Monday, November 30, 2009
Is This How Everyone Else Feels?
It's settling into winter, and my body settles in too, and braces for the long darkness. The merest thought of the calendar that seems to stretch interminably from November to March causes my breath to shorten and my jaw to clench in anxious dread. The trappings of Christmas, the orchestrations of food preparations for Thanksgiving create panic. The thought of the holidays sends me into a dark seasonal depression. Christmas Sale signs and carols on the radio bring out black cynicism.
Only that's not what's happening. Instead, I have draped the hearth in silvery fake snowflakes, wound lights around our little tree, and started idly looking up new cookie recipes. The long evening and early sunset make me drowsy and lazy, but the claustrophobic worry is gone. The dark of the year seems cozy and suited for reflection. Santa letters and holiday plans are whimsical, and theological turmoil is shrugged away.
I described my surprising lack of winter angst to Bu, and we laughed at my medicated bliss. It seems we've actually stumbled on a good treatment plan. I've been on SSRIs a dozen times, but the dose was higher. Ten little milligrams of Celexa seems to be the boost I need. A half milligram of clonazepam during Hell Week of my cycle keeps me in the realm of PMS symptoms, but not the 180 degree switch of PMDD. Hyde doesn't happen anymore.
I'm not attributing everything to the drugs, but they are a part of what has brought me here. I'm at the time in my life when I feel like my components, all my selves, are aligning. I'm experiencing emotions, energy, physical things, the I feel I should. The extremes are mellowed a little at the edges but the range of my mindscape isn't numbed by depression or meds. I think I'm experiencing My Normal. I've dropped more weight without paying much attention, like my body is free to find its normal, too.
It feels lovely to feel at home in me, after so many years of feeling like some thin veil was over me, and encountering a few deep darks that always threatened to return. It no longer matters what it means to take these drugs, or if they really are the answer for depression. They are working for me right now, and it's suddenly enough.