Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Medical Update

It's time for the promised Wellbutrin update.

I've been on it for about a month now, and I like it. It doesn't make me sleepy, and I have had fewer cravings and lost a little weight. The dose was too low, though, because I had a lot of trouble controlling the OCD thoughts and random inappropriate tearing up / mood swings. It was *OK*, but I knew I was battling myself all the time, which was tiring in itself. So, starting yesterday I'm going to be on the higher dose, and we'll see what happens. I love my doctor - she actually listens, spends time with you, and is interested in input and conversation about what things mean and where you personally want to be health-wise. That's rare, and I love it even more after that last quack I had.

I've been thinking about the OCD, and I think I know where the thoughts are stemming from. Growing up the way I did, my mother blamed me for everything that ever went wrong in her life, and abused me whenever she was upset about anything at all, whether it was something I did or something she manufactured in order to have an excuse to scream and throw things and choke me. It always made me feel like I had to manage every thing, every emotion, every experience, which was of course impossible since I was just a child, and a micro-managed, ultra-unhealthily-parentally-controlled one at that. Deep down, I really internalized that I was supposed to be in control, but since I wasn't, I felt hopelessly out of control all the time, and afraid of what was going to happen to me as a result of my not being able to do so. I actually used to have little fantasies/hallucinations about things related to that, like an image of a gate opening and closing repeatedly and I couldn't stop it even though I wanted to, or a swing swinging and I couldn't stop it. I was nervous, frustrated, and afraid all the time. Looking back in that way, it only makes sense that, now that I have children, all those fears have come rushing back. I can't control every aspect of their lives, as much as I might want to to keep them safe, and as a result, I have persistent, nightmareish fantasies that they are going to get hurt, and it will be my fault. I think that it's all the anger and fear about this that causes my depression - I constantly fight with myself, knowing that it's not right or possible to be in control of everything, but yet an abusive internal voice demands that I be so.

Another reason I equate a lack of control with violence, which I have never spoken about here, is because I was raped in high school by my first serious boyfriend. It happened after we broke up, and to this day I marvel at how easy it was for him to do that to me, and how I was so conditioned to being completely disregarded and helpless, I couldn't move. I was so tired of fighting all the time, and so betrayed by this person, it was literally like I wasn't even there. I blamed myself for not stopping it, for allowing it to happen, when the truth was, it was going to happen whether I wanted it to or not. The dichotomy of those two things - feeling like I was supposed to be in complete control, and yet also feeling completely personally helpless, is so deeply imprinted in my psyche, I don't know if I will ever be able to sort it all out and get over it.

...and I'm terrified that I've passed on genetic garbage to my kids, and that something in my past could affect them through my inability to process all of this. So, until I can, drugs will be for me, I guess. I would like to not need them, to feel like I'm not damaged goods, but I guess in reality I *am* damaged, and if taking these meds will help to make sure that my kids aren't scarred by my issues, then I'll be on them to the end of my days.

13 comments:

Marie Green said...

I think you have great insights and self-awareness, and those two things are definitely a benefit when it comes to not effecting your children.

I too take something for depression/anxiety and I often feel as if I should also be doing some kind of talk therapy along with it. Also, I just borrowed "The Chemistry of Joy" from a friend, and it's a 'antimeds' book of sorts, but with good explinations of why, and also diet/lifestyle suggestions for helping regulate the brain.

Not sure if it will change how I feel about meds, but I feel compelled to read it anyway...

Not Your Aunt Bea said...

I agree with Marie Green. You do have insight and self-awareness, which is a benefit. It does take a lot of time in therapy to work out issues, so medications are a bridge until they can be resolved. Even then, some issues can form a sort of reflex, if you will, that even with therapy you may not react as strongly but nevertheless will always react and may need medication at some level or during stressful times. I think diet, exercise, environment, support all do play a role in these things- to which extent is very individualized. The things is that you are doing something about it. That makes a huge difference. Thank you for sharing.

Nowheymama said...

I'm new here, but I'd just like to say how proud I am of you for doing what's best for you and your children and for being so self-aware.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

First of all, thanks so much for your insight into OCD. I have a friend with the diagnosis and reading this was quite helpful to me in having me understand what she goes through and why.

Secondly, the rape. Oh my. I'm so sorry that happened to you. I had a less serious incident in my life that left me feeling like I would not have it in me to fight someone off. So I took a full contact self defense class for women. The first two weeks all I did was cry. Seriously. The big padded dude would (lamely) try to attack me and all the women would be cheering me on, reminding me of the techniques we had learned, and all I could do was sit down and cry.

By the third week, I found it in myself to fight back, timidly at first. Then I started to beat the sh*t out of him.

After ten years of talk therapy, nothing helped me as much as finding my own physical power.

Thirdly, all your insight and self care is a wonderful example to your children. You cannot be perfect. You CAN (and DO) take care of yourself.

desperate housewife said...

I'm glad the medication is at least not causing you additional problems. I know some people spend years tweaking their meds, and I always think how incredibly frustrating that would have to be, along with the original problem of depression and/or anxiety to boot!
I think you definitely sound self-aware enough to be able to keep from letting any of those issues truly harm your kids. You've done great work already, it sounds like.
I wonder about postpartum depression. Did you ever experience any of that with either kid? I definitely had unusual anxiety levels with both of mine, and I'm not normally prone to that at all. So I'm always interested in hearing how others coped.

Cherish said...

I could have written this post myself. I've always been against taking any meds, but your last sentence sat well with me. Maybe I need to do a little more thinking.

Astarte said...

Thanks,guys!

CBHM - I've thought of taking one of those classes, especially since Patrick started taking karate recently, but every time I do my limbs go completely numb. I have a feeling that I'd end up the same as you were the first few weeks. I love that you kicked butt in the end!

DH - I don't think that I had PPD, especially, but it might have been hard to tell with everything else that was going on.

Susiewearsthepants said...

Good for you! At least you are trying to take action, and do everything you can to be a better parent. The road to recovery is definitely harder than pretending nothing is wrong. I think it's very brave of you to try to make a difference in yourself and your children. I grew up poor, neglected, and sometimes physically abused. Trying to overcome those issues has been something I have struggled with my entire adult life. I understand what you mean about scarring your children. One of my deepest fears as a parent (and single mom) is that I will do something to emotionally harm one of my girls and twenty years from now, they will be sitting in a chair telling a therapist how badly I screwed them up. You can do it, I know you can.

Stimey said...

Wow. I'm so sorry for all the horrible things you have gone through. No one should have to go through all that. I think it can only be good for you to be as conscious of how it might affect you and your current life as you seem to be. (Did that make sense?)

I know just what you mean about being afraid of passing things on to your kids. I feel the same way. It's so tough to be responsible for raising children and still feel like you're working on yourself at the same time. I'm on Lexapro and am so grateful that it has helped me, mainly by getting my social anxiety under control.

creative kerfuffle said...

i have so much to say--i'm going to email you. you never cease to amaze me w/ your openness and honesty and self-awareness.

Swistle said...

And you are such a nice and funny and cool person after all of that, I almost forget it happened.

Sue @ My Party of 6 said...

Wow. What a very honest post. It is horrible that you have all of that to work through for the rest of your life, but you sound like such a great mom, I'm really amazed that you could come out of all that and be the opposite of all you experienced.

I hope the meds help. It can be a hard thing to decide to take medication when you have been doing it on your own for so long.

Bring A. Torch said...

Glad you are seeing benefits from the drugs, and that you have a good doctor. It helps me to know that other people are still dealing with childhood junk. Recovery is probably never a finished thing, but it sounds like you are well on your way.