Sunday, June 8, 2014

tried and trying

coping mechanism

I'm back in Ohio. I've been here a week. It feels both longer and shorter than that. Time changes when you go from city to small town, from no blood to living with family. It stretches and snaps back in new places.

I'm adjusting. I'm trying. I'm swimming. And I'm sinking.

It started almost as soon as I arrived. I went to renew my license and found out that I would have to retake the written and in car tests since I switched states at the same time it expired. After driving for sixteen years and then having the privilege yanked away...there was a bit of a shock. Even now I look out the living room window and see my car sitting there on the curb. I can't drive it. Not until I pass the damn in car test on Tuesday. Since then I've been reliant on everyone else's schedule. Another thing I'm not used to, and particularly not a fan of. Do I sound like a giant baby? I feel like one.

I've been withdrawing from my antidepressant for over a month now. Almost two, I think? Again, time is not the same for me. I'm down to half a pill, which is 50mg instead of 200. I've made it that far. Every two weeks I step myself down another peg. I grit my teeth through symptoms--mostly gut stuff, my stomach a knot full of knots every morning. After years of level shelves I am rediscovering the roller coaster in my chest. Those level shelves are on the floor, split in two, swinging vertical from their broken hinges. I feel both perfectly alive and overexposed. Raw. Nerves and electrified meat. It feels like both the most right thing and an incredible mistake.

I've been on Zoloft for five years. It was my daily dose of potential normalcy. My leveler. My crutch on which to lean because all my walking lead to only falling on the floor. I've chosen to end my relationship with this drug, this leveler, this anti-depressant. Many people tend to overlook the power in these little pills--these drugs alter your brain chemistry. Sometimes it feels like they take you off at the knees and neck--all that is left is a middle ground, a monotone hum. However, when prescribed correctly these little pills are also lifesavers...picking us up and turning us from our edges and cliffs, our last resorts. It is both scary and exciting to be ending this relationship with such a powerful drug.

In those five years I went through extensive therapy. I mended and ruined relationships--some of which I still agonize over(I am one who grew up giving guilt a seat at the table so this is not necessarily surprising, but still painful). I fell in love more than once, tasted heartache, chose both wisely and poorly. All the things that come with a life. I was both sick and well. Over those years I learned many valuable coping mechanisms--things I could do(that worked) that time and again pulled me back from the cliff and reminded me of truths...such as I am alive and okay and I will in fact be alright. I made the choice to part ways with my medication because I want to know how life might be with these skills and learned ways of coping alone. Chemical dependency bothers me--I find the older I get, the stronger my opinion on it grows.

My circumstances, my life, my self, are all quite different from what they were five years ago. I want to honor that difference and put to use all of my hard work on making my life better for myself. I want to try life without that nightly pill. I want to try. This is me, trying.

And now I will be straight and say that trying? Trying is really fucking hard. Trying is trying me.

There have been a lot of tears, and a lot of changes happening all at once. There is moving back to my hometown after being gone for thirteen years--departing a city I grew to love very much(along with many friends). There is letting go of a pill I have relied on for five. There is my estranged mother's sporadic emails that I do not know how to answer, except with the truth, and the truth isn't pretty. There is being seven time zones apart from the person I love. There is feeling again, and I mean really feeling, for the first time in a long, long time. As I told Jon, it is a lot like frostbite. Coming back from the numbness is a painful thing. But feeling again? Feeling again is really damn beautiful too. It's gorgeous, imperfect. Exquisite. It's difficult, but when has anything worth doing been easy? I have my coping mechanisms. I have my hearts, my fears, my wants, my experiences. I'm not going to give up or quit. I'm not going to stop trying, just like I won't stop being tried.

Gosh bless writing and writers, because one of my favorite writers found a way to get the words to me when I needed them most--the words to describe exactly how I feel, exactly what I'm going through. Lately there are a lot of tears, a loss of words and I need them. I need them. Now more than ever. And right on time(that fickle, unknown beast of the tick-tock), the words showed up.

thank you, Jeanette Winterson, for saying it best.

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