The SSRI slow dance

I have a debilitating mental illness that is called Generalized Anxiety Disorder. This is fairly typical for someone who has Aspergers and also fairly typical for someone who has experienced trauma. While I would not claim that my life has been more traumatic than other peoples our trauma is an experience that comes in many colors. Being bullied in school, losing my brother as a young adult and a failed marriage all contributed to the anxiety condition that was probably laying dormant ever since I was born because of the way my brain is hardwired for anxiety as someone with autism. I lived unmedicated for way too long and because of that my anxiety got worse and worse. I believe my vertigo spells are a direct result of my anxiety, last January I started to take a drug for my issues and the results are night and day.

I consider myself neither an optimist nor a pessimist but a realist. I am more interested in how things are rather than how they might be or how I hope the can be. With that in mind the drug I take is not a cure. If I stopped taking it tomorrow first I would have to deal with withdrawal effects as the amount of serotonin my brain is used to changed. Once those passed my anxiety levels would most likely return to the levels they were at before I began medication. Drugs are not a cure they are a mask, a band-aid, they are meant to cover symptoms while you heal, physically mentally and psychologically.  This is neither good or bad it’s just how it is. But it’s also where I need to be

Everyday when I wake up I am tired, too tired, this is a direct effect of the Lexapro in my system. increased serotonin can make you feel lethargic so getting up is a chore. To offset this I make sure that I have plenty of time to wake in the morning, get my breakfast ate  and head off to work. Some days are harder than others because sometimes getting to sleep is tough, this is also do to the serotonin in my system. At night the chemicals in my head and the chemicals in the medicine do a little dance and that can make things a little strange. I’ll have slight eye image issues, weirdness that is hard to describe but it’s almost like slight hallucinations. My body temperature will also be a bit funky but it all regulates after awhile. This doesn’t happen every night or every week but every now and then I’ll have this happen. Once it passes I am able to go back to sleep.

Having said all of that, with all of it’s small quirks and such being on an SSRI is totally worth it. I don’t have panic attacks anymore, I will occasionally get small bouts of dizziness but no longer so bad that I think I am going to pass out. My temper is better, not perfect but better. I am more present in life, more in tune with what is going on around me and not stuck in my own cycle of thoughts all of the time. I’ve been more emotionally available to Corrie, more willing to take risks, good risks. I can get through an entire day without thinking the whole world is going to fall apart at the seams. Sure I have a few annoying side effects but compared to the living hell I was going through with GAD with OCD.

Next week I’ll continue on this thread, from my unique Christian Misfit perspective, If Jesus is enough, and he has healed me why do I need to take medicine to combat anxiety. I am looking forward to it.

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