I take antidepressants three times a day, every day. Twenty milligrams of Trintellix and twenty of Latuda. The latter is a bit of a misery. It locks up the muscles in my face and causes tongue twitches. Really. It’s why I pushed dinner back to eight o’clock. I take the drugs with food, so if I can eat late, I only have to be awake with the side effects for a short while.
Sometimes, I skip a dose. Usually it’s the grudgingly-tolerated Latuda. I never skip more than once a week; if you miss too many doses, you start to crash. Usually, the missed dose happens on a Friday. It’s a planned but not planned kind of thing. I don’t deliberately think about it for most of the week but once Friday hits, I know I’ll be a pill light in the evening.
Skipping a dose makes me feel like a rebel. I feel like I’m winning something. Because there’s still a part of me that resents the need for the pills. There’s still a tiny piece that thinks maybe doing it alone wouldn’t be a bad thing. Skipping feels like freedom, like I’m winning something. What, I don’t know.
I need the pills. I’ve struggled with depression and generalized anxiety disorder since my late teens. That’s a long time. I try not to think about time passing – it makes me tired. It has been a tiring road.
I’ve been on a lot of different drugs. I have a cycle. I get stable, decide I no longer need pills, go off them, and spiral back down into depression. I’ve done it far more than once. I am, in ways, a slow learner.
Some people don’t need pills. They’re able to live well without them. They manage their symptoms without the assistance of pharmaceutical companies. I wish I was like that but I’m not. In all likelihood, I will be on meds ‘til I die. The meds may change as efficacy wears off or new innovations are introduced but I’ve finally accepted that I don’t do well with an unmitigated native neurochemistry.
Thanks to the internet, there is a plethora of advice available on how to treat depression, most of it broken down into short memes on meant-to-be-inspirational backdrops of forests or oceans. They tell you to get out in the world, drink more water, eat organic, meditate, and/or practice self-care. It’s all good advice that helps somewhat and no doubt it comes from a good place but exhortations against medicating a medical condition take their toll. Even if I think I don’t believe it, part of me does and ultimately, I come off the meds. The messaging generates a little voice. It plays in the background of my mind, telling me I should be able to do it without aid. Telling me I’m stable now so I should start to wean.
People point out all the things wrong with medications: Why do you have to increase the dosage if it’s working? Why do so many of them burn out if they’re supposed to help you? Shouldn’t a cure stay a cure? You know, it’s hard on the body to take something “unnatural” for such a long period of time. That last one irritates extremely. Natural doesn’t mean good – arsenic is totally natural – and why don’t you go lecture an organ recipient taking anti-rejection meds on why long-term drug use is always bad.
In a perfect world, I wouldn’t take drugs. Not because I was finally taking enough walks in the woods and trips to the ocean. Not because I was practicing breathing deeply. In a perfect world I wouldn’t take psychiatric medications because in a perfect world, I wouldn’t suffer from depression. That is not my reality. I am not neurotypical. I suffer from and struggle to deal with mental illness. That doesn’t mean I don’t still feel a little ashamed of my need.
In a perfect world, no one would hold or share opinions that make me feel a little wrong, or that tap into my own insecurities.
So, all those other people with different points of view than mine should just take a break. See things from my perspective. Accept their part in my medication vacations. Stop making me feel bad.
Just kidding. I’m not actually the centre of the universe.
I’d like it, very much, if the world were structured according to my needs and requirements. I’d like it, very much, if I stopped having negative reactions to opinions I encounter. Unfortunately, much like the dose-skipping, this is a me problem.
Rather than reading and feeling bad, I could choose – on a going forward basis – to skip those kinds of posts and articles. To not engage in behaviours that are consistent with shooting myself in the foot. To take ownership of myself. The world is not going to change for me, nor should it. I have to take responsibility if something I do makes me feel bad. So, I will.
I will also try to stop occasionally skipping a dose. I’m not sure who I think I’m “winning” against when I do so, anyhow.
Do you ever think the world should change for you?