I should come as a surprise to approximately no one that I am completely mental, and not in that OH HA HA HA I AM CRAY-CRAY way, but in the official diagnosis, chronically medicated way. It is only in retrospect that I can see that I have always been Anxious with a Capital A, that churning conversations in my head that keep me up ’til all hours aren’t the norm. That most people aren’t completely terrified of making phone calls because they’re worried what the RECEPTIONIST will think of them, like she gives a flying fuck.
It took a good number of years in regular talk therapy for me to accept that I couldn’t talk my way out of depression, and again, in retrospect, I wish to all things holy that I wasn’t such a STUBBORN ASSHOLE, because I could have felt better about myself and life in general SO MUCH SOONER, had I just gotten the fuck over myself, and taken the damn pills.
I know my ASSVICE isn’t worth that much, but if you’re not sure about taking psychoactive drugs, let me tell you the one thing that got me to take them- they’re just pills. You won’t die, or turn blue, or drool uncontrollably if you take them, and if you do, you can always stop (well, except for the dying part, but I really do believe the possibility of that is vanishingly small).
ANYHOO. I have been happily medicated for the better part of a decade now, and have even made peace with the fact that I will most likely not ever be UN-medicated. It helps that I am a significantly more interesting person to be around in my current state, and that LO AND BEHOLD, I even sort of like myself this way.
The last time I tried to quit, I spend at least an hour a day locked in a tiny, dark room at the office, crying on the phone to my MOTHER, neglecting my duties at the office and generally being a pill (OH HO, I SLAY ME) at home. That lasted about a week; the sense of relief I felt once back on the medication was fucking palpable. Remembering that experience only made me more convinced that staying medicated was a matter of sanity, especially given that now, I KNOW IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY. Once medicated, you can never go back to the blissful ignorance of your unmedicated days- you actually KNOW and FEEL that your depression is fucked up, not just your own particular brand of normal.
WHERE AM I GOING WITH THIS?
J and I have known for some time that we want to have a family, and as I believe I have mentioned before, that is not going to happen by accident. Any pregnancy of ours will be a carefully orchestrated event requiring the assistance of doctors and FedEx. So we had time to discuss the ramifications of my medication status and pregnancy. My psychiatrist tells me that the current thinking on pregnancy and anti-depressants is that a depressed or highly anxious mother is just as, if not more, noxious to a fetus as the potential side-effects of the anti-depressants. But this is just thinking, as almost all SSRIs are class C drugs- meaning the animal studies show negative side effects for fetal development, but no HUMAN studies have been conducted. And while I, as a scientist, do ABSOLUTELY see the value of animal studies, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that comparing my reproductive system to that of a RAT’s is not exactly linear. I, for one, do not produce LITTERS. Or eat my offspring (although I have not actually tested this hypothesis).
While J and I were discussing babies as a theoretical possibility, staying medicated seemed like the most reasonable course of action. But now? Now that there is sperm being loaded into a tank in New York this morning, and an ultrasound scheduled for Saturday? Now I… am more conflicted. I know there is no way to completely reduce all the risks inherent in creating a human being, and I fully intend to continue to drive my car, and fly in planes, so on the one hand, what’s one more thing? But on the other hand, why add ONE MORE THING?
I don’t have any answers, and unfortunately, neither do the doctors. So I must, of course, turn to the internet. What do you have to say? I’m interested (and can be reached offline at noemicanblog at gmail dot com, just for reference).