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Just a Pipe Dream?

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I’ve been having a very hard time this summer, coping with all of the stress in a healthy way. Or rather, NOT coping. It’s been worse since going up to sixty milligrams a day of Cymbalta. I have a doctor’s appointment soon, and I’m thinking seriously about asking him to wean me off entirely, and not replace it with another med. I’d like so much to be able to handle this in a more natural way, but I don’t know if that’s wishful thinking. After all, I wasn’t able to handle it myself in past years: what makes me think I can or should attempt it now? I can’t control my brain chemistry, etc., etc.

Or can I?

From everything I’ve been reading lately, there is a natural method or remedy for every artificial (drug-related) one. I could do yoga, get regular exercise, do deep-breathing, or get a massage. Take a long, soothing bath. Read my favorite inspirational books. Write in my journal. Get away from the demands of my life and take a non-food-related break. Go to a matinee. Listen to classical music. Talk, really talk, to a friend.

My aunt is a homeopathic … not sure what her title is; “healer” makes her sound like a shaman of some kind. Anyway, she’s studied and received training in natural healing techniques. Now that we’re going to move closer to my family, I could ask for their help and resources. I have dear friends who would be more than willing to be supportive of me. Most of all I have a loving and concerned husband who wants me to be happy, more than anything else in the world. I have a sweet son who thinks I am the greatest mother on earth (except when I give him a time-out!), capable of handling anything. What if I chose to look at myself through their eyes? What if (gulp) I chose to look at myself as a special, spiritual being, created by a force infinitely greater than myself, for a real and distinct purpose?

This medication train is not making me happy. I’ve jumped off it before, but without a net. If I choose to do it again, I must have supports in place first. I have to ask a lot of people for help. I have to be open, honest, and unafraid to get dirty before it gets better. I can’t allow myself to crawl back under the rock, or keep my unhealthy coping methods (overeating, impulsive spending) a secret. If I keep myself in the light, I stand a much better chance of succeeding. All I know is that this idea fills me with the first sense of joy I’ve felt in months, maybe longer. I don’t want to blunt my feelings anymore. So I may get crazily, impulsively excited about things, and make people wonder about me. So what? I have exactly one life. I guess I’d rather be remembered as that crazy, creative artist than the ho-hum blah woman I’ve let myself become.

Now for the really scary part. There’s a good chance, from everything I’ve read, that I may have dark, negative, even suicidal thoughts during withdrawal from this medication. This makes it absolutely critical that I build and then stay in close contact with my support network. No matter what I’m feeling, I need to share it. Right now I also have a dedicated, open doctor. I don’t know how he’ll feel about me stopping the drugs, but I do know that he’ll want me to let him know if I get into trouble. And I need to have a list of healthy coping strategies at the ready, so I can meet this challenge. It feels like the right thing to do. Wish me luck, please.


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