Friday, October 22, 2021

Comments by jmim

Showing 2 of 2 comments.

  • Laura-

    I just stayed up way past my bedtime reading your entire journey (posted so far, anyway) and watching your speech in Philadelphia. I was diagnosed at 19 with major depression and at 20 with bipolar disorder (likely triggered by the antidepressants). Medicated for 17 years on a cocktail of 2-4 different drugs at a time (including Lithium, Cymbalta, Imiprimine, Effexor and Ativan), I had forgotten how to have real feelings other than general sadness. More often, I had no feelings.

    I tried to go off of my meds a few years ago and was hit with intense panic attacks and promptly went back. Thankfully, I found a psychiatrist while in my grad program (in Boston) that believed my hunch that I didn’t need the meds, and likely wasn’t bipolar at all.

    7 months ago, after about 6 months of tapering off of Cymbalta and enduring the brain zaps, nausea, anxiety and crazy irritability, I stopped completely. A week later my father passed away. I’m not sure how I got through without going back to the meds, but I do know that if I had I would have never been able to properly grieve my father’s death and would simply be depressed while on antidepressants.

    I’m currently in an MFA program, and a lot of my work revolves around these last 17 years (how could it not?). On the day I took my last pill back at the end of October, I counted one at a time, on video, the number of pills I estimate I had taken since that first prescription at age 19. My final number, based on the most specific information I could get my hands on, was 36,835 capsules and tablets between the ages of 19 and 35. If you’re curious, a clip from the full nine hour and forty-one minute video is here: https://vimeo.com/34618952

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that your story touched me, and I’m looking forward to reading the path back to real emotion as much as I’m enjoying my own. Be well!

    -Jodie