Back to the Doctor

I went back to the doctor yesterday, for a check-up. They won’t give me more than four weeks’ supply of antidepressants at a time, so that they can see me on a regular basis. I think that’s very sensible, and I do feel that I’m being cared for well by the system (which is the NHS in Wales). The doctor said that given my history of depression it might be a good idea if I’m on the antidepressants indefinitely. There are no dangers to taking them long term, as long as the side effects are not too bad, and so far, they’re not.

Apparently though, they might take up to eight weeks to kick in fully. So far, I’ve had a good response to them. I still get bad days, or rather, bad periods of time – I’ll have a good morning and go downhill in the afternoon, or find it really difficult to get out of bed, but be fine later on. But I’m having a good day around half the time at the moment.

So I’m wondering what will happen if I keep on improving? What kind of a person will I turn out to be? My energy levels are already higher than they were – not hugely, but I find it a lot easier to just potter around getting things done, and spend much less time feeling so drained I can hardly stand. If this carries on, will I become the Superwoman that I always felt I had to try to be? Or will I cease to care about it and just get on with enjoying life? I still don’t know exactly what I want to do with my life, but somehow it seems to matter less.

The tablets I’m on this time are slightly different to the ones I’ve been on previously – lustral rather than citalopram. The leaflet says they are for major depression and anxiety, and I had no idea how badly I suffered from anxiety until I stopped. Another reason why I’ve been so exhausted all of the time – I was so anxious about just about everything. I never relaxed. Now, I find I need a lot more sleep. Maybe I’ll catch up with myself eventually. Until then, I’ll be spending as much time sleeping as I can get away with.

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8 Responses to Back to the Doctor

  1. The biological effects improving are just the start of a world opening up, but most people find that lots are still really hard after so long of being depressed. A good thing to do would be to ask your doctor to refer you to an Occupational Therapist or to a Psychologist to help you take hold of your health and use it. You wont feel like superwoman. You will feel very human. But things will feel possible. The hardest thing is often knowing where to start living again and working up to the challenge of getting into it.

    • Thanks for this Jill – my doctor has referred me for counselling and I’m waiting for the appointment to come through. I’ve had various types of therapy over the years and found it very useful, but this is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which is new to me, and I’m interested to see how it differs from psychotherapy and how it all works….

      • There is a lot of good evidence for it being effective. It works very much with you and your therapist working together – but you also come out having learnt some skills too. I found it really helpful when I did it.

  2. Nikka says:

    Congratulations on taking care of yourself and the improvements you have made thus far. i am very proud of you!

    As a Coach, I practice a form of CBT and have found that there is a really fantastic success rate. Counseling at this point is generally extremely helpful because it not only helps you (generic you as in the person who has been dealing with depression) to adjust to a different chemical mind set as well as a helping you to identify the patterns which you created in the past which supported your World View while depressed, but no longer do.

    And that’s where CBT really shines! It will help you to identify those patterns and put into place other behaviors / thoughts / feelings. With a good practitioner, they will help you to do this without making what happened before wrong, F’ed up, stupid, yada, yada, yada. Simply what you had to do to get to this point. It’s really amazing. I think this is a fabulous opportunity to grow!


  3. Ruth Hardy says:

    CBT gives you a toolkit for coping and living I found (& find it) useful.

    I found having a permanent prescription the right way for me but it’s different for everyone. I find that having the stability my meds give mean that I can still feel, laugh, cry, enjoy life, and feel the pain that makes me real but I don’t get the real highs and the dreadful depths that being off medication gave me. My (& given that it’s genetic possibly yours) depression isn’t like bi-polar because there were no real manic times just times when life was running along quite normally but a little thing could send me into a spiral and I had to go through the whole depressive circle before I could get myself together.

    Hon I can’t say I don’t ever have bad times.. I do… I have blips… but everyone does that I’m assured is normal, no-one is happy all the time, but it’s great to be able to be on that level playing field. My blips are different to those without depression… I have to go through that cycle of confusion, self deprecation, lack of self worth, lack of purpose, feelings of guilt, working through that logically, seeing myself as others see me (CBT helps with this SOO much) and feeling better about myself again. But I do it so much more quickly and I can push myself though it so that its over quicker and doesn’t have as much as impact on me or everyone around me…. (funnily enough I was discussing this in my appraisal today trying to explain no ones to blame or can help it just has to be gone through)

    Do you know what has been the greatest thing for me… knowing that I’m not alone and that there is no blame to be attributed – it is a genetic condition that we have inherited… there are lots of bad things about it… but there are lots of good too, I have no fears in sharing I have a mental illness because it is part of who I am and helps me to understand other people better. I care more because I don’t want others to reach that place where death isn’t to be feared life is. I am a better manager because I value the time my team spend at home as much as that at work, I am a better youth worker because I can cry with my kids and enjoy the simple things as if they are all new to me. I am a better person because I am not perfect but not useless either.

    The only thing I’m totally useless at is knowing when I have said too much…. so I’m gonna go right now. I love you my cousin and my friend. Rxx

    • Thanks Ruth – love you too! You haven’t said too much. I think you’ve been very eloquent. What you’ve described is unsurprisingly very similar to my experience – and I would think many other people’s as well. I actually started writing the blog as a way to communicate with Graham, but it turned out to draw many quite disparate people together, and the comments have been a source of great support to me during a difficult time…

  4. Alan Garde says:

    I’m really glad it sounds like you’ve got a good doctor who understands these things a bit more than most. That’s a huge asset on your side and I’m glad they are watching over you and doing the sensible thing and keeping an eye on how things change as the medication reaches its prime point. It makes so much difference having support of your doctor behind you, and anyone ever that tries to get help and finds the medical profession pooh-poohs you, just keep knocking down doors til someone listens. We are the only ones who really know what’s going on in our head and if people don’t listen, find someone who does (something I feel strongly after we spent five years trying to get them to listen to my ex-wifes problems). We are worth getting help! I glad you haven’t got that battle though.

    From what I’ve heard from other friends, they’ve made a good choice of anti-depressant if they are thinking of it being a long term thing, so again that’s great they are thinking ahead (I was on citalopram and that pooped out on me after about 18 months).

    It’s also really good news (IMHO) they are pushing you towards the CBT direction. I know you are pretty self-aware, you know a lot of where you’ve come from and have been through a lot of how it’s shaped you here. I’m sure you’ve done to death looking back and maybe sometimes think “not again, haven’t I gone through this enough”. CBT should really help you take more control with how you are now. See how the thoughts that go through your head as a habit when something happens are shaping how you look at things, promoting old bad feelings, and dealing with changing the reactions, the responses, the thought patterns that lead into those spirals and going somewhere else instead. It can be a great help with the anxiety, since most of the things we are anxious over are totally silly if we actually catch ourselves doing it (rather than picking up the pieces after!).

    It’s a great path you are on, and good news you are feeling the quick wins, with no side-effects, and (the biggest win of all) sounding so hopeful. The one thing that can put depression in it’s place is having hope again.

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