I’m a big proponent of taking antidepressants to manage depression. I’m all for them. Anyone who reads this blog knows that. But that doesn’t mean that I think they will make life perfect and all better, all the time.
I haven’t posted much over the last couple of weeks because I haven’t been feeling great. I’ve been dealing with anxiety, which is unusual for me. Things like chest tightness, obsession with lists, getting really upset and teary about how miserably I’m failing at everything. Fun stuff.
I’ve also had trouble concentrating and I get distracted easily – which makes it pretty hard to sit down and write. And to top it all off, I’m having trouble sleeping.
Anxiety + poor sleep = tired, unfocused, even more anxious JD.
I stare at my list of to-dos and fret over how little I’m getting done. I sit down to write and get distracted by Facebook. I lie down to sleep and my thoughts race as I keep going over all the things I didn’t accomplish – and wonder how I’m going to get it all done the next day.
And then I wake up with a sense of dread, knowing I’m going to fail at getting my to-dos done. Again.
I’m pretty sure what I’m going through are some side effects of the citalopram (Celexa). I can feel the symptoms starting to lighten, and I’m not sure if it’s because the stress in my life has eased up a bit, or if my body has just become accustomed to the dose I’m on. Who knows, really. But I am feeling better, slowly.
However, when I’m not doing well for an extended period of time I always wonder deep down – is this it? Is it happening? Is this med wearing off and it’s time to switch to another?
Because that’s another thing that can suck about SSRIs. For some people, including me, they lose their effectiveness eventually. And you have to try a new one. Which means possibly going through new, fun side effects. Dosage adjustments. And being patient while you give the med time to work out the kinks before you judge if it’s not right for you.
SSRIs losing their effectiveness is called the “poop-out effect.” Cute little name. Not so cute to go through, you know? I appreciate what SSRIs can do for me, but even when I feel good, part of me is always waiting to feel bad again. Because I know I will, eventually.
So how am I getting through this down phase?
When I’m dealing with a down phase for whatever reason, I first try to make some non-medical changes. Right now I am increasing my activity and going back to group training. I’m also trying to work out sometimes with Hubs when he does his Insanity videos. It’s been proven over and over that exercise helps people who struggle with depression, and I do see a difference when I’m active.
I’ve also been offline more. It helps me to step away from the computer and not feel the need to stay on top of every social media site and read every blog post. Yeah, I owe a lot of people a lot of emails (and I know some of them are to you readers who emailed me after my Katie Couric show interview – trust me, I will reply!). But being online can increase my anxiety, so I’ve been taking a step back.
And finally – I’m trying to get more sleep. It’s tough because I know the earlier I go to bed, the less things on my list I get to. But sleep is crucial – so I’m trying to get more.
Yeah … the side effects and the poop-out effect can be a total bummer. But in the end, I’m still glad I have SSRIs to take. Because without them, I’d be in a far worse place.
What about you? Do you have side effects from SSRIs? Do they lose their effectiveness eventually for you? What non-medical tactics do you use to manage your depression?