I am an adventurous person and I'm used to evaluating and taking risks either in my sea kayak or in the mountains. I consider myself to be a person who seizes risk laden opportunities as they appear and I believe I'm fortunate that I do so. However, I have an opportunity before me which I consider to be risky and which I find myself feeling unusually wary of.
As many of you know I suffer from severe clinical depression. The psychiatrist responsible for my care has termed my depression as 'treatment resistant'. This is because despite many different interventions over the last year, my mood remains obstinately depressed, so much so that there are moments where I find myself staring into a dark abyss. I'm incredibly thankful for the treatment I am receiving from the medical profession here in Scotland and I do not expect them to solely work the miracle of cure for me. Rather, I view their care as a facilitative one where through my increased motivation and assistance from their prescribed medication and talking therapy, my depression lessens and my sense of well being increases.
Recently my mood has been incredibly low - worryingly so. Apart from my interactions on Twitter, I find myself paralysed with self-doubt preferring to hide here on the boat, away from my world, rarely venturing forth unless I'm certain I'll not bump into people I know. This time is not entirely wasted because I am writing and researching plans for adventures in 2018. However, I would prefer to be more outgoing and be as engaged with the Tobermory community as I used to be.
In response to this deep low and my seeming resistance to the treatment I am receiving, the psychiatrist has prescribed an additional medication for me to take alongside my existing anti-depressant. I won't say what this is because for some reason I don't want to make my medication details public. What I will say is that it is an uncommonly used intervention and is one not normally prescribed for depression cure. The hope is that this drug will shift the log jam I am experiencing in my tormented depressive thinking which leaves me inactive and paralysed by self-loathing. By all accounts, this drug when used for other people in a similarly stuck position as the one I am facing, has proved to be incredibly successful. It has been explained to me that in just about every case the patients had returned to full cognitively buoyant and rudely happy health. This for me is my Holy Grail!
Without much more persuasion I agreed to give this medication a try and this morning collected it from the pharmacist. (As an aside, we are incredibly fortunate here in Scotland to receive free prescriptions & medication.) On opening the box and reading the information my heart slumped - it was like a punch to my abdomen. I had expected there to be side effects to the drug because there always are with psychiatric medication. I had hoped that this being an 'add-on' to my current medication regime, this wouldn't be as worrisome.
I personally find the side effects of medication difficult to cope with, especially those which affect my nervous system - increased agitation and insomnia. It's an anathema to me how these drugs actually cure the illness they are prescribed for, when it appears that the side effects exacerbate it. There have been many times in the past I have stopped taking a drug because the side effects were more difficult to cope with than my illness itself.
Looking at the side effects for this drug I'm left wondering whether to go ahead and begin taking it or to stop right now and leave it well alone. I'm in a quandary. It has been explained to me that this may be the wonder drug to cure my depression, albeit an unconventional choice. I certainly want this to be true yet..., I see the list of side effects and I feel incredibly reluctant to take it.
In essence I'm faced with a risk of sorts, and it's a risk I'm having difficulty evaluating. It's not simply a case of giving the medication a try and maybe stopping if it's not working. It's a commitment to giving it a good long try, despite the difficulties I may find I have with it. I am genuinely fearful of the side effects. When I'm kayaking or mountaineering I face fear as a matter of course when I encounter outdoor risk after risk. Invariably I'm able to rationalise any fear I may feel and use this to my advantage in making a decision to accept the risk. However in this instance, the sense of fear is getting the better of me and I find myself struggling to consider taking on the risk, even though it has been explained that the possible benefits far outweigh the perceived difficulties.
There are a few days yet for me to decide what path to take and I have the opportunity to meet with the psychiatrist in the coming week to discuss my choice in greater detail. This will be helpful because right now I find myself where I hate to be - paralysed by uncertainty.