J-Dub’s Series of Unfortunate Events #8 – To Medicate or Not to Medicate, That is the Question.

Originally I was just going to hit a few highlights (or low points) over my lifespan.  I was attempting to stay in somewhat chronological order but that failed.  The most recent unfortunate events … Billy Bob’s accidents have already been written about.  I also realize I am leaving out some really dark stuff that is too painful and private to write about.  Yep I am pretty much an open book but even I have secrets.  I think I may get a cathartic relief from sharing these secrets but I also know judgment will follow and I am not quite ready for that.  Maybe one day.  Through therapy which I will begin again on Monday.  I also know that I am saving one biggie for October 30, 2016 … a 10 year anniversary of sorts and that unfortunate event may just be my pièce de résistance and finale.

End of the series, not the blogging as that I have become addicted to … truly addicted, like an adrenaline junkie or fame whore.  When I get those emails that say “so and so thinks your post is pretty awesome, you may want to check out what they are doing”  well let me tell you folks, that is worth more than gold … to me anyway.  I am validated, I am connected.  Yet I realize this … this blogosphere is not really REAL.  The people who like my stuff don’t know me.  Does anyone really know anyone?  Rhetorical … wait … the answer is NO.  So much for rhetorical.  People can shock you to your very core and that is unfortunate and that I have not even touched on here.  I should … I should be brave and rip off the Band-Aid but I am not and I am okay with that.

Anyway, I mean I guess one could say this is sort of real … in the context of this is NOT fake.  Authentic is the better word choice.  I blog from the heart, to me I am authentic but to you my readers in the microcosm of this universe, do you think I am authentic aka keeping it real?  I sure hope SO!!! As I write in my About Me section (which keeps disappearing on me, thank you free plan, one day I may upgrade): I have purposefully left off additional adjectives to describe us because life ain’t that sweet y’all. And because I am trying to keep it real.  I COULD put on a show of sunshine and roses; faux perfection but I WON’T.

 And in that vein, today I write my next to the last edition in J-Dub’s series of unfortunate events.

I have no idea what year it was … after 1999 and before 2003, this was a four-year span from hell. Wait, too dramatic, good things happened here too … not hell – bits of hell mixed in with silver linings.  I started working nights after Lulu was born because if you remember my mom died when Lulu was only five weeks old.  We did not want to use daycare – silly and a bit elitist but I am over that now.  Mom and Daddy watched Pony Boy while I worked and this time around we did not have that option.  I became the day time nanny and Billy Bob was the night-time nanny and we didn’t see too much of each other.  My time with Pony was limited too, not as much as Billy but still …

One day in a sleep deprived state, on a day off, I started cleaning out my office … the small office off the dining room not the big office I have now which was at one time Pony’s bedroom.  I was sitting on the floor of this room no bigger than a closet with papers in stacks all around.  I was organizing.  But I got stuck.  I had my first and only ever panic attack.  If you have never had one, you are fortunate.  The experience is completely bizarre, out-of-body really and I could not get a grip.  I remember flashes of what happened, nothing is too clear but Billy came home from work and found me.  We called the employee assistance plan at work and I got scheduled to see someone right away.

The talk lady on Mid Crown was just so-so.  She said I was depressed, likely repressing feelings of the loss of my mother and brother who died within a year and a half of each other; I did not properly grieve she said.  Of course I have to ask … is there a proper way to grieve?  No – you do what you have to do.  Each person grieves in his/her own way.  She said I was a perfectionist who put too much pressure on myself to achieve – well duh? Yes that is me. We did not really connect though and I only saw her about three times in total.  What the talk lady did for me though was to send me to an angel Dr. B.  I spent my lunch hour with Dr. B for a very long time.  He prescribed me Zoloft and Xanax.  Did I ever need either? Remains to be seen and I will never know.  What I do know is that I am stronger now in my non-medicated state than I ever was while on drugs (legal but I was still on drugs).  Oh, and I guess I still am … will always be … taking my Crestor – for high cholesterol.

To medicate or not to medicate is a very personal decision.  Not my place to judge anyone else’s road.  I do wish a full picture of pros and cons had been provided to me BEFORE jumping to a quick fix miracle pill.  Everything happened so fast and next thing you know, I am taking Zoloft and Xanax and falling asleep at the movies.  I added 45 pounds on my small 5’3″ frame.

For me, the Zoloft numbed me.  I didn’t feel anything – happy or sad … flat line.  After the sadness and anxiety, feeling nothing was a bit of a relief.  I’d sit there and think to myself, that was very sad, I should be crying but I can’t cry … or that was irritating, I should be mad but ho-hum, oh well.  Not mad.  Just blah. But if you cannot feel anything, what’s the point? Now I cry easily at the drop of a hat.  I get mad but not overly and I am much quicker to get over whatever makes me mad.  When you’ve been kicked in the teeth you realize not to sweat the small stuff and cliché alert it is ALL small stuff. That realization makes me ecstatic.  I have experienced pure joy and that is only because of the prior pain … makes me know the difference.  My heart is full and life is very good in micro moments.  The constant battle whirls to remain in a good head space. I talk myself out of a lot of sH*t!  Daily affirmations keep me going.

How did I kick the Zoloft habit?  Well quite by accident.  I went away to a conference and immediately after we continued on vacation.  I forget to pack my pills.  When I realized, I was like screw it, I am going down Rodeo Drive.  Living large in Los Angeles.  For once I didn’t rush to the internet and search for abrupt stoppage of Zoloft … good thing too as it probably would have said don’t do it, you’ll stroke out.  I kept my appointment with Dr. B when I got home and I confessed it had been two weeks without Zoloft.  He asked about side effects/symptoms but there were none.  He said “ok Jill, watch for x, y and z.  No need to come back since you don’t want the prescription, continue with talk therapy and if anything happens, come back to me.  I am not taking new patients but you tell the girls you are not new but returning”.  I never went back.  I also didn’t continue talking but with my renewed lease on life, I had other methods for coping.  I am a firm believer in the power of communication – oral or written.  The human connection is essential.  And, as mentioned up top, I am going back to talk therapy on Monday – hoping for a better fit this time.

Anyhow, that is all really. Trying to break the stigma surrounding mental illness which is more prevalent than one even knows.  My challenge to all you perfect people out there … rather than seeing someone who needs help as weak, maybe realize “the strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us but those who win battles we know nothing about”.  

 As always, more to come …