I’ve been pretty shaken up for the past month or so. I feel like my life has been flipped upside-down in many ways. I haven’t been close to relapsing, but my ego and pride have been eating away at me.
In 2007, during my second stint at Sageview Psychiatric Hospital, I was diagnosed with depression. I had known for some time, prior to the actual diagnosis, something was awry in my head. Around that time, I also went through a very emotional break-up. My depression was fueled and accelerated by my drinking habits and the break-up which I discovered once I had detoxed for several days at Sageview. When it was clear that I indeed suffered from depression, anti-depressants (AD’s) were prescribed to help stabilize my mental/emotional state. After they took effect, I was able to think more clearly and put my life back on track.
Fast forward to March 2015. More than a year of sobriety was under my belt. Life was moving along better than it ever had; I was clean, working and training well, healthy and kicking ass in most areas of my life or so I thought. I remember the day vividly when my prescription for AD’s ran out and rather than go through the inconvenience of refilling it, I chose to stop taking the medicine that had helped me for the previous eight years. I just quit, cold turkey, without the guidance of a doctor. This action was similar to my approach to most everything else in my life: do it all or do nothing. A part of me thought that I had overcome depression. Life was going so well that I felt that I didn’t need any medication any longer to stabilize me chemically. Bad timing to think this way.
My last day working at the hotel, June 30th, came and went. As summer turned into fall, I was in the thick of the process of starting a new business. Then, three weeks ago, after I was injured, I was quickly reminded that perhaps I had not beaten depression after all. The shit had hit the fan, so to speak, and I was served a big piece of humble pie. So, I called my doctor and asked her refill my prescription.
This is the point where I really messed up. Rather than ease back on to AD’s, I went from zero mgs to sixty mgs in the span of a day. Again, without a professional consult, I immediately began taking the dose that I was on back in March of this year. Bad idea. The next week was absolute hell. My anxiety was through the roof, I couldn’t sleep, my mind was racing and I just sat back trying to fight it without seeking professional help. It was a nightmare. To be honest, I am very surprised that I didn’t seek the comfort of alcohol to ease the tension and anxiety.
Finally, setting my pride and ego aside, I reached out to my parents, friends and, most importantly, to my doctor to discuss what was going on. After several conversations, it made sense what had happened. My all-or-nothing approach to getting back on to AD’s did not work very well. In fact, it almost put me back into my drinking shoes. Now that my synapses are working adequately and I have learned that it is imperative to seek professional help in situations like these, things are fine.
The crazy part on this specific roller coaster ride is that I have still been extremely productive, at least professionally. But, man, what was I thinking? I wasn’t, that was the problem. My pride and ego grabbed hold of me, once more, to make me believe that I was invincible.
In hindsight, I should have never taken myself off AD’s. That’s the first lesson. The second lesson has to do with timing. Knowing that I was about to go through a full scale life change back on July 1st, my preparation for the transition could have been more thoughtful. Given my past history with life-transition, continuing with AD’s the month prior to my job resignation would have been a better call.
The third lesson comes in the fact that I continue to struggle with this dualistic idea of all or nothing. Quitting things cold turkey and believing that everything will be cool. I must be more mindful that I do not impose such sudden changes on myself; they wreak havoc. They not only affect me directly, but also other people in my life as well.
I am reminded that it’s important to respect the speed and pace of the process of change. That is how I run.
Things don’t need to and can’t happen overnight. Perhaps I should explore a concept that has eluded me for much of my life. The idea of moderation.
Edited by Lyn Horton