Previously when I’ve been on antidepressant medication, I have felt that an essential part of myself is lost. It’s very difficult to describe, but I suppose I see that part as the best of me. It’s an energy, an enthusiasm, an intensity, that I feel enables me to change the world around me for the better. There have been times when I’ve been taking the happy tablets, and it’s been lost, or very muted. At those times I’m better off than when I’m in the depths of a depression, but I’m not functioning on top form.
This time I’ve been, so far, very lucky. I am still able to access those parts of me. I am on top form not all the time, but a significant amount of the time. Enough for me to be very happy and contented with how I am and what I’m achieving – not so much on the material level, although that’s going well, but in my interactions with other people, especially my family and friends.
I know that some of this is the anti anxiety part of the drugs. I didn’t realise how anxious I was, constantly, until I started taking Lustral, which contains a cortisol suppressant as well as the SSRI component. I am not surprised I was exhausted all of the time. Now, I’m quite tired a lot of the time, but it’s not the same. I am usually able to summon up some energy from somewhere if I need to.
But I wonder if it’s also because the Lustral isn’t quite such an emotional cosh as the others were. The best way I can think of to describe it is the difference between a blanket and a winter weight duvet settling on top of you… I had a bad couple of days recently, where I over reacted to things that went wrong. I became really angry with myself, even though in hindsight these things were not important, and didn’t have a devastating effect on my day. I wish I hadn’t reacted like that but it’s very interesting that I was able to get so angry and so down on myself. Each time, it didn’t last very long at all, but I’m in two minds really – I’m thinking that if it continues, I might go back to the doctor and ask for them to up my dose, but if I do that, won’t I risk losing myself again?
Management is the key. I have a mental illness. If I can deal with that most of the time, have a great, happy, contented life most of the time, which so far since I started the meds, I do, then I reckon I’m ahead of the game. And if I can do that without losing access to what I suppose is a part of my spirit, then so much the better. And so far I reckon it’s worth the trade-off of having a bad day now and again.