Hello, Friends! It’s been awhile. It’s hard to write, work, care-take, AND get the fifteen-plus hours of sleep I need when I bite the bullet and go back on antidepressants.
Since I last wrote, I had a promising appointment with a new doctor, and I’ve been taking a low-dose of Lexapro for three weeks.
I feel way less depressed and slightly less anxious. That’s the good part.
The not-so-good part is that my focus is worse than ever, and that I could sleep around the clock. I think the sleep part might be getting better…but I’m not 100% certain of that. Hence the term ‘Lexapro Flu.’
I warned Gil when I decided to go back on the mood-enhancing (hopefully) drugs that this ALWAYS happens. They make me SOOOOO tired. In all honesty, the exhaustion is the sole reason I have avoided and procrastinated getting myself adequately medicated. It’s the hardest thing for me. I feel like I imagine people with narcolepsy feel.
My first stint on antidepressants was way back in the late nineties shortly after my life fell apart. My dad was dead; my boyfriend was in prison. My mom was fragile and my brother was beginning his illegal drug phase…and I was seriously pondering dropping out of college. Fun times I tell ya.
My aunt and uncle thought we could use a getaway and booked a family vacation on Sanibel Island. I hear it’s lovely. The bed in the condo was divine, but that’s the extent of my memory of the place because…back then I had ‘Zoloft flu.’
Of course, sleeping your life away isn’t that big of a deal when you have no job, no children and limited responsibilities. I basically slept for six weeks and then returned to life well-rested and significantly less depressed and ready to make some changes.
I stayed on the meds for a year or so and then went off them successfully with no major depressive relapse to speak of.
A few years later after marriage, job changes…life, I tried Zoloft again and I couldn’t do it. I could not get through the six weeks needing around-the-clock sleep. Employers frown on snoozing at your desk in case you were wondering.
I managed to avoid the severe depression of my past and recent present, but in many ways I struggled for sure.
I’ll spare you all the other details for now; I’ve written here and there about the different meds I’ve taken (mostly ADHD meds), but the short is that being diagnosed with ADHD in my early thirties altered my entire mental health plan. I also had two children back-to-back soon after I was diagnosed, and while I had a bit of depression after, I discovered that SNRIs were a better fit for my symptoms. Still, I’ve learned the hard way that mental illness is chronic and must be managed. It’s frustrating, but it’s reality.
The past two years have been different. We moved, which has mostly been positive, but I underestimated how such a change would impact my delicate mental health. Changing doctors has been tough and I’ve mostly been existing – a far cry from living and certainly from thriving.
I hate to even bring it up, but since last November’s presidential election…I have wilted. I’ve found myself in a negative spiral of utter hopelessness. I’m angry at the world and have wanted to hide in my house and never come out.
Anxiety morphed into depression and none of the tools in my mental health toolbox were working.
As I said, it’s been three weeks now. I have a follow-up appointment with my doctor tomorrow. He was insistent that we get my anxiety to a manageable point before tackling the ADHD. Most likely I’ll be able to add a stimulant, which I’m hoping will help with the fatigue (I really hate that term because it’s the understatement of the decade.) I’m leery because stimulants never…stimulate me in the sense of waking me up. If anything they calm me down…and it I get any calmer…I just don’t know.
I’ve still been playing tennis and getting plenty of exercise. I’m going to bed early, and only taking short naps during the day. I mean, I think I’m getting to a point of not needing quite as much sleep, but it’s a fight. I’ve put off all my work. I’m freelancing and doing transcription work, but my focus is so bad I’m scared to do too much for fear I’ll botch it all up. Thankfully, I taught some tennis clinics in late summer and fall, so the big money (ha!) from that is now rolling in, but yeah, I gotta get over this exhaustion.
Everytime Gil sees me on the couch he asks how long I think the Lexapro flu is gonna last. We joke when I decline various invitations that I should simply say, I can’t come. I’m down with the Lexapro flu.
So yeah, the anxiety/depression is better. I’ll be back with the full report when I can stay upright for longer than five minutes.
What’s new in your world? Any experience/commiseration with fatigue when taking medication. Any tips?