Trips, Stumbles and Falls

So if you know me, you know that there is a certain level of irresponsibility that I am constantly fighting against. I am a big fan of procrastination and waiting until the last possible minute to get things done. It isn’t one of my better traits and I am working on it I swear! You may also know that I suffer from mental illness. This weekend these two characteristics of mine faced off in a battle of epic proportions.

Mental illness is severely stigmatized in this country and I have agonized over whether or not to disclose my illness on many occasions, professionally and privately. As much as this blog is about my journey to become a more skilled writer, it’s also a way for me to showcase my work to prospective employers. However, I’m not ashamed of my struggles with anxiety and depression and I think that to hide my illness is to subscribe to the thought that it’s shameful or a weakness. I have suspicion that my suffering from anxiety and depression led to hostility from management at my previous job – which I obviously can’t prove. As much stress as that situation caused, I think it led me to leave a toxic environment sooner than later. This was a blessing, an environment that is hostile to anyone suffering from a disability is not an environment I want to be in.

So there we have it – disclosure – I suffer from anxiety and panic disorder as well as depression. What does this have to do with my procrastination? Well along with therapy, I take medication and recently procrastinated in ordering my refill. I am currently two days into a week gap without my daily medication (Effexor). What I have experienced in these last two days has been so terrifying that I’m rethinking every medical decision I have made in regards to my treatment. I am currently going through a withdrawal so severe that I have not been able to leave my apartment.

Physically, I’m currently suffering nausea, dizziness, blurred vision and a whole host of stomach issues. This is paired with crying fits, suicidal thoughts and an indescribable sensation known as brain zaps. I don’t understand how something prescribed to make me feel better has left me feeling worse than where I was when I started. A quick google of “Effexor Withdrawal symptoms” has led me into a terrifying spiral of what I can expect and how long I can expect it – people have dealt with symptoms lasting months on end.

I will be taking my medication again as soon as it is available, however, I’m doing so now with a skeptical and critical eye. How is the thing that is supposed to make me feel better leaving me feeling so bad? Will I never be able to stop taking this medication? Am I setting myself up for a lifetime of dependence on a chemical whose creators obviously do not care about what this is doing to my brain? When I was prescribed this medication I thought I was doing the responsible thing – recognizing that my illness can’t be fixed with determination and strong will alone. I told myself that no one looks down at a diabetic for taking insulin so why look down at me for getting chemical help because my brain can’t produce the serotonin it needs?

I don’t have all the answers, hell I don’t even have all the questions.

All I know is that tomorrow I will be facing another day battling my brain and my body. Reminding myself that what I’m feeling isn’t real – just a collection of side effects from losing of something I didn’t even realize I was so dependent on.


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