Six months ago in April, I was finding it difficult to breathe.
I am not going to talk about the giant scope of mental illness. Though I am a sufferer, I am not a mental health professional. What I will say is that as someone who lets the Anxiety and Depression Sister Duo tap dance their way to terrible stardom in her brain, there are times when their dance routines are unspeakably unbearable.
In April, in the midst of my joblessness and lack of direction, the unbearableness happened again. Every single day I was crying. I started crying when someone looked at me, I cried when I received a rejection email from a job I applied to, I cried when I had to go to the grocery store. When they say you are 70% water, they aren’t lying. There are just buckets of water inside of you.
I also don’t think it is wise to talk about the word “suicide”. How do I bring up this word without sending a hailstorm of concerned, well-meaning individuals crashing down at my door? In April, I was not suicidal, but I was driving down Suicidal Avenue. I think a few more left turns and I would have perhaps hypothetically been leaning in that direction.
If you have had depression, you know what hopelessness feels like. You know what the world looks like through your darker-than-a-blackhole-sunglasses. It is a terrible picture that seemingly has only one end. I had no meaning and no direction, and it was scary. I was legit scared. Think of a scary movie and multiply it by approximately 13512462464.
In April, I decided to take medication for my near and dear chemical imbalance. After ten years of trudging through it with natural and homeopathic techniques, this FINAL STRAW of brain explosions in April caused the flood gates to open and I realized my bi-weekly acupuncture appointments and nature walks weren’t going to cut it anymore. Though I have an uncomfortable relationship with medication due to years and years of always getting more side effects than treatment… it felt extremely urgent to try it one last time.
And so! For the past six months, I have been on anxiety/depression medication. These meds not only stopped the waterworks, it effectively got me to Germany. It helped me pack up my micro-apartment in Seattle, fly to a foreign country, and start a new life in a place I have never been to before.
For that I am grateful.
I am now in Germany. A place even a year ago I would never have imagined being. What! Why! How!?
Some miracles have a tiny man behind the curtain. Every yin has a yang. Here is a carefully orchestrated list of how one small pill has changed my life for the better and the worse.
- The Good: I can now stand up in front of a group of adults and eloquently express myself without shuddering like a chihuahua in winter.
- The Bad: I have become forgetful and chronically tired to the point of losing my jacket, my keys, my train of thought, and what I purchased from the store five minutes ago.
- The Good: I have successfully gone on dates with exotic German men without feeling intimidated or weirded out that there are cultural differences or that I am an odd human being.
- The Bad: I often feel neutral about everything now, including affection and romantic gestures. Another day, another make out session. Who cares.
- The Good: The pills have given me confidence to take more fashion risks, and feel better about my poochy pear shaped body.
- The Bad: My lack of discipline has now caused me to purchase an exorbitant amount of clothing, pastries, and junk! A brand new character flaw I have never had before. I used to be thrifty!
- The Good: I have been able to successfully navigate a new city, create a Facebook group, be extremely social, and nurture new friendships with minimal emotional breakdowns.
- The Bad: For some unknown reason, these pills have caused me to have ZERO tolerance for creativity, meaning my creative (AND REASON FOR EXISTING) well has all but dried up. My long nights of painting, writing and self reflection have effectively gone out the window.
THE (current) VERDICT
After a hard look at myself in the mirror, I decided where my priorities are and what I want my future to be like. I am not the Sarah I was in April. I am German Sarah now. And German Sarah, although mostly still unknown, is a different beast entirely. After heavy consideration, I am weening myself off of the medication and going back to perhaps a more potent, Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde situation…Something I am familiar with, but in a new and improved environment.
So far, in day four, I have gotten my first German hair cut, had a mild depression episode about loneliness, and have finally written this blog entry after over a month of silence.
I want to try my best to become friends with the monster, the aspect of myself that is terribly imperfect. Perhaps if navigated correctly, I can produce interesting results.
I’m quickly realizing that progress can look less like a straight line and more like a giant circle. The ol’ two step forwards, one step back waltz. But that infuriating circle is rolling somewhere, damn it, and I need to know where it is taking me instead of buying my 47th scarf at the mall while eating a mediocre doughnut.
Crying One Second And Laughing The Next,