Emotional Wellbeing

Wobbling craziesEverybody in my family is insane. I'm not being facetious. We are clinically diagnosed gonzo wackos who probably should never be allowed on the street.

We have alcoholics, schizophrenics, bipolars, depressives, hypochondriacs, and whatever ails our eldest brother, Stephen, who occasionally claims that the government reads his mail.

We can spin along like normal people, sometimes for years at a time and you'd not suspect our secret. You never know, however, and neither do we, when one of us will destabilize and wobble to a stop, after which we'll fall over and lie in the middle of the floor, creating a hazard to navigation.

Today's psychopharmaceuticals are heaven-sent for those of us who don't enjoy our particular form of madness. They give us a chance to experience things that not-crazy people take for granted, such as the absence of anxiety, paranoia, obsessive-compulsiveness, chronic irritability, and visits to the hospital for somatoform conditions.

My own chemical crutch is the group of drugs known as serum seratonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Although the pharmacology for these drugs claims that nobody understands for sure how they work (a baffling piece of information), the theory is that they prevent one's nervous system from sucking up too much of certain neurotransmitters that are critical for emotional stability. That some of us don't have enough of these substances floating around in our circulation is thought to be at the foundation of our lunacy.

When I began taking an SSRI at the dawn of Prozac (fluoxetine), I thought I would take it only until it cured me of the anxiety and depression I've experienced since I was a wee tiny lass. I chose the drug therapy route only after everything else I did--bicycling, yoga, meditation, hypnosis, group therapy and one-on-one psychological counseling for years on end, will power, rebirthing, and all the other stuff that's supposed to fix me up--didn't do the trick for very long.

Don't let us out!SSRIs reduce my symptoms and ease the stress of my anxiety-and-irritability-beleaguered life, but they do not cure the chemical deficiencies that probably underlie my emotional derangement. When I periodically de-medicate, the symptoms always return and the fact that I understand what happens with my neurotransmitters doesn't help me. The symptoms are persistent and seem so real. No matter what I do to keep them in check, they nag and claw at my self-esteem, my ability to function, and to play well with others. The bushwa in my head will not be denied!