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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If there was a pill to make you feel better, would you take it?

I met with the psychiatrist yesterday. He irritated me, taking his notes and deciphering me in 60 minutes. Middle-class? Check. No childhood trauma? Check. History of family depression and anxiety? Check. No eating disorder, OCD or mania? Check. You’ve got depression exacerbated by anxiety. Go away.

To be fair, he was thorough. But the problem is “I present so well.” I look put – together, I can sit and have a conversation with anyone, I save my falling apart for later. The only people who see me fall apart are my partner, sister, and therapist. So why should I expect the psychiatrist to see how anxious and depressed I really am? I look fine. My symptoms are not obvious.

He said that he would not have prescribed the wellbutrin, but he would have kept me on the clonazepam. He said he would write a recommendation letter to my GP, and that she would be the one to make the ultimate decisions, along with me. He pissed me off, because I think the wellbutrin is just starting to work. Granted I’m edgy, nervous and agitated, but I’m getting stuff done! For the first time in a month. I’m laughing again. I don’t want that to go away. I take ativan for when I’m really strung out. I used to struggle against taking them, because they can be addictive, but I won’t become addicted. I’m too careful and overthink everything. I’ll debate whether I should take an ativan for half an hour.

Would you take a pill if it made your life easier? That is the ultimate question. And the answer, for me, for now, is yes. I need to quieten the jumble of anxiousness in my head,  so I can rest. My mind races and races and races,  like the proverbial guinea pig in the wheel,  and I just need it to stop sometimes. So I take an ativan or a clonazepam and it stops, temporarily. It’s my saving grace right now.  So I don’t go completely mad.

In two more weeks I see my GP and hear what the psychiatrist recommends. Asshole couldn’t tell me and save me some grief? For fuck’s sake. I’m anxious enough, let’s just wait some more.

My mood is frustrated but hopeful.  Being pissed is better than being sad. The wellbutrin is starting to work. My therapist had “graduated” me to seeing him every two weeks,  an improvement over weekly. I have hope, even though trying to figure out meds and moods and symptoms and reactions is exhausting.

 

Breakdown

I had a nervous breakdown. I might as well just say it like that, and get it out there, even though the words “nervous breakdown” make people envision someone pulling out their hair, shrieking uncontrollably, thrashing about in bed, and it wasn’t like that at all. It was much more… quiet. The psychologist I am seeing prefers the words “major depressive episode,” although those words leave a lot to be desired too; they are too clinical, and leave too much to the unknown.

So I decided to create this blog as a part of my recovery, to help me get it all straight in my head. Depression causes confusion and memory loss, and while they are not permanent symptoms, for me, they are one of the more frustrating components of depression.

The details are fuzzy to me, but somewhere around April 3rd of this year, I started crying. And I just couldn’t stop. It was all too much, all I could feel was a crushing sadness. Even when I wasn’t crying, it was only because I felt I had used up all my tears, and there weren’t any left. At first I tried to deny that I was sick. I went on autopilot. I thought I could ignore it. But I couldn’t. It wouldn’t go away. All I did was cry or sleep. I forced myself to eat. I tried to do normal things, like laundry, and baking, but even that was very difficult. I took no pleasure in anything. I slept a lot. I could barely get out of bed.

That was at the beginning of the month. The past 3 weeks have been the worst “depressive episode” I’ve ever gone through. I am very familiar with depression, having a combination of that and anxiety for roughly a decade. I have never felt the incredible sadness that I have felt this month, before. This time was different.

Luckily, I had the insight to know that this was a serious episode, and was able to get to my doctor. She added a new, atypical antidepressant to the one I was already on, and I have been on it since April 9th. I am also on a waitlist to see a psychiatrist and seeing my psychologist weekly. I am doing everything possible to take care of me. Things aren’t better yet, I am still moderate-to-severe depressed. It takes between 4-12 weeks for the antidepressant to take full effect, so it’s a waiting game now. But this past week I have seen some improvement, enough to have some clarity, perspective and hope. I’m really glad. Without hope, you really have nothing. And while this illness has won this round, I refuse to let it win for good.