It must be the meds

Change by Ralf-Juergen

By mid May, I was actually starting to feel better.

I had been going to work every day for the last month, my fears about my best friend and me were getting thinner, time to go to sleep was still a critical moment, but insomnia was no longer the huge problem it had been.
One day, it was a Saturday afternoon, I was supposed to go shopping for groceries with my brother. He wound up having some other things to do in the end and, without even thinking about it that much, I heard myself saying: “Don’t worry, I’ll go by myself”.
The only place I had been going on my own since March was my workplace. I had been going out as much as I could, even during my worst days, but I never forgot to make sure someone was coming along with me.
I told myself I wasn’t worried (even though I knew I was bluntly lying), I grabbed my car keys and drove to the supermarket. I did my shopping and reached the queue at the register. While patiently waiting in line, I realized I was feeling so damn proud of myself. “Look at me – I thought – look how good I’ve been: I’ve got my groceries in my cart, I am standing in a queue among all of these people and I am not even feeling dizzy.”
Once I got out of the supermarket, I was so glad about that conquest that I thought it was too early to go back home. So I headed to a nearby toy store, in order to start having a look for a possible present for my friend’s newborn. I started walking almost randomly through the aisles and then I spotted a beautiful baby girl in her stroller. She must have been about 2 years old, she had cute brown curls and she was looking at me. Her dad, too busy trying to figure out which Lego City to buy, was standing with his back towards me. Nobody else was there to see us. That’s when something pretty unusual happened to me: I started making funny faces at the baby and pretended to chase her in a goofy run. I made her laugh and that laugh filled my heart in a way that hadn’t occurred that often recently.
I got back home brightened up by a plastic bag full of groceries and the memory of that baby smiling at me.

A couple of weeks later, I was paying visit to my friend and her baby for the second time. I had the baby in my arms and once again something weird happened to me: I found myself baby-talking to my friend’s child. I had never done anything like that in my whole life, not because I hadn’t felt like doing it, but because I was too ashamed of looking ridiculous. Now I was doing it and, what’s more, I was doing it in a house full of other people, without feeling embarrassed of myself. I was feeling free and I was enjoying my time with that beautiful little baby.

Something was definitely changing in me, but I couldn’t give it either a name or an explanation. Of course, I reported it to my analyst as soon as we met again.
“I don’t know what’s happening to me”, I told her, “I’m feeling good. I’m feeling better than I had ever felt before, even before everything started. And I’m feeling different, I’m finding myself doing things I would have never done before. I’m pulling faces at children I’ve never met before, I’m baby-talking to infants. Don’t get me wrong, I like it, I’m glad that this is happening. But I just can’t explain it. I’m afraid it could be because of the meds… It could be an effect of the Paroxetine I’m taking. I’m afraid so, but it would really be a pity, if it was like that. I hope this new feeling stays, even once I’ve quit my meds.”
With the same empathic look I was already feeling attached to, my therapist managed to reassure me: “We should give Paroxetine all the credit it deserves, but not more than that. Meds help out in reducing the symptoms of anxiety, they are definitely helpful in making us feel more calm and serene, but they don’t make us pull faces, they don’t make us baby-talk. Let’s not give meds more credit than they actually deserve.
So the changes I was experiencing in my attitude, in my behaviour, and even partially in my feelings were part of me. Or even better, a part of me that I had never known, that part of me that I had kept trapped somewhere inside was starting to manifest itself.
In few words, I was changing.
 
Well then, I had always firmly believed that people never change, that each of us is doomed to become more and more of who we are. Now I was facing the evidence that either I had been wrong all my life (and therefore people can change) or I had been hiding the real me, or at least part of it, until then. And now that part of me, probably the best one, was finally finding its well-deserved way out.

 


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