Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Health Report Update

So last week I started taking a new anti-anxiety and antidepressant. This is the third time now they've tried me on something; this time it's Venlafaxine (Efexor). I'm on the lowest possible dose for now, and I've been on it for nearly a week. It's too soon, probably, to expect any measurable changes, but Becca says she thinks I've been a little calmer.

It's not like I haven't had opportunities to be anxious, too. I haven't been sleeping so well again, and sometimes I just lie in bed in the morning and don't want to get up. My glasses broke (the frames broke) last week, and today I went to the optometrist for the first time since 2007. I hadn't been able to go with the insurance situation being what it was, but I was able to find a single place in DeKalb that accepted Medicaid. Medicaid covers one pair of glasses every two years. I was worried exactly how much the Medicaid would cover, but it turned out to be all of it. No co-pay, and the glasses are covered. That was a relief. And the eye doctor was a nice guy, too. I notice that I have a tendency to explain things to doctors apologetically, but he was just pleasant and even a little folksy, and I relaxed pretty quickly. Good guy. Also, my eyes haven't really gotten too much worse in the last seven years, so that's nice.

The only downside is that I've had to tape up my frames for now and the new glasses won't be ready because of a backlog for something like 4 to 8 weeks. But I'll have to be patient.

I handled all of this a lot better than I usually do when having to go new places, meet new doctors, etc. So maybe the medication is working.

I started with a new psychiatrist, too, at the behest of my therapist. My old psychiatrist has moved on elsewhere (getting used to this being a thing that happens at state-subsidized places), and I wasn't prepared for the new one. For some reason, I got switched to a different doctor than I had made my appointment with, and I didn't know she was someone that you see in the office on Skype, so I was a little lost. Plus, all the new places/new doctors/even leaving the house anxiety.

She and I talked about Lexapro and how it numbed me and I put on so much weight and the sexual side effects, and how I didn't want to do that again. We also talked about my brief times last year on Fluoxetine and Buspirone and the suicidal urges I'd had. I've become aware this year that I can't trust the reactions I had then. I used to make myself sick, to the point of vomiting and/or diarrhea, when my anxiety got out of control, so that I'd have a believable excuse to not go and do things other than "I'm too scared and I don't want to." That was the way I would self-sabotage. What I do now, I've realized, is get so worked up that my blood pressure gets too high.

My self-sabotage is so deeply ingrained that I can't trust my reactions sometimes, so my earlier reactions to those medications may have been me subconsciously throwing a wrench into the whole thing because, you know, I don't "deserve" to feel better. After the medication was prescribed for me, I couldn't pick it up for a couple of days, and those days were riddled with anxiety. I'm kind of glad that happened, so that I could see for myself that the anxiety was going to happen and that I wouldn't just write it off as some kind of instant side effect of the new pills.

So far, so good. I'm optimistic, but cautiously so. The side effects for this one aren't supposed to be like they were with Lexapro. Today feels good to me. That's all I can ask right now, I think.


Roger Owen Green said...

YOU ARE AWESOME with your honesty.

Yasmin said...

I took Venlafaxine a few years ago, but for my depression and not anxiety. I don't struggle that much with anxiety, depression is the main problem, and I think at time I didn't even know I had anxiety at all. It was the second antidepressant I tried (Fluoxetine being the first) and, like all the others, it didn't help with my depression. But I do seem to be a bit resistant when it comes to some kinds of medication (I have trouble with sleeping pills and anti-allergy mediation not working, too). I did loose weight, as I did with all of the other antidepressants I tried, and I didn't experience any side effects. The reason I'm writing you all this is that in hindsight, I think it helped with the anxiety I didn't realize I had. I struggle a bit with remembering the details, I think this was seven years ago, but I do know I was a lot calmer. A bit numb, but not in a 'I can't feel my feelings' sort of way. One thing I still vividly remember is that I could watch surgeries on TV all of a sudden without being grossed out or feeling sick and being really surprised by that.
I really hope you'll get better. You do deserve to live a life that isn't filled with depression, anxiety and all the things that come with it.

SamuraiFrog said...

Thank you, and thank you for sharing your experiences. Anxiety is my main issue, but depression has really come out this year, and the past few months I've had an out of control depression, and I don't always realize when I'm feeling it. I've been getting sudden bursts of energy the last few days, but mainly I've been relaxed. I did get extremely agitated last night for no discernible reason.

The numbness is my main worry; the numbness on Lexapro was such that I could still feel all of my feelings, I just didn't care about them or about doing anything.