141 Days

No, that’s not how long it has been since I’ve posted, although it kind of feels like it.

That’s how long I made it without an SSRI.  I definitely did it my way this time, stopping cold on November 3rd and riding the waves of “discontinuation syndrome.”  (you can’t call it withdrawal because technically it isn’t addictive).  I made it through the long, cold, snowy winter.  Leave it to me to be backwards.  When spring signs appeared, so did my ugly symptoms.  No sleep, extreme agitation, aches and pains, lack of ability to accomplish anything, the constant feeling of doom, knowing that my life was about to fall off a cliff.  As my wise and hilarious friend Cami once put it — I have two moods: calm and cat-on-the-ceiling.

I’ll repeat myself — I handle the big stuff the same way regardless.  It’s the little daily stuff that grinds me down.

Click here for a great blog about depression

I think I know why spring triggers it, based on my very limited understanding of yogic philosophy.

There are three states (gunas) in the nature of everything – tamas, sattva, and rajas.

Tamas guna is inertia or indifference and in seasons we would likely associate that with winter.

Rajas guna is a time of action, excitement, and growth; what we would likely associate with spring.

Sattva guna is what we try to cultivate in yoga; the middle path or peace.

Everything exists somewhere on a spectrum of tamas-sattva-rajas and as humans, we tend to shift back and forth over time, sometimes short amounts of time.

My habituated tendency is toward ragas guna – a fiery drive to do, do do.  I think this winter, one especially long and cold, balanced my rajas, pulling me more toward the center.  Once the rajas energy took over, the earth came alive and my fire was stoked. With the world around me buzzing with growth and life, I became increasingly agitated and unsettled.  Then I stopped sleeping.  From experience, I know it’s all downhill from there.  Fortunately, I stayed self-aware enough to know it was time to make a change.

I decided it was better for me and for everyone around me that I go back to the meds.  I am about 9,000% calmer. An unanticipated benefit – my right knee has been bothering me since December.  I even quit my boxing classes because of it. Back on the meds and like magic, the pain is close to nothing now.  My sleeping is better, although not perfect yet.

As always, there is guilt and feelings of failure, particularly because of the stigma of the “crazy meds.”  But you wouldn’t often find a person taking, say, cholesterol medication, decide to stop taking it just to see what happens, right?  Just because she thinks she’s tough enough to manage without? Someday we’ll learn to treat them as equals, even if we can measure them both in the same objective way.

Ah well, lesson learned.  Probably not, actually, as I seem to keep repeating this one.