happy. That sucks. That really sucks. But I’m still here, and I’m still able to write. I’ll probably write another thing too. I guess that’s just what I should be doing, because I started off writing this feeling so low. Feeling hopeless. Wishing for death. Now, at the end, I just feel hollow. That, in my book, is an improvement. So, yay?
I hope the next pill works…