I had my final appointment with my psychiatrist on Tuesday. The advice was pretty much simply, “stay on the meds for the rest of your life.”
Now, I am not pro meds. I actually tend to sway to the side of anti meds. But when I went on them I was at a point of begging for something to make it stop. “It” being the state of despair that comes from knowing that things were only getting worse, but I had a 7 week old baby to care for. Babies and depression aren’t such a good mix.
Since going on citalopram almost 3 years ago I’ve been getting better and better. I don’t know how good I will potentially get because I surpassed my “normal” state of good about 2 years ago. It’s hard to work out how bad you are when you don’t have an accurate sense of normal to compare it to, and I still don’t know what normal is, but every time things get a bit better I’m filled with new hope that maybe this is it.
So despite my anti med attitude (those are my brain chemicals your messing with pills, that’s some serious stuff) I have to conclude that they’re good for me. While I’m still barely a step ahead of the edge of depression that pursues me, a step is a long way when most of my life has been spent at the bottom of that pit. I’m also fairly certain I haven’t had any kind of manic episode since I went on meds either (though it is tricky to define the difference between the mania of bipolar and the hyper of ADHD, and what’s so bad about hypo-mania anyway? I’m not sold on that being a problem, although there was that one time my poor friend got stuck on the end of manic Fran for over an hour, and I don’t think she got two words in the whole time beyond, “Hi Fran.”) In short, though citalopram is only an anti-depressant, it has helped bring my bipolar under some amount of control so I can function most days.
And then there’s my ADHD meds, for which it’s easy to prove that they make a difference (I’m on Strattera for anyone interested). Last week I missed my meds one evening. The next day at about 3pm you could tell. I could not sit still for the life of me. I was all around the house, sitting at the computer, then over on the lazyboy, then standing at the pantry wondering if I was there for a reason. I could not focus on anything. It made me really appreciate that I achieved anything before I was medicated. I have to assume that I’m out of the habit of forcing myself to at least sit still, and I know now that I can be better than that. It took about 24hrs before the next pill kicked in, and if there had been anyone around to observe me in that time they would have assumed I’d been drinking mass caffeine or something.
There’s no doubt that that’s helping.
Because there’s so much evidence of benefits they they are having on me, and therefore my life, I’m not too concerned about taking them forever. I have to really accept that both ADHD and bipolar are disorders that don’t go away. I admit that I had this idea of being able to get on without them as well as I do with them one day, but the reality really is that I won’t ever be able to. Even if I wasn’t sucked down by depression, I’d still have the attention span of a thing that has a very short attention span (I totally had a comparison there, but my fingers are not fast enough to keep up with my working memory at all today. Look in the ‘discarded thoughts’ pile my working memory must have and you might find it there, though it’s a pile large enough to have its own moons, so don’t get your hopes up).
Anyway, end of rambling here. I’m off to Make Cafe shortly to drink good tea in good company with my (good?) knitting.
Keep smiling 🙂