And I’m on to antidepressant number 4! Yes, four.

I’m probably a little too good at hiding my symptoms. Years of being made to feel like my feelings are irrational and overdramatic, or that I am way too sensitive have taught me to internalize everything.

Talking about it while I’m in the midst of is super uncomfortable. I don’t mind talking about it afterward the fact, because it’s in the past, but when I’m in it, I don’t know if I’ll get out, and that’s stressful on its own.

I know they say it gets better, but when you’re depression is chronic, rather than episodic, it’s a lot harder to believe.

It hasn’t been quite as bad as this time last year, but last year I had an emotionally traumatic event as a trigger. This time, everything is going excellent, which makes it far more difficult to deal with because there’s no logical reason for feeling like a worthless piece of shit.

This time last year, I was so overwhelmed with emotions and pain that I didn’t know how to deal. Now, it’s not like this:

  • lack of emotion, most of the time.
  • Inability to sleep, but not because I’m worrying about everything and it’s keeping me awake, more that I’m not drowsy when I should be, even though I’m physically exhausted and all o want to do is be curled up in bed.
  • Absolutely zero motivation to do anything, except to make sure no one notices, to I continue on as if everything is fine, waiting for it to go away.
  • Almost constant suicidal thoughts or wishing I was dead.

I feel lost in life. Like in just going through the motions. Simply existing, rather than actually living. I’ve felt like this before without a trigger, but that was before I understood what depression was, before I was diagnosed.

I talked to my doctor today because I’ve been on the same dosage of medication since January, and the fact I’m feeling this way indicates that it’s not helping as much as it should.

Because one of the meds I’m on had been making me tired, he decided it’s probably time to try something else.

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As with when I first began taking antidepressants and with previous increases, I noticed some changes to my thought processes and emotions about 2 weeks in. In the past, dosage adjustments have ended up feeling like they weren’t having any effect on me after a while. I’ve only been on this dose for about 2.5 weeks, so the effect could still increase and my body may still require more time to adjust to it.

That said, I have noticed over the last 3 or 4 days, a significant decrease in the amount and severity of anxious thoughts. I have found that I am not worrying constantly about things that I generally worry about. I still have the same feelings towards social interactions, like just generally wanting to avoid them and not wanting to participate in things, but I am still an introvert at my core. However, I’m not thinking and worrying about those situations quite as much before they occur, or even after.

I actually found myself trying to think of something I am currently worried about and I couldn’t. I mean, I am still dealing with a situation that caused me a huge amount of stress and worry, but I’m far less worried about how it is going to turn out and how it is effecting me. I do want it to just be over so I don’t have to deal with it anymore, but I think I have finally accepted that it is happening and that it will not be resolved in the way I would like, but it will be settled soon.

Something that is particularly troubling to me is that in my head, I’m feeling certain emotions (mainly towards the current stressful situation mentioned earlier) rather strongly, and feel the urge to want to cry about it, but can’t. There were a couple times where I did actually manage to produce a few tears and even sobs, but it stopped in less than a minute each time.

I was worried at first that my emotions were shutting off again, but then realized that I am laughing at jokes on TV. Although, immediately after I stop laughing I go back to feeling sort of dull. So a part of me is wondering how genuine my happy feelings are because they don’t stick around very long. But at the same time, my sad and angry feelings aren’t really there so much anymore. I do get annoyed and irritated quite easily, but not as strongly as I’m used to and it doesn’t hang around as long as normal. So I guess that’s a good sign.

I think right now, its just going to be a matter of waiting for my brain to adjust a bit more before I decide whether I like how it is making me feel. On top of that, the current situation I’m dealing with has clearly been messing with my emotions, so I need to wait for it to be over before I know for sure how the dosage change is effecting me.

My doctor and councillor referred me to a psychiatrist, who I just met with for the first time this past week.

First of all, he said I have social anxiety, which really wasn’t a surprise to me at all.

Then he wrote me a prescription, increasing the dose of my medication.

I was a bit concerned at first because it is higher that the normal max, but I checked with my doctor first and he said it was fine. So I figured I my as well try it and see how it goes.

It’s only been a few days, so no changes yet, but I’m starting to have some physical side effects right now. The same as I’ve had during past increases. Mostly just my stomach is not feeling so great. I usually end up having to take Tums to help it. This usually only lasts a few days for me. It only just started yesterday so I’ll probably have this for a few more days.

He also increased it by twice as much as the past increases, so it might be worse this time.

I started on 50mg, then went up to 100, then 150, and now 250. So, the 100mg increase worried me a bit. I considered going up to 200 for a few days then to 250, since I have lots left from my last prescription, but decided just to go for it. Now I’m kind of wishing I had because as I’m writing this my stomach is hurting more and more. It’s also way party my bedtime (lol) so that isn’t helping either. Plus I am under a lot of stress at the moment.

I’ve also had a decrease in appetite again too. Not as bad yet as it was the last time we increased it. It will probably get worse.

I was doing some research recently and I found that the medication I’m on is sometimes used for people with binge eating disorder to reduce appetite. I found that interesting. And I am totally ok with that because I do often struggle with binge eating. I haven’t been diagnosed with the disorder, because my doctor and I actually haven’t talked about it, but it wouldn’t surprise me if I did have it. Either way, I think it has helped a little in that way for me too though. Not significantly, but a bit.

Anyway, over the next few days, my stomach should settle down. And then in a couple more weeks, I’m hoping I’ll start to feel some effect on my mood. The psychiatrist thinks it is helping a bit, but not enough, so that’s why he increased it.

So, because I’ve been feeling so down the last little while, I have struggled to motivate myself to write on my blog. But I feel like I’m due for for a medication update.

I think the last time I posted about it, I talked about having some stomach issues and I was going to talk to my doctor about it.

I did, and he said that the antidepressant I am currently on, is not generally known for causing stomach issues, and that I probably just have “anxious bowels”.

Not even kidding. That’s what he said! Haha.

But it actually makes sense and explains the inconsistency of the issues I was having.

So for now, we’ve stuck to the same medication. I’ve been on 150mg for about 6 weeks with no adverse side effects.

Today, my doctor and I discussed it a bit more. I’m not sure if it is having any effect or not. He said we could increase it to 200mg but it wouldn’t be much of an increase, and since I didn’t really feel much of a change when increasing the last two times, he’s reluctant to increase it more.

He said the next common option is to add in another type of medication that has a slightly different effect on the brain. Rather than just changing medications altogether. But he wants to give it a bit more time, so for now, were not changing anything.

Since my last medication diaries post, I did a little experiment.

Ok, that sounds like a bad thing…

Part of this idea came out of the anxiety and procrastination of calling my doctor about this issue. Part of it was the logical side of my brain telling me there might be a different issue.

I have had a theory that I may have a minor gluten intolerance since my mom found out that she does. But I haven’t wanted to get tested for it because I love food that has gluten in it!! I mean, who doesn’t. I don’t want to give up gluten altogether, although, I have found many really good gluten free foods and treats.

But for my cereal, lately I have been on a Mini Wheats kick. I’ve been eating brown sugar Mini Wheats for breakfast for the last two weeks straight, and before that, alternating with another cereal (which the grocery store has been out of for a while) with the odd day of oatmeal mixed in, usually on weekends.

It suddenly occurred to me, that my stomach felt better on the days I had oatmeal. Not 100%, but like I said last time, I’ve always had digestive issues.

Because I have never eaten Mini Wheats consistently for this long before, I have never had these symptoms. So, the last two days in a row, I had oatmeal for breakfast. So far, it is actually working.

So, I think the stomach/digestive issues I was having may have been from all the wheat I was eating, so I’m going to cut back on the mini wheats and see how it goes.

We’ll see how it goes. And don’t worry I will bring out up with my doctor at my next appointment, which I scheduled at my last appointment. (If I don’t do it that way, I would never book follow up appointments.)

Soooo……. Yeah, I don’t think my new medication is going to work for me.

Its still too early to whether or not it is actually having the desired effect, but I don’t think I am even going to find out. I won’t be able to increase the dose of this one because it is effecting my body in some not so pleasant ways.

My first antidepressant, although it didn’t seem to be helping me in the way it should, my body seemed to handle it ok. The only side effects I experienced were gone within a couple weeks. With my new antidepressant….the side effects have gotten worse.

Headaches

I’ve been having more headaches than usual, since increasing from 50 to 100mg, but that could easily be caused by any number of things, like stress, but I think its safe to say, it is more than likely being caused by the meds.

Stomach/Digestive Issues

Note: I’ll try not to give too many details here, but if you’re grossed out by this topic, you may as well skip the next few paragraphs.

I’ve always had stomach problems and digestive issues, my whole life, and sometimes it is hard to tell what the cause of any given symptom is. When I first started taking the 50mg dose of my new medication, I had the same symptoms I had when I started my first antidepressant, which was mostly just discomfort and some minor constipation.

It turned into more digestive issues after a week or so, but I figured it was maybe just due to something I ate or the fact that I had started taking a pro-biotic right around the same time. I stopped the pro-biotic a few days before increasing to 100mg.

Since the increase in dose, the stomach issues have gotten worse. It hasn’t been very long, so I was hoping it would improve, but the last couple days have gotten increasingly worse. I definitely can’t afford to live off of Imodium and Gas-X (nor would I want to), so this is going to have to stop.

Last night I woke up with a really bad pain in my lower abdomen. Stupidly I Googled it, since I couldn’t sleep. The pain was right where you apparently get pain if you have appendicitis, so naturally, I started worrying about that. I managed to fall asleep again, and when I woke up it was a lot better, but not completely gone.

During the day things weren’t too bad until this evening when the pain started again (not as bad as the middle of the night though) and I had to spend some more time on the toilet. Yay!

Next Steps

Decreasing the dose?

Problem is, now that I’m onto the 100mg capsules, I can’t even decrease my dosage on my own. I have to go see my doctor.

Appointment

I have an follow up appointment in two weeks anyway, but I don’t know if I can wait that long. This has to stop!! (For those of you who don’t know, antidepressants have withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking them suddenly, so I will not be doing that.) I may have to call and make an appointment sooner. I don’t want to! I am excellent at procrastinating so I will avoid it at costs. Like right now, its after hours, so I won’t be able to book an appointment! Anyways, I’ll probably try to get myself to call tomorrow.

Last week I had a follow up appointment with my doctor. As he had planned, since I had already stopped taking my old anti-depressant, he increased my new anti-depressant from 50mg to 100mg. Doubling the 50s to finish them off, and have a new prescription for the 100mg capsules.

Had some of the same side effects as I did when I increased the old one. Mostly stomach issues. That has mostly gone away, but I am finding that if I don’t eat right around the time I take my pills my stomach tends to be a little more upset throughout the day. Since I’ve always kind of had stomach issues, its hard to say whether or not it is being caused by the medication or some other factors (food, etc.). This one does say it should be taken with food and the old one didn’t. It may be due to the fact that the old one was in time release capsules, but the new one is in those capsules that are like two pieces that you could pull apart (usually contain medication in powder form).

Its a little too early still to say whether or not the increased dose it having any effect or not. I really didn’t feel any change when we increased the dose last time, which ultimately is why I felt changing medication altogether was ok.

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It’s Mental Health Week! #GETLOUD
Find out more here: mentalhealthweek.cmha.ca
And also, here: getloud.mentalhealthweek.ca

I plan to try and write a few more posts this week, but we’ll see how it goes. I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on my self lately, and that is not good. I’m not going to try and force it, I’ll just let it happen.

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P.S. #MayThe4thBeWithYou

Since I haven’t talked much about medication, I thought I’d do something a little different. I’m going to do sort of a medication diary. Someone I recently subscribed to on YouTube has a series on their channel about their journey with medication (for a different condition) and I was kind of inspired by that. So I’ve created a label on my blog here where I would put any posts that are about my medication journey: Medication Diaries

Since I haven’t done this before, I wanted to start off with sort of a recap of my history (which really doesn’t go that far back). So here goes.
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