MentalhealthFilter: dealing with the trial and error of meds, wondering if it's just me or if it's really a brain issue.
I've been listening to Pema Chodron's Getting Unstuck and it really helped for about a month. I listened to it whenever I was in my car and I tried meditating and being mindful, and I've found some help with some of the techniques. But it still feels like I'm just barely keeping a beast at bay.
I really hated my job and then I got laid off late last year (yay! seriously, my job was making me very stressed on top of my mental issues). i got a nice severance package, my unemployment is pretty decent and my SO makes enough that I don't need to worry, so I'm back in school for web design and development. I really like it. I have an internship and also really enjoy it in a way I have never enjoyed any other job I've ever had (I'm 32, been working since I was 14.) I feel genuine satisfaction that I can do it, I am good at it, and I can figure out how to do something if I don't know how already. So it can't be work/school that's making me sad.
I've tried so many medications while under two different psychiatrists over the past 4 years. I have been in talk therapy also for several years, two different counselors. I have symptoms of ADHD inattentive, GAD, Bipolar II. But meds don't work, at least not for long. my psychiatrist has me officially diagnosed as ADHD, but is baffled by (non)reaction to medications for all of the above disorders. both psychiatrists i've seen definitely think i have a mood disorder.
Adderall will work for a few days or weeks and then it's like I'm taking nothing, even at increased doses (up to 60mg per day), even in the XR versions. Staterra and Vyvanase made me feel very strange and not in a good way.
Zoloft made me feel awful, like I was a zombie. Buspar, Wellbutrin, Lexapro, Lithium and Lamictal didn't really do much except make me spacey and/or sleepy. Ativan of course works great but that's only a once in a while thing. I've been on several types of sleep aids, none of them work. They either knock me out and I wake up four hours later, or they put me into some sort of fuzzy coma and then I'm just groggy all day. For all the medications, I've always taken them for the 4-6 weeks that the psychiatrist says is the trial period.
I feel like my whole life has been spent trying to just be able to LIVE. I've never been suicidal, but I've felt since I was a teenager that something just wasn't right. I have incredible self confidence issues that I think most people don't notice because I put up such a good front.
I'll go through these phases of feeling despairingly overwhelmed and then back to completely competent (hypomania?) while being involved with the same group of projects. (eg, taking classes at school and working or whatever).
There's not much middle ground. And the middle ground I do find feels so tentative, so fleeting. I'll have a great day where i feel free, like i can actually do that 'letting go' thing and 'be present' , i feel truly lighthearted. but it's just a day or a few hours, and then i'm back to foggy brained introspective barely keeping the beast at bay.
I feel like I'm constantly trying something new to get myself on track - changing my diet (at various times over the last 10 years - raw/whole foods, vegetarian, cutting out processed carbs, cutting out sugar, eating whatever i want, etc.), exercising or not exercising, this medication or that medication - it's your sleep, it's ADHD, it's depression, it's a mood disorder, it's perfectionism. Try CBT, try Feeling Good, try MoodGym, try keeping track of your moods (yeah that really doesn't work.) Everything is fine for a week or two or three, then I just can't keep it up. Keeping track of my moods is something i have never, ever been able to do with any consistency. i don't know how to answer the question or put it on a scale. i have tried keeping diaries and spreadsheets and like everything else, it just goes by the wayside.
Trying to get past more than a few weeks with anything, if I can make it that long is an epic willpower battle. Even something simple, like "I only have to exercise for 20 minutes 3xweek" ends up being just SUCH a struggle in my little brain. I think that at some point, something should have just STUCK. I mean, I'm better than I was several years ago, definitely, I've tackled a lot of difficult emotional things and yet still I feel this way. I graduated from college, I stopped biting my nails years ago, I stopped many self-destructive behaviors (drinking, smoking), i've gone through a lot of very hard therapy - but something as simple as exercising three times a week? I LIKE exercising, but it just seems like a such hassle sometimes. I don't understand. other weeks, i'll exercise for an hour a day, feel great and love it. but then other times, i push myself thru 20 minutes, and feel like it was an hour.
There's just always this underlying dissatisfaction with my life. If that's not a ringing endorsement for depression, I don't know what is. ha. But if it IS depression, then why don't meds work? When I find the right medication, I should feel BETTER right? And I should find that life is not necessarily "easier" but that it doesn't feel like so much of an uphill battle to not be sad, to not feel overwhelmed by everyday things?
I am just so frustrated with the medication trial and error...the weeks of being out of it, the feeling of failure at YET AGAIN some new plan to get better not working. I realize it's not a personal failing if it really is an illness. I mean, I just can't be this lazy and just lacking in life skills - if I was, I wouldn't notice all this and think it was a problem, right? Sometimes it seems like I'm just overthinking things, but other times, it's pretty darn apparent I'm not. maybe i just dont want to be a grownup and have responsibilities, but that doesn't seem true.
I haven't seen my therapist in a few weeks due to an insurance snafu, but I'll be seeing her soon.
Relevant info, since this is anon: I'm 32 years old, female, on birth control (Junel) that I take for 3 months at time before the placebo week, so it can't be PMS because this can all happen during those 3 months. I'm on pretty regular schedule of sleep/wake, I eat decently, I have a grande sugar free latte or frap from Starbucks almost every morning, some days I don't drink it all, some days I do. I've tried the calcium/mag thing and B12 and didn't notice anything the way some other folks here have. My dr is testing my B12 and D. i'll know in a few days. My thyroid has been tested twice in the last 12 months and came back fine. I've felt this way since I was about 12 or so.
- How do I deal with the trial and error of meds when I have to do things like work and school?
- When I find the right med, how will I know? Maybe I'm expecting too much from meds so I'm not recognizing when they do help? The fuzzy should go away, right?
- What on earth do I keep track of and HOW when there are so many variables? Mood, diet, exercise, whatever stresses I had during the day - how on earth do I keep track of the millions of things that could possibly be contributing to knowing whether I'm just handling things poorly (eg, low emotional intelligence) or if it's a brain malfunction or a carb thing or situational or what?