Mood? Allergies aside, I feel great. I’m optimistic, interested in life, and anxious to get my body working again after a couple weeks of foul moods and weather. I catch myself nearly smiling at strangers and wiggling fingers of greeting at their emotionally neglected offspring. What the hell is going on?
Despite being numbed by an array of pharmacueticals for months, suicidal thinking has not been an irregular guest. Milder signs of depression have presented themselves near daily: a desire to cry, to hyperventilate, to hurt myself. And now look at me. I feel like I can do anything.
My secret? Night before last I took my last dose of Prozac — my last dose at least for the next three months or so*. It’s the second of four drugs I must wean myself off before I can lay down at that research hospital to the north for 6-10 weeks of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy.
I sought out the research trial when I realized this treatment that stimulates the left side of the prefrontal cortex with magnetic waves — a therapy that is still not covered by most insurance companies in the U.S. — was gawdawful expensive: about $15,000 for 30 sessions, the average recommended, it appears. If rTMS doesn’t steer things in the right direction maybe then I’ll consider Electroconvulsive Therapy, as some doctors recommended earlier this year. But today it doesn’t feel like I need either. Today I feel ready to clean my house, wash my hair and clothes, go for a run, and even chart a new professional course.
Yes, I know this little peak will get snowed over again. I’m not “healed,” “better,” “recovered,” or whatever. I’m simply having a good day. I’ve been in this place before (though it’s been a long time). But it’s a day I plan to enjoy for as long as it’s here.
My mood must certainly be influenced by the decline of Prozac in my blood, though it will take another 30 days to flush completely. Of the three side effects I noted from the decrease in Prozac recently the dominant one today seems to be that “waking up” feeling. Perfect. I’ll take it.
Of course nothing tops the recent words of encouragement offered by my daughter. As I explained everything that has been happening with me to some family friends — friends who, judging by the number questions they offered, hadn’t been briefed by my folks — a degree of concern and confusion colored the moment. It was one my teenage daughter took to interject: “Dad, I’m so proud of you for everything you’re doing!”
She repeated that statement when I drove her back to her school later that night. Yes, I hear you, darling. And, as usual, so much of what I do I do for you. Living itself, when it seemed like merely an option, was one of those decisions I repeatedly made with you in mind. XO.
*I am being weaned off of my prescriptions under the supervision of my doctors in order to try a new, experimental therapy for major depression. I do not recommend anyone go off their medication against their doctor’s advice (or without their knowledge). I’ve done that too and it’s ended badly.