Two weeks ago, I described my experience with depression and starting to take a medicine to hopefully help deal with it. About that time, my doctor doubled the dose. I was already seeing some changes, and a return of the feelings that make me, me. The transformation since then, however, has been extraordinary.
While I did feel like I was coming out of a fog two weeks ago, now I'm like me from... I'm not sure when. Diana described me as being more "driven," which I think sums it up well. I'm so not into riding the couch, and I want to do things. I've taken on a philanthropy project, I've been working a lot on that word game in my spare time, I'm more plugged in at work, I'm writing more, I banged out half a screenplay outline, and maybe most importantly, I'm (mostly) more patient with Simon.
I said last time that one of the biggest things that triggered this desire to explore medication was the absence of joy. Last night, we met up with friends before a show, and even though the show was terrible (it was Cats), it felt so amazing and great to be out at the theater and being social. It felt good to take in the downtown vibes, have my favorite lady next to me and know that I was looking forward to what I would do the next day. I suppose I didn't realize how absent these fundamental things were before.
Now, keep in mind that I still feel sadness. There's not a lot of positive things happening in the news lately, to understate the situation. In fact, I would say that even the sadness is more intense, but what's different is that it doesn't make me want to crawl under the bed and go to sleep.
As for the ADHD treatment, the off-label use of bupropion, that's a little more of a mixed bag. I find that sitting at my desk, I'm less likely to open six browser tabs for the purpose of wasting time. I have no desire to doom-scroll social media. With all of this focus though, I have revived the need to balance things out. You have to step away from things, take moments, relax, meditate and maybe even have a nap now and then. If I don't do that, I find myself tired and not at my best.
This all comes at a time when I'm already framing every action and feeling in a context that includes autism and ADHD. What I'm learning about myself is just how much work it is for me to adhere to the neurotypical social contracts and structures that we need to operate in the world. For example, eye contact with people I don't know really well is exhausting. I used to write that off as a character flaw, but now I know there's more to it than that. Also, the usual bits of how you interact with people, emphasizing kindness and encouragement and advocacy, I know that it's the typical way to interact with people, but I see in the moment now that it takes a hundred decisions in the moment to act that way. Everything I've learned about Simon having to develop compensation strategies, I now realize I have.
I can't really put into words how overwhelming all of this discovery is, and maybe realizing that I didn't understand myself very well. It's a strange realization to have at this point in life. It's humbling, because one thing that I like about being over 40 is that I feel I've accumulated a fair amount of useful wisdom. I suppose I still have that, but recognize that I won't ever be done (well, until I die, obviously). The important thing is that this drug really helps. For some reason that's surprising.