Old Diary Entries Resurrected

I go to my doctor's office. It is a small eight-by-twelve room with a couch and a desk. It's downtown on the top floor of an old building with an elevator operator who recognizes me from my monthly visits. Like my doctor, he has seen my mercurial mood through these last eight years in the expression on my face, the presence or absence of tears, my posture, and the tidiness of my clothes. He treats me warmly and kindly...but does not intrude upon my emotional space with loaded questions like, "How are you today?"

I sit on the leather couch and clutch one of the throw pillows to my chest. I hug it tightly. "How are you feeling?" asks my doctor. "Not so great," I answer. We go over the checklist of my eating habits, my physical functioning, my social capabilities, my sleep patterns, my exercise patterns, my inner weather. Being the high achiever that I am, I want to score an "A" on this checklist, but it is soon pretty apparent that I am failing miserably. I have many reasons for wanting to succeed. Success means no medication changes.


He frowns and consults his chart. We both know that my current anti-depressant has been more and more undependable over the past three years. And I have been dreading a change to the most effective drug for atypical depression...the MAOI's. Because it will mean that I must jump through hoops to monitor the foods I eat - no wine, no beer, little chocolate, little caffeine. No yeast - which means yogurt is out. No aged cheeses. Uortunately, together these make up most of my dietary staples. But mixing them with MAOI's can lead to an aneurysm.

Taking anti-depressants also means that I think about a future pregnancy with both longing and fear. I've wanted children of my own for as long as I can remember. However, getting pregnant means withdrawing from all medications, trying to go it alone without drugs and dealing with the consequences. The literature says that I could try Zoloft throughout the pregnancy...that there are studies that suggest that it doesn't harm a developing baby. But I still think about putting drugs in my body while a new life is developing inside of me and quake with fear.

"I'd like you to consider the MAOI's," he says slowly. I clutch my knees with panic. Along with my fear of new meds, I also have to face another period of withdrawal and change. I'm so tired of withdrawal, of side effects, of depression. I can't help it when the tears spill out of my eyes and wash down my cheeks. "I can get you in touch with a nutritionist," he offers gently. I nod and look down at my notes.

"How long will the withdrawal take?" I ask. He looks serious. "About six to eight weeks as we take you off of these drugs. And you will need to be off of everything for a week before starting anything new." I thumb through my calendar slowly. Six to eight weeks of impaired functioning, of constantly shifting through exhaustion and unexplainable rages and teary, despairing stretches of time. I think, "How can I do this again?"
"I'll have to ask my husband," I hear myself say through a foggy blitz of white noise. Then, I get up and go home.


At 3:55 PM, Anonymous Rebekah said...

So glad to see you back

At 10:20 AM, Blogger EJ said...

Thanks for sharing this.

At 12:19 PM, Blogger Kevin Jackson said...

Well, this is interesting. I did a blog search for caffeine drug and found your site. When I get some time I'll come back and find out where caffeine drug appears and how it relates - if it even does. Take care - nice work.


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