Tag Archives: ssri

Self-medication and depression

Depression is creeping back in through a side door.  I should have seen it coming.  Even reading my most recent posts on this blog are clues that it was making a reappearance.

Ruminations.  Negative self-perception. Exhaustion even without alcohol.  Hating my husband and my life.

I saw my therapist on Saturday and she raised the Wellbutrin to 100 mg. and lowered the Klonopin to half a 0.5 mg pill.  I continue to take 20 mg Celexa.  Lynn must think my depression is worse and the Klonopin is making me tired.  It’s been 4 days with a higher dose of the SSRI and still not feeling better.  My plan is to continue lowering the Klonopin but since I use it to sleep I fear insomnia so I’m tapering off gradually.

My resolve is down and I am weak right now.  I broke my 100-plus streak of sober days and drank on Saturday night.  It’s odd how I really don’t feel that bad about it.  In fact, I liked the tranquility.  Sad but true, self-medication is what I know when my thinking turns against me.

♥ Daylily ♥

Shop for lingerie

What’s a better pick-me-up? I’ve been riddled with depression, anxiety, feelings of shame, anger, and guilt; really, you name an emotion that attacks from the inside and I’ve been feeling it.

Tonight I went to the mall and bought myself a present: panties, bras and camisoles. And no cheap Hanes briefs from Wal-Mart (which I wear everyday so don’t get me wrong about that). My recent weight loss boosted my self-image and I don’t feel like an obese sea cow swimming in the lingerie department. I went all out and bought the softest Jockey panties and camisoles I’ve ever felt. No, they aren’t satin and lace or very sexy but they are stylish and comfortably cotton. I know I will feel happier tomorrow just knowing I did something nice for myself.

My mood was so low today that I almost shut down my blog and cut myself off from my therapist. The only way I can explain it is when I feel judged or criticized I get defensive. For some reason when others are disappointed in me I take on their condemnation as my own. I feel utterly worthless and push others away because I’m not worth their worry or care. The pattern goes like this: someone I trust hates a behavior of mine; I can’t change it so I hate myself equally as much.

I woke up feeling so bad I fantasized about suicide. I thought just get me the fuck out of this world. I didn’t plan anything or take the idea any further than wishing I wasn’t alive.

I called Lynn, my therapist, and we talked things out. She made me realize that I focused on one tiny part of our session and blew it way out of proportion. Lynn assured me she is committed to working with me. She observed that all of my relationships have the same dynamics and if I work on how I feel with her I am helping my other relationships too. She’s right.   I can get so stuck in inner turmoil.   The conversation was pretty long and it helped to be able to express myself to someone who was reassuring. I won’t go into the whole binge drinking thing except to say she explained her position a little better and I understand where she’s coming from. First of all, I did choose a therapist who is a prescribing doctor so of course that person would be concerned if I mix alcohol with her medications. What really made me see her point was after I asked “Would you tell a patient who self-harmed through bulimia or cutting to just stop the behavior?” Her answer was, “Alcohol is a form of medication and I am a prescribing therapist. I have a responsibility to be concerned about mixing the two.” I calmed down after that and said, “I can understand that.”

What I know is this blog is about my depression. Lynn has her eye on that when I lose my focus. Of course, she’s right that I’ll never be well until I stop drinking. It does not mix well with my medication nor help my depression.

My perspective is slowly changing.

♥Daylily

Changing my thoughts for the better

Here I sit, at a round table within a historic stone library nestled in a small New England town. The library is having a book sale today so I had to climb an old wooden staircase in order to get away from the frenzy of people searching for bargain books. The librarian and I are the only people in this cozy children’s room. I’ve never been to this library; however my son’s soccer club has brought me here. I intended to write report cards but I don’t have the necessary form so I feel unhurried, with time available to focus on my blog.

I saw Lynn at 8:00 am this morning. She fits me into her private practice on Saturday’s. I’ve been descending the stairs to her home office for about a year and I cannot believe that it’s taken me so long to build a trusting relationship with my therapist.

I could go 2 ways with this post:

  1. What the fuck is my problem that it took me so damn long to have confidence in this particular therapy? The post would focus on my blatant and ridiculous flaws.
    Or
  2. Recognize my progress with therapy. Celebrate the giant steps I’ve taken and look forward in this journey of healing my spirit.

The precedent would be to choose #1, based on historical patterns that I can easily list negative thoughts about how fucked-up I am. I will not entertain this old pattern any longer. It is self-sabotaging and not productive.

Oh, what the hell? For old time’s sake I will give short due to these feelings, if nothing else but as a way of distinguishing them from my newfound “mindful awareness.”

Here goes:

  1. The self protective walls I’ve built around myself are impenetrable. I never learned to expose myself to others for fear of being hurt and rejected. If I let someone in, they would see my flaws, my shame and guilt and surely I’d be judged as harshly as I judge myself. These thoughts are so imbedded in my brain that even when I voluntarily seek therapy, and go each week without someone twisting my arm, my fucked-up self does not know how to get the help I need.

I have this crazy thought, I should just fix what’s broken. I know exactly what my problem is. I grew up hating myself. I should just let it go. It’s simple, right? Maybe for you and them but it’s not as easy for me.  I’m beyond help.

My thoughts and feelings are deeply entangled in my mental illness and I’ll probably never be cured.

I’m on a roll with this train of thought. It’s so comfortable for me to berate myself. I want to continue. I want to write about how long it took for me to construct my sense of self and how nearly impossible it is to untangle fact from fiction.

STOP! I must learn to see these thoughts for what they are and so, I move onto #2;

  1. (#2 really, but I can’t edit it!)I have fabricated my life with amorphous things called thoughts and feelings but what are they, really? There is no truth to my thoughts of guilt and shame and yet I have allowed them to shape my life. I have conditioned my mind to hold itself separate from others. This has affected the way I connect with others, including the relationship with my therapist.

Truthfully, it is okay that it’s taken a year to let down my guard and share vulnerable feelings.

I will go further and boldly venture to say, I am making progress. I am beginning to see what is before me and not believe my historical interpretations that are riddled with self-judgment and negativity.

The practice of mindfulness is helping me investigate how I look at things and how I view myself.

The book I’m reading teaches me that my thoughts lead to emotions and my pattern of self-blaming thoughts has caused an undeserving feeling of guilt. I must begin to recognize my thoughts don’t represent reality. I will learn to recognize they are only thoughts; that these learned thoughts are arbitrary, nothing more.  Not realistic.

Ultimately, awareness of these thoughts will cause them to lose power. I will no longer be swept into a miserable psychological state of mind.

Realistically speaking, I will also depend on antidepressants to help me on this journey. Every doctor, therapist, psychologist and psychiatrist has told me so. The chemicals in my brain do not properly fire the right neurotransmitters in my synapses. Whatever the fuck doctors mean when they say this shit, I really have no idea except it sounds so technically correct – who can argue?

I hate to end on a bad note but, here’s the million dollar question, Is it the right antidepressant cocktail or my wilfulness to change my thoughts in a way that will transform my emotional health?

Daylily 2012

Doubling SSRI brings relief from depression

One week ago today my therapist increased my SSRI, Celexa, from 10 mg to 20 mg.  The effects are obvious.  My worries have been lifted.  Not kidding.  Peace has befallen me and it didn’t come about from mindful meditation, exercise, cutting back on my drinking or weight loss.  All it took was a little white pill that’s smaller than the eraser at the end of a pencil.

I’m reminded of my “about” page where I assert my depression is no more than a chemical imbalance of neurotransmitters.  For a bit, I lost sight of that belief.  My effort at changing thought patterns required me to look hard at my negative thinking and that in itself caused a spiral downward into depression.

I’m a bit worried because this time was the worse yet.  I gave into a sense of helplessness like never before.  But, on the flip-side, for years I’ve envied people with mental illness who are able to express themselves and put it all on the table.  I’ve lived a closeted life of depression and it’s been quite isolating.

Last Monday was a first; I exposed that part of me to a few close people in my life and I felt embraced and supported.  I feel liberated!  It feels like a miracle has taken place.

In-a-nutshell, I do not feel anxious about anything.  I am my calm, rational, even-keel self.  When I was on Paxil I enjoyed this feeling for about 3 years before I got tired of the weight gain and lack of sex drive.  Let’s not go there!

For now, I will enjoy the calm waters.  I need a break from the turbulent ocean I’ve been crashing around in.

“Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson
I take credit for making this reprieve occur.  Whether it’s seeking my therapist’s help, calling my mother or doing a shit-load of grief work at the radical forgiveness workshop, it happened because I am actively pursuing a better state of living.  I am determined to continue exercising, meditating and easing up on the alcohol. ♥ Daylily

Reaching out during a depressive episode

The bottom of despair is a shitty place to be; I know because I spent the morning there. Schools were cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy so I took advantage of this day off from work to settle deep into depression. I didn’t consciously do it but the opportunity arose and I took full advantage.

Why am I talking like I did something helpful when I felt like such crap last night and this morning? Well, that’s where the silver lining comes in. There may even have been a rainbow.

I have never, ever climbed into bed and expressed my feelings of depression while there. My pattern is to wallow alone and then pull myself together, all the while hiding how awful I feel – to myself and those that love me. No bullshit. This is one of my learned behaviors leftover from childhood.

This morning I passed the hours curled up under my down comforter crying that I was so pitiful. I cried that I didn’t have the strength to get out of bed; I cried that I wasn’t hungry and that I had no desire to eat. I was alone in my misery for what felt like forever. I determined that I was really bad off because I could neither lift my head nor could I find the strength to eat so I should call my therapist. Isn’t depression the reason I was under her care? I contemplated this for a long time as I huddled under my covers with my cell phone. Eventually, I just did it.

Lynn answered on the second ring and I casually said who it was and then, “I see you’ve returned from your vacation.” She responded, “Yes, just in time for the hurricane.” Small talk out-of-the-way I said, “I called you because I’m really not doing well.”

I haven’t seen Lynn for close to a month due to her 3-week vacation. “Is it something that just came up or has it been building for a while?” asked Lynn.

“Well, I have to tell you, this is a first for me, to call my therapist and talk about how I’m feeling. I have never called for help before but I am really low right now.” I cried that I couldn’t get out of bed, that I wasn’t hungry and that I’m failing my family by not cooking for them, by being distant and isolated and I threw in something about my husband saying I didn’t know how to be intimate.

Then I stopped talking and asked, “Is this a good time for you? I don’t want to keep you from anything.” How stupid of me, as if she could hang up now. I’m just standing on the edge of this cliff but I can wait for you to call me later. In hindsight, that was a “duh” moment. After a brief pause from her, she said she certainly had time for me.

I quickly caught her up to speed about how I went to this “radical forgiveness” workshop to release feelings of self blame. She agreed that was quite a big step for me and when I told her I got overwhelmed with emotions and I couldn’t get away so I went into auto pilot, she asked about the facilitator. I told her I emailed the facilitator and I was reassured that I hadn’t done anything wrong although Lynn said usually a psychologist will tell you what to do in the event things become overpowering. I don’t know what to believe but it’s been 3 weeks since the workshop and I still feel like crap.

One major trigger to my sense of despair could be a book I’m reading because it hits so close to home. Living with your Heart Wide Open is exposing so many open wounds that every chapter is like getting re-traumatized. It’s all about self-criticism and a prevailing sense of unworthiness. I can’t get to the part about self-compassion because I’m busy beating myself up over negative patterns the book says I’ve developed and that I must learn to break.

Lynn asked if I could talk about the one thing that is upsetting me – is it feeling unloved. “Can you tell me how you’re feeling?” I was still buried under my covers and I said, “I don’t know,” while I audibly sobbed.

For me to be without a word is rare; I typically control the ebb and flow of our therapy sessions. Of course, she was trying to figure out what was going on with me and, I’m guessing this response was a red flag that I was depressed and not thinking straight.

Lynn said I must ask my husband to help me. Explain to him how I don’t like to feel a lack of intimacy. I cried that I couldn’t, that he and I were berating each other.

Lynn suggested that I stop reading the book but continue with the mindfulness cd, which has been helping me to fall asleep at night. She said that it sounds like I’m aggressively trying to fix my problem through forcing it. I can’t recall the exact word but she insinuated that I’m trying to direct my healing by micro-managing every piece of it.

She’s absolutely right. I felt as much and it’s backfiring; I’m worse and not better. Self-help groups, self-healing books, yoga and a sense of being broken have exasperated my depression.

Lynn thought I should increase the Celexa to 20 mg (I’m on 10 now). I agreed and I made an appointment for 2 weeks out because of my busy schedule on the weekends.

After hanging up, I whimpered quietly, under the safety of my blankets and soft pillows. In the back of mind I was thinking of the “radical forgiveness” workshop, how emotionally charged it was and I recognized that I never released all of the stuff that was brought to the surface. Intellectually I thought I should have cried but I couldn’t – until today. It was like opening the flood gates! I have not cried in years and, as much as I didn’t like how it took me over, the release was good for me.

Well, I still couldn’t lift my head or consider going down to the kitchen to eat something so I called my husband (who works in his home office). He said he was in the middle of an important presentation (everything is tele-com these days) and he would be done in 15 minutes.

My husband walked in the bedroom and there I was, in bed, crying with my elbow covering my face. I felt so ugly I had to hide but when he asked what was wrong, I spoke. I didn’t retreat inside my shell or tell myself he doesn’t really care (which is a well-worn pattern). Instead I told him I was depressed and I couldn’t get up. He told me just do it for the kids downstairs. I said, “They are enjoying their day off from school and don’t even care where I am.” Husband said, “They know you are not downstairs with them.”

I swore I would never get up and he looked flustered. He was rubbing my arm and telling me nice things that I don’t remember. He leaned down and hugged me and my arms felt limp like spaghetti. I accepted his hug but couldn’t give back. I said I need to eat something and he said he’ll cook and I should pull myself together and come down in 10 minutes. Again, I said I can’t get up and pleaded with him to bring me something. I told him I wanted toast and grits (I’m not southern but I love grits, anyway). He came back and demanded that I sit up but I just couldn’t do it. I made him put the plate and bowl on the bed 3 inches from my mouth and I fed myself as if I were a sick bird or a dying man. Husband went back to work and I sniffled in my bed. With every bite the food tasted better and I gained strength.

How could I have missed that my depression was back? The tell-tale signs are night-waking, lack of appetite and emotionally distant from the family. I misconstrued all of that for necessary paths to inner compassion and mindfulness. This experience highlights how directly my childhood thought patterns correlate to depression. With each day that I focused on my past “stories” my depression grew worse. It’s uncanny.

Next I did the bravest thing of all. I called my mother, from my bed, in a deep depression. I prayed she would pick up and not my step-dad and my prayers were answered. I said, “Hi Mom.” Her quick response, “What is going on, it sounds like you’ve been crying.” I snuffled that I have been crying and went into the whole I can’t get out of bed thing. She asked about my depression, my medications, my therapist and my husband helping me. To the last part I told her, “Husband doesn’t even believe in depression.” She’s known my husband for 3 decades and she said, “Well you should take him to your therapist so he can get educated.”

The reason I called my mom is I’m having extreme guilt that she wants me to host Thanksgiving and I don’t have the energy. I always try to do what is right and please her and I didn’t know how I would manage it this year. My mom recently moved to a retirement home and part of her down-sizing was dispersing things. To me, she handed down a large oriental rug for my dining room and her set of wedding silver. It is all beautiful and generous and I feel so obligated to use it for a family gathering. I told her I can’t host anything because I’m feeling like a failure in everything I do right now.

My mother’s response was better than I hoped because she was thoughtful and caring. She said she would stay at the retirement home for Thanksgiving. She offered to come and help me if I wanted her to. I told her I have so much going on with family, kids, sports, school, and work that if they came down it would be one more thing on my plate.

Then my mom asked me, “How did you get depression?”

I take the plunge and offer full disclosure, “It was caused by childhood trauma. I learned to tell myself things that weren’t true but that allowed me to grow up. I am still stuck in childhood thoughts that I’m not worthwhile or good enough.”

“Oh, honey,” she lovingly responds.

I reassure her, “It’s nobody’s fault, not my parents or my brothers; it’s just how things happened.” I stumble with words and say, “I learned to tell myself I wasn’t worth it.”

I tell her not to worry about me, that I will be okay. This is when she told me something that broke my heart in a good way.

My mom said, “I will worry about you every minute of every day. You know you are my favorite child.”

I quickly deflected her kind words by saying, “All of your children are your favorites.” But, I heard love and caring in her words. We said good-bye and I love you and when I hung up, I retreated back under my covers to cry some more. But, this time I was crying because my mom and I connected on a deep level. I was touched that she said I was her favorite child. Never in a million years did I ever think she would tell me that. I’ve got brothers who are successful, talented, intelligent and relate to my mom on an intellectual level where as, I fall short on all of those things that are important to my mom. Perhaps those thoughts could be part of the “stories” of my childhood that I made up and learned to believe. I just heard with my own ears that my mom thinks I’m special. I will try to hold on to that and use this silver lining to my advantage.

I slept after the phone call with my mother and awoke ready to get out of bed around 3 pm. The news stations cautioned that no one should be out on the roads so I was securely stuck in my home. We lost electricity around 4:30 pm and darkness set in. My husband set up our generator and so we have a few lights, heat, water and the refrigerator working, plus we have internet. I sit here typing and uploading to Word Press via backup generator. It’s nice to feel removed from outside forces after completely breaking down today. It looks like I have work tomorrow although many schools are closed for another day. I best listen to Lynn who said I must eat and get a good night’s sleep. The increase in my antidepressant will take a while to kick in. I’m hopeful because I do respond well to SSRI’s.

Daylily

Post that gets the most hits on my blog is…

Husband doesn’t believe in my depression. It sucks to have a mental illness and be around people who believe it’s all in your head.  But the proof is that there’s a 3rd person telling us we aren’t as bad as we feel, people do love us, we have a job where we are needed or a husband or child who depend on us.  On a deep level we know that every single one of us is born equal.  Our behaviors or thoughts do not change our inner goodness.  Then, we ask ourselves, why am I depressed, feeling worthless and unloved?  I sincerely believe there is a chemical imbalance in our brains that causes ruminations and self-defeating thought and behavior patterns.  Most often early trauma can cause faulty wiring but it can also be as simple as genetics.

Due to all the hits about husbands doubting the diagnosis of depression I feel compelled to say that even if no one else you know believes in “mental illness”  that doesn’t mean it isn’t so.  Doctors, nurses and therapists all know it is a real illness.  There’s no need for shame or self-blame when it comes time to seek help, regardless of whether you get support from your close family and friends.

I’ve been on a path of healing from early trauma and depression for 3 decades.  My husband doesn’t believe in medication but I do.  I have a doctor and a therapist that also believe in the efficacy of antidepressants.   The family I grew up in can understand it on an intellectual level however, I feel judged as being weak for needing antidepressants.

I don’t fight about my medication with my husband or my family of origin because I do not seek them out for support with depression.  Occasionally I’ll bring up my depression with my husband but he will usually reply with a quick answer like, “Maybe it’s that you are getting too much sleep.”  In my head I know I’m sleeping too much because of depression but I don’t argue with him.  I go and tell my therapist or my best girlfriend.  Acknowledgment of your pain and suffering is very important when you don’t have immediate family and friends supporting you.   You can love your family regardless of their ignorance and get help elsewhere.  ♥ Daylily

Good news on the sex front

Good news on the sex front, I have had 2 orgasms on the Celexa. When I Initially began Celexa it wrecked havoc on my ability to climax. Try as I might, I couldn’t come. Celexa is “known to cause a decrease in sex drive (known as libido). In clinical studies where side effects of Celexa were documented, a decreased sex drive occurred in up to 3.8 percent of men and 1.3 percent of women taking the drug. Also, 1.1 percent of women taking Celexa reported problems with anorgasmia (inability to achieve orgasm).” 

That was me! The pleasure was there but I was too relaxed to finish. A month and a half later, with the use of external stimulation (vibrating massagers and fantasy) I have been able to bring to completion the pleasure of sexual stimulation. This is progress to be able to tolerate the side effects of an antidepressant that is helping my depression. 

When I can’t finish with an orgasm I get all tense and anxious. I need the “Big O” to feel good about myself. In some ways, it has replaced my need for men and the stupid shit I used to do to get their approval by satisfying them. I know I can give good head and/or please a guy the way he wants, but these days, it’s all about me. I don’t waste my time worrying about not having a guy around to please. No, I get anxious if I can’t please myself—it doesn’t matter if it’s with my husband or through masturbation.

I’ve been with the same man, now married 23 years. He is the best lover I’ve had but in our busy lives, he goes his way and I go mine. Getting together for sex is difficult. We still do, maybe once every couple of weeks, but I try for an orgasm more than that. My husband knows this and I tell him when I get off. I describe in detail so he knows what he missed. Some days, I think he must hear my power massager on high but he leaves me alone for whatever reason. Other times, he’ll join the fun.

My fantasies involve my husband so I don’t have much guilt about masturbating. The most recent event (after a month suffering from anorgasmia) was without him. But, he was in my head and the fantasy was remembering when we were in our twenties and I used to ride him bucking-bronco style for the most amazing orgasm.

I’m not trying to embarrass myself or anyone. I’m just speaking MY TRUTH. The medications for my depression are working with minimally side effects. Today, I happen to only write about the sexual side effects. Next, perhaps I will tackle emotional, intellectual or other areas of the physical realm beside sexual.

Side effects of Wellbutrin and Celexa

I’m going to write about side effects so that I have a record of what particular drugs do to me.  When you have tried as many as me, it’s good to remember the good and the bad of each one.

Wellbutrin made me angry and irritable on 150 mg.  It also raised my hormones so quickly I got tender breasts (a pre-menstrual symptom) and caused my period to arrive 2 weeks after the last one.  Looking back, I think the sense of being pissed off at everyone could have been a symptom of pms.  Thankfully, I’m at the end of all of that (except now in my cycle is when I get migraines due to crashing hormone levels — not related to antidepressant medications).

Wellbutrin had a good effect on my libido and increased the ease in which I could achieve orgasm.  This was nice while it lasted but it also felt a bit obsessive. I’m just being honest here and I don’t mean to embarrass anyone. Stop reading now if you don’t want to hear a woman talk about self-fulfillment. Since orgasm was effortless I took a lot of self-gratifying afternoon naps – many more than I needed to. That is not like me at all and, in hindsight, I think I was possessed or something. It was an out-of-mind experience and I was driven by hormones from the Wellbutrin or just from the Wellbutrin. I guess you could say, looking back, I feel like I know what a sex addict experiences. Except, I didn’t go looking for others and most of the time my husband wasn’t even involved. It was not intimate, personal or filled with love or affection. It was absolutely for the sexual release and nothing else. This pleasure ride didn’t last, though.

The Celexa I’ve been on for a few weeks changed all that. I lost the desire to even have sex. The other morning my husband woke me with a poke (you know what I mean) and I went through the motions without any interest. I just wanted him to get it over with so we could get up and make coffee. Today, I tried to get off by myself and I didn’t complete the act. It felt like it was going to take too long and the effort wasn’t worth it. This is the more typical response I get with antidepressants. Lack of desire. Couldn’t there be a happy medium?

I notice that this side-effect transfers into other areas, where I lose an interest in keeping my house as tidy as usual. I’ve got two clean baskets of laundry to put away since Sunday and I keep walking right by them. My kids throw their towels on their bedroom carpet after their showers and I haven’t the energy to yell at them to hang them up in the bathroom. I hate the way the antidepressants make me not give a damn about cleaning and keeping up with the routines of my house.

But, on the flip-side of that same laid-back attitude there is a positive effect. The Celexa has calmed my mood with my husband and children. I’ve been really patient with my 11-year-old son who needs extra help with his school work. I bought him a Kindle over the weekend and he and I are taking turns reading aloud to each other. This is a positive step that I’m giving him more attention with school. If it was up to him, he would play XBOX from the moment he got home until bedtime. My relationship with my 14-year-old son is good, too. He asked me tonight if I would take him, a buddy and 2 girls to the movie theater on Saturday. This will be his first date and I’m pleased he trusts me to be a part of it. I’ve been encouraging him to do something with a girl so he could feel that innocent flutter of puppy love. I know he can be trusted to respect a girl because he’s such a sweet guy and I think it would be nice for him to hold hands in the movies. I joked with him, “Can I sit behind you guys?” Of course, I won’t, though.

The Celexa is keeping the relationship with my husband calmer than usual. I’m not complaining too much and the small stuff is just rolling off my back. I’d like him to do a lot of things around the house on the weekends but he doesn’t. He tends to focus on his many hobbies because he claims he needs the mental break after working all week. I know that’s true about him so I’m letting him be. Instead, I make a point of telling everyone, “On the weekends, you all get a break from school and work and I’m still cleaning the house, doing the laundry, cooking the meals, taking care of the pets, etc.” My husband will say thank you and occasionally clean the kitchen and make breakfast. My point with all of this is that I’m not bogged down in negativity. I’m relaxed and unaffected by others behaviors. All of this is a positive change in mood and I’m glad for it.

One last side effect is the medications are curbing my appetite. I stopped craving carbs, which is good because I’ve put on a lot of weight since I began antidepressants. I’ve lost about 8 lbs without even trying.

I cancelled my therapy appointment that was scheduled for 8 am this Saturday. I’m feeling good and I really don’t want to have to get up early and leave my house on a Saturday. I work all week and I could use a morning to sleep in. I left a message on Lynn’s machine that I would keep my appointment for the following Saturday at 10 am. That time is easier to get up for. I hope she understands. I’m thinking she may not want that 8:00 time either and was just squeezing me in because I complained she wasn’t giving me enough time.

Depression is heading out to sea

Let’s just start out with the facts.  The Celexa is kicking in and I am feeling good.  No extreme worries or unabated anger.  With depression at bay, I’m not ruminating over anything.  My past has returned to its rightful place – distant memories that do not take up space in my present thoughts.  I don’t feel shame, pain, isolation, guilt, anger, sadness or self-hate.  I actually like my life again and things have settled down.  It’s amazing what a positive change the SSRI’s can do when they work with minimal side effects.

I’ve been sleeping soundly for about 6 nights now.  The past few mornings I got out of bed before my alarm and felt ready to take on the day.  My kids are enjoying Mom’s new mood because I’m not barking at them every second and I even set out their breakfast (which they have come to rely on themselves for and, given they are 11 and 14, they are quite capable).

The medications I’m taking are all generics but for the life of me I can’t remember them by said names so I will use the brand name.  I’m on 100 mg Wellbutrin, 10 mg Celexa (which I take in the morning) and I have been taking .5 mg Klonopin in the evening which helps me sleep deeply.  The sleep in itself could be the partial reason for my good mood.  I haven’t slept 11-6 for a week in I don’t know how long – forever!

I’ve got an important meeting today so I’m glad I’m not stressed out.  It’s going to require me to be an exceptional listener and ask reflective questions which are not easy when I feel angry and anxious.   This lift in mood came at the perfect time.

Trust in my therapist is restored

I’m feeling pretty good right now. My anger was definitely a side effect of Wellbutrin and — thankfully — it significantly lessened by lowering the dose. One week ago I went from 150 mg to 100 mg and it made all the difference.

I went to therapy today; I was much calmer, sort of humbled and like a dog with their tail between their legs. I even felt a tad stupid for not knowing that my anger was a symptom of the meds. Lynn agreed that the drug changed me. She said Wellbutrin is known for elevating a mood and for some it can be too much. She offered kind words and told me it was good I kept the appointment when I felt so angry and anxious. Neither Lynn nor I mentioned that I said therapy wasn’t working at our last visit. I was so much calmer today that it didn’t seem as important as figuring out how to best manage my medication.

I know some of you out there in the land of blog-reading will think I chickened out with regard to leaving Lynn. But, the honest-to-God truth is I no longer have the same anger and sense of disconnectedness that I had only one week ago. I perceive Lynn so much differently than I did. The anger was symptomatic of medication gone wrong. It is the irony of depression, that its insidiousness gets under our skin and distorts everything. My thoughts, my actions, my behaviors, my perceptions, my interpretations, my imagination. Everything.

I feel like the relationship with Lynn has become stronger because I did express myself. It’s scary for me to expose my negative thoughts because as a survivor I’ve learned to mask my pain and keep it hidden. No one outside of my immediate family has ever seen me that pissed-off. Now I see her as a person who I can trust more than ever before. She witnessed me at my worst and, nevertheless, agrees to continue helping me. This is big for me. She is still willing to help me figure out my medications. And now, she knows what she’s dealing with. That is progress.

Lynn described my depression and anxiety like a recipe for a meal. If we put in the right ingredients the meal will be excellent. We talked about my issues with hypersensitivity to medications and how I frequently have the opposite reaction than what is typical. I reminded her that I said as much on my first visit with her but I guess she had to see it herself. She definitely saw me fighting mad.

Lynn asked how my family reacts when I am in such an angry state of mind. I thought to myself Wow, we are really going to talk about this. I’d rather just forget about it and move on. Denial, dissociation, disown it.

I talked about how the relationship with my husband is not great due to my need to be alone when I’m angry. Lynn asked if I would want my husband to comfort me and I answered He knows when I feel that way I will push him away. We talked at length about the relationship. I didn’t say this but here’s how I feel… I’ve been married for 23 years and I’ve come to realize that no matter who I’m with I’d still be stuck with myself. The person I’d most like to lose is me with the mental illness.

I began Celexa — 10 mg — on Monday morning and I feel a lifting of my depression. It’s been 6 days and nothing seems traumatic or shameful or worrisome. What a relief!

The Celexa came with its own side effects. First, I suffered through extreme bouts of heartburn all day and night and a daily headache for the last 4 days. In addition, the past 2 nights I’ve been waking up wired. Two nights ago, I was wide awake from 1-4 and when I closed my eyes I felt like I was in a luge going 90 mph. Last night, I took a Clonazepam in the evening (because they make me extremely tired) and I managed to sleep from 11-5 before waking up. That was better so I am going to take the Clonazepam again tonight.

Lynn suggested I should try taking the Celexa at night. Perhaps, I will be able to sleep through the night and have the awake-period during the day. Unfortunately, tomorrow is Sunday and if I try that and I’m awake all night, that’s a rough way to return to work from vacation. Lynn said I should take it in the morning all week and try taking it next Friday night. If my sleep doesn’t improve this week, I will give that a try. She also thought the combo of Wellbutrin and Celexa in my stomach could be causing my heartburn so if I switched the Celexa to the night it may be better. However, I think that side effect is already improving. Just in case, I sleep with a box of saltine crackers next to me.

Lynnasked about my drinking (of course) but I wasn’t as defensive. Perhaps, a bit evasive because I don’t want to make promises I can’t keep. But, I told her I think the Wellbutrin/alcohol mix has not been good to me. It could be the cause of my recent hellish migraines and/or sinus infections. I believe that enough to be reluctant to drink on Wellbutrin. So, that’s a good thing. We’ll see how long I can stand strong on that – no guarantees but I currently have little desire to drink.

One thing I like about Lynn is she offers alternatives at each visit. This gives me a ray of hope, like she hasn’t run out of ideas on how to help me. (Anyone who has been depressed knows that our minds can quickly give up hope that there is any help for us.) Her next plan is to lower the Wellbutrin and increase the Celexa, to 30 mg. (Not all at once, she assured me, when I gasped at the idea.) I am convinced that SSRI’s help keep my depression at bay. However, the side effects have always made me juggle dosages (by splitting the pills) or by completely switching SSRI’s. Linda told me “You’ve been messing around with antidepressants for many years. We are going to find the perfect combination.”

She gave me hope and, right now, that’s what I need.