on being dizzy

I am dizzy right now. As much as I would like to turn this word into a metaphor for my life, I mean it quite literally. I’m dizzy because I’m weaning myself off of my Lexapro. And by “weaning” I mean going cold turkey.

For those of you unmedicated readers, Lexapro is an anti-anxiety, anti-depressant pill. The first half of the description is the euphemistic cover for the latter half. No one wants to use the word “depressed.” It’s scary as hell. Whenever anyone asks what the little white pills are that I pop along with my birth control (which I’ve also run out of, but that’s something I plan on re-filling) I tell them that they are anti-anxiety pills. People shrug and think “ah, Prozac nation.” Or they have no idea what that reference means and they continue thinking about rainbows and unicorns.
This isn’t a pro-medication rant against bastards who think that meds are for the weak-hearted. I can and will rant this rant any time. But it’s like arguing religion: people who don’t agree with anti-depressants (those who think they’re unnecessary) will never change their minds. Rather, I’d like to acknowledge why I have decided to stop taking my happy pills.
I ran out of pills. I’ve had a prescription since junior year of high school and I guess my pediatrician decided that she didn’t want to prescribe medication for a girl she hadn’t seen in two years …so I no longer have a prescription. The only way to get more Lexapro (trust me it’s not on the black market because it takes weeks to kick in and once it does it only, like, slows down your evil thoughts–so not as fun as other prescription meds) is to talk to a therapist, maybe start meeting with a therapist, pay actual money…you get the idea. I’m too lazy to do it. When I shook my orange bottle and it failed to rattle in return, my first thought was “I’m too lazy to get more pills.” Fear didn’t grip me and shout: “But I’m gonna be so depressed now!” So I decided to try life unmedicated.
What’s it like to be depressed? I guess it’s different for everyone. For me it was a feeling of entrapment…I realized I couldn’t escape myself when I felt exactly the same no matter where I was or who I was with. Whatever was bad was awful and it wasn’t going away any time soon.
But what’s it like to be unmedicated? I think it’d be like walking through a snow storm without a coat on. Life’s the snow and the coat’s the safe, warm feeling of having a pill make everything better. And I know, I know that it doesn’t “make everything better” and that this blog and the pieces of paper “journals” I have scattered throughout my memory boxes at home help me clear my head of the things that shouldn’t be there. I know that the tiny pill is only one tiny part of helping ourselves exist in the onslaught of experiences that constitute our wonderful and painful lives. But still. It feels good to have that tiny white friend, the one that understands you better than anyone else. The one that knows how to fix you.
How will I feel now? Will the goods be great and the bads be horrid? That’s what I fear–that the bads will consume me and the goods won’t even try to combat them. The pill kept the bads from getting worse but I think it may have kept the goods from being everything they could have been. Only 10 milligrams. That’s a low dose in the world of “crazy pill popping depressed kids.” But maybe 10 milligrams of something that I don’t naturally create is enough to take the edge off my pain. And maybe enough to make my joys just a little less joyful.
Once the effects of not having Lexapro in my system wear off and my dizziness goes away, I’ll be standing here without a coat on. I’m scared. But I’m ready to see how good things can be.
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