Sertraline

“You have a dragon to kill”

“Oh you still have issues to sort through”

“You need more tools”

“You need to teach your brain to produce it without help”

“You need to rewire your brain”

So I’ve decided to go back on sertraline.  I realised by week 2 completely off (week 10 or 11 of tapering) that I was a wreck and I’m better off on, but I waited until I was 6 weeks completely off before saying ‘ok, the only person I’m fighting now is myself’ and making the decision.  So while I was making the decision, aside from my closest and dearest – no one was there for me or offering me help…. after I made the decision however.. the above is some of the ridiculous things which have been said to me.  Does a diabetic get told they need to rewire their pancreas, or that their pancreas needs to be told how to produce insulin?  Do people with cardiac arrhythymia get told they can live without their pacemaker if they learnt the right coping tools?

People think that clinical depression mean I am having trouble coping.  You know what I felt when I came off sertraline?

Nothing.

No, really… I felt nothing.

I stopped caring.  I stopped caring about my partners and tried to break up with them.  I stopped enjoying music and baking.  I stopped volunteering because I didn’t care.  I haven’t spoken to my father since before I started tapering.  I read immersive fantasy fiction because it was immersive.  I stopped reading my counselling books because I no longer cared for them.  Each week was maybe 1-2 days total of feeling low, but 5-6 days of total blank apathy. My memory was shot too, but I didn’t care about that.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter.  Is it far fetch to think that the areas of my brain which is most affected by shortage of this neurotransmitter is the link to my empathic response?  To love, to care, and to happiness?

The public response seem to be that there is something wrong with me if I’m taking an anti-depressant.  But I argue that there isn’t, and more neurotransmitters just make me more whole, more me.  It doesn’t change me, it just helps me to be more in touch with me, more in touch with the world.

I am one of the invisible ones, the ones no one hears about.  There are millions of people out there on anti depressants who hold full time jobs and live normal-to-the-outside lives.  I don’t spend days curled up crying.  Sometimes hours maybe…. but we manage to get out of bed and live.  Every day.  I don’t have much ‘trouble coping’.  I just have a chemical imbalance.  That my life is so much improved and so much more wholesome, fulfilling and filled with love is testament to how far biochemistry and neuroscience have come along.  Counselling helped too off course – if i didn’t believe in counselling I wouldn’t be training in the field… but counselling cannot correct chemical imbalances.  It is physical.  It is chemical. At the end of the day we are but a large back of mostly water, some protein, a few bones, and a million different chemical transmitters.

I don’t have a dragon to kill.  I don’t have trouble coping.  I don’t have trouble getting out of bed and going to work.  I do not need to rewire my brain or collect more tools.

I have a chemical imbalance which I correct with medication.

And that is okay.

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My bane – Facebook

I am intermittently deactivating and reactivating my facebook account.  I have just completely weaned off the anti depressants I was on for PTSD, and while I am mostly doing okay, I am finding the interactions on facebook fraught with aggression, defensiveness and just plain unfriendliness.  All things which I don’t need while I settle into a new equilibrium of neurological biochemistry.

I do bring it on myself I suppose.  I will call people out for being misogynistic, queerphobic or sex-worker phobic.  That is, on some level ‘asking for’ the backlash I get for doing that.  That last statement was victim blaming.  Which is wrong on so many levels.  Hhhmm.. let me rephrase that.  NO, by calling out misogyny, queer phobia and sex-worker phobia, I am not asking for anything.  I am putting information out there.  I am merely saying that that person’s statement, or share, or whatever, is perceived by me to be misogynist / queer phobic / sex worker phobic.  That is it.  They can chose whether to react to it or not.  Some people do react by saying thank you… but most of the time.. what do I get?  A ‘oh why can’t you just take a joke’.  Or a ‘but this and this and this not this this this’.

These sorts of reactions then require extra spoons to deal with.  Spoons I am currently expending by just…. living.  Yes, living require spoons.  Anxiety and depression require spoons to deal with.  Even at the level they are currently – which is very very very low.  EVERY interaction with the world which requires a response interaction requires spoons.  Work requires spoons and is where most of it goes to.  School, thankfully on break (which is why I’m weaning off now and not in autumn), requires spoons.

Maybe I should put a disclaimer on every comment I live in public.. something along the lines of

[Disclaimer: By leaving this comment, I am merely providing information about what I think of your last statement, you DO NOT have to react or to reply to it, it is merely INFORMATION which you are entirely welcome to read and discard]

There… what do you think?

Why are people not more accepting?  Why is the respond “thank you for informing me my last statement was misogynist.  I will think about why you might think that and maybe rethink my position” so rare it might as well be extinct?

To use an common analogy : When you give someone a gift, is the response ‘thank you, that is very kind’.. or ‘what is this, why did you get me this, what is it made of, what is the carbon footprint of this, where did you get it from, how much did it cost, did you buy me this because you think i need it’

When I comment online, I comment to inform or educate.  Sometimes to share congratulations or commiserations.  I do not ever comment to intentionally attack.  That just isn’t me.  To be attacked in response is… disheartening…. but I can deal with it.  But to be attacked when my mental health is bad and I end up spending 2 days curled up in bed crying… I think that warrants a break from the medium which gives me that grieve.

So… instagram.. my balcony garden.. my blog, my cooking.  And twitter.  Twitter keeps me better informed about world news than facebook ever could – and from people whose opinions I actually care for.  And because I am not an active poster, twitter for me is passive reading… keeping up with the news.  I know how toxic it can be.. but because i don’t have an audience and I keep in the shadows… for now..

So long then… see you twitter….

Twitter : @incoherent_qing

Instagram : @kirhymeswithpie

Food blog : mynofusskitchen.wordpress.com