I don’t think I’ve even so much as mentioned the once-mighty Weezer on Stuff and Nonsense since the infamous puffy vest incident of May 2005. But I’m mentioning them now, partly because “Back to the Shack” is a pretty good song but mostly because it’s an appropriate title. Sorry, guys, I didn’t realize that I needed you so much.
Some of you know I went off antidepressants last fall. It’d been a long-standing goal of mine; I even made it a 34-for-34 list item. Going off antidepressants was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. The withdrawal symptoms were hellish. I thought insomnia would be one of them, and it was, and it was severe. I did not anticipate the nausea, dizziness, obsessive thoughts, or general sense of dread – not to mention some of the stranger side effects, like an itchy scalp or an inability to eat yogurt. Once the withdrawal symptoms abated, OCD returned. It wasn’t unbearable, but it still wreaked pretty significant havoc on my holidays.
But then it didn’t stop. It got better, but I’ve spent most of the last eight months operating below my potential – in some cases well below. You probably didn’t notice, but I did; in fact, I noticed almost every single day. I need to stress this point: I’m not against taking antidepressants. Not at all. I mean, I’d rather not take them – but I’d rather not have OCD, either. Antidepressants work; they’re not cure-alls, but they’re also vital to most people’s effective management of their mental illness.
And so today, after consulting with a new psychiatrist (my old one retired in February), I decided to go back on antidepressants. Just a small dose. But it starts tomorrow.
I’m okay with this. I wasn’t. For a while I felt like I was quitting on myself. But I now know the alternative is a better life. I don’t want OCD compromising my quality of life one little bit, and certainly not for something as arbitrary as “I want to be finished with antidepressants by my thirty-fifth year.” And so I’ll go back on antidepressants for the time being. Is it permanent? I don’t know. I hope not – but if it is, and I’ve accepted that it might be, I’ll be fine with it. Medication’s a small piece of the puzzle, nothing more. But a puzzle’s not finished if a piece is missing, and even a small one’s important in the grand scheme.