By Melle Hany
The little white pill that keeps me sane, but I don’t want to need it.
Two years ago, I made a choice that would influence my life in a significant way moving forward. After an exceptionally hard, long winter where I struggled to get off the couch to even go to the bathroom, I found a source of bravery and talked to one of the providers at the doctor’s office I work for to get started on my journey with Lexapro.
Looking back, the anxiety that filled my life before that time is hard to actively remember.
In a lot of ways, I’m glad that I can’t. I lost a lot of my life to needless anxiety, periods of intense sadness and depression, and physical symptoms that could rival any heart attack, seizure or asthma attack. I spent my life trying to avoid triggers, situations, crowds or people that set me off.
However, now that I’ve been on the medication for a period of time, I’m beginning to wonder who I am off of it. I know that a good medication makes us feel great enough that we can convince ourselves we don’t need it, but how much of my personality is the Lexapro?
As difficult as it was to admit that I had depression and anxiety (sometimes “coming out” with a mental disorder can be just as, if not more, difficult than coming out as being bisexual), it’s even more difficult to admit that I don’t think I can function without medication.
If I forget it for more than a day or so, my mood starts to plummet. I get electric brain shocks, for lack of a better description. I find it hard to focus, I cry over small things, I get more self conscious.
I haven’t had a full panic attack in over a year, but I live in fear of that happening again.
That doesn’t stop me from wondering: What exactly is personality? Where does it come from? Am I messing with nature by denying my depressive, anxiety ridden self? Or am I simply embracing modern living, better living through chemistry?
Am I really two selves, the self without meds and the self with them?
Is any happiness I feel falsely manufactured?
The truth is, I’m not sure.
I like the person I am with the Lexapro, but I mourn for the sheer, naked emotion I felt without it. We’ve all heard the old adage that people with mental issues are more creative but, having lived it, I think I wonder more than most. The Melle, me, off the meds writes more and creates more. The Melle on the meds is more careful, finds the words more difficult to push out.
For now, I power forward through the slight haze that this medication leaves me in. It’s a damned if I do, damned if I don’t scenario. I take it because I need it.
But I can’t help and wonder who I would be without it.
Melle Hany is a 30-something sarcastic, tattooed feminist know-it-all that doesn’t actually know it all. She is a wife, a mother (of both human and fur children), an employee, an avid reader, writer and student of life. She loves to hate labels, does yoga less than she knows she should and drinks more coffee than any human should be able to handle. Read her blog here, and find her onFacebook. She currently resides in central Illinois.
Editor: Alicia Wozniak