Blogging, especially when you know people are reading, can be a risky little game. There are things I want to say, but feel I can't. There are things I hate to say, but know I should. I guess that's the nature of honesty and tact, and practicing them can be difficult at times.
Something I don't want to say but should: I've been on Zoloft, a common anti-depressant, for about 18 months now. Looking back, I can't even remember if I've mentioned that before, but it's relevant here. I got on it after the marathon. I probably should have been on it a lot sooner, but I was reluctant because one of the big side effects is weight gain. I hate to say this, but at the time, I would rather have been depressed than fat. When things really started to take a turn for the worse, I changed my thinking to "I'd rather be alive than dead," because that's how dire it was, and I decided it was time for me to experience a day that was not filled with desperation.
So, that's when I started taking my happy pill. While I can understand why people feel the need to refer to anti-depressants as "happy pills," it's really a misnomer- at least for me. They never made me happy; rather, they took my spectrum of misery-to-joy and smooshed it together, until the spectrum didn't really exist any more. Emotional extremes were pretty much gone. This was partly awesome because I hardly ever felt sad. As my friends and family will verify, I am most definitely a crier, and I hardly ever cried anymore on Zoloft. The other extreme was gone too, though. I'm sitting here now, trying to remember a moment of pure joy that I might have had during my Zoloft haze, and I can't remember one. That's kind of sad.
While I blame myself entirely for my weight gain (after all, it was me making those choices and no one else), I feel like the numbing effect of Zoloft played a part. I put on about 25 pounds in the first month. I got fatter and fatter, but hey- at least I wasn't as depressed about it.
When I decided I was ready to try to lose the weight again, I thought I should get everything in my corner that I possibly could. That's when I decided to stop taking it. Let me just say this before I go any further: if you'd on an anti-depressant, always check with your doctor if you're thinking about stopping. I wish I had. She probably would have told me to taper-down, rather than quitting cold turkey. That would have been good to know.
For a few days, I didn't really feel any different. After a week or two, I could feel my old self start to emerge a bit. I'd cry a lot more readily. Pretty much anything cold set me off- an ASPCA commercial, stubbing my toe, seeing a dead squirrel on the road- anything. Old feelings that I thought were gone came rushing back. It also feels like there's a shorted-out wire loose in my brain. Out of no where, I'll get these little "zaps." It doesn't hurt, but it's annoying. While the negative parts of Zoloft withdrawal are bothersome, I will say that the highs returned, too. I'm happier, even with all the crying and brain-buzzing, than I was before.
I'm also not quite as hungry. I've been following my weekly goals and doing pretty well. Last week my goals were to exercise 3 times and avoid beef, which I did with no problem. I even managed to run on the treadmill for a couple of minutes. This week, my goals were to keep up with the exercise, limit beef to 1 serving for the whole week, eat no fried food, and avoid alcohol. I have one more workout to go before tomorrow, but that won't be a problem. The scale is being rather obnoxious- I've only lost 2 pounds since I started, but I feel worlds better. I'm not quite so out of breath when doing everyday things, and I'm feeling more confident. This time around, I'm really trying to focus on how I feel instead of the number on the scale. In that respect, I feel like I'm getting results.
So that's that. Now, where's the Kleenex?