I had a bad reaction to my antidepressants.
As a teenager I tried Lexapro. Just this year I tried Zoloft. Both drugs are SSRIs, meant to increase Serotonin (the happy chemical) in the brain. Both times I took the smallest dosages possible, and both times I suffered from “Serotonin Syndrome”- a series of side effects ranging from nausea to seizures. This most recent go-round left me unable to sleep from insomnia, unable to eat from nausea, unable to work from migraines, and finally unable to drive walk from muscle tremors and spasms. After 5 days, we called the second round of the SSRI experiment a failure. Apparently, I am extremely sensitive to serotonin.
I’m allergic to happiness.
Obviously, that is an inaccurate exaggeration. I do have an immune system response to serotonin, and I obviously do have serotonin in my body. However, it does appear that my body and brain refuse to accept any help with that particular chemical. In fact, my brain seems to reject most chemical assistance. I’ve tried handfuls of medications for anxiety and depression, ranging from popular prescriptions to more herbal remedies (marijuana). No matter how highly regulated and researched the drug, and no matter how low the dosage- my body won’t take it.
Am I doomed to be broken?
Of course not. No one is. When my first extensive round of pharmaceuticals trials failed, I took a break. I focused on more traditional therapies and coping mechanisms, and rested. A few years later, we did it all again. And again. It was exhausting, disheartening, and hard, but I didn’t give up. It often feels hopeless and pointless. I just wanted to stop existing. Not die, just cease to exist. No thinking, no feeling, and no hurting others with my absence. Just slip, forgotten, into a void. Each time I struggled with my mind and my body (see my blogs about pseudo-seizures) I felt like I would never get better. But then I did.
So I’ll keep trying for happiness.
Happiness is an elusive concept. We all have out own synonyms; for me it’s “contented calm”. It feels like a lazy Sunday; where the hours are unrushed and comfortable. I’ve felt that way before, and I know I can again. It may not be as easy as taking a pill to correct an imbalance, but it’s a goal worth striving for.