(This is where my husband gets a little nervous in spite of himself.)
(Also, don't worry, love.)
I started taking Zoloft after Louise was born. I made this choice because I suffered terrible, debilitating PPD in the form of anxiety and OCD flareup after the birth of my first daughter, Scout. I had panic attacks every day for eight months. I went to the er, convinced I was going to die. My sleep was disrupted. Every minute of every day, I pictured terrible things happening to my baby. I was afraid that I would crash our car. I was afraid of everything. It was hell to get through, and I did it.
When I was pregnant with Louise, I talked to my doctor about my fears of experiencing PPD again, so he promised me medication as soon as I gave birth.
The medication worked wonders. Not only did I not totally spiral out of control and down a deep dark rabbit hole of sleep deprivation and nightmares... I actually got better at a lot of things. I even got better at things I didn't really even know I was failing at. I didn't have PPD the second time around.
And also, I suddenly didn't have the wacky germ-phobia I've always lived with.
I stopped having bouts of insomnia.
I didn't become deeply dissatisfied with my life each month during a certain three or four days and cry and ride my bike through the city trying to bleed the gray from the sky.
Suddenly, I didn't argue as much.
I didn't get mouthy with other drivers during rush hour.
I stopped being afraid of the car and slides at the playground.
I didn't panic over what to wear to Kurt's family's house and ritualistically make us late for Thanksgiving dinner plucking my eyebrows, trying to look at least semi-acceptable.
I stopped having all of those INTENSE, WILD feelings.
It was great, you know? Not only did I manage to keep the depression and panic away, I became a totally solid citizen. I stopped being flaky and excitable. I stopped beeping my horn at intersections. I even said I was sorry once, when an old lady cut me off in a parking lot and then called me a bad name.
So then, why do I feel like shit?
Things have calmed down in our day to day life. Our baby is approaching two years old. Everybody sleeps at night. We do a good job of figuring each other out. I'm not convinced that my life merits anti-depressants, anymore. I think I am over the hump and PPD is just a faraway memory. I don't have to worry about it, anymore.
When I started taking these pills, I didn't mean for it to be forever, did I? What about all the awesome things they have helped me with, like the germs and trouble falling asleep and my temper and anxieties?
This is where things have gotten complicated.
I like being subdued, in lots of ways. It's awesome to look at a situation and recognize... "This should totally be making me flip my shit, but I barely even care."
The thing is, I feel myself barely even caring about a lot of things. I feel like all the ways my tendencies towards excitability are being suppressed are not necessarily so wonderful. Along with being cool about everything, I'm also... really really fucking cool about everything. I feel really hollowed out and emptied of feelings.
For all the times I praise medication for keeping me calm when I would be panicked, there are an equal number of times I curse it for making me unable to muster up any feelings about anything.
I don't feel excited about anything.
I don't feel passionate.
I don't feel in love with my life.
It's true that I don't feel intensely bad about anything, and I used to feel bad, sometimes. I also used to feel really, really out of control good about things, too.
Like the sunshine. Like birthdays and love. I used to be sexual and wild and artistic.
Lately, I've been mildly crafty.
Do you see what I mean?
It's time for me to step down my medication, or I am going to lose all of the sparkling parts of me that might shock your fingertips if you get too close. I might be sacrificing a definite night's sleep every night. I might be inviting PMS right back into my routine. I might feel overwhelmed, sometimes.
But, the good thing is that I MIGHT FEEL OVERWHELMED SOMETIMES.
I've been gutted out and polished all clean and smooth and compact. I don't feel like myself. I feel more sensible and perfect and easy to deal with, but I don't feel like me.
It's going to be hard, I think. I like depending on things. I like the idea of a magic little pill that fixes all of my problems. It's just that, it's time for me to take responsibility for my problems, because I know I'm in a healthy, stable place and I can TOTALLY handle them. It's time for me to make room for a little bit of chaos and unpredictability in myself, because the birth and the newborn stage are over. I can do this. I can do this.
I can do this.
I want to be in love, again.
I want to be alive and whole and human and imperfect again.
I want to feel inspired and impulsive and driven.
I just want to feel ANYTHING, okay?
I am totally grateful for medication and the role it played in my life when I needed it. I just don't need it anymore. I'm a little bit scared, but I know that I don't need it.
I need to wake up on fire. I need to find something really, really hilarious. I need to daydream about my husband all afternoon so that it makes me blush. I need to read passages of books out loud with tears in my eyes, sure that I've discovered the meaning of life. I need to hunch over my typewriter in a wild state. I need abandon and fear. I want music to affect me. I want to feel a little bit bad because of Iggy's gold pants. I want a movie to hurt my feelings. I want to be a little bit scared of the dark, like I used to be.
This is my big news.
I'm going to try to be me again.
Wish me luck?