Careful what you wish for.

The aftermath of reducing medications.

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Well, I certainly got what I wished for. I was tired of feeling muted and numb from my medication. Tired of the greyness and boredom. I reduced my medication recently and am holding on tight as my emotions balloon once again.

I must admit, I had romanticised what I thought would happen. I imagined feeling happier, more motivated, more social, more alive. And I do.

But here comes the anxiety. Always the fucking anxiety. Innocent comments and actions become sinister. I’m failing at my job and people are noticing. I’m pushing my partner away and I’m going to come home one day and he’ll just be gone. I’m never going to achieve my dreams. I’m going to be stuck in this mediocrity forever and I’ll die miserable. More often than not, the anxiety centers on my relationships, especially with my partner. My insecurities and my oldest, strongest, most formidable core belief of not being lovable is triggered. That old wound reopens and the poison seeps through me, snaking through my veins until it reinfects my mind with lies. In these moments, I feel the most crazy. I try to reason with myself, try to get a hold of myself and breathe out the anxiety. But it won’t leave. It won’t fucking leave. It’s an insidious blackness that sits inside me and eats me alive.

And the irritability descends upon me. God, some days the irritability  makes me feel like my skin is itching or electric, as if I’ll zap or explode if someone pushes me just a little too hard. I feel like a ticking time bomb. I get antsy when people come too close. I feel like I’m going to physically hurt someone. People are too loud, too close, too nice, too real and I need desperately to just be alone. My breathing gets short and hard. Sometimes I lose the ability to control myself and I snap. I know I’m being unreasonable but I just can’t keep the feeling  in check.

And the agitation starts taking hold. That old restless feeling hits me with such force it sends me reeling. I need to do things, I need to do something, I need to do anything. I get fixated on things. The house needs to be spring cleaned. My wardrobe needs cleaning out. I need to start exercising religiously. I need to perfect my routines. I need to have sex constantly. I need to start working more and refocusing on my goals. I need to travel the world. I need to read more, connect with my family more, learn more, be more.  Everything suddenly feels so pressing and urgent. Everything needs to be achieved in this very instant. I try to take control of the uncontrollable. I clean and plan, and plan and clean. If I can make everything just so, then maybe the anxiety and agitation and irritability will subside.

These are dangerous feelings. They stew in the melting pot of my mind, an inflammable mess waiting for something to spark it into anger. It’s so hard for me to manage once the anxiety and agitation and irritability morph into anger. There’s no turning back. An old and terrible habit starts scratching at my insides and makes my whole body move with an energy that will not be contained. I start pacing and compulsively rubbing my face. I can’t catch my breath. I can’t speak. I can’t function.

I want to cut myself. After 11 years of not cutting, the urge grips me with an intensity that still surprises me. I need to get the feeling out. I can’t get the feeling out and it overwhelms me, it’s going to consume me until there’s nothing left, get it out of me, get it out, please.

Some days I think that I must be a monster to live with. I can go from relaxed and happy to anxious and withdrawn to raging in a short space of time. I can tolerate mess and chaos for days and then suddenly I’ll need everything cleaned and ordered immediately. I can’t even predict when my mood will change let alone the people around me.

This is the trade-off. I get to have what I wished for. I get to laugh more meaningfully. I can finally cry again. I feel like being social again. And I don’t feel like a zombie, half alive, half dead. But the positive moods come with the not-so-positive moods and that’s my reality. When I’m overwhelmed by anxiety or agitation or irritability and I feel like I’m difficult to live with, I chastise myself and wonder if more medication is the answer. But then I’m laughing hysterically again and feeling full of love and wonder and joy, and I remember that it is worth it. The wonderful spectrum of emotion that I feel is part of who I am. Even with light there is shadow, with love there is pain, with life there is death. There is a trade-off for everything and it’s part of the richness of the human experience.

This is what I wish for.

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