I think this post may be made up of pretty much thoughts and analogies. That way, I can explain how I am feeling to anyone who has never been on meds can maybe see what I’m going through…
My mom knocked on my door Saturday morning and woke me up. I reached my hand out to hold hers-because it was shaking.
I’ve got tremors. Ack.
Pretty much me without the coffee part.
I go online and look up “lithium side effects”:
Mild hand tremor; mild thirst; temporary, mild nausea and general discomfort at the beginning of treatment.
Okay, so I’m not dying or anything, okay. I can handle these. I’ve never had the shakes before, so seeing and feeling my body twitch is a weird feeling indeed. Have you ever lifted weights and fatigued your muscles, so that when you lift for something later in the day your arm feels like Jell-O? That’s kind of how it feels. They seemed to dissipate as the day went by, and the only time I really noticed them was when I was relaxing.
I have no appetite. Zero. I mean, my stomach does as it’s growling at me day and night, but my want of food has disappeared. I have a sandwich in my fridge from Portillo’s from Thursday that’s…still…in…there…which has never happened in the history of life. When I do eat, it’s whatever is being placed in front of me or whatever is easiest to make. Nothing really sounds good-it’s just sustenance.
I’m exhausted. I’m yawning all the time. This is different to most of the other anti-depressants I have taken, as they usually give me a huge energy boost the first few weeks. I am napping and going to bed at decent times. I’m walking around like a zombie.
You know how when you push something underwater that normally floats it slowly but surely rises to the surface? That’s my brain right now. When I get up to move around it’s like I leave my head on the couch for a few seconds until it catches up with the rest of my body. It doesn’t feel level.
Here’s the thing: I am staying on them. So many times as a depressed person you get side effects that mess you up and they seem so bad that you stop taking them and feel defeated because they didn’t work. There is nothing worse than severe depression, and the meds make us (in our brain) feel better that we feel the side effects. It’s almost like we forget how bad it got to warrant taking the meds and suffer the side effects.
I won’t forget how bad it got.
I won’t forget how long it took to get me to this point. I won’t forget the pain and devastation of my life falling apart because I refused to believe I had a problem. I won’t forget that I came home, alone, away from my husband so I can get the help that I need to go back to him so we can continue our life together.
These side effects are uncomfortable, not intolerable. When the nausea hit so bad yesterday that I was dry heaving or stuck in the bathroom (I won’t go into detail!) all night, I used logic with myself: This medicine is changing your brain. It is going into the neurons and synapses and increasing chemicals. This will pass. You have to stick it out.
This will work out in the end.