Love is a drug, but it’s not mine.
Mine is Zoloft. The decision to start taking it was not easy, it was like accepting defeat. Ultimately though, it was the very thing that propelled me forward into true recovery. Sometimes I think about stopping taking it but I’m not sure if the major depression and severe anxiety pre-dates the eating disorder or if the eating disorder was the cause of it. For now though I keep taking it because I don’t ever want to go back there. And, despite any long term ramifications there might be from taking this pharmaceutical drug, it cannot be any worse than the life time effects of starving and binging and purging, day in and day out.
Let’s be clear though. Taking drugs didn’t fix the eating disorder. My life didn’t magically fall into place once I popped a few pills.
There’s actually something called “treatment-resistant depression” and though no one on my health care team ever used those exact words, I was certainly experiencing something that was treatment-resistant. I was going through the motions but I wasn’t getting anywhere. There was this invisible bridge between effort and actuality that I just couldn’t cross and what soon became apparent was my hugely, colossal ability to be a complete and utter failure.
What I eventually came to accept was that there was in fact something missing that I, in all my human power, couldn’t connect. I needed a jolt, I needed something to bridge the connection for me.
So, here’s my not so profound analogy which I hope will paint a picture of what my drug did for me and why some people don’t need the drug.
My friend and I are getting ready for a night out. We’re primping in front of the mirror doing our make up and our hair and my friend decides she wants to curl her hair. She plugs in the curling iron and turns the heat setting to 10, does her thing with the magic wand, and walks out of the room with these big, beautiful, bouncy curls. She looks lovely and now I want to curl my hair too. The curling iron is still on so I step up to the mirror and take my turn. But, after a few passes through my hair, the curls aren’t holding. I get these pathetic, limp little twists that look nothing like her luscious curls. I try again but the same thing happens. I try again and again and I’m getting more and more agitated. “What am I doing wrong?”, I ask myself. My friend hears me huffing and puffing (and maybe swearing a little too) so she comes in and asks what the problem is. Without saying a word I point to the barely-visible bends in my hair, looking at her wide-eyed as if to say, “Can’t you see what the problem is?” She automatically understands my frustration, walks over to the curling iron, increases the temperature to the max and says, “Just try a hotter setting.” I try it…and, it works.
So, the moral of the story – we both had to follow the same process to curl our hair, I just needed a little more heat for my curls to hold. And it was the same with the drug. I still had to go through all the work and fear and tears and angst while recovering from the eating disorder – all the drug did was make the work hold. As hair has different characteristics and properties, so too does the human brain.
There are a million ways to accomplish the same goal. I accepted my unique and different brain and chose a way that worked for me.