Sitting here after a day that has left me feeling like a Hollywood cliche – I acquired a psychiatrist. So now I can talk flippantly about what my psychiatrist says about the world…
I wouldn’t say anxiety is a major problem for me; I’m a worry-er for sure, about everything from what I decide to wear today to whether my battery light on my car going on means I’ve got only moments before the engine explodes! But I have to say, my heart is filled with a quiet sort of nagging anxiety tonight. Just to add to the every day dramas of my car cracking a couple hundred dollars worth of shits, and worrying that I might have pissed my boss off the other day, I’ve been prescribed a new medication. By my psychiatrist, who I have decided to call ‘Roma’ for the purpose of this blog. But here’s the blow by blow of my medications for those of you playing along at home…
When I first was diagnosed, I was put on Citalopram (marketed as Cipramil) which seemed to work for a while, and then wear off. Following that I trialed Effexor (or venlafaxine) which had horrid side effects for me, including really freakin’ vivid dreams. I didn’t mind that in all honesty but some of the other side effects put me off, and so the doc decided that Lovan (which is also known as Prozac, or fluoxetine) was worth a try. To be fair, this worked for me for quite a while but side effects were still niggling me. After a year or so I decided I wanted to try life without medication, but still seeing my lovely psychologist who will be called ‘Sria’ for the purpose of this blog. My life was pretty stable for a while, and thinking back without going through my journal I can’t really remember what triggered me to go to the doctor and ask to be put back on meds. I think the stress of uni started to take a toll, and certainly I’ve struggled to focus and have motivation to study throughout the past few years while contending with my depression. I’d seen that one of my non blood related aunts had been prescribed Cymbalta (duloxetine) and stupidly thought that if it worked for her, it would work for me. However the same old side effects appeared, and I feel at this point to be at a plateau – Cymbalta had perked me up for a little while, but it seems that ‘rotten days’ are still occurring more than they ought to. Which has lead me to today. A few weeks back my doc wrote up a referral to see a psychiatrist after another friend battling an even bigger mental battle than I said that his psych had been able to help him out with meds significantly, and so I asked if that was a suitable move, and both Sria and the doc agreed it was. Enter ‘Roma’ stage right.
So today was always going to be a mish mash of emotions. First psychiatrists’ appointment. Plus the other lifey stuff. But after going through ‘a short history on the life of Hayley’, Roma stated matter of factly that I was always going to be predisposed to depression given my family history (which might be the topic for a later post) but that environmental factors had certainly been enough to trigger depressive episodes. As lame as it sounds, there is STILL that corner of my mind that worries that because I’m not in a deep dark state right now, that I might just be making it all up. Part of me is even ashamed enough to think that I might have taken up Roma’s time for someone who is much more sick than me, that I’m wasting my parents money on costly doctors appointments, that this is my burden to bear if indeed it is a burden to bear at all. But then maybe that’s a symptom of a lurking demon right there. Sit boy, stay.
But the anxiety right now is from the fact that I walked out of my session with not one but two prescriptions; the main one being for agomelatine (or Valdoxan) and the other for Valium… what’s more Hollywood cliche lame than being able to say I’ve been on Prozac AND Valium?? But Valdoxan is the main man of the hour; a relatively new drug, in a class that I didn’t even know existed for treating depression. Roma says she’s seen a few young women come in on Cymbalta who have come in to see her after gaining 20 kgs.. and I have to say that after all my medications I’m not far off that figure. And given that I am an emotional eater, she thinks that’s not a great drug for me to be on. I’m certainly hoping that a few kilos might withdraw with the Cymbalta but I know that they may come with a fresher state of mind anyway.
But I’ve been here before. Maybe I didn’t give the other drugs a fair enough go. Maybe the side effects weren’t that bad. Maybe my depression isn’t bad enough to warrant this drug. What about other side effects. Over think, think and think some more.
And it is always hard, reading reviews online. While Valdoxan works differently to more common antidepressants in that it works on an entirely different pathway to serotonin and norepinephrine inhibitor drugs, there are always going to be side effects. Therefore I have already started informing those around me that given I’ll be withdrawing from Cymbalta AND experiencing side effects from new meds, I’m likely to be a massive bitch. I need to mind a ‘Don’t mind me, my rational neurons are being flooded with foreign chemicals’ badge.
But essentially this new drug is designed to more correctly align my ‘circadian rhythms’ so that my serotonin levels peak when they really are meant to. Insomnia for the first little while is not uncommon, along with potentially having a few more anxious feelings but that’s what the Valium’s for. Essentially a bad symptom blocker, so I do feel more secure having that on hand. But the LAST thing I need right now is to go through hell trying to fix my brain when I have so much I want to be doing. I really really wish I could take a year to get myself sorted so that I could come back to uni, all guns blazing so I could let out the passionate, intelligent and hope-filled student that I still somehow believe is inside of me. Somewhere. Hopefully her alter ego’s crap academic record so far doesn’t hold her back.
But enough of my cathartic rant. Essentially I feel like a veritable cornucopia of drugs. You could bury me in the Amazon and I’d be a source of interesting new chemicals that would potentially aid and intrigue generations to come. It kiiiiiinda sucks.