Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Symbyaxally Sublime

For most of what I can remember of my life, I've had mood swings. I've been crazy, neurotic, unpredictable, and many other less-than-favorable adjectives. When I went to grad school for counseling, I spent a lot of time diagnosing myself--and everyone I knew--with a variety of mental disorders. I meet diagnostic criteria for several disorders. I may have obsessive compulsive personality disorder, I may be bi-polar, and so forth. I don't know that my findings are conclusive since I didn't finish my degree, and I was assessing myself, which I'm pretty sure is a no-no; I did complete the professional ethics class. 

Brad agreed that I was crazy, just not necessarily with the notion that it was a diagnosable, treatable kind of crazy. Once, I laid out all the diagnostic criteria and how I met them, and he laughingly acknowledged my findings but suggested, "That's who you are, and that's who I love. I don't want you to be medicated into a different person." I halfheartedly agreed. I usually only stayed depressed for a day or so, and the manic episodes most often resulted in a clean house or some sort of project--the red and white bookshelf, for instance.

When I went to the doctor, she asked me various questions to determine my degree of mental illness. She asked me if I spent money impulsively. I don't really because we live on a very tight budget, I responded. She suggested that many people experiencing manic episodes don't stop to check their budget before going on spending sprees. I got that. I remember my friend's mom, who is bi-polar, would spend thousands of dollars when she was manic. Well, that's good, so I'm bi-polar with a conscience?

Anyway, she prescribed me an anti-depressant/mood stabilizer. After two weeks of taking it, I can honestly say, if I'd known that I could feel this good, I would have started taking medication 20 years ago. I am not angry, I'm not sad, I haven't cried, I haven't really yelled. The other day, I started to yell at the kids for arguing and stopped myself after realizing I was only yelling out of habit, not because I was really mad. I will acknowledge that I have been a little bit tired, and a lot hungry, but I also had PMS, so I am gonna blame that for the hunger and sleepiness.

I used to think that taking medication wasn't for me. I used to feel empowered that I could handle all the things that came my way because I was so strong. Initially I felt ashamed that I had to go to the doctor and ask for medication as if that in some way made me weak and unable to handle my own problems. I now feel that I don't really give a shit if I'm weak because I feel like a million bucks!

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