Still hanging on

Things have improved since last time. THANK GOD.

My mood is MUCH better. I still have ups and downs but right now they aren’t so down.

Last time I updated I had just gotten to 20mg of lexapro. I’ve now been at that dose for two weeks. I’m feeling much better in myself and I’m certainly not crying as much. I still feel slightly overwhelmed sometimes but I’m able to function much more than what I was.

I still have anxiety though. Don’t get me wrong, it is better. I don’t wake up with that crippling panicky feeling and it doesn’t stop me from going out or anything, it’s just like an underlying uncomfortable anxiety. Sometimes it is there and other times it’s not. It’s worse when I’m unoccupied, like if I have a quiet day at home. Probably because I can sit there and analyse my feelings, whereas if I am out I am distracted. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I do notice it when I’m out.

I should note that the anxiety has improved and I’ve stopped all benzos. Simply because I was taking Valium and it wasn’t doing a damn thing. I think my body has become a little resistant to the Valium so it’s not as effective in the doses I was taking it. I didn’t want to increase it because I was taking 10mg per day 😳

So I just decided to stop it and live without the benzos. It’s not too bad right now. Like I said, the Valium wasn’t doing anything so the anxiety is the same. But the fact that I don’t HAVE to take the benzos indicates improvement.

Certain things do trigger the anxiety, going to bed is a big one lately. I think because I went through a period where it was really hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. It happened right after I got to 20mg of lexapro. So going to bed was anxiety inducing because I never knew if I’d be able to fall asleep or not. After about a week the sleep settled and I was able to fall asleep like I normally would, but the anxiety about going to bed lingered. Being alone still triggers anxiety. Seeing either my psychologist or psychiatrist gives me anxiety because I am scared about what is going to be brought up.

But my mood is better! And I’m so thankful for that. My next psychiatrist appointment is this week. We were going to determine whether I needed to switch medications. She said if I didn’t notice any improvement then we would immediately switch, but if I noticed improvement then she was more inclined to keep me on it. Since I’ve noticed improvement I think she will keep me on it, but I am going to ask her if all my symptoms should be gone.

I was under the impression that antidepressants should get you to ‘remission’ which is all symptoms being gone. And while my mood is MUCH better, the anxiety is still there. Although it is better, it’s not where I want it, which is gone. I guess I want to be back to the person I was before, which was very happy, highly functioning and not anxious at all! Obviously except for certain situations, like if Scarlett ran off in the shops and I couldn’t see her I would get a jolt of anxiety, but that’s normal. Or if I was at work and a patient came in and we almost lost him/her. Again, normal when you think that a patient is about to die.

Anyway, I think the downhill spiral was due to a few things:

  1. my medication not being at a sufficient dose
  2. My psychiatrist and psychologist being on a two week holiday, leaving me feeling completely alone and vulnerable

I am on the up though so it’s reassuring. I know I will get better and I need to focus on that.

I think I’ve realised a few things over these last few weeks. A big trigger for my anxiety seemed to be the thought that I may get depressed again in my future (even though I’ve never been depressed before apart from after the birth of Scarlett) and need medication again.

What I’ve realised is that if that’s the case, then I go back on medication and that’s okay. If I have a problem with how an organ of mine functions and I can utilise medication to fix it, then that’s what I’m going to do. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Depression and anxiety are treatable. I need to remember that.

And also, Kristen bell takes medication every day for depression. I was shocked to learn this because I’ve always looked up to her and admired her for her bubbly personality. She always seemed so happy. It was a shock to learn that she’s suffered from depression from a young age and she combats it with daily medication. It was reassuring to know someone who i admire so much was willing to speak about this and share that she too takes medication. If I do end up with a chronic illness or if it happens again, at least I know I’m not ‘crazy’, I just have an organ that doesn’t function optimally, and I need to take medication to fix it.

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