A few weeks ago I had to approach my doctor. I felt defeated. I felt ill. I just did not want to have the conversation with her that my antidepressants were not helping.
I ended up sitting in her office, yet again waving my white flag and feeling like an ultimate failure because the medication that has helped me so often in the past was not helping me this time.
Sure they had helped a tiny bit, they DID help me start eating again, the fear that I had previously held had abated (the one that my food was going to hospitalize me or hurt me in some way shape or form) and I was able to eat.
The problem was also the side effects. The side effects were becoming unbearable. I had traded not being able to eat for being extremely nauseous if I did. (As a former bulimic-this makes me nervous) and I was starting to suffer from headaches that weren’t helping me stay out of bed.
I started having better days, but I also was still sliding down that proverbial hill. My panic attacks were actually increasing for the most ridiculous reasons.
I have to drive my kids to an appointment? Panic.
I have to go to the grocery store? Panic.
I have to bake banana bread? Panic.
I need to carry laundry down the stairs to sort and wash? Panic.
Wake up out of a dream? Panic
I was even panicking because my husband had booked our romantic week away on the same week that I would be celebrating the year and six month anniversaries of my last two emergency surgical procedures. I was living in fear that my fistula (a horseshoe shaped tube near my sphincter-Long story… lets save that for another time) was going to become infected again and I would be stuck in a foreign country, needing to take a plane back to the safety of my country and hospital! ALL while you can’t sit without wanting to die because it hurts THAT much. Last year I had two….TWO vacations (6 months apart) ruined because of that thing! (Do you know how much it sucked that mommy ruined the big Disney trip the day before we left?- Don’t feel so bad… we did end up going a couple of months later-Thanks to my travel agent’s help and Disney for being very understanding. However the second trip in August I did not get to make it up. It was my Grandmothers Birthday Bash and I’m still upset about missing that…)
As you can see from the few examples I listed…. I have been a wreck.
My doctor listened to me and decided we needed to immediately take me off the prescription I was on and try something new. However, if you are familiar with the process- you need to go off them for a week or two and get them out of your system before you start the new medication.
So for the past couple of weeks, including my time away- I have been off my meds (with the exception of the much needed anti-anxiety ones) and I am about to start the new round of anti-depressants this week.
I’m not going to lie, I had my moments while I was on my trip. At first it sucked coming off of them, but then I became a bit cocky ‘Hmmm maybe I don’t need them at all….’ (Hahaha yeah right…) Toward the end of my trip my insomnia returned. I started to have panic attacks on the beach (THE BEACH-my happy place!!!) and that was just the start.
When I arrived home, almost immediately I went into panic attack mode. I had about two days of solid freaking out and needing to try to keep myself calm. I was actually physically shaking during my attacks and I couldn’t stop unless I took a pill to calm down. I couldn’t sleep. It was exhausting. I hate being dependent on medication.
I always try so hard not to give into the attack but you reach a breaking point. I will go very far and it will get worse before I even bother taking that Ativan. (I think I am SO tough but we know I’m not-I need to learn to just take the damn pill when it starts and save it from getting bad)
I wont lie. I had a good cry on Monday when my kids were at school.
I have a few reasons for sharing all of this.
- I want people suffering from Mental Health issues to know that it is okay to go back and talk to your doctor if things aren’t working and you feel you need a new plan. I was reluctant myself and honestly- until I start the new prescription I don’t know what is in store for me, but at least we are trying. I am lucky to have a doctor that is willing to listen and who supports me.
- I want people who don’t suffer to understand that when a person is depressed, or anxious- There is no quick fix. There is no easy solution. We need time. Every single person is different. So please be patient with us.
- I want everyone to know that depression doesn’t care who you are, where you are or what you are doing. I will admit-I was very content lounging about in the sun for that week- There should have been no reason for me to panic- but I did. There should have been no reason for me to lose sleep- but I did. It was so relaxing and it did rejuvenate me in a lot of ways but even that trip was just a band-aid solution to a much bigger problem. I’m still ‘broken’.
The good news is that I have a plan. Now that I have THANKFULLY passed my ‘6 month’ mark on that infection that plagues me-and nothing has happened *knock on wood* I am happy to report that I am feeling much more optimistic. That is a major mental hurdle that no longer stands in my way. I know I will get sick again-it’s been 13 years of this, it’s inevitable that it will act up again. I know I am still under the care of doctors and specialists trying to help me so the infections stop happening but maybe now it will go back to it acting up once every few years again, rather then every six months. I can live with that. (For now)
Thanks to that getaway I am now waking earlier, no matter what my night is like (screw you insomnia!) and I am more excited to start the day (even if I am just going about my regular mom duties and not running off to shoot the sunrise over the ocean and search for seashells) I am working on my health and fitness-I’m determined to become fit again and since my vacation ‘reset’ I have been eating better and watching my food intake (Well…besides that Churro Donut from Tim Hortons… but hello ‘CHURRO DONUT’!!) and this weekend I am going to start working out again (Which I started before I left on vacation- but I will admit I have been a bit slow on the go getting that going again- but I AM TRYING!!)
I am going to get through this.
No matter what.
Authors Note: While my blog is a mishmash of topics- I have written quite a few blogs on depression/anxiety and will continue to document my personal struggles. I will continue to do whatever I can to help end the stigma that surrounds Mental Health. One blog at a time.