About two months after starting the Prozac, my mood leveled out. The only problem was, it was in the basement. I felt like a shell of my old self. I would often have out-of-body type experiences, where I would see myself as though in a movie and have absolutely no control over what would happen. My camera collected dust, my laptop barely got opened, I didn't call anyone, I rarely went anywhere. If it wasn't for a few people forcing me to get out of the house or the absolute need to occasionally go out in order to survive, I could have easily have boarded up the doors and stayed inside forever. I didn't recognize myself at all. I didn't feel sad or depressed. I didn't feel anything at all.
After a couple of months, I realized that things were just not going to get better, so I spoke with my doctor about everything. He told me that for mild to moderate depression, regular exercise usually has the same effect of medication. That was my green light. I knew that I would rather make a sustainable lifestyle change instead of the endless routine of medication. I still have nothing against the medications, and my doctor also thinks I was probably just on the wrong one, or the dosage was wrong, but I feel like I need to see about life without them. I immediately arrived at the conclusion that being off anti-depressants would likely be better for me. I started hitting the gym, eating healthy, eliminating most anything unhealthy.
To say I was scared is an understatement. I had some pretty dark experiences with depression last summer and while I didn't like the feeling of not feeling, I was scared about what might surface. I was scared there might be something horrible and overwhelming just waiting to come out. So the agreement was made to stay in close contact with my doctor and really pay attention to what was happening in my body and mind.
One of the big things that happened on the medication was disconnecting myself from people. A couple of my friends were visiting California and I was overwhelmed with the thought of even messaging or calling. It just seemed so intimidating in a way I have not yet been able to describe. I wanted to see my friends, I just couldn't do it. Worse, I wouldn't even message them to explain. I have kept my distance from other people as well, like Ken and Charise. I didn't realize how I has isolated myself until I started looking back over the past months. I didn't recognize myself.
The post I wrote for this blog shortlyafter my trip with Ulco wasn't entirely true. Yes, the details of the trip were, but I wrote about participating in life. That was something of an exaggeration. With Ulco around and being on the road, I was indeed active and would just force myself to do things even when all I really wanted was to just do nothing. After Ulco left and the trip was done, I bottomed out and stopped participating in life in so many ways. I would have been happy to stay in bed and sleep my way through life. I didn't understand what was going on as I was on medication that was supposed to help, but I still seemed depressed. I wanted to believe that I was improving, and I used the trip with Ulco as proof that my life was moving ahead in a good direction. I needed it to, but it wasn't. It wasn't moving in a bad direction, it just simply wasn't going anywhere. And I wasn't even spinning wheels trying to make a change. I simply gave in, gave up and tuned-out. I sat around eating all day, putting on weight, watching TV and not caring. I quickly put on enough weight to be classified as overweight. Anyone who has ever met me knows what a big change that is. My clothes didn't fit and I felt horrible and dumpy and that made me even more willing to stay home and eat. I now understand the cycle of overeating and weight gain. I would look at overweight or obese people and wonder why and how they could just let themselves go. Now I get it, at least to a point. I realized I needed to make a change, to take control or things were either going to take control of me and it was not going to be pretty.
One thing I know for sure, is that the re-emergence of feelings is a very odd experience. Having spent the last few months feeling unmotivated and somewhat uncaring in pretty much every area of my life, I am excited to really have the start of actual feelings again. I caught myself singing in the shower again, one of the things I do when I feel happy and light. It has been a long time since I did that. I also feel not only the motivation to create, but the urge, the need. I am getting that feeling of needing to write, needing to use my camera and just make something, anything. I don't feel like sitting my pajamas all day waiting until an acceptable time to take a nap. The horrible insomnia I have had since November seems to be pretty much gone. I have energy. I want to do things. I want to see people. Instead of wanting to stay in bed until the wee hours of the afternoon, I like being up early. I now look forward to the day instead of looking forward to bed time.
The past ten days are like a re-awakening. I am actually enjoying things instead of going through the motions and pretending like I care. I feel more alert, awake and alive than I have in a long time.