Psycho-Babble Medication | about biological treatments | Framed
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Not that I'm complaining, but...

Posted by Adam on September 27, 2001, at 21:10:33

A while ago, I quit selegiline cold turkey because I needed to get some tests for an as-of-yet undiagnosed medical condition. Well, I should qualify that: I don't agree with one doctor's diagnosis, at least at this juncture, and have been persistant about exploring the physiological rather than the psychological aspects of my symptoms. I still don't have results back from the tests, so I still don't know what's going on.

Having said all that, here's the thing: I'm fine. Really, I am. That fact is as weird to me as it may be to some of you who have suffered from depression for years.

I don't feel sick, and, as far as I can tell, I'm not depressed. I'm happy. To tell you the truth, I feel great. I'm sleeping. I'm exercising (I swim a mile ever other day, and hope to push up the distance and the frequency soon). I don't feel as nervous. I pop a couple 100mg gapapentin caps if I want to make sure I get to sleep, but since I began swimming in earnest, I'm usually tired enough when I hit the hay to fall asleep without "medical assistance".

I've been off of selegiline for almost a month and a half now. Its antidepressant effects should have worn off a long time ago. Whatever is maintaining a euthymic state right now, it's not selegiline.

But don't think I've let my guard down. I'm pretty sure I am what psychiatrists call "atypical". I'm wondering quite seriously if I'm a bit like a trapeze artist working without a net at the moment: As long as I don't fall, I'm OK. But should I fall, things could get ugly. I don't want to end up in the hospital again.

As I survey my past, one thing is clear: I don't take rejection well. Granted, I've developed a considerably thicker skin over the years, but I'd need battleship armor to defend my emotions against the dreaded romantic breakup. Those kinds of things were what usually set me in a tailspin. The facts of my life right now are: I'm gainfully employed, financially independant, have a few good friends I can count on, and I'm in a good, stable relationship. The latter may be the key. I don't like looking at things in such a cynical way; after all, I certainly don't think I exploit relationships for the purpose of fighting depression, as I have the same basic desire for companionship that everyone else does. But for all practical purposes, I have to wonder if love is my antidepressant all the same. If this is true, I'm not sure if that's a good thing. It leaves me awfully vulnerable.

I guess right now I'm just wondering what the best course of action is: Get back on meds prophylactically, or stay off them and hope I don't tank. There's always the "kindling" theory of depression, too, that says things can build over time to a full-blown episode. That might mean, off of meds, that my days left before relapse are numbered, and it is a slow, downward spiral to that point.

It doesn't feel that way, though. Fear itself could be more of a problem than the potential risks that cause the fear. And, quite frankly, not being on selegiline hasn't been bad at all. I think those amphetamine metabolites were starting to take a real toll on me, especially the chronic insomnia. I just wasn't sleeping enough, and I have to wonder if my system was just exhausted. I have not had any severe "attacks" of the kind I described in the past for well over two weeks, despite doing some pretty strenuous exercise. I'm calmer, as I mentioned before. I don't seem to be as prone to obsession as I was. OCD-related problems were always that little itch I couldn't quite scratch on selegiline, and that seems to have relented to an extent.

What can I say: I feel good, but by no means did I know that I would at all. Is taking a go at a med-free life at all prudent given my history? To be honest, I just don't know.




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