Experiment failed. Back on Antidepressants…

I saw Lynn, the therapist, for my depression. I drank an entire bottle of wine the night before and at 5 a.m. a migraine hit. I took my usual combination of 800 mg. Ibuprofen and 1 Imitrex followed by one more Imitrex 2 hours later. I added some caffeine to further reduce inflammation in my brain and it wasn’t long before I was out of bed amongst the living. I did not want to go to my 9 a.m. therapy session because I was tired, hung over, depressed and with a throbbing headache. However I did go. I remembered a time when I had a sigmoidoscopy which is a scope inserted into the rear end. The day of the test, I woke up with diarrhea and cramping so I called the Dr’s office to see if I should reschedule. The receptionist responded, “Great! We like to do the procedure when the problem is present.” The idea is the same as me seeing Linda when I am at my worst. In this way, she will see what is wrong, rather than what is right, although, I would much prefer to not expose my weakness to anyone.

So, off I went to the therapist. Lynn and I discussed my current sense of unrest. She gave me a word for my worrying, called it “rumination” and said it is a symptom of my depression. I definitely am ruminating over my own pathetic life (which I say sardonically, and somewhat humorously, as that is the problem).

Lynn pitches all kinds of medication names at me, most I’ve heard of but never tried. Klonopin, Xanax, Traxonal, Wellbutrin and others I can’t recall. The fear I have of side effects prevent me from jumping for joy over her suggestions. I question the addictiveness of the anxiety medications and she responds that “alcohol is addictive.” A moment of silence ensues and then a stare-down. She follows the pitch with admonition that if I was to take Klonopin or Xanax I must not drink. I agreed that I did not want to drink and would consider the anti-anxiety meds.

I fear my own ability to self-regulate, as I’ve been known to ingest pain medication when I’m not experiencing any pain, because it takes away all feelings, depressive ones included. I have never gotten it illegally but if there is Vicodon or Percocet left over from surgery it does not stay in the house for long. I know that a medication prescribed for me would be acceptable to take for reducing anxiety since that would be the point of the prescription. So, what’s my problem that I feel so guilty with needing help with my mental health? If I had a broken leg, I wouldn’t hesitate to accept the treatment so I could walk again.

The hang up I have around my depression is certainly counterproductive to getting the treatment I need to get well.

Lynn and I agreed that a very low dose of Wellbutrin would be a safe and simple treatment plan to begin with. I looked up the dosage she prescribed and it is how elderly people are treated (and even they get more). I will try 50 mg once a day. Not the extended release variety because I am fearful of being too tired around the clock. The elderly take 50-100 mg 2 or 3 times a day. I will take it once, in the evening. Lynn tells me it could cause excitability but I highly doubt it. I explained my paradoxical response to most medications. If the drug is supposed to make me sleep, I tend to stay awake. Medications such as Benadryl, Tylenol PM, Sudafed, etc. all make me wired. All antidepressants, thus far, have made me feel tired.

Here’s the plan. I’m going to get through the next week at work and the day after Christmas I will begin Wellbutrin. If that doesn’t work well, Lynn has suggested we add Xanax, as needed, for anxiety. I feel like it’s an admission of defeat that I cannot control my own thoughts. Tears are stinging my eyes as I write those words. I do not want this depression but I must accept the diagnosis. I guess the doctors were right; I’m one of those people that will need to be on medication for life. Now, I’m going to go and allow myself a good cry. At least when I’m off medication, I can do that.

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6 responses to “Experiment failed. Back on Antidepressants…

  1. I am sorry to read that you have been having a tough go of it. I cant say a thing to make you feel any better so I am not even going to try, but maybe I can offer some perspective? You have read my blog so you now that I have fought and fought with these medications. I love them and I hate them. I mostly hate them. I have tried to live without them before, and have always run into an issue of timing. There are good times and bad times to try messing with medications, and it has been my experience that the shrinks either never want to acknowledge that or are just blind to it. I know you live in MA, I am in New England too, and if it weren’t for the Coast Guard demanding it there is no way I would be trying to stop my anxiety medications during the holidays, which is also the time of year with the least light, and the fewest positive options for keeping one’s mind occupied. A nice sunny June with everything else in my life being relatively balanced, i.e. no personal/professional crisis, would be ideal for me. Also for what it’s worth I am also on Wellbutrin. I take 450mg of the extended tabs each morning. That is the maximum allowable dose and is so high they don’t even make a pill that big I have to take a 300 and a 150. Maybe you take the drug to get back on an even keel and can try again at a better time? Wellbutrin is not and SSRI nor a SNRI like Pristiq so you may find it a better experience from your previous medications. I have very little in the way of side effects from the drug and none of the “bad” ones.

    • Yes, I do know Wellbutrin is unlike other antidepressants I’ve tried so maybe I will better tolerate the side effects. As for the anti-anxiety meds, I am considering them, too. Perhaps the weather in NE doesn’t help much but I live in a house that faces due south with huge picture windows so in the winter, when the sun is low on the horizon, the sun comes halfway across my kitchen and office. I know it’s not the same as enjoying the outdoors but I can’t say I’ve got seasonal affective disorder. Most days, I’m closing the shades to keep the sun out.

      I have a feeling you and I are similar in temperament and so, perhaps you will understand what I mean when I tell you why I don’t easily accept my fate of having “major depression.” It is frustrating that I can be so rational and even keel with most everyone I know and yet my own thoughts and emotions get one over on me.

      Thanks for your concern. I feel like I’ve got a cyber friend.

      • “I don’t easily accept my fate of having “major depression.” ”

        I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes I think acceptance would make it easier, and to a degree I have come to terms with it, but I also worry too much acceptance will make me a slave to it.

  2. That’s unfortunate that you weren’t able to go through overcoming your depression without medication. It takes a lot to overcome any mental illness with therapy alone (though it’s certainly not impossible). It’s easier for some than it is for others, and sometimes life events can make the treatment process even harder and you end up either falling back on medication or turning to it as a last resort (such as in my case). Either way, I hope that things start looking up for you.

  3. The anxiety meds are the ones I wished I never started. i’ve been taking klonopin for about a year and a half and I get horrible withdrawal symptoms when I try to stop. The

    If you’ve read my blog you’ve seen all the meds I’ve tried the only one that doesn’t give me side effects is the Wellbutrin.

    • I went to your blog and saw all the meds you’ve been on. My list is long but not that long! I have yet to try the anti-anxiety meds. I know you said the klonopin gave you horrible withdrawal side effects but did it help, too? I’m hearing what you and others are telling me about Wellbutrin and I think I will fill the rx and get started on it before my depression goes further downhill. Thanks for the comments.

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