I learned something interesting about myself this Christmas.
I learned that I cannot control my anger..
without the help of drugs.
Yep, it's out there now.
I take drugs.
I have to.
Millions of Americans take antidepressants and I happen to be one of them. In college I was diagnosed with mild depression and thus began my trek to find the perfect drug, one that would help my brain to function properly without driving me crazy. Kind of ironic, huh?
There are a lot of people out there who know what I'm talking about. Antidepressants may help the chemical imbalance in your brain but that balance often comes with extreme side effects.
One drug made me gain 75 pounds!
One drug made my heart race.
One drug turned me into a space cadet.
I finally found the "perfect one for me" several years ago and up until I got pregnant with Rachel, I took it on time, every day.
But then, life happened and it got more and more difficult to make it to the pharmacy every month, and I often found myself skipping doses because "I felt fine". We all know how that goes.
I am still amazed at how much my body has changed after lugging around a baby for 9 months x 2. Bones crack, my skin is drier, muscles seem sorer, there are certain foods that I have to stay away from because they make me sick...and let us not forget the ridiculous weight gain that I have yet to address. And somewhere in that mix of changes, lies a change in my chemical makeup. My very being. The person that I am, has changed.
During both of my pregnancies I stopped taking my medication but started again once the all clear was called. Several weeks after Ryan was born I made the decision (without any input from my doctor) to cut my dose because, well, I felt good. And, I probably did.
But secretly lurking under the surface of "I feel good" was something new, something I had never experienced before. At least not to this extent.
I wasn't taking my prescribed dosage. I wasn't aware of the chemical changes in my brain. I was tired. I was stressed. And then I lost my ability to control my anger.
It would just pop up, out of nowhere. One minute I would be calmly telling Rachel that it was time to put her coat on and then, suddenly, I would be so angry with her that I would storm out of the room and yell at my husband to go help her.
So, why do I feel the need to write this post? I mean, it is far more personal than most of my other posts and exposes me for who I am. Not perfect. Why would I want to do that?
The week of Christmas was the last straw for me. Jake and I had the flu, the weather was crappy, holiday stress was getting to me, and the four of us were stuck in our tiny house together for several days in a row. And then my family got together for a few days to celebrate Christmas and I started to feel even more imperfect and resentful. I'm not sure why. Maybe it is because I'm not a fabulous cook. Or, perhaps I'm getting more and more self-conscience about my weight since I am, by far, the heaviest woman in my family. Whatever the reason....I was feeling...grumpy (that's the nice way to say it, I guess).
Thankfully, my family realized something was not right and knocked some sense into me. The very next day I took my prescribed dose of medication and an odd thing happened...life seemed less stressful. My children made me laugh more. I didn't feel like being angry all the time. I could honestly say that I felt good. Or, at least, better.
I'm not saying that my anger was justified. And, I'm not trying to find an excuse for being so mean to my family.
But, instead, I'm hoping that people will learn from my mistake.
Those of you out there who are on antidepressants (and I know you're there because statistics tell me you are)...
Find your perfect dose, with the help of your doctor, and then STICK WITH IT.
Life is too short to be angry with everyone around you.
Life is too precious to watch from the sidelines.
Family is too important to not take your medication.
And so, let those of us who have them, lift our bottles of pills in thanks for what the Lord has given us.
Let us be proud of ourselves for what we are doing, because it isn't easy or fun to have to depend on a drug. But, that is the hand we have been dealt, and we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to be responsible and take our drugs.
And, really, that's why I felt the need to write this.
That and...thanks family.
I love you.
I love you.