I've been taking Cipralex for a few months now. When I remember to take it, which I am not perfectly diligent at, I find I have time to internally react to my emotions before the world witnesses their effect on me. Do you remember the scene in the first Toby Macguire Spiderman movie, when he experiences his bully's punch in slow motion? It's kind of like that. Anger goes to throw its fist, and I have time to go, "Oh, I'm angry," and dodge the blow. When I miss a day (or sometimes two), I quickly start losing those fights again. It doesn't take long for Ben to gently ask if I've taken my meds.
The thing that I notice first, though, is less externally obvious. Long before I acknowledged the troubling patterns of my conscious mind, I knew that my subconscious world was a treacherous place to be. I've had terrible dreams for decades, nearly as long as I can remember, and when I'm taking my meds I sleep peacefully almost all the time. Without them, I dream.
For every lighthearted, positive and tender story I've ever written, I've experienced its dark counterpart in a nightmare -- just as potent, just as creative, but corrupted and twisted in frightening ways. My mind can wander into wild-flower meadows, yes, but also into private little hells.
I woke from such a place this morning, 4:30am. Did I take my pills yesterday, I wonder? Nope, I did not. Perhaps I was still burning through whatever was left in my body from the day before because I had an uncommonly productive day without it. So I got out of bed and stumbled downstairs to where I thought I'd left them, but they are MIA this morning.
Why aren't they in the bathroom upstairs, you ponder? Good question. Because I'm not very organized. If I were more organized, I would have taken my skipped drug and gone back to sleep right away, never to write this post. Maybe I would have a back-up dose in my purse I could take in a pinch. If I were even more organized, perhaps I would be blissfully ignorant of the dreamless effect of my meds at all, since a life without nightmares has become so wonderfully normal. But here we are.
My meds are important. They are working for me in dramatic ways. I know that taking something is scary for a lot of people who struggle with their mental health -- it was for me -- and while we've increased my prescription since I began, I know that I've proven a best-case scenario for Cipralex, and that not everyone is so lucky. That said, if you're considering a doctor's appointment to think your situation over out loud, I urge you to do so. Maybe meds won't be the right path, but reckon with your conscious and subconscious mind. Seek relief if you need it. It's not worth fighting with darkness if you don't have to.