Sunday, November 8, 2009

This Is Your Brain on Drugs

Saturday morning came and there was something different about it, something I hadn't felt in a few weeks. After eating a breakfast of eggs, biscuits and gravy, and burning my left hand in the cooking effort, Alan and I had a kind of conversation we hadn't had in a long time.

"What do you want to do today?" he asked.
"I dunno. What do you want to do today?" I asked.

This went on for an animated half hour or so (well, as animated as a conversation consisting of 2 lines could be). I was just about to ask him what he wanted to do again, when he cut in to suggest, "What about hiking?"

And that was what was different. Alan had suggested something he wanted to do, but more importantly, he wanted to do something. For a couple of weeks at least, he had been an eggshell. It had been hard to explain this to people, hard to put it into words the crippling kind of anxiety he had been feeling, the dark hole he had fallen into, the disinterest in everything. For a while, a trip to the grocery store, a night out at the movies, even the idea of doing any of these things overwhelmed him. So together we would sit in our small duplex, watching TV. After going more than a year without any TV at all, we had buckled, had decided the TV's illuminating, noise-making glow offered a special sort of protective magic. When there was nothing left to say, nothing else I could offer to help, we would watch sports, the Food Network, movies.

But on Saturday, he had wanted to go hiking. So hiking we did. And then we made mac and cheese to reward ourselves. And then we watched a terrible movie with Mark Ruffalo. And then today, I was half afraid to wake up, but today he was okay too. And we spent three hours cleaning the bathtub together. Then we got steaming bowls of ramen to reward ourselves and on the way there he said, "This is fun." And, even if it's just temporary, I could not be happier for the advances in science, especially in pharmacological drugs and their brain chemistry changing properties.

17 comments:

gladys said...

am so glad alan's doing really well. :)

Whitney Lee said...

Sometimes the pharmaceuticals are only a bandaid. But sometimes a bandaid is really freaking necessary. And even if it is temporary, I'm glad you've got him back for now.

2busy said...

It sounds like a wonderful weekend. Hope he stays out of that funk. You got a little glimmer of hope there!

The Bug said...

Your conversation reminded me of the vultures (?) from Jungle Book, which is one of my favorite Disney movies.

The right drugs can DEFINITELY make a big difference - I speak from experience with my husband. He's able to handle things now that in the past would have put him under the bed...

Lynz said...

that is such good news!

joeypouch said...

i am with you. i am on lexapro for anxiety and simply couldnt function before it. i was paralysed and it would take me hours to decide whether to get a cup of coffee before getting so frustrated with my inability to leave the house that i would just go back to bed. yes a bandaid but you need to function and then you can work out the details. So happy for you both xx

kat said...

I'm so glad to hear about your weekend!

I had gone through an awful patch, too, where I lost interest in many things that I cared for and getting out of the house was an idea that felt much too heavy. Anti-depressants, patience, and support helped heal a lot. Thank you for being so supportive of Alan despite the weight it may bear on your shoulders.

Stay strong- we're all here cheering you on!

Sobrina Tung said...

A band aid was definitely in order.

Joeypouch, your story sounds so familiar! That sounds almost exactly like what anxiety does to Alan. It's crazy! And so hard to explain to people.

Thanks for cheering me/us on -- thanks Kat, thanks all!

Breenuh said...

It's good to hear that something is working! Hopefully, with time, it will be more stable and more under his own control. I'm really happy for you both.

Rachel said...

I'm happy you both had a good day together. Hopefully there'll be many more soon.

Kim: said...

This was wonderful to read! I'm so glad for you that Alan (and you) got to see the sun, actually and metaphorically.

Though I have to ask ... 3 hours cleaning the bathtub?? Had you been tarring roads in there?? ;)

Little T said...

Yay! You have been so patient. I am glad that Alan is coming back. I hope it helps you to find your own happy place within again as well. I am so happy for you both.

Callie-Co said...

yahooo im soo happy thats good news

MunkyBt said...

Agoraphobia, anxiety, manic depression, bi-polar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder - just a few of the words my former personal mental health professionals would use to talk about the kind of thing you describe. Like you say, it's hard for others to understand how crippling anxiety can be, unless they've felt it themselves. I totally get the egg shell reference. You feel completely hollow and fragile. Like even the slightest glance will shatter you at any moment. You don't even feel the air in your own lungs at times - like you're suffocating.

I'm glad Alan is feeling the urge to do more. It's a good sign that he's on his way to controlling that anxiety. For me, this stage had to come in baby steps, and I had to determine what I would force myself to do. I was never prouder of myself than when I realized I hadn't had an anxiety attack in months. Now it's been nearly two years.

Sobrina Tung said...

MunkyBt -- yay!! I'm so happy to hear that :) It must be a huge, huge relief.

Erin P said...

Hurrah! Bravo! Yeah! I am so glad to hear it. Either a new drug is working, or something's finally changing for the better. You are to be heartily congratulated for hanging in there with Alan--I know just what that takes; went through it several times. So happy for you both!

Ashley Joy said...

I have to leave my bit too even though this conversation is a couple days old. I've been in the aforementioned situation with anxiety. Making a decision about the smallest thing can be so exhausting that bed and TV seem a necessary shelter. I'm fighting it now with waves of depression that come on so strong that I have to fight to keep from weeping. I really wish I didn't have to be on the pills, but I'm honestly scared what would happen without them. I'm glad you have your boyfriend back. I know it can't be easy to be in a partnership with someone who deals with disabling anxiety and/or depression. Your presence and patience and understanding (I also benefit from heartfelt pep talks) are what he needs from you most. Hold fast, sweetheart! What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. The cliche exists because it's true.

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