Well, it’s been almost two weeks since I started taking a low dose of Wellbutrin, as prescribed by my very sympathetic and practical doctor (“there are lots of options for anxiety, let’s try this, I want you to see a therapist as soon as you feel able to make an appointment, and come back to me in a month”).
The physical side-effects haven’t been too onerous and are already passing. I had a terrible headache for the first couple of days. There were a few nights were I just couldn’t close my eyes long enough to fall asleep. I either wasn’t hungry at all and could barely make myself eat, or I was starving for weird taste combinations, and my digestive system wasn’t happy about it all. Things are leveling off though, just a few days shy of the two week mark, as promised.
Emotionally, I already feel different. I’ve heard people say that when they started with medication they became more acutely aware of a range of feelings; they’d been so preoccupied with white-knuckling their way through the anxiety that they couldn’t feel anything else. I’ve had a couple of crying jags, but they were the kind that leave you feeling better after the storm passes. I had a workday where I felt an odd sense of contentment no matter what happened; I took the kids for a walk and we did some crafts, and it was such an unfamiliar sensation to feel peaceful that I almost didn’t recognize it.
Yesterday I had a real test; I had an interview scheduled with a potential new client. I spent the week decluttering, reorganizing, and cleaning my entire dayhome space. I put all of my paperwork neatly in a binder so I’d have it ready. Every time I started to get the fluttering in my stomach and the sweaty palms, I was able to say to myself OK, that’s the anxiety talking. You are prepared. You will be fine. Just breathe.
I was as ready as I was going to get when, fifteen minutes before the interview time, the client emailed to say she’d found someone else closer to her house, and wasn’t going to keep our appointment.
I was disappointed. I cried a little bit. I needed to sit for a while and just be sad. Eventually I was able to get back up, make some applesauce for after school snack, and do some chores. I didn’t spend the rest of the day convinced I’ll never get another interview. I reacted, I think, in the same way that someone without anxiety would act.
I know that I have a long way to go. I still haven’t made an appointment with a therapist. I don’t want to go back to the same one I’ve used in the past, but that involves a lot of steps that traditionally stress me out (calling a receptionist! booking a time! meeting a new person! explaining my situation! spending $150 for an hour of me talking while someone nods a lot!) so that’s still going to take some work.
I’m sure right now I’m in the honeymoon phase. I’m sure there will be days when I still feel terrible. I know there will still be events I don’t want to go to (I’m already fretting about the family Halloween dance at my kids’ school; it’s the scariest thing about the holiday, in my opinion).
What’s different is that I’ve now had a couple of days where I felt like myself again, for the first time in many months. Having done it once, I can do it again. The helpless hopeless feeling that characterized most of my summer is gone.
Baby steps, ya’ll. But I am taking them.