a feeble attempt thus far at making 2008 the year of good health
while the last day of 2007 brought me to some fun gatherings, and reminded me of the value of good friends as well as how effing much i love my darling boy, it also brought me to an unhappy place with my health. i will spare the details, but something did not go as planned, and so i made some pretty major decisions about my health, only one of which i've been able to enact, because i got cold-cocked with, well, something close to a cold. to explain:
i was diagnosed (in an approximately eight-minute interview in a random hollywood clinic) a few weeks ago with major depression. it wasn't a shock to me, partly because i've dealt with depression most of my life in some form or another, and i felt myself slipping comfortably into its depths while i grappled with some uncertainties in my life, mostly about work and creativity. anyhow, i was thrilled to get put on lexapro, an SSRI that i began to take immediately, hoping it would work its magic over the next weeks and lift me up.
but a couple of things happened in between. i got hired on at the university to teach a third class this winter, solving some potential financial woes, then i was named co-editor of LAist, which gave me that sense of purpose i couldn't locate within myself (and a boost to the finances, admittedly). meanwhile, the dark fog was lifting, but i couldn't tell if it was because things were going well or because the lexapro was working. but after about three weeks on the meds i started to realize i was feeling physically worse than before--and it was hard to fathom i could be any more prone to lying down and spacing out for long periods of time before the meds. i was getting mild tinnitus, feeling exhausted, losing concentration, and couldn't make decisions. i wasn't unhappy, but i wasn't healthy. i wasn't back at the gym, i wasn't getting productive or creative--all of that felt just as out of reach, if not more so, than before. then it's new year's eve day and i'm trying to get my birth control pills refilled, and i find out my blood pressure (already susceptible to an unofficially diagnosed state of "white coat syndrome") is sky-high, and the clinic snatched that bag of pills (literally!) right out of my hands. no amount of crying, begging, or pleading would let that sour nurse relent. i felt utterly defeated. (i am super happy being on the pill, it is the ideal thing for me, trust me!)
i decided, against all advice i encountered online, and what i vaguely remember the random psych clinic doctor and my therapist saying, to quit the lexapro the next day, cold turkey.
so i did.
since i'd only been on it just a day or two less than four weeks, i don't think my system is in much shock. i'm not getting the "brain zaps" or feeling woozy like all the internet forums about SSRI withdrawal mention. i think i made it in under the wire, before the meds really latched on to my system. but since i don't think it was the right drug for me, i also think that's why it's not horrible that i went off it.
so then i kick off 2008 thinking THIS IS THE YEAR OF HEALTH!!!! sweet! i start to think about going to the gym, cooking healthy meals for myself, being more active, not dwelling on the negative, getting my blood pressure checked out so that i can resolve the birth control issue (i run out in a couple of weeks and am i bit scared about that, honestly).
then i'm watching some tv commercial about some cold/flu product, smugly thinking "wow, i haven't been sick in ages!"
of course, i get sick.
wicked sick. hella sick.
100.9 degree fever sick, with gnarly cough, flaming and piercing sore throat, insomnia, aches, and so on. i'm pretty sure it's viral--some good old fashioned bronchitis. but i'm so sick that, after not sleeping more than 24 minutes at a time through the night, i had to miss the first day of the winter quarter for me at the university. the secretary was so dismayed to hear i had three classes i'd be missing today (she said they'd deal with it; she never wished me to "get well" or anything, compounding my guilt) and so was i. i hate missing work, especially the first day. but i am scary sick, and there's no way in hell i should have been traipsing around that campus today, in and out of the classroom, passing time in my office chair all dressed up under fluorescent lights. i need me my tissue box, heating pad, hot tea, pajamas, television, pillows, blankets, neck-warming scarf, soup, and constantly refilled cup of water. (i'm partly forcing myself to sit up and write this in the hopes that it wears me out so that i can get some SLEEP!!!)
so, 2008 being the year of health for me isn't going so smooth. i don't even have time to think about my mental health, because i can't focus enough to write articles, had to ditch work today, and am too viral to kiss my darling boy.
i'm still happy about 2008, and glad i took myself off the lexapro. i know that a lot of my problems can be taken care of through my own efforts--physical, mental, and emotional--and as soon as i'm feeling well i'm determined to tackle them. so many things about how 2007 ended and 2008 began have given me hope about my life, my love, my work, my happiness. and even though i'm mulling all this from my sick bed, it's still all good.
here's to your health--and mine--in 2008.