It has only been five days.
And I just took day five’s medication about 30 minutes ago. I understand that it can be four weeks before my Wellbutrin XL, 150 mg. is doing its job as intended. And I am still taking a smaller portion of my Prozac (now 20mg) to help as I transition.
So why am I expecting a miracle?
Why would my experience with changing medications be different than thousands, if not millions of other human beings? We are all trying to figure out the best way to control depression to live a balanced life. And with the help of our Psychiatrists, we are going through the time-tested steps of adjusting medication.
Doctors swear to first, do no harm or something to that effect.
This credo ensures that the pace will be slow and deliberate. I am understanding of that. Or I am mostly understanding of how this process works. I am also the Guinea pig for and the recipient of the changes that will eventually lead me to a life with fewer speed bumps.
So, what am I really thinking?
The first three days on my new medication, it seemed like everything was coming up Millhouse. My sleep was better, my appetite was under control, and my mood was consistent throughout the day. Yesterday, things began to fall apart. Not that I am circling the drain, but certain things are not as enjoyable as the past three days.
That initial surge of positive endorphins may just have been my optimism projected onto the new medication.
Patience may be a virtue, but patience is hard for me to practice. I want results now, this second. Not in 30 days. Why shouldn’t it be easier to find the right medication? After all, I am a good person. You know I vote, pay my taxes, mow the lawn. I have supported equality for all since my childhood. And, I want to see the ROI on my efforts, just as everyone does.
There is a big picture that I need to see.
I spent 43+ years, not focusing on my mental health. Most of that time was spent hiding my depression from even myself. Major life changes occurred that sent me into depression’s abyss. Sometimes, depression itself would start the cycle of circling the drain as it introduced incredibly outrageous game plans for me to follow. So, 14 months working on my new life is only the beginning.
Once again, it is easy for me to go down the woulda, coulda, shoulda road.
One of my success stories is understanding how counter-productive the blame game is for my recovery. Taking control and being my own advocate for myself, gives me the responsibility for my own success. So, accepting responsibility and moving on keep me out of the, “what the heck was I thinking” game.
And there are MAJOR life decisions that I made, that I wish I could change.
You know, it is the if I knew now what I didn’t know then kind of thinking. My Peer Advocate reminds me that had I faced my depression 20 or 30 years ago, the treatment options were more barbaric than they are today. She points out that today’s medications are far superior to those available decades ago. I know she is trying to encourage me when she says that. And thinking about what could have happened if I had… has no long-term positive effects.
So here I am, on the front porch, watching the birds at the feeders, waiting for my future.
There is a hummingbird fighting off an oversized bee at the hummingbird feeder. The hummingbird has claimed the feeder and is aggressively keeping the bee from getting the nectar. I realize I am a hummingbird and depression is the bee. In that vein, the feeder is my new balanced life.
I am getting better at keeping the bee away.
But the bee is still there. There will always be a bee. And so, my life with depression includes this daily reminder that I have depression. And I must wait for the bee to go away or chase it away to feed at the balanced life feeder.
I know, this whole analogy is getting clunky and obtuse.
I just want the medication to do its job. And while I am confident, on some level that this will happen, at this moment I am angry that it is not yet consistent. I did get three good days, so why should I be upset? Putting three days together is a success. I should be darn happy about that. And yet I want more.
The coffee is kicking in and I am going to get dressed and mow some of the property before it rains.
On the riding mower, I am in self-care mode. I concentrate on the path of the mower, the most efficient way to cut the grass. This time of year, I am still watching for painted turtles crawling up from the lake to lay their eggs. And thankfully, I avoided a turtle this year. This was a much better outcome than last year’s turtle encounter.
My next appointment for medication management is the second week of July.
Until then, I will do my best to be patient and let the medication do its job. I will focus on self-care and not beat myself up when things are not perfect. But in the back of my mind, I am still cheering on the medication, hoping it will do its job soon.
My concealed depression is written under the alias “Depression is not my boss.” I have certifications in SMART Recovery and am a Global Career Development Facilitator.
Diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder last year, I am sharing what I learn. If you know someone who might benefit from reading this, please share.
I very much appreciate your comments.