By Sara Farrell Baker of No Purple Walls
My relationship with medication is shaky. As an adolescent, I was misdiagnosed with a lot of crap. Once I was older, it was clear the proper diagnosis was “teenager.” But from the ages of 12-18, I was put on medication after medication for things like depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, sleep disorders, and other things I don’t even fully remember.
When I see a new doctor and have to give my medical history, I have to tell them that I can remember a few of the medications I’ve been on by name, but there were far too many for me to recall every one of them today. I do mostly remember the ones with commercials, so I guess marketing is good for something?
There were times that I was on as many as four drugs at once. I still become nauseous from swallowing just an Advil because of how sick to my stomach my meds made me. I hated having to take them, and would often hoard my doses in pockets and drawers. If you’re familiar at all with antidepressants and the like, you know that a lot of them need to be taken exactly as prescribed. So I wasn’t doing myself any favors there.
Once I graduated and moved away from home, I took myself off my medicine, cold turkey. Again, this was not my wisest moment. But once everything was completely out of my system, I felt like I was putting on glasses for the first time. My thoughts were clearer. My emotions were less erratic. I felt like a person that I could trust.
Not all of my diagnoses were completely off-base. I was on ADHD meds as a teenager for, no question, the shortest period of anything else. But I am an adult with ADHD and struggle with it almost daily. Six months after August was born, I was diagnosed with post-partum depression and took an antidepressant for a short period. I saw a couple different therapists.
When I was pregnant with Halligan, I was diagnosed with PTSD. And while I wasn’t able to be medicated for it because I was pregnant, I went to therapy to try to work some of it out.
And a few weeks ago, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I wasn’t just diagnosed, but I sought out a diagnosis because I have been feeling rough for months. The best way I’ve been able to describe it is that my skin feels like an electric suit, and most of my energy each day is dedicated to thinking of ways to take it off. That’s not a creepy metaphor at all, I’m sure. It leaves me exhausted, foggy, irritable, and keeps me from being present at a time when I so desperately want to be.
I’ve been battling low-level depression for a while, which is just enough depression to make you feel like a bag of crap with no motivation, but not enough for most of the outside world to notice. It’s just the right amount to make you question if you’re even actually depressed, and not enough to make the red flags go up when you’re arguing with yourself over it.
So I got some drugs. (It had to get bad for me to want drugs because of my past experiences.) But even when trying to settle on a prescription, I have to interrupt my doctor with a lot of “Nope. Tried that. Sucks. Next. Nope, too.”
It is also still early, and I am still in the adjustment period and waiting to see if the medication I’m on is the right dosage or even the right one at all. It’s a lot of trial and error at this stage.
Before kids, I could just curl up inwards and wait for this to pass because it usually does. But when I curl inwards and marinate in the lows, I miss things. I am missing out on playing with my kids or reading to them or just being with them. I don’t want their memories at this time in their lives to be of asking me to be Zuma from Paw Patrol and being turned down because I’m “too tired,” or “too busy,” when I’m neither. I’m giving medication a shot because I’m not cutting it on my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sara Farrell Baker is a world-class complainer and champion of swears. A mom of two and wife of one, she enjoys making things, drinking beer, and eating garbage. She is the voice behind No Purple Walls and probably someone’s recurring nightmares.