Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Back on Medication, but That's OK!

So, it's been a long time since I've updated.  At first, I was looking at it thinking it was only a few weeks, then suddenly I realized that it's April!  I've been quiet for a very long time.  It's been a little stressful and busy in real life and I haven't felt like updating.  But here I am now.

Part of what kept me from posting for such a long time is that after being off antidepressants for 8 months, I started to recognize symptoms again.  I was having anxiety attacks, couldn't sleep, and saw a lot of the old symptoms come back.  After a visit to my doctor, he wanted me to go back on the Effexor again.  I didn't want to and expressed some concern, but he said it had worked before, so I should stick with it.  I took it for 3 days and felt sick, jittery, and just plain awful.  During that time, I talked with someone close to me who asked me why I agreed to go back on that medication.  She kind of reminded me that I needed to self advocate.  I do so much advocating for my daughter that I forget to advocate for myself.  I took myself off the medication (luckily 3 days wasn't long enough for discontinuation syndrome) and went back to the doctor.  He wanted to half the dosage of the Effexor, but I stood my ground and started a new medication.  It took a few months to get the dosage right, but I feel much better. 

Roller Coaster at Circus Circus
I've often said that having depression is like being on a roller coaster.
I feel like I am finally in a good place, so I'm going to enjoy the ride!
My anxiety has dropped considerably, although I do have occasional moments of panic, they generally don't last as long. 

After going through so much effort to get off of the Effexor XR, I felt like a bit of a failure to have to go back on medication.  But, I realized that I was off the medication for quite awhile and I can do it again.  I would have been a failure if I hadn't recognized the symptoms and admitted that I needed help.  I'm hoping that this will be short term usage, but we'll see.  I am very glad that I didn't end up back on the Effexor XR again.  Even in 3 short days, I started to feel the old feelings coming back.  I was fidgety and felt foggy brained.  I am glad that my doctor agreed to let me try a newer medication, even though it wasn't his first choice.  It was nice to have some input into my own health care.

Starting a new medication was no picnic either.  Thankfully, my pharmacist recognized that it was a new medication for me, so she recommended that I start on a half dose for a few days before taking the full dose.  That helped a lot in the transition.  I researched the new medication so that I would know what kind of side effects to expect.  It felt like I got them all!  I kept note of side effects so that I would be able to notice any trends and be able to report back to my doctor. 

It took about a month and a half for the side effects to stop being a problem and at my current dosage, I feel pretty good about life in general.  I don't feel all sunshine and roses, but I also don't feel all doom and gloom.  I'm pretty much at an even keel these days, and the nice thing about this medication is that I actually have feelings and I'm not numbed into oblivion.  I'm a work in progress, and I'm getting to where I am meant to be, slowly, but moving forward all the time.