Wednesday, September 04, 2013

My Medication Status

I still take a lot of medication. In addition to a multivitamin every morning, a baby aspirin for my heart, and the Prilosec I take for my acid reflux, I'm also on a cholesterol medication and three different meds for my blood pressure. So I take six pills every morning, plus the chewable aspirin.

In addition to that, I have a prescription for Xanax, though I'm on the generic Alprazolam. I take it only when I really, really need it. My psychiatrist doesn't actually like to even prescribe it because in some cases, the anxiety and irritation can return in greater strength, which is something that does happen to me on occasion. When I really need it, it works, but I haven't tried taking one every day and seeing how that goes.

Many of you will remember that I was on Lexapro for a few years. Though it did help even me out, it also made me very static and numb. I stopped caring about very much and spent most of my time just sitting at home. I lost years of my life--a time during which not much happened that I can remember very well--but I gained over 200 pounds, exacerbating all of my other health problems. Losing weight will help ease those problems. That's been very hard for me in itself, but not impossible.

Because of the Lexapro years, though, I'm medication-shy when it comes to something mood altering. My psychiatrist prescribed Prozac a few months ago, but that interacted poorly with my blood pressure, raising it too high and giving me a type of suicidal compulsion I'd never had before. So Prozac is out. Lexapro is out, and Xanax is a salve.

My therapist and my psychiatrist both want me to take something to dull the sharp edges of my panic disorder and give me mental space to gather myself and refocus my priorities so I can change my behavior to follow those priorities. But so far it's been very hard trying to get it right. I still feel, every day, the weight of depression and anxiety hanging over me, threatening to wash over me at any moment. I'm trying to learn to live with it, to acknowledge it, and to not run from it. Anxiety and depression are going to happen. They're like the weather; some days are cloudy, and some days aren't. What I'm having the hardest time controlling is not reacting to their impending presence with fear that almost instantly becomes panic.

It's easier to say than do. For now I've got Xanax when I need it. Maybe I should start taking it once a day and see what that does to me. I just worry about the possible numbness. Or the possibility of acting out.

You know what helps the most? Exercise. Nothing's been better than that. The hardest part, though, is not getting discouraged when the depression hits. That happens often. One of my biggest challenges is to not simply give in when the depression happens, but to keep my schedule of walking and working out.

I think participating in this wedding is going to be a big confidence boost. I wrote my toast today and I think it's actually good. I hope it goes over well. I'll probably have to take a Xanax in the morning, but I'm looking forward to doing this. Carl has faith in me, and that means a lot to me. More than my lack of faith in myself, honestly.

But I'm still going to talk to my psychiatrist about medication tomorrow.


New York Erratic said...

Exercise always helps, even a little. Even if it's just "Well, I didn't do half the things I wanted to get done. But, darn it! I exercised!"

When starting out I find it helpful to remember that on my crappiest day in the gym I totally kicked the butt of the dude sitting on the couch. :-)

Roger Owen Green said...

my doc said I wouldnt need my cholesterol meds if I lost weight, so another reason for me to try. Good luck, Mr. Frog.

Ironside said...

I've lost 80 pounds this year and I am so much happier and less depressed. I had to start out with a healthy diet. Eggs, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, chicken and salmon are my main sources of protein. Exercise was also a trick. My wife got me a female chocolate labrador retriever to take for walks and she changed my life. Not only is she a great walking partner and a constant reminder to exercise, she is so loving and uplifting for my spirit. Good luck to you.