Life resumes at the convent. I’m both content and relieved to be back, despite feeling bad because I slept a good portion of the last few days away. I started a new medication upon my return Sunday night. It’s a mood stabilizer similar to one I used to take. The old one made me gain weight. This one isn’t supposed to do that. This new one helps me sleep and is supposed to help with my anxiety, in addition to some of the unexplainable waves of depression that kept knocking me off my feet here and there.
Starting a new medication leaves me feeling scared and vulnerable. Even though I know deep down I need the new med adjustment, the voices from everyone who ever felt it was their place to tell me they opposed psychiatric meds plays on repeat in my mind. I agree with some that, as a society, we are over-medicated. I’m horrified by some of the stories I’ve heard of friends or family being prescribed psychiatric meds by family doctors who don’t follow up properly. Psych meds are nothing to be taken lightly. The problem is that mental illness tricks those who are really ill into thinking they don’t need medication. How do I know whether I’m well enough to cut back on medication, or if it’s my illness trying to take over my life again? The truth? I don’t. That’s where a good psychiatrist comes in.
Even now, with this new medication my doctor added on top of my others, I wonder if I really “need” it. Couldn’t I continue to live without it? I was doing okay. Yes, I had some intense anxiety and sleep issues, and yes, I had waves of depression knocking me off my feet once in a while, but I dealt with it okay. This is where I have to trust my analytical side, understanding my symptoms were problematic and that I don’t have to wait until I’m self-destructive again to get treatment.
Part of what caused a majority of my health problems (both physical and mental) was that I never trusted myself to gauge my feelings properly. If someone told me I was exaggerating my pain, I’d believe him or her. I’m working to own my feelings, reminding myself that “my symptoms were problematic, so I’m treating them.” I’ve put up with others telling me how to think or feel for too long. I’m currently doing work to strengthen my narrative voice for my ind. study. It’s not a coincidence that my narrative voice is timid when I’m used to either: 1) Not voicing my opinions or 2) Presenting my opinions as questions for others to build on or combat.
I experienced an overwhelming sensation of peace this evening. Reading poetry aloud outside is the best prayer-like experience in my life. I read on a bench near a tree I call “The Vision Tree.” I don’t know enough about trees to accurately describe it, but I’ll try. It’s giant trunk has such a wide base that I climbed up in it for a picture once, and it made me look very small. It must be broken or carved out somehow. It’s not dead, but it has this place I can climb into where another plant grows. It looks like, if there was ever a place to have a vision, this tree would be the place. It’s a semi-flat, carved out surface where something or someone could perfectly stand above you and give out words of wisdom. I teased my friend that I’d have to take some hallucinogenic drugs and sit by the tree until I had a vision. She didn’t find that funny. I’m a bit irreverent for being someone so drawn to sacred things.