Daily Archives: May 10, 2018

How Do You Know When An Anti-Depressant Is Working?

It seems like such a no brainer, right? Obviously, if an antidepressant is working, you’ll no longer feel depressed, duh!

If only it were that simple.

I’ve been taking Cymbalta two weeks now, ten days at 40 mg. I can’t say I am dancing on the ceiling or in the streets. My motivation is still on the side of a milk carton. My energy is still tapped out by 8 p.m. and sleep seems the only escape. By that measure, it’s obviously not doing much, is it?

Thing is, I look back at posts from a month ago prior to Cymbalta, and I was less focused, more encapsulated in my woe-is-me misery, totally honed in on the darkness of my own mind and the stress.

Recent posts have actually been more targeted, topic driven, and less about my personal situation and more about coping with my disorders. I still ramble, but I think that’s just who I am and as far as flaws go, I could do worse.

While it is not exactly known how antidepressants work on a depressed brain, it is well known that many of these medications can take up to six weeks tos how optimal results. And often, a dose increase is required to reach that optimal result.

So antidepressants aren’t like taking a Tylenol and an hour later, oh, headache’s gone, it works.

This is a tedious, weeks-long process of discovery, discerning if your mood has gone up, stayed the same,decreased. And after my experience with Effexor this last time, going from bad to worse, I am wary the same could happen here with Cymbalta.Fact is, I have not had a lot of luck with antidepressants. I am a magnet for the worst, most abnormal side effects and bad reactions. They often conk out after several months. But since Lamictal contols my extreme highs but does nothing for the lows, an antidepressant is pretty much a requirement in my treatment. It’s frustrating, disheartening, often demeaning when med after med fails.

I tried to explain to drive thru shrink Dr. H that I am not seeking joy in a pill. I know the meds can only do so much, they’re not going to change my financial situation or fix my personality flaws or whatever. I just want a medication that puts my brain chemically on the right track.

Is this one it?

That remains to be seen.

But the fact that it is making me write more coherently and with a little objectivity and self awareness as opposed to drowning in my own sorrow?

That’s a cause for hope and I can live with hope.

Bob’s Diagnosis of Me

Bob and I talked about how I’m doing last night–the gist is that he isn’t seeing what I am feeling.  He says I’m still lethargic, unresponsive to him and the kids, and not participating in their lives.  He said he wasn’t trying to denigrate the work I had done  and talked with him about, but that he wasn’t seeing me bounce back like I had before.  I told him I thought I had gotten lower than I had in a long time because I had been considering withdrawing from the MFA program and stopping writing altogether.  I felt like I had further to climb back this time.  But  I really feel like I have made strides in the Psycamore program and will continue to do better.

He really terrified me.  I want to do better, but I don’t want to fall back into those fear patterns and suffering from that crippling fear that if I don’t get my act together that I’ll lose him.  I am trying to let go of the idea that I can control other people’s actions. Because I’m learning I can’t really.  But then I have a conversation like this that sounds like a threat. And I get scared all over again.