I just love these mental health updates, don’t you?
So, I’m what you’d call a treatment resistant major depressive disorder patient. This wasn’t always the case but the last decade or so, I haven’t been able to achieve long lasting relief from my symptoms. How I long for the days when all I had to do was pop a Prozac or a Zoloft!
That was a long time ago, though.
My struggle with medications started back in early 2011, when my darling Zoloft started to fizzle out on me. I tried an assortment of different medications that, well…sucked. A few did nothing noticeable and others just made matters worse. Ultimately, two of those “bad meds” led me to attempt taking my own life back in the summer of 2015.
Finally, fresh out of the psych ward for the 2nd time, my mother, still healthy enough to accompany me to yet another shrink appointment, begged the doc to help me.
“This is NOT my daughter.”
Fuck, I miss my mom. She’d always speak up loudly for me when all I could do was whisper.
I was put on Effexor. Slowly, I started coming back, bit by bit. It wasn’t perfect but it was something! Sadly, I was still stuck in a terribly unhappy marriage that was even more fucked than I could’ve imagined. I’m grateful to have been on a medication that was at least making a somewhat positive impact on my mental health during that timeframe.
Effexor and I have been together for almost 6 years now. Unfortunately, it’s effectiveness alone is beginning to weaken, which often happens with antidepressants. My shrink upped it last fall and it seemed for a bit that I was experiencing a resurgence of relief.
Well, the sadness and thoughts of the general icky kind started up again around the end of January or thereabouts. Sigh. Feeling emotionally numb, craving solitude, having no motivation and the worst thing ever, the image of nooses came back.
I cannot find the words to explain my frustration.
I had a phone appointment with my (soon retiring, oy!) shrink last week. I told her everything. She asked me if I’d ever been on Abilify, generic name Aripiprazole. I had to think back for a minute because I’ve tried so many medications in the past. It didn’t ring a bell.
Aripiprazole is used to treat certain mental/mood disorders (such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, Tourette’s syndrome, and irritability associated with autistic disorder). It may also be used in combination with other medication to treat depression. Aripiprazole is known as an anti-psychotic drug (atypical type).
We decided to go for it. I’m on the lowest dose, 2 mg. Today is my second day of taking it. So far, no janky side effects. It’s too soon to say whether or not it’s going to work out but at least I’m not experiencing anything unpleasant. I’m so weary of this never-ending journey with my mental health, so I’m hoping for the best.
According to my research, the combo of Effexor and Abilify (my insurance company only charged me $3.78 for the generic 30 day supply!) is beneficial for many people with Major Depressive Disorder. As much as I dislike seeing the word “anti-psychotic” I’ve chosen to accept it for what it is.
I mean, the truth is, I suffer from a multitude of mental illnesses and I’ve seen my patient charts a small number of times and I’ve been completely off my nut (psychotic) often but especially the past few years.
So, I can’t be stubborn about trying new medications. However, I am now extremely involved with keeping tabs on how I feel and communicating honestly about it.
A few years ago, I just went along with whatever the doctors told me, even though I knew deep down that a particular pill was making me extra bonkers.
Since this blog is primarily a place for me to focus on my mental health, I wanted to write all of this out. Who knows, maybe someone else will stubble across this post and what I have to say here will help them.
I’ll update again soon, as I continue to take this add-on psych med.
Hey, mom? Thank you for being my advocate while you were here.
Now, I must advocate for myself.