Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Wanting to write. I guess that's a good thing. :)

Shall I write of the irony of medication?

First, I suspect I am not abnormal in not going in to get medication until I was feeling like I couldn't handle it without medication. It being depression and/or anxiety and/or OCD. I came to this conclusion in part based on the fact that I was having trouble eating and sleeping. That is in itself depressing. So I get the medication, but I'm afraid of it, thanks at least in part to the OCD. So I took it, but worried about side-effects etc (and just plain dying because I took the medication. My OCD likes the simple "If _____, then I will die" formula. It can be used for any situation). So the first irony of medication for OCD is that we don't get them until we need them but it takes a couple weeks for them to start working. The second is that my OCD was afraid of taking medication and the medication wouldn't help that until a few weeks after I started taking medication. Then is the lousy fact that the first medication tried may or may not work since they don't all work for all people.

Well, the first medication helped me sleep for a bit, but then the drousiness wore off and i'm back to having trouble sleeping. Which reminds me of another irony. Medication can make you drousy or it can agitate you/keep you awake. I'm pretty sure it can do both at once. For instance, take my second medication. This one started because of the migrains I started getting once the Dr. upped the dose of the first medication to a more potentially useful level. I was excited to take it last night because I hoped it would help me sleep. (Okay, yes, I was scared to take it, too. After all, "If I take medication, then something terrible might happen.") (Note that if the OCD overuses the "gonna die" threat it might become less effective. The more vague danger signal can work well, too.) Anyway, I slept, but not well. And today I was extra tired. The upside is that I haven't gotten a migraine today. I've gone a day and a half without a killer headache! It seems that I'd prefer being sleepy 24 hours a day to having a really bad headache for a few hours a day.

I started painting my doll house. Actually, I'm almost finished. It is part of my anti-depression drive. As in, I'm trying to have a hobby that will distract me and help me enjoy life. The painting is working well. Not sure if making furnature will work as well. We'll see. I can stop whenever I want to, which will probably be after I finish painting it if not later. Because I like to paint. Rooms, doll house, pictures. Painting can be so satisfying. And so I try to find meaning as I engage in a relatively meaningless activity, which is made meaningful as it is used to improve my life. I'd see it as meaningful if a student of mine did it, so I should see it as such for me as well. Happy Tuesday.


  1. Hey Abigail - sorry to hear that you are struggling with the side effects of medication but I'm glad that the migraines seem to be getting better! I can relate to the ironies of meds that you mention here! Like you, and I'm sure tons of other people out there, I resisted medication for a long time because I wanted to get better "on my own." I wanted to use CBT to fight my OCD and improve without some foreign substance in my system. And like you, I waited until I NEEDED it, even though I knew it could take weeks to kick in and work up to a dose that would be therapeutic of OCD! I'm glad I did it though, because I think it has helped.

    I can also relate to worrying about what would happen if I started taking drugs, especially some of the more fast acting ones that I recently started taking. The anti-depressants I handled better because I knew the effect was supposed to be gradual and less immediately obvious. But when I started taking Seroquel, for example, I began obsessing about "what-ifs." I wasn't so much worried about dying or something bad happening in that sense, I was just worried about the meds making me someone who I didn't want to be. I was afraid that the meds would suddenly make me stop caring about all my OCD rules, a notion that terrified me because, as much as I recognize how debilitating those rules are, I still feel like a sudden need to do NONE of them would make me really confused and wouldn't be acceptable. I also feared that, if I was on the Seroquel, I wouldn't be able to differentiate whether I no longer felt the need to do a compulsion because it was a compulsion or if I was just becoming careless. This really confused me, but in the end it is like any other OCD fear. I just had to let the thoughts be, and do what was best for overcoming my OCD. Not only was I fighting my OCD by trying the medication, but I was also fighting it by sitting with the unwanted thoughts that taking medication brought about!

    Hang in there! I know what it's like to feel both drowsy from medication and unable to sleep, too. Painting sounds like a great way to take your mind off the OCD and other things and just enjoy yourself. I can relate to the sense that an activity "in and of itself" is meaningless. But like you said, if it were someone else doing that activity, you would not find it meaningless for them. And also like you said, if it is helping you improve your mental health, then that is a purpose in and of itself. As much as my OCD sometimes says everything has to have a "purpose" or its not worth doing, I know that's just more OCD business. If it's something you enjoy, if it makes you happy, then it is worth doing!

  2. You have the OCD pegged! Mine also vacillates between "You will die" and "Vague Forboding." I got caught in a loop of obsessing about medication for over a year--suspecting it might help my OCD, and yet being afraid of it, and angry that trying the medication was the way to overcome the fear. I'm glad you are painting. Yes, it is meaningful, because you want to do it--not the OCD. I make art, and the OCD really wants a piece of it, wants to own it, but I love making art, and I make it even when the OCD squawks a lot, because it's MINE.

  3. I had the same issues with meds. You can read my medication page on my blog for more info. I've been on meds for 8 years. It isn't hard for me to take them now, and it hasn't been for a long time. It is a kind of ERP to do it and just wait through the discomfort. For me, the relief that medication has given me is beyond words. I wouldn't have the life I do without them. Keep up the good work. Glad I found your blog.