Starting medication: not a fix all

It’s been two and a half weeks since my personal doctor prescribed Citolopram (Xelexa) which is a typical OCD medication. He said it was fairly harmless, and we could just try it out for 4 weeks.

It gave some interesting side effects (tight feeling in my abdomen and jaw, little bit of dizziness at times, and waking up during sleep) but it seemed to help me avoid the normal pitfalls of rOCD.

I would notice the things that would normally tank me, but with the medication I wouldn’t tank. It was discouraging to dislike what she said, but it didn’t wreck me like it used to. I did have to remind myself not to obsess when B said something that sounded dumb, but overall I was felt optimistic and with a little bit of discomfort, was managing well.

But yesterday we went to get out marriage license and I had a bad day like I used to. I tanked emotionally. As we were walking up to the Probate court (new word for me!) she asked what two forms of ID I brought. I told her my drivers license and passport. And as if she thought it were a rare coincidence, she said, “I brought MY passport too!”

The old patterns started. I could feel my heart drop. My brain started to cloud and I started to stress out. Why did she think it was so rare that I brought what feels like the most likely types of ID were what we both chose? In fact I feel like we had mentioned our passports recently.

Then inside I think she said a couple other little things that reinforced this frustration, though they shouldn’t have. I was in super skeptic mode so that I tested everything she said with a microscopic skepticism. Like, we were looking for the entrance but it was hard because there was a lot of construction so I looked at my map, and turned into a doorway that looked like it was right, but it was the exit. But then five feet later there was a different entrance that was the real entrance. And she said, your instincts were right! I shot back, why do you say that? And she explained, because you thought the doorway was close? (see, super high skepticism, even when she’s just being kind!)

One thing that does stand out is she went to check on if the line was moving. She came back and I asked, “Is it moving?” And she said, “No.” I asked, “Are they letting anyone in?” She said, “Yeah a couple.” And I said, “So the line IS moving!” She said, “Okay, yeah, I guess it is.”

After we got the license and parted ways with a congenial kiss, I reached out later and said, I would like to see you again to see if we can get a reset. She said she was thinking about asking for the same thing. So she picked me up and we went to IKEA a few hours later, which is usually our safe place.

It is becoming not so 😦 On the way I asked how her day was going. She told me a work story about how they give the green light to potential missionaries once enough of them confirm that they’re going on the trips. But some of them call and ask if it’s confirmed yet so they can buy their tickets. But these are the very people they are waiting on to confirm. B said, it’s a catch-22. I started obsessing, that’s not really a catch-22; it’s perfectly solvable. I tried so hard to let go of that but I was disappointed that this is typical B thinking flaws.

Then she came to a corner at which the map seemed obvious it was saying to turn, but she didn’t think it was right. I have also always been frustrated at her lack of mapping skills so this just triggered me too. Don’t you know how to read a map? Then she stopped the car at the driveway entrance that we always go in at IKEA, doing what I thought was hesitating to figure out which fork in the road to take. I said with some frustration, “Hunny, don’t you remember we always go in here?” She later said, she was just reading the sign but I was judgmental on here for forgetting, even though she had sent me a message teasing me to be jealous of her food from a restaurant we liked, and then later I asked if she already ate lunch. She said, how can you be frustrated at me for what you thought was me forgetting something, but you forget stuff too. I replied, it’s not a one-time thing; it’s just a constant barrage of things I hear from you that trigger me, and eventually I break.

She got a phone call on our way to IKEA and she pushed what I thought was the green button, which I thought would answer the call. The call went away like she had declined the call, but I told her, “I think you just answered the call. You pushed the green button.” She said, “I think I hung up. I pushed the green one, or whatever button is on the right.” I said, “Yeah, that’s the one to answer, if I’m not mistaken.” But the call never picked up so I don’t know if the person hung up at exactly the same time, or if, like I then brought up to her, I wonder if when I’m in these moods I can’t think straight.

We walked around IKEA in an all too familiar funk. We were looking at tables for our house and she compared the height two of them by marking how high each came on her thigh. She concluded one was taller, but I tested it myself several times, and read the description three times to see if I could trust her assessment. She was right, but just barely. One description said 23 1/8 and the other was 23 1/2 (the opposite of what our thigh measuremtns were telling us) and I don’t know if she would know which fraction was more, because she has admitted she’s struggled a lot with math. Now looking back I think she’d know, but in that moment, I was really skeptical. It sure seems to me in those moments that REALLY obvious things don’t seem obvious to her.

She had to go on to something from there so I caught an Uber home. But we said, I love you. And I said, I’m sorry I’m like this. I recognize when I get in these moods I become so unhealthily skeptical that in my eyes you can do no right. I’m so sorry.

This first really bad day was about two and a half weeks after I started the drugs. It’s also about the time the side effects of the drug seemed to go away. I did start taking it in the morning instead of evening about this same time (to see if that helps get better sleep) but I don’t think that should have made such a big difference. I also started a 6am workout routine three days a week with some great Christian dudes. So this is probably fluxing my sleeping and body chemicals as well.

All this to say, the medication seemed to take off the edge for two weeks. And I was getting hopeful. But it appears it will not solve every day, and in fact I might go back to having almost as many bad days as good ones. I hope not but we’ll see!

One month to wedding day.

R, 4-9-21

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