Friday, March 25, 2005

Mental Health Update

In January, when I discontinued my meds, my psychiatrist told me that if I made it through the winter, I would be fine. I have had some of the emotionality return, and find myself crying at the drop of a hat over stupid things. I have teared up reading some people's proposal stories. I have caught myself sniffling while reading the newspaper. I have cried full on because I am frustrated about minor things, like getting a flat tire.

I don't even like to talk about the anxiety. I have caught myself in so many situations having to short circuit the catastrophic thinking cycle I always engage in. There is a part of me that is convinced that I will both not get into graduate school for next year and will not be pregnant. I feel so trapped and overwhelmed by my current job that the thought of being back next year is unacceptable. I have to stop the cycle of thinking that leads me nowhere and constantly identify alternatives to it.

I am also finding myself back where I was with spikes of anxiety. I received an email from my supervisor asking me to call her, and I immediately felt my heart racing, felt a little dizzy and began to have trouble breathing. I am disappointed that my public speaking skills and presence have become less polished as the anxiety returns, but I am excited to discover that I can recognize and handle the symptoms on my own, and now know the triggers that will lead me back to the darkness I was in when this started.

I am now aware of how hard I am on myself, and how much I expect myself to be perfect and completely in control of all situations. Now that I know that perfectionism doesn't have to be a part of who I am, I am beginning to recognize it in myself and laugh it off as I work to let go of the need to be perfect.

The surprising gift that this has brought me is that Dyke Two finally knows the unmedicated version of me. And, she likes it better. While the constant replaying of anxiety-provoking situations wears thin on anyone, she sees a spark in me that wasn't there on meds, and she sees a better, more alive version of the woman she fell in love with.

I am also pleasantly surprised by the slow changes I am encountering in my cycles. I have more cervical fluid than I have had for the five years since going on anti-depressants. I am also experiencing cyclical changes in my sex drive for the first time in five years. The changes in libido were so subtle that I never noticed them until the meds were out of my system.

I had had so much fear and apprehension about going off my meds. I have seen too many friends struggle too hard with weaning themselves off their pills, so I have been relieved to discover that this process has been effective and successful for me.


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