I don’t know why I’m yelling. LOUD NOISES.
Anyway, it’s late and I’m tired and slightly tipsy off the middle finger of honey whiskey I had after dinner (fun fact: I’m a complete lightweight again)…but I can’t sleep.
There’s a physiological reason for it, and I suppose it’s good news: I’m officially 100% off my antidepressant.
I mean, that’s kind of a big deal, right? I’ve been treating my depression with a healthy dose of therapy + taking an SNRI, and it’s worked. I have a full social calendar again. I can manage my Crohn’s without wanting to crawl into a hole and die. I don’t go to bed wishing I wouldn’t wake up.
Okay, that last bit got a little dark. But I feel like it’s important to be honest about depression, you know? The entertainment industry was rocked by two suicides two weeks in a row, and the reaction I’ve seen from people learning Lee Thompson Young suffered from depression before taking his own life…well, it has me thinking.
Everyone’s shocked that people who seem healthy and productive are secretly struggling with mental illness. Depression is an insidious disease that eats at you from the inside out…but some of us get really good at putting on the Shiny Happy Face. I can’t tell you how many people have reacted with surprise and disbelief when I open up about my condition. Don’t worry: I was never suicidal. But there were plenty of times I couldn’t find a fuck to give and just gave up on ever being happy again …even if it didn’t look that way on the outside.
Fun fact: you can’t tell someone has depression because a grey cloud follow her around.
I’ve made this analogy before and I’ll make it again: if you have a physical disease, no one bats an eye if you take a prescription to manage it. But replace “diabetes” with “depression” or “insulin” with “Cymbalta” and the shame factor goes through the roof. But it’s a honest-to-goodness chemical imbalance. My brain doesn’t work right, so I
take took something to help it work better. And I’m not off them for good: I’ve been slowly tapering off over the last two months so that I can switch to something a little less…intense.
But as of last Wednesday, I’m totally antidepressant free. It’s strangely liberating, not to be tied to my medicine cabinet the way I have been for nearly two years.
Bad news: the withdrawals are trying to kill me. For real. I get the textbook Cymbalta brain zaps, and let me tell you: getting one of those suckers while doing 75 on a freeway overpass is the MOST terrifying. And the insomnia. OH LORDS OF KOBOL, the insomnia. When I was depressed, I could sleep 14 hours, easy. Now I’m lucky if I fall asleep before midnight. (To be totally honest, I’m slightly terrified that this is a mild manic ‘sode. I’ve discussed the possibility of having cyclothymia with my therapist, and we’re monitoring my current state pretty closely, but even the thought of being on the bipolar spectrum scares the beeeeejesus out of me. Why? Because of mental illness shaming, that’s why. YOU’RE PART OF THE PROBLEM, NICOLE.)
But, regardless of whatever this is, I feel great, and I plan on enjoying it. I’m active again, I don’t feel overwhelmed by everything on my plate, and, BONUS!, my creativity is through the roof–I’ve long bemoaned the fact that when I’m on antidepressants, my muse goes on hiatus. She’s such a cow.
So hopefully, I can jump back into the fray with some What’s Up Wednesdays and Fiction Fridays…although Fiction Fridays may turn into Fatass/Fitness Fridays since getting healthy–and swimsuit ready for Hawaii–is #1 on my priority list…sorry, WIP. I’ll get to you eventually. But the fact is, I’m out of the house from 7:30am to 7:30pm nearly every day. So unless this manic insomnia (mansomnia? no, that sounds like something completely different) continues, I just don’t have enough hours in the day. But we’ll see. Who knows, maybe my post-workout endorphins will summon that spirit heifer of mine and we’ll get something on paper. Onward! (Sidebar: can we talk about the fact that my favorite theme from the Doctor Who soundtrack is titled Onwards! please? Because I CANNOT.)
Oh. PS: I’ve lost eight pounds this month. Looks like somebody has to pay up.