Into the Unknown

I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately. It’s not full on insomnia wakefulness, thank goodness, but I’m either having trouble falling asleep or I’m waking up a million times in the night so I don’t get a full night’s continuous sleep, or both. I’ve been becoming more and more exhausted and so, when I went in for my annual physical last week, I asked my doctor if there was something stronger than the Zzquil I had been using that might help me fall and stay asleep.

I don’t take any prescription medications, so we didn’t have to worry about strange interactions or anything, so she put in a prescription and we tried something. This first choice didn’t improve anything and gave me terrible headaches. I called the office and let the staff know this, and in a few days the doctor had sent in a different script to replace it.

When I picked up the new drug yesterday I read over the details and side effects carefully only to discover that it wasn’t a sleeping drug, it was an antidepressant with a very common side effect of sleepiness. Some internet research showed that it was commonly prescribed for people with trouble sleeping, so I wasn’t worried there, but I did call the office to see if this was right, if they meant to give me an antidepressant. They confirmed that they did. I need to sleep, so I’m trying it for now. I took it for the first time last night and it seemed to have better results than the first drug.

I haven’t discussed my depression in detail with my doctor yet, just in passing. I manage my symptoms okay without medication, and I’ve been doing that for a very long time. It’s probably not the best, and it takes a lot of effort sometimes, but it’s never been a serious enough situation with either the depression or the anxiety to make me want to get medication. Depression is an old friend and we’re used to each other.

What I’m wondering is how this drug will affect not only my sleep, but my management of my depression. I don’t know what it feels like to not be depressed, so I’m not sure what it will feel like if I do feel better. How can I tell if it’s working? What would that even be like? When I’ve been depressed for so long, and bent my thoughts to managing the feelings that come with that condition, who will I be when those feelings are lessened or gone completely?

Lately I’ve noticed that I’m making choices and planning experiences that are bringing up a lot of feelings like this. Feelings like “who will I be after this happens?”

I’m going in for a consultation for braces in May. My teeth have been crooked as long as I can remember and I never got braces as a kid. What will my mouth feel like with straight teeth and an aligned bite? How will that affect my life in a positive way?

We’re finally in a place where we can start squirreling money away for a down payment on a house. What will it feel like to own where we live so that we don’t have to be afraid that our lease won’t be renewed or that the house we rent will be sold out from under us or even that we’ll have to live in apartment and lose privacy and control over our comfort? How much anxiety is just constant in relation to our living situation, and what will it feel like to have that anxiety disappear?

These are experiences that will be new. They aren’t things that I used to have that I want to get back or regrets that I nurse in my mind as I fall asleep. I am moving into unknown territory, and I am genuinely curious (and a little bit nervous) about how they will all turn out. I’ve been burned by new endeavors before; I’m hopeful that these upcoming experiences aren’t going to end in the same way.

One of my goals for getting older was to not be afraid of the unknown, to always be willing to try new things, and to always be learning. I shouldn’t continue to be depressed just because that’s what I’m used to if I have the opportunity to be better. Just because I’ve always had crooked teeth doesn’t mean I can’t have non-crooked teeth. I never thought I would ever own a home, but I don’t need to keep renting just to fulfill that prophecy when other options are now a possibility.

The next couple of years are going to bring lots of changes, both small and large. I’m excited for the possibilities.