I'm weaning myself off of my anti-depressant. People close to me have received this information with a variety of reactions verging from mild alarm to outright panic, sometimes accompanied by a subtle and polite edging away.
Kidding. Mostly. I'm not doing this lightly, or without consideration, or out of any misplaced sense of detoxing or anything. It's just that, when I finally reached a short space of calm and insight a few months ago, I thought back and couldn't really say with any confidence that I've been, on the whole, better on this medication than off it. I don't think there's any question that my brain chemicals don't always play nicely with each other, or with my other bodily processes, or with the way the world works. It would be nice to think that there was medicine that would help with this, and it's entirely possible that there is. I'm just not certain that I've found it yet.
Years ago, when I didn't really know what was wrong with me, and I was fast coming to the conclusion that I was probably just lazy, or unintelligent, or overly dramatic, or just a bad fit for, well, everything, I think medicating was the right way to go. But now that I actually know what the general problem is, I think I tend to have horrible mornings and better afternoons and evenings, and horrible winters and better every-other-seasons, and the medication doesn't seem to change that. Besides that, the medication makes it extra hard to lose weight, and I never want to have sex (sorry for the overshare).
Besides that, I have a somewhat simple wish right now to see what I'm like without it. It's been a good few years now, and every now and then somebody else mentions a side effect that they find they experience from their anti-depressants - memory trouble, or an inability to cry, for example - and I think, holy crap! My memory sucks and I hardly ever cry any more - I thought that was because of getting older and, well, getting older. What if it's not? I'm fully willing to admit that I might be mis-remembering how bad I was before, and if my husband is as bad at monitoring me for this as he was back when I tried that low-estrogen birth control pill we might all be royally screwed, but I can always start taking it again. Well, not this one. Another one. I really think this one sucks.
So anyway. I've been down from 150 mg to 50 mg for about a month now. I definitely feel more inclined to exercise and leave the house, but that could be because it's June instead of February. I don't think I've lost any weight - in fact, I had a total fat day today, but it didn't prevent me from going to the school library to shelve books, so that's good. I still have to go and talk to my doctor about it - I meant to talk to her before starting the Grand Experiment, but I think taking the pill actually made it impossible to pick up the phone and make the appointment, so I'm pretty sure I could make a case for the fact that I couldn't actually go see her until after I stopped taking it. Yes. I'm sticking to that.
For the past couple of days I've been in a bit of a reading rut. I still read, but when I get into bed at night I stare at the tremendous pile of books on my table and nothing really calls out to me. I have to force myself to pick something up. This always scares me, because when I'm really depressed one of the scariest things is losing the joy of reading. I've never been so low that my children don't make me feel better when they show up, but I have been so far down that books are suddenly a giant So What - and I don't want to live in a world like that.
So this is my Remedial Reading Program, beginning tonight:
Michael Chabon. Everything I've read by him, without resembling in the least any other book I've read by him, has proven to be surprising, insightful, full of wonder and sadness and incomparable delights. I've had this book on my pile for a while, but something keeps stopping me from picking it up. I'm sure if I force myself through the first few paragraphs, I'll be hooked. I will force myself.
Zombie stories. I really need to do a whole zombie story post at some point. For now, I just put this book on hold at the library.
Missed classics. I've always meant to read Trollope. I looked at a few message boards for recommendations on which book I should read first. I have to admit, reading the description didn't exactly make me giddy with anticipation, but if nothing else I'll get a certain sense of elitist satisfaction - oh, don't look like you don't know what I mean.
Re-reads. I suck at rereading. I always mean to, but then my ludicrously long to-read list stares at me accusingly and I plow on. I suddenly realized last night that this completely misses the opportunity to read something that I ALREADY KNOW I love - with the added bonus that the number of books I read and my crappy memory (which may be radically improving any day now, who knows, I'll keep you posted) still allow a sense of discovery, since many of the details will have escaped me since the first reading. So, this, this, and this have been placed at the top of the pile.
So yes. Please admire my brilliant plan. Replacing my present pile of books with.... another pile of books. I'm feeling pretty confident. Besides, if all else fails, I have a secret weapon held in reserve.
Regular Mondays on the Margins posts will resume. At some point. Probably a Monday, but really, who the hell knows.