I’m changing medications right now.
When I was diagnosed a year ago, I didn’t think I needed medication. I definitely didn’t want medication.
I thought there’d be a non-medicine quick fix, since it was “just” OCD.
I wish I could tell you there are quick fixes, but for most of us, there really aren’t.
I wish I could tell you there’s a one-size-fits-all treatment that works for all of us, but there isn’t.
Even though OCD was making me miserable and keeping me from living any kind of life, I bought into the idea that OCD is no big deal.
After a couple of months, I wasn’t making much progress with my exposure and response prevention “homework,” though. Trying to face even the smallest, newest of my obsessions or fears after years of giving into them caused too much anxiety.
I gave in and decided to give medication a try.
I started on Zoloft, an SSRI, and it has been amazing in so many ways. It didn’t rid me of my obsessions, but it did help me deal with them how I imagine someone without OCD might: Register that it was a weird thought, shrug and move on with my life, instead of ruminating for weeks. It also took the edge off my deep-seated intrusive thoughts so that I could face them and retrain myself to react normally to them, through ERP.
Zoloft and I don’t get along so great, though. It has a few side effects that I just can’t deal with, and after discussion with my psychiatrist, we lowered my dose.
But even with ERP and coping tools, my OCD is worming its way back in.
On the plus side, I have some proof that ERP works. For the past few weeks, I’ve really struggled with disturbing intrusive thoughts — but none of them have been ones I dealt with in therapy and “homework.” They’ve all been ones I haven’t tackled yet, like my fear that rabid bats have touched everything I loved and it all has rabies and I’ll get rabies too, or new ones, like that my teeth are falling out. Knowing that therapy is working makes the constant dread and anxiety a little easier to deal with, although I don’t want to live here.
On the minus side, I am coming to terms with the fact that some people can beat their OCD with just ERP, some can beat it with just medication, but I need both. I know it’s not realistic, and that this is an illness and not anything I can control, but this has been a difficult thing to accept. I don’t like medication for anything, and having to admit I need it feels like accepting defeat, even though I know that’s not the case. There’s nothing wrong with needing medication. It’s not a crutch.
So I’m weaning off Zoloft and will be trying a different SSRI, Luvox, which will hopefully be more effective at a lower dose. In the meantime, I’m probably going to have a few anxious weeks. Not fun — but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel this time.
Photo by Wokandapix at Pixabay.