I knew I wanted to write about medication as my M word, but I was feeling anxious about it. My path to taking medication was long and convoluted. I'm up to Part 7.5 of my medication story, as you'll see from the list of posts below. In Part 7.5, I had been off my SSRI antidepressant(pitifully low dose for OCD) for several months, and increasingly trapped in my anxiety about my body.
My incessant seeking of answers about my symptoms led to more medical tests, including a biopsy and a freak accident, after which I could barely sit or walk, and all manner of bandaging as the wounds slowly healed. I've never experienced pain like that before. Getting in and out of the car was an ordeal. Yet in the middle of this crisis, I realized I needed real help, and I found a therapist on the International OCD Foundation list, who specialized in Exposure Therapy, and made an appointment, just a week after my injury. I drove 1.5 hrs through traffic, in raw pain, and limped into the therapist's office. I was trying to sit on the couch and talk about my symptoms of OCD, while feeling like a freak.
This Exposure therapist referred me to another therapist in the practice, Leonard, who helped me change my life. I had gone back on my tiny dose of the SSRI after finding out my sister-in-law had had a heart attack at age 49, and the health anxiety was more overwhelming than my fear of medication. Leonard advised me that OCD often responds to larger doses, and with my doctor's approval, I slowly ramped up my dose of the course of a couple of months to the maximum. Leonard didn't patronize me. He didn't throw meds at me. He helped me to see that in order to do my exposures, and have some breathing room from the OCD, that a high dose could aid that. I'm still on that high dose, and in the process of slowing down my ERP therapy, as I've made tremendous progress. In the past my OCD would be agitating to get me off meds right now, because of needing to know right now if there are long term effects. I still get those thoughts, but if I go off the meds, it will be on my terms not the OCD's, and for now, the benefit of reclaiming my life is enough.