I recently stopped taking one of my drugs that my shrink has actually been trying to get me off of for some time now. I’m not now entirely sure why I was so resistant, in hindsight. When I first started taking it, I think it was doing me some good. But after a while, it had the effect of laying a thick layer of cobweb over everything in my life, inside and out. I didn’t notice it at the time because there were other forces in my life that were essentially doing the same thing. So it was kind of a double whammy, mentally.
I don’t remember exactly when I started taking this particular drug, but I’m willing to guess it was around four years ago, because that’s when all of my online activity that amounted to anything more than a Facebook post came to a screeching halt. I just didn’t have anything to say anymore. I was mute. I thought it was just a result of the bipolar disorder or the OCD or PTSD or anything else that is wrong with my brain. And I do think those things have a muting effect on me. But not to this extent. What had been an annoyance had turned into a serious problem.
I couldn’t meditate anymore because I couldn’t focus or concentrate, both of which you actually need to “empty your mind”. I didn’t write anymore or go anywhere because I didn’t have anything to say. All I could do was parrot back whatever was on my Facebook feed, I’m sure to the annoyance of my friends. I know I got unfollowed by at least a few people because all I was doing was echoing the background noise of the social network without really adding anything to it. I didn’t do art anymore because I had absolutely zero desire or passion to create anything (still working on that one: I’m hopeful it will come back).
So I spent four years reading Facebook, reading the news, reading Wikipedia, or watching a tv show or movie. After about a year, I stopped getting dressed. I just stayed in my robe all day. I didn’t see the point of getting dressed if I wasn’t going anywhere. If I was going to be numb, I was going to be comfortably so. I grew to accept my fate, that I would just live out my days on social media and watching tv and movies until I either keeled over at home or had to be wheeled into a nursing home.
Then I ran out of that drug, and I didn’t feel particularly bothered to refill it for a couple of weeks. Around that same time, I began to realize I didn’t feel DEAD inside. I was enjoying my shows more, actually engaging with them rather than just using them as a way to fill the time until I could go to sleep again. I was also less likely to doze off while watching said shows and movies. I got it refilled, but I decided not to take it unless I was having what I call a “hamster wheel” day, which is when thoughts get trapped and just go around and around like hamsters on a wheel. It doesn’t happen very often and it’s not like anything bad happens when it does, but it’s an unpleasant state of mind, the brakes upon which can be applied with judicious use of the right drugs.
I guess about a week ago, I became more interested in Facebook again. I hadn’t really been on in quite some time: I had been watching tv shows and movies almost non-stop from the time I woke up until I fell asleep for months on end. It was just suddenly much more interesting to me than it had been in a long time. I started posting again. Not just reposting stuff from other people and groups, but making longer posts of my own about my own life, not someone else’s. I felt like interacting again, though not quite enough to get out for parties and social gatherings. I’ll get there, though. I am still a hermit at heart, after all.
I really don’t know what happened. It’s like a switch flipped in my head. I feel like writing again, which means I actually have something to say, which means my brain is working again after having been in standby mode for the last four years, or longer: I’ve been taking this class of drug since 2011. I restarted my blog and renamed it and made a Twitter account to go with it and a Facebook group. Buddhism is interesting to me again. I had some “a-ha!” moments while reading, of all things, the blog of a Christian pastor over the New Year holiday. A bunch of things clicked and I suddenly no longer felt the need to be seething in anger at the election of DT (I will not call him “President”, nor will I say his full name: he’s just “DT”). Not that anger is inherently bad or anything. It’s an excellent motivator. So I’m going to stay at least offended by the presence of this narcissistic child in the house recently occupied by someone who is everything DT is not. But I refuse to allow myself to be filled with hate. It’s unproductive. In fact, it’s counterproductive. But that’s another post.
I’m glad my bipolar disorder and other issues aren’t so severe anymore, such that I don’t need such intense medication anymore. Now that I have this stuff out of my system, I can get back to a mindfulness and meditative practice, both of which were two of many things that just came to a screeching halt in the last few years, which was a pity because of all of the lifestyle changes I had been trying to make, those were the most likely to help me. I’m not condemning these medications. They’re life-saving for a lot of people. And when I was first given them, I was led to believe I needed them, and maybe I did. But I don’t anymore, and unless something drastic changes with my mental health, I will never take them again. I still have other meds I have to take, so it’s not like I’m ignorant of my mental health. I’m just a lot more questioning of what is asked of me by my healthcare professionals. They may be general experts in their fields, but I am the ONLY expert on this particular body and mind. I know a lot more about them now and I’ll be sure to take that knowledge with me whenever I have to deal with healthcare workers in the future.