I don’t know how I feel.

Does that make sense? I am just there. Not happy. Not terribly optimistic. But existing, sometimes peacefully, at moments. Then there are times when the agitation comes back. I just want to scream! Everyone’s voice grates me. The dogs’ barking goes right through me. I don’t want to answer the phone or read a book. Or do anything.

So I go through the motions, get up,  drink coffee, force down breakfast and my iron pill. Take my meds. I might sit there for awhile, read news online, check Facebook. As often as not, I go back to bed. The new med is making me quite sleepy. I need at least 9 hours sleep. And often, a nap for at least an hour in the afternoon. Seems like a lot, and it gets me down. I keep thinking what a waste of time sleep is. And how if I was at a full-time job, how would I manage?

Tomorrow marks 3 weeks on the remeron. I am definitely more sedate in a general sense. Especially if I take my clonazepam, which I’m supposed to do, but I still struggle with, because then I feel especially stoned. It works for the general anxiety, but the cost is great. I am definitely more foggy when I take it.

I have had more than a few good moments in the past two weeks, so there is reason to be optimistic. My partner and I went camping for a long weekend and it was a lot of fun. Sunny and warm where we went. I am feeling blue again now, as we are back to the grey, foggy city. Sometimes I really hate living here. It’s just so dark, rain,  drizzle and fog. For days on end. It really gets to me.

Anyway, I see my new psychiatrist again tomorrow. I will tell him about the increased sleep and see what he says. It’s really going much better than before, even though I don’t feel well today. Maybe there is something to keep me more alert, or maybe he will reduce the prozac.

Made a little progress on a chapter for my thesis. I feel a bit like it’s pulling teeth. And my motivation is still lacking.

I know depression doesn’t go away fully. I am trying to learn a bit about mindfulness. Maybe if I can learn how to practice it, it will help. Meanwhile, if you could say a little prayer, or send a good healing vibe for me, I sure would appreciate it. I need all the help I can get.

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My dogs in the trailer, looking cute.

Thoughts on my session today

I’ve been on the remeron over a week now, and I’ve seen a difference in my mood. While I am more sedate, calmer, and a little sleepier I am definitely not as agitated. It feels like I am starting to get back to myself and that’s a really good feeling. I worry that this is temporary, and feel a bit like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, but I know that’s my anxiety talking. I am getting well.  I have periods of feeling quite a bit better.

My therapist says that when I’m really anxious, severely anxious, I have little to no control over my moods,  and I have to rely on my meds during those times. That I’m doing everything I can be doing. Fair enough. It is then that I must have compassion for myself, being unwell. When I am well, I am able to take control over my anxiety, at least to a certain extent.  Mild to moderate anxiety can be worked through/on.  So when it passes that threshold from moderate to severe, to recognize it as such, and accept it for what it is.

The overwhelming theme of today’s therapy session was “acceptance”. Learning to accept me for me. Benefits and pitfalls.  What are the benefits of being me? M. asked me. I could could think of a couple of things. I need to remind myself more of the benefits.  I’m kind. I’m approachable. I’m bright. I’m passionate. What are the pitfalls? Let’s put it under the neurotic/anxious umbrella term, for now.

M. reminded me of some important things. I was talking about guilt, and how I felt guilty that I wasn’t further in my thesis work. He said, “wouldn’t you be further if you could have been?” And that is the crux right there. I was not able to be further in my work.  And I need to accept that. If I could have been done by now, I would be, for who am I/have I been hurting by not being done? Nobody but me. And why would I do that to myself intentionally? Exactly. I wouldn’t. 

So I have to accept me for me. Me, who has anxiety and depression. Me, who lost this whole semester and more to this illness. Me, who struggles daily with self-esteem.  But to also accept that I have good qualities too, and to remember  them.  I can write. I am eloquent. I have drive. And when I am well, and the anxiety is not getting in the way, you can see that. I can see that.  What I consider to be faults or bad qualities are not what they seem to be.  They are products of the anxiety. And when I have moments of clarity I can see that they are simply symptoms of depression/anxiety. They are not qualities of self. They are not who I am.

Who I am is different from everyone else. I can wish and wish that I was 6’0 tall, but I’m not and never will be. That is not something I can change. I accept that. In the same way, I must accept that I am who I am. I do procrastinate. I do easily distract. But I also am kind, intelligent, musical and hard-working. Some things you cannot change.  I cannot change that I have anxiety. I probably always will. I can change how I look at it. I can accept it. I cannot change that I lost time during this degree due to my illness. Not a damn thing can I do about it. So I must accept it. It is fact.  Now I must move on. Accept that I am being the best I can be, and doing the best I can.  That my best is different from someone else’s best.  And that’s what life’s about,  isn’t it?

I will try harder to get rid of the “shoulds” and the comparisons and the guilt. That type of thinking just eats at your self-esteem and self-worth. I refuse to indulge it anymore. I choose to move forward with acceptance of who I am.

Appointment with Psychiatrist and Santa

No, I’m not delusional or hallucinating. Santa really was there! A two foot tall standing ornament.  I guess a psychiatrist’s office that is too busy to de-Christmas (in June) is a good sign. Or,  as a friend said, it’s just a “really good conversation starter”!

The appointment went well.  Much better than the first psychiatrist I met. This guy actually asked me what my symptoms were, and focused on how I was feeling now, as opposed to my childhood. He asked relevant questions, and all in all,I left with a much better feeling than I had with the first one. It pays to listen to your gut, and get a second opinion if need be.

So, he agreed with me that the wellbutrin was too activating for me, and that it might have actually increased my agitation level. Apparently 20% of patients react poorly to the wellbutrin.  We are going to keep me on the prozac and clonazepam for now, and add mirtazapine. That might work. It will be more calming than the wellbutrin for sure. He wants me to come back in 3 wks, and he told me to be persistent with calling his secretary if I felt any really bad side effects like suicidal thoughts, and he would get me in.

I have hope. It’s been awhile since I’ve felt that, and it feels good. This dr said that it would be possible for me to finish my thesis, get out of the depressive/anxious state,  and actually concentrate. What a concept. I look forward to it.

I also got a diagnosis. Major Depressive Disorder with likely Generalised Anxiety Disorder as well. For some reason, a diagnosis helps. Just the label, I guess, makes it less of a mystery, less scary. He does not think I am Bipolar II; the sheer lack of any manic symptoms prevents that diagnosis. The agitation is likely due to the anxiety.

I apologize if I’m being repetitive, but I’m excited and hopeful. Tonight I start the remeron (mirtazapine) and maybe I will get some rest. Maybe this one will work.

Meanwhile, here’s Santa. Happy Christmas in June?

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Tomorrow’s the day

Second psych consult tomorrow. I feel like puking, I’m so nervous. Of course that’s part of the anxiety I have about pretty much everything. I feel the depression is really lifting, but I’m terrified it’s going to come back.  Anxiety and depression go hand in hand. One often leads to the other. In my case, I’ve been anxious since childhood. But the depression didn’t come until much later. Now I’m 35 and I’ve had four major depressive episodes. The more often you have them, unfortunately, the more likely they are to return, even without warrant.

So tomorrow I see the psychiatrist, and see if he tells me anything different. I do not want to wait my life out, waiting for the next episode. I want the depression and anxiety under control. I am working on the ruminations with my psychologist, but I know I need meds. My mind just won’t quiet with all the worries, going round and round like the proverbial hamster wheel.

I’ve been on some form of antidepressant for the better part of ten years. Sigh. God that sounds bad. But without them, I fear I would be much worse. So I’ve come to accept the pills.

Let’s see what the good dr says to me tomorrow.

Meanwhile, one week on the super duper iron pills from hell and I’ve puked three times.  Fun.