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I had a doctor’s appointment this past week.  Which is not remarkable in and of itself.  I have a lot of doctor’s and they all require a visit from time to time.  But this doctor offered to take me off one of my medications, to see if I really needed it.

Medically, she is right.  There is a decent chance that I could wean off the meds without a return of the pain, the constant pain, and life would be fine.  Actually, life would be slightly better.  Less pain, less medication.

And yet, and yet, I said no.

I’ve talked here before about how hard it is to be healthy after you’ve been sick, and as I walked out of the doctor’s office I wondered how much of my no was about that.

Most of my no was about other things though.  I’ve only been pain free for about a year.  And I’ve spent most of that year re-learning how to tell when I’m in pain.  (I’m well aware of the depths of the problems in that statement.)  So I don’t trust myself to know if the pain did return if I stopped taking the medication.  I occasionally miss an evening dose and I notice that the next day.  The medication has few side effects, so staying on it has few negatives.

Someday, I hope, I look nervously forward too, I will get to say yes to this offer.  Despite how hard it is psychologically.  Despite how much easier it is to keep saying no.  Despite how scary it sounds.  Despite the open question of whether or not I can actually live, pain free, with out the meds.

But for now, for a lot of reasons, I’m staying on them.  One more pill.  It’s the right choice.  For me.  For this season.  For however long this season lasts.

Today is World Suicide Day.

Most people don’t know those of us who have tried or thought about trying suicide.  Most people know about the people who have successfully committed suicided.

I’ve been suicidal.  Most recently, after my second surgery.  I think I’ve mentioned before that that surgery was the toughest one to survive.   And I almost didn’t.  I can still remember sitting in my dorm room looking at the phone and my yellow ribbon card.  I sat there for what would have been minutes but seemed like forever working up the courage, the strength, to reach out.  To fulfill the promise I’d made after the last time I’d been suicidal.  That if this ever happened again I would get help.

Eventually I made the phone call to the campus psych services.  They got me into an appointment, they told me that I was depressed, they put me on my first round of anti-depressants.  They saved my life.

I am once again, and probably for the rest of my life, taking anti-depressants.  (Search this blog for pills.  The anti-depressants are the red pills.)  By now I think I have been through enough trauma that I will be taking anti-depressants for the rest of my life.  Which makes me glad that I live in a country with healthcare, that I have a job with benefits, that I have a background that tells me it’s okay to ask for this kind of help.  It was worth it.  It was harder than anyone who has never been suicidal can understand.

My suicide stories are longer.  But I don’t, this week, have the energy to tell all of them.  So let me say this in closing.

I am glad to be alive.  Making that phone call, living up to the promise I had made to myself, was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

Among everything else I’ve been up to in the past month or two, I’ve added a doctor to my collection.  With my life seeming stable for the near future and a neurologist in town who was taking new patients, it seemed like a good time to deal with my headaches.

I could go on with a long list of accolades for my neurologist.  Fabulous doctor.  And when I said, “This is my reality.”  She took me seriously.  I was diagnosed with migraines.  And I left her office with new prescriptions.

I take more pills every day now.  But they work.  They work so well that they stopped the headaches I didn’t know I was still having every day.  They haven’t (yet) stopped every headache I have.  There’s a good chance that they won’t.  I know that and my doctor knows that.

I have new pills, which I don’t like, but yesterday, today, and tomorrow are better.

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