s is for sertraline

and for sammy :)

Last week in therapy I had to admit that without sertraline I would be totally fucked. I’ve been taking antidepressants for about four years now - longer than I’ve held down any relationship, job or home since I left Swansea. I did try to come off my meds at one point and managed it for a bit, but it all got too grim again, so I went back on.

I felt a lot more bodily vulnerable without sertraline. That’s not to say I don’t feel vulnerable at all while on it - it just means I’m able to use zebra crossings without feeling so exposed that I cry. And I can walk to work without feeling constantly surveilled by passersby. And I can exercise without feeling like my grey, sallow skin is going to slide off my bones and my skeleton will rattle noisily before bursting into a puff of dust. Just ~girly~ things, ya know. I would say I’m still depressed, no doubt. But I am on meds and in therapy, and I feel loads better than I did when I was twenty-five, at least.

And most of the time, taking sertraline is no problem. I take one pill every morning with my breakfast, get my tablets sent through the post, and pay for my prescription using my phone. And my whole situation could be a lot worse. I’m really lucky that I’ve hit the jackpot with sertraline and its positive effects on my symptoms. I’m hyper-aware that there are loads of people out there who can’t find something that works for them in the same way, and they’re just out there living heroically in the gross world with no chemical buffer. That is incredibly unfair.

But - back to me!! - when I really start thinking about taking a mood-altering tablet every day until I die in order not to be a person without emotional buffers, and that can’t operate in the world without feeling everything utterly viscerally to the point of emotional exhaustion, and the implications of all of that, things start to get a bit upsetting.

I start to have a casual afternoon identity crisis or two, like… am I the sertraline now? Is sertraline in my brain and just using me as a freakish host, like that hick in Men in Black? How much of my achievements can be attributed to antidepressants, and how much of them are by ‘me’? And what would I look like, speak like, think like, without my yummy daily dosage of the big S?

We also talked about the idea of personal authenticity in my therapy session. I tend to place a lot of value on being ‘real,’ and placing where sertraline fits into that ‘real person’ is really difficult. I don’t know if taking sertraline is helping me to be more ‘me’, I just know it helps me get out of bed. But what if the ‘real me’ DOES just want to live in bed? Should I just let myself? What if the most authentic version of me cries all the time, sleeps 16 hours a day, and eats Pot Noodles only? I don’t like her, and she doesn’t like herself either. She can definitely fuck off for now, at least.

I’m on a journey of continued thinking, questioning, and healing myself right now, and will probably always will be. Sometimes it seems to me that I should come off sertraline and start building from ground zero, because healing with the help of sertraline doesn’t feel ‘real’ enough. Other times I think I am giving myself a super fucking hard time for no reason at all. Both ways suck and I wouldn’t recommend them! I want to learn to just be - if that’s on or off my sertraline.

Tiny distractions from mortal terror: notable stuff I’ve absorbed recently

  1. Omg I still haven’t finished The Neopolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante. They’ve been getting me down tbh - they’re so bleak and uneasy and set in boiling places with rude people everywhere - but I can and will polish off the last half of the last book if it kills me.

  2. I completed Hades, and it was so fun - however, I still need to complete the epilogue and shag everyone in sight. Including the Gorgon head.

  3. I’ve started listening to music again!!!!!!! I love this by Beach Bunny, this by Cloud Nothings, this by Anarchy99, and this by Yu Su.

  4. I bought Just Dance on Switch and IT IS SO FUN. I got Megastar on Rasputin by Boney M the other night, and I am PROUD.

  5. More Drag Race UK, which is possibly the only thing holding me together? Bimini ’n’ Tayce forever.

  6. I just polished off a series of Are You the One? on Netflix… dude, those people really wanted to win that million quid.

  7. On telly I’ve been enjoying vvv placid Channel 4 watches including Extraordinary Escapes with Sandi Toksvig, and The Great Pottery Throw Down.

Have a nice evening/morning/time you lovely person. Reply me something nice. x