Meds

God, it’s been awhile.

I don’t know what happened to me. I got very busy at work and wrote a lot there.

And then I thought: I want to write fiction again! So I tried to go off my anti-anxiety medication and it was summer and I thought, it’s fine, everything will be fine, it will just be a couple uncomfortable weeks. But it wasn’t. It was so much worse.

My doctor said I could wean off the Celexa for two weeks.  She said it wasn’t a big deal. But I wanted to go slow, I weaned myself off of it for nine weeks, slowly going down in dosage, I thought that would be enough. But it wasn’t.

I was depressed and miserable and overstimulated and when I went to work, I could barely sit at the computer, the screen would swirl in front of my eyes, I couldn’t write anything and any noise or music or people talking made me want to grind my teeth and spit them out. I felt like I was dying all day, covered in anxiety and worry and general dread panic and sometimes I would peck out a sentence or two but I could barely manage that and then in the afternoon I would throw my body towards home, my whole skin screaming– it hurts! it hurts! — and close the blinds and crawl into bed and lie there all evening.

I couldn’t play with my children. I couldn’t take them to the pool. I couldn’t cook dinner or do laundry or do anything but lie there in the dark while it was still light out.

I thought if I went off my anti-anxiety medication I could start writing fiction again. But I couldn’t even function. Like walk and talk and interact with people.

My doctor told me to go back on my medication. She doubled the dose. I thought, I’m never going to write fiction again. But at least I will function.

And so that’s where I’m at. I went back on my medication. I take 20 mg. of Celexa. It’s not much. I’d rather not be on it at all. When my doctor put me on it a few years ago — to deal with my books not getting published and then because of that, not being able to be home with my children when they were babies — I thought it would be a temporary fix. Something to get me over the hump of all that failure. But it wasn’t. Because now I am over it. My kids are eight and twelve, they’re in school, they don’t need me home anymore, I’ve come to some sort of grips with my accomplishments — I’m employed! As a writer! — and with my many failures, as well, the dead books, the years wasted on them.

Life. You know.

But this summer, I feel like I lost three months of my life. Just gone.

I do want to go off it eventually. I don’t think I should need an SSRI to function. I’m still not writing fiction and I want to again someday. I don’t know if it’s the Celexa or not. The well of imagination, of fury, of conflict, of frustrated desire, just isn’t there anymore and I think that’s because of the Celexa. Or maybe it’s not. I don’t know.

But I do I think next time I try to go off my meds — which isn’t anytime soon because I can’t waste another summer, winter, spring, year of my life being miserable and non-functional for no reason — I’m going to have to use a dropper and do a very, very, very graduated taper. I understand it could take a year or more.  It sounds very complicated and time-consuming.  I’d never have started SSRIs if I had known it would be this difficult to get off them.

But for now, I do feel joy again and I’m gasping at it. I can listen to music again. And it sounds so good. I can read books, I can follow a sentence, I can concentrate. I’m doing my job, I’m writing at work, I’m teaching a creative writing class at the university, I’m playing with my kids, I’m tickling their toes, I’m alive.