Saturday, August 20, 2011
Apathy or Drug Side-Effects
Apathy: I have recently discovered that the main reason why I wasn't feeling alive or human was due to apathy which was a side effect of the 5-HTP I have been taking in fairly large doses for a number of years (doctor prescribed, by the way). When I mentioned to my therapist how much better I felt even though all my "normal" chronic medical problems are still with me, we figured it had to be a result of taking a "drug holiday," specifically from the anti-depressant stuff. She told me that one of the side effects of most anti-depressants, and one that isn't mentioned a lot, is apathy. Well, it all makes sense now. I just had no interest in anything and for ages I've had to push myself to do anything even when I knew once I got going I would enjoy it (like quilting, tutoring, etc). I have just been forcing myself to care for me and my companions and to do what I knew I ought to be doing.
But it has been a continual uphill struggle. I was raised with (or born with) the idea that one didn't complain, one just pulled oneself up by one's bootstraps and got on with what needed doing. I have been fairly successful at that, but I get so tired from the forced effort. But now that I'm off all those drugs, I'm finding that I actually want to do things. I wake up in the morning now not bounding out of bed (I have never been a morning person) but with the thought that good stuff will happen and that I have nice things to do. That is a real first for me. I am still dealing with chronic pain, Hashimoto's Thyroid Disorder, sinus/allergy issues, constant headaches, fatigue and low energy, etc. But that is just part of me and life and I am amazed now that I thought the reason I couldn't get up the interest to do anything was because of those aforementioned problems. I see now that the real problem for me was the apathy.
I would never say that anti-depressants don't serve a purpose and I'm sure I did need them when I was in what I call the black hole of calcutta, but I had no idea that they take so much of the edge off of both depression and anxiety that they can leave one totally apathetic. I don't plan ever to take such drugs again, knowing how they affect me (and again, they don't affect everyone in the same way). If I start sliding into that black hole again, I'll work hard at finding other alternatives.
Right now I feel as if I've gotten out from underneath a horrible cloud and that I am human again, and the relief is absolutely overwhelming. I can deal with the other problems and now that I actually want to do things I have already found out that I will have to pace myself and pay attention to my limited energy levels. I've started working with a chiropractor who I am hoping will be able to help me with a lot of my pain issues. But some things I'm sure I will just have to accept and live with and actually that is ok with me. I am just so happy not to be apathetic, not to have to fight to do anything. The world is looking much brighter, thankfully!