Medication to live by…

There seems to be (or so I’ve read and been told) an increase of the number of antidepressants being prescribed. I’ve always been a hypochondriac, but with a medication phobia. To the point that I would have to take someone with me to fill a prescription and she would take the side effects pamphlet from me right away because I would create in my mind every side effect it said I could have. The mind works in mysterious ways. I have sworn that I have Deep Vein Thrombosis because I’ve had random pains in my leg. During some of my anxiety attacks, and even just gas I have sworn that I was having a heart attack and went to the ER several times. 
I have been prescribed antidepressants since the beginning of time (when I was 14. I’m 44 now). But it was Imipramine or Desipramine, which is an old school Tricyclic antidepressant. But as soon as I would start feeling side effects… i.e. Anxious, Dizzy, Unable to eat, inability to stay awake… I would stop taking the medicine. I’ve been on everything. Lithium, Depakote, Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, Cymbalta… and now I am on a steady diet of Effexor, Zoloft and Clonopin, as well as Trazodone for sleep. I also take high blood pressure medicine.

In 2005, I went through a major breakup and sunk so low that I couldn’t get off the couch. I wasn’t eating or sleeping, I felt like I couldn’t stay in my house and would be pacing up and down the sidewalk at 3am in front of my house and I was convinced that all kinds of irrational, horrific things were going to happen to me. I saw a therapist 4x a week and swore that I was going crazy. My maternal grandmother was Schizophrenic and Manic Depressive, so I was SURE that I was following in her mentally ill footsteps. I suffered for a VERY long time. My panic attacks were happening 3-4 times per day. It got to the point where I couldn’t even work anymore. I stayed on my couch for a month. Lost 20 pounds in that month which had me at 106lbs, which is skeleton-like for me. 

My fear of taking medicine due to side effects had been prevalent up until this point and I had never stuck with anything for longer than 2 weeks. 

One day, I woke up in a panic, which was nothing new and went to my best friends house and asked her to take care of me. I had finally gotten to the point where I was SO miserable that I would have done ANYTHING to feel different. Better. My doctor (who wasn’t a psychiatrist) prescribed Prozac, which I later learned wasn’t a preferred medication for people with high levels of anxiety unless it’s taken at higher doses. But I took it, followed by an Ativan every day and suffered through it. I got better, but very slowly. Still never felt quite “right”. After getting a referral to a Psychiatrist, I was finally given Effexor, which was a miracle drug for me. 

9 months later I was well enough to go back to work. I’ve been on Effexor ever since. I don’t ever want to stop taking it, because I never want to go through what I did that year. My anxiety level goes up and down and I go back and forth between Ativan and Clonopin depending on whether I’m “in crisis” or not. Just recently, my dr added Zoloft, which I am taking 200mgs of, and then Trazodone for sleep. I’m still up until 4am and then wake up at like 8 or 9. I’m seeing my therapist twice a week now and am on a medical stress leave from work. I’m feeling like it’s time that I make some serious changes in my life because at this rate, I’ll have a (2nd) stroke before I’m 50. I’m just not quite sure how to make these changes. 

Has medication made a difference in your level of depression, anxiety, panic attacks or any other types of mental illness?

What types of things do you do to take care of yourself?

How do you find motivation to even get out of bed every morning? I’m really feeling like I can’t participate in life again anytime soon. 

My next post will explain how this all started. Which will also incorporate to how my life was put on Pause. I’ve still never caught up. 

Author: Autumn Delaney

A screwed up girl in an even more screwed up world...

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