A strange feeling...

When I saw my psychiatrist on Wednesday, she decided to raise my Prozac because I was feeling a smidge better but not all the way. I had been on a higher dosage before, and tolerated it just fine, so she thought that rather than prolong the misery, she should just try the higher dosage and see what happened. I took the first higher dose on Friday, and felt drained and dopey. Ditto for yesterday. I kept thinking "Must blog...must blog...must sleep..." and, suffice to say, sleep won.

Today, I woke up bright and early (for me, on the weekend)- thankfully I slept later than yesterday when Aria saw a bird right outside my window at 8:30am and just about went bonkers. She was hissing and "chirping" and running around the bed and...good morning, Your Royal Fuzziness. Thanks for the wake-up call. I spoke with my good friend IrishUp this morning as well, as we worked on a project for FEAST, and it was nice to hear her voice.

Then, as I was getting dressed and getting ready to make my weekly grocery run, it struck me: I felt strange. Like really strange. The weather is gorgeous out. Aria was acting freakishly cute. Though I wasn't looking forward to going grocery shopping, I wasn't exactly dreading it either. My body image isn't spectacular, but it's been worse.

I realized: could this be happy?
Could it?


When I was in residential treatment about 2.5 years ago (has it really been that long?), I remember when the other SSRI started to kind of work. I remember being utterly convinced that I was manic. That this chatty feeling, these giggles, were NOT NORMAL. It had to be pathological. I was not upbeat and talkative.

I explained these freakish symptoms to my therapist who looked at me and said: "Umm, honey, I think that's called happy."

Oh.

I guess it kind of drives home the point of how long I've been depressed, when having a good mood feels almost wrong. That it feels pathological, that I must be bipolar if I'm having a fraction of a happy thought.

But it isn't. It can be normal, just as ordering pizza can be normal. It's something I am hoping I will be getting used to.

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13 comments:

Tiptoe said...

Yeah Carrie! I know that strange feeling all too well. I've always wondered about my state of happiness as I don't know how to define it or how to really feel/accept that feeling.

Sometimes, I think there is a fear of almost "jinxing" yourself, or that this is some fluke, or that you couldn't possibly be happy. At least this is my thinking at moments when there is some cheer in my life.

Anyway, hope you are able to hold onto this feeling and realize that you indeed can be happy. And damn it, you deserve it too!

Andrea said...

My first SSRI changed my life. I think I had fought admitting my anxiety disorder diagnosis for so long I had become comfortable being uncomfortable. To feel normal again was foreign.
Great post, keep writing...it gives hope to others and is great therapy for yourself :)

Melanie S said...

This is exactly how I felt when I was put on an SSRI. I didn't like feeling like that and I stopped taking it, like an idiot. I'd spent the last 6 years in misery and I knew how to relatively function like that. Feeling 'happy' scared me. I didn't know how to act. I didn't know who the hell I was. So, no more pills.

Don't do what I did. Hold onto this feeling and fight like hell to keep it.

Amy said...

I had a few days several weeks ago where I, too, was like, is this mania? What the hell's going on? And, quick as it came, it was gone, but I'm pretty sure it was something resembling balance. I'd like to order another round of that.

iheartsquash said...

it's so crazy that your blog would be about this today, because i've been experiencing this, too, and actually...i'm kind of scared. i feel like it's an illusion or i just need to wait for the other shoe to drop. but i'm trying to live in the moment. so glad for you that that you are finding more pleasure in living, too!

Katie said...

Having experienced both SSRI induced mania and genuine happiness (well, on occasion!), I can testify to the fact that they are definitely very different feelings :p I can't take antidepressants because they all make me horribly unwell, both physically and psychologically, so it's nice to read that they have a positive effect on some people. Sorry for the random comment - I have been reading your blog for months and find myself relating so much of it, and I just wanted to say that I'm really glad to read this, I hope the feeling lasts for you :)

sad mom said...

Wishing you lots of happy!!

Harriet said...

Woo-hoo!

Did you read Daphne Merkin's piece in the Times Mag recently? You'd appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the same boat as Katie. I've experienced happy (and wow, was it strange after so many years of misery!) and also went completely, dangerously manic from an SSRI - twice. It's not happy. It's revved up, but it's not happy. I might have thought I was happy for a short time or tried to tell others I was fine and just happy (while they watched me go crazy) but it was not happiness. Mania and happiness are certainly very different experiences.
I'm so glad the dose bump-up is working for you. You deserve all the happiness in the world.

Sarah said...

yay for happy! And I am right here with you at this moment after some bumps with my meds. The other day I was thinking exactly the same thoughts you've described. Glad to know I'm not the only one!

xoxo

ps lol the word verification is sessess. apparently it's in parseltongue.

Jose Emerson said...

search for google on "Thank God I Had an Eating Disorder", true story that overcome there eating disorder...

Laura Collins said...

I know all your readers all got a shot of "happy" reading this.

I had a period in my life with constant nagging pain. When it was cured, overnight, I would find myself sobbing sometimes in this sort of vertigo of feeling fine. It was scary, I felt like hoarding it, and then at times I wanted to end it so it wouldn't be taken away. I got used to it, though, and appreciate normal so darn much!

Thank you so much for this post!

Carrie Arnold said...

Did I jinx myself? I think I might have just jinxed myself.

Dammit...

Still, despite the sudden tanking in mood and increase in anxiety, it is better than without the Prozac. Sigh.

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote



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