I began watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer just a year ago, because I was a small child when the 90s series was being filmed. Fiction doesn’t usually intrigue me; I enjoy reading, writing and watching real people and events. But Buffy reminds me of the importance of “fighting your demons.” Watchers can learn a lot about love, loss, vulnerability, and strength—both physical and mental—no matter their age.
Almost three years ago, I began Wellbutrin for ADD. I was not proud that I resorted to medication, but it was something that should’ve been done so long ago. And Buffy reassured me that if this medication is what it takes to fight my inner demons, then there’s no shame in doing it.
When Medicine Doesn’t Fix Everything
I always thought something was wrong with me and that I was destined to lack closeness to others. Consequently, I wouldn’t go on social outings, job interviews, and other things that made me feel vulnerable to rejection because what’s the point if I’m socially deficient?
After starting Wellbutrin, I became motivated to show up every day, whether to work or play. I’ve gone on more interviews, parties, dates, I’ve made more friends, and overall have started to truly live and understand the meaning of the quote “in the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.”
I started a new job six months ago and love the company culture, but my work has been heavily edited over the past few months, and stakeholders have been complaining to leadership behind my back. Additionally, when I worked on their social media, punctuation and spelling errors were found by colleagues many times.
Whenever I receive feedback on my work with heavy edits, I think to myself that maybe it’s time for the next big step. I don’t just want a base-level knowledge of these topics I’m writing about. I want to become an expert.
Improvising When Things Don’t Work as Planned
Recently, my company had severe IT problems that were threatening the business.
I could’ve freaked out and gotten upset about possible job loss. But instead of applying for another job that I hoped would be “the one,” I used this as an opportunity to hit the books like I’d been itching to do.
More importantly, during times like these, you need to remember you are more than your job. And if Buffy taught me anything about identity, it’s that you need to figure out who and what you are, without the thing that you identified yourself with, whether a career or significant other.
So, maybe these situations are all a sign that after five years post-college graduation, I’m ready to go down the educational path again. And that’s what I’m going to do.
Plan B: More Medication
I only see my psychiatrist once a year. I already saw her in 2019, but given how things are at work, I recently asked to see her again. In her office, she listened to me vent about my work situation, flipped through my file, and asked me how I did in school.
I got a 3.3 GPA after graduating high school. My parents are highly educated and hounded me to do my homework (and even chores) starting in elementary school, even driving me to school after hours if I forgot to bring it home. Maybe I would’ve been diagnosed sooner if that weren’t the case.
However, I received less than a 3.0 in college, but a 3.4 when I took some classes at a community college last year after starting Wellbutrin. At that point, I was also blowing my then-boss out of the water with my work.
During my visit with my therapist a few months ago, I stated that I moved recently. During the first two months, I forgot to lock the door a few times and supposedly left the stove on twice.
The psychiatrist stated that it appeared my mood had improved during the three visits we’d had over three years, but I seemed to be reporting issues related to executive function. She told me to keep taking Wellbutrin and wrote me a prescription for Adderall. I am to cut the pill in half with each use and take “as needed.”
I Don’t Know What’s Coming
I swore years ago that I would never take psychiatric medications, but here I am, almost 30 years old and on two. I’m beyond nervous, but I’m trying to reframe my “what if” questions. I was terrified to take Wellbutrin, but look at me now! Sure, I wanted to flush the pills during my first month trial, but I became side-effect free afterward. It would’ve been worse if I never took it. Maybe the same principle applies here. What if Adderall in conjunction with Wellbutrin is what I need to get through grad school? What if it even helps me in my interpersonal connections—from work to socializing to dating and intimacy? I never asked to be this way, nor did anyone else, but it’s on me to initiate the change. Either I can continue to wonder “what if I would’ve tried XYZ,” or I can actually explore XYZ.
Healing involves being proactive, using your best judgement, and continuing to fight, even when you’re in darkness and it feels like the light is too far away. It means not assuming you are stuck, or just praying the problem will go away. I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason, and whatever is coming, I believe I can beat it.