As it turns out, there is a pill for all that ails you.
Three weeks ago I got a new psychiatrist. It was sometime after nearly checking into the hospital to get the help I needed and before the in-laws came. He said what I didn’t want to hear: I have a mood disorder. I’m not bipolar, he says, but I definitely have some kind of mood disorder. He did not seem concerned about diagnosing it further.
Hurry, he said, Let’s get you on some mood stabilizer before you break into something irreparable.
He didn’t actually say that, but he did understand my desperation. He understood, with an appropriate sense of urgency, that I was ill and I needed help. The blood pressure medicine I had been put on before did nothing but lower my blood pressure. It was time to stop messing around and make this thing go away.
And just like that I was one of those people that have to take “big drugs”. I cried when he told me that it would probably make me gain weight, and because I didn’t want to be considered more fucked up than I already am. I did want to be happy, though. So down the gullet it went.
The pills are iridescent – sort of a pearly white. I wonder if it is an effect of the combine chemicals that compose it or if it is something the makers did to make it more appealing. Like candy. Candy that alters your brain’s delicate balance.
The first week they made me exhausted. I couldn’t open my eyes and I didn’t want to. I could have stayed in bed that whole week, but I didn’t. I plowed through to work and at home like nothing had changed. I felt out of my own body. Nobody noticed things were changing. Externally I had never been abnormal.
At the end of the week I had a crying jag. It was a strange thing. I wanted to scream, and I had the same old thoughts of stabbing my wrists angrily with something sharp to displace the pain but the rage never came. I cried, but the thoughts were empty and alone, shoved off in the corner where I could not access them. I upped my dosage of lexapro from 10mg to 20 so that the crying fits wouldn’t happen while Husband’s parents were in our apartment and I plugged on.
Every day was basically the same except for that I didn’t hate myself and I didn’t hate my life. When Husband said stupid, husband-type things – the kind of things that would normally trigger me – I found I could respond calmly. Like an adult. Like a normal person.
Slowly, Husband became less fearful of me. He became more affectionate and happier to see me at the end of the day. We began to talk to each other again. Slowly, we reconnected.
For the first time since we’ve been married – for the first time in over a year – I feel like I am in control of my emotions again. I feel like I have a husband and I am happy to be his wife. The screaming has stopped. The tears are abated by discussion. I am me again.
Last night we laid in bed talking about an issue that still needs resolving. The magic pills don’t make all the problems go away, unfortunately. We talked. I got frustrated, but we continued to talk. I did not want to scream or jump out of bed or punch a wall. I just laid there and listened to his side. He listened to my side. We still don’t see eye to eye, but it was not the end of the world.
In the morning, before I woke, I dreamt that I went back to Austin to visit. I cried as I drove through the streets. “I missed it so much!” I exclaimed. And then we found that the path to my old apartment was flooded. There was no way to cross and we were stranded. My cell phone didn’t work. I stared out into the darkness but I did not let us stop moving. On a hill I found an old cell phone. It was in another language but after several failed attempts to text someone ‘Help’ I dialed 911. They arrived shortly thereafter, lights blazing up the night with red and blue. They drove us to safety, off to dry land.
Which is where I am now: safe, on dry land. I knew all along that I could keep myself from drowning. I kept kicking at the heavy, cold waters until I found the shore. I did this. Husband stood by me through it all, but I did this. I am happy to be home again.