September 30, 2010
Long story short, when I picked up THE MEDICATION at Cost-Co and read the insert about possible side effects: dizziness (it was even on that tiny flap they put on the container), fatigue, nausea, constipation, (it was already hard enough for me to ‘eliminate’ most mornings!), depression, suicidal thoughts, mental or mood problems among them … I freaked out. I was afraid I would lose my ‘voice.’
Needless to say my rebellious self kept the pills in a drawer and did not take them as prescribed. I chose to face my financial problems and to ‘get it together’ by getting to Crones Counsel in Albuquerque. I asked my ‘sisters,’ for help. Result: a ride for free across three states in someone else’s Prius, being gifted with a room share in the hotel, three unexpected $50 ‘gifts,’ and a return by AmTrak for $122, all including the conference registration, which fell in the $500 budget my rusted 240Z, had provided.
Seven days away, new scenery, sunshine and inspiration from 200 ‘old wise women’ would be enough to cure my depression. Maybe when I got back I’d take the meds. IF I felt myself slipping back into doubt and depression.
The conference was great, as they always are (see cronescounsel.org). I did a comedy routine in the follies, and even mocked the survey the MD/shrink had given me. Those manic symptoms he listed were feelings 90% of the participants at the conference were having. I was reminded of my deep connection to all women in the storytelling that is the focus of CronesCounsel, especially those of our indigenous grandmothers. My workshop with six other invisible grandparents provided me with more material for the book. As I predicted, my mood quickly shifted from anxiety/doubt/depression to elation. Exhilaration even.
Was it depressed to manic? At that point I didn’t think so.
I returned home prescription drug free, exhausted but happy. Within 24 hours I drove to San Francisco, delivered a one-minute pitch for Invisible Grandparenting in a ‘Pitch-a-looza’ contest and won third of 70 writers before four agents and publisher types. There was nothing wrong with psyche, right?
But after all that, my woman shrink-o, and my hus-band-o (who now had lined up two job interviews, f—ing finally after 2 years!), felt that there was an edge of agitation to my successes. Well hell yeah! I’d had to stand before an audience of 200 and make them laugh, and then 70 other writers and in one minute ‘sell’ my book idea to them. What did they expect? But something they said convinced me to swallow the ‘mildly bipolar’ meds. I think it was Ms. MFCC’s suggestion that I’d find myself more ‘at peace’ if I at least tried the trileptrol.
It’s been only two weeks, but surprise, surprise: no gross side effects. And yes, I’m back spinning several plates and loving it. Sense of urgency there but not desperation. I feel happier behind it, and notice a focus of concentration on merely one thing at a time that wasn’t there before. I also have found myself connecting with people better, spending more time directly listening to them. That can’t be all bad for someone who’s been told she has a broken listener all her life.
So I see ‘old school’ MD/Psychiatrist next week to ‘evaluate’ my progress. Will I be on meds the rest of my life?
Maybe, maybe not.
Better living through chemistry? The jury’s still out, but I’m not fighting the river any more, or trying to change it’s flow myself.
And that’s a relief. To everyone.