What if you can’t tell?

Had another psychiatrist appointment today.  This dr is keeping good tabs on me, which is a good thing, I guess.  I see him monthly.  I guess I didn’t expect to see him that frequently, seeing how overbooked and overworked our mental health system is.  But, hey, I’ll take it.

My anxiety is through the roof.  The house is up for sale but we haven’t had any offers.  The new house is built, and they are in the process of putting in the hardwood floors this week.  Every other day I have a meeting with my partner, the designer or contractor, or a house showing. I feel like I’m going insane.

But then there are times when I’m fine. I feel calm. I feel okay. I wouldn’t say that I’m super happy, but I’m definitely okay. Unfortunately, these days, the days when I am fine are infrequent.

So today, when my psychiatrist asked how I was doing, I didn’t know what to say. How do I sum up that I feel mostly okay depression-wise, but not so okay anxiety-wise, but oh, it’s not all the time, but most of the time?  Well, I think that is pretty much what I said.  But what really sucks about having depression/anxiety is that my concentration is shit and my comprehension is sluggish.  So, self-assessment is not exactly my forte.  I try to “check in” with myself, to compare myself to last month, or two months ago, but I find it incredibly difficult.  Am I better than I was last month? Worse?  I think I had a good bump up when the remeron was increased, but the dr decreased the prozac, which I think probably didn’t help the anxiety. So today he bumped the prozac back up. The medication balance is very tricky. And frustrating.

So what do you do, dear reader, if you can’t tell if you are better or worse? I am looking for insightful ways to figure out myself.  What works for you?

p.s. here’s a great blog post. I love her language.  Three Things You Need to Know about Mental Illness.

By the way, I have decided I am vanilla bean ice cream.

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.

Oh, so I’m *really* anemic

Went to the dr for my blood test results today. Everything is good except for my hemoglobins and ferritin which are incredibly low. I’m not sure what the numbers mean exactly but the normal range is between 15 and 160 and mine is 4. I must start taking iron supplements immediately and change my diet to eat more iron-rich foods. Yay for spinach! I have not been a healthy eater and now it has come to bite me in the ass. Sigh.

At least I found out that there could be more to my lethargy and headaches than depression. If I get my iron stores up, I will likely see a big difference in my energy, says the doctor. I hope so.

Now to get the irritability under control. I have officially stopped the wellbutrin – I was just too agitated on it. I get my second opinion psychiatry appt next week, and I will see what this guy says. My GP is thinking that I may be bipolar II. I don’t feel particularly hypomanic, but my agitation and irritability could be seen as that, with my depressive episodes being much more prominent.

I don’t want to be bipolar II.  It’s another scary label. I was just getting used to and accepting that I have anxiety and depression.

More waiting.

Meanwhile, here’s a pretty scenery pic of a place where I frequently walk my dogs. It’s a place that generally relaxes me.

image

Back to dr for psych recommendation

I went back to my family doctor because she received the recommendations from the psychiatrist consult I had. Neither of us were satisfied with his evaluation of me,  or his proposed method of treatment. We are going to get a second opinion from a different psychiatrist.  I don’t know if I presented really well that day,  or he didn’t deem me that serious, or he just couldn’t see the seriousness of my depression (I was much more anxious that day). Probably it was a combination of the three.  Either way,  I knew when I left the office that day that I was unhappy with the appointment. I am really glad that my family dr got the same feeling from his letter.

So,  I am to continue on the prozac and clonazepam, and stop the wellbutrin in two weeks. By then I’ll have the appointment set up with the new psych. My dr thinks the psych will take me off the wellbutrin and substitute it with something else. Sigh.  It’s so frustrating. I can feel that the depression is lifting but the anxiety is still high. I just want to get better,  and I’m sick of this waiting game/runaround.

Had some tears of frustration today but have been overall not too bad the past few days.

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.