My apathy is pissing me off. So I guess that’s an improvement.

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ssris and apathyI keep starting this post. Then I erase what I wrote. I walk away. Sit down and try again. And my brain keeps hijacking me.

I feel foggy and tired and unfocused and unmotivated and just plain old apathetic about most stuff. And that makes it really tough to write.

I think it’s this new antidepressant – Luvox – that I’m on. But I’m pretty sure the last couple of SSRIs did this to me too, just not as severely. It’s hard to remember, really. I have to go back to my notes and my old blog posts about depression to remember.

Zoloft, Celexa, Zoloft again. And there has been Prozac and Viibryd and Lexapro and Luvox. One loses its effectiveness so we try another. Another has bad side effects, so let’s try another. On and on and on.

I’m tired of the SSRI merry-go-round and all the side effects. Trying something new, hoping it’ll work better. And then being disappointed. Again.

Now I’m in this weird, fuzzy place. I don’t feel sad or down or depressed, really. It’s not like I want to crawl into bed and avoid everything. I’m still doing everyday, normal things. Playing with my kids, taking them places, doing work and household tasks, and so on.

I just can’t seem to really care about anything that matters. I have a list of to-dos and some get done. Some don’t. Whatever.

Laundry piles up. Dishes pile up. Emails accumulate. Maybe I’ll get to them. Or maybe I’ll just get lost in Facebook or the TV or a magazine or some random task that suddenly becomes important. Or maybe I’ll take a 45-minute shower and not notice how long I took.

And then suddenly the day is over and I realize I wanted to get two specific things done today, and I didn’t. This would have panicked me in the past. Now I just shrug my shoulders and say, “meh.”

In a way, this sounds like a good thing, right? Not worrying so much, just kind of floating along and doing what I can. But it’s a terrible feeling. I don’t feel enough and it’s a terrible, terrible feeling. I know I’m not alone in this because I spent a lot of time last night Googling “SSRIs and apathy” – and I found out this isn’t totally unusual. But no one seems to know how to solve the problem.

What’s odd is if you saw me out and about, you wouldn’t notice how bizarro I’m feeling. I’m pretty good at hiding it. But I bet my good friends could tell if they spent some time with me, because I’m not following conversations very well. I have a sort of numb, drunken feeling that colors everything I do. I can’t focus. I feel drugged. And I HATE IT.

I need to achieve clarity again. I need to feel like ME again. This apathetic feeling is pissing me off! That’s a good thing, right?

So I’m playing phone tag with my doc. Chugging coffee and hoping it’ll clear my head a little. Or avoiding coffee and drinking green smoothies up the wazoo. Just trying something, ANYTHING, to feel normal. I’m trying to force myself to care enough to take charge of my health. Trying to figure out the key to clarity.

I’m wondering if I need to get off all meds and clear out my system. The last time I did that I did okay for a couple months. And then all the sadness and irritability came storming back, so back on the meds I went.

I don’t know what to do. Sometimes meds make me feel worse and then when I go off them, all is well. Sometimes meds are what make me feel like me again.

Right now I need to find that place between feeling too much and feeling too little. That normal place I used to know. Does it exist for me anymore? I think it does. It’s just really hard to find right now. But I’ll get there. I always believe I’ll get there. I have to, right?

Have you dealt with this weird, fuzzy, apathetic feeling from antidepressants? Did a different SSRI fix it? Or did going off antidepressants fix it? What about alternative therapies? Let’s hear your ideas and experiences. I know I’m not the only one looking for answers. Please comment with your thoughts after the linkup for bloggers below.

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It’s back!

Honest Voices linkup at HonestMom.com NEW

 

Hey bloggers! Welcome to Honest Voices, an every-other-week linkup at Honest Mom. I invite you to link up with a post of yours that you’re really proud of. One that shows off your blog’s voice and what it’s all about. Funny or serious, old or new, it doesn’t matter – just as long as your post is HONEST.

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1) Visit and comment on the blog that linked right before you and one other blog post of your choice.

2) Promote the linkup at least once, but more is better. Tweet it, Facebook it, Pin it, whatever. Just remember – the more people you get to visit the linkup, the more people will discover you!

Now what are you waiting for? Let’s see your posts!

*****

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39 Replies to “My apathy is pissing me off. So I guess that’s an improvement.”

  1. Ah, the meds question. I ran the gamut about 15 years ago and vowed never to do it again. I’ve been in a swamp of depression, anxiety and general mental chaos mixed with apathy for the past year and a half, and I’m wondering if maybe I need to start considering meds again. But every time I think that, the other me says, “Hell no!”

    I just don’t know, but I do know what you’re saying. For sure. My life is being eaten away by something….I’m not sure what, but I really don’t want to blame it on motherhood. How awful would that be?

  2. I SO get this! I’ve described it as feeling “flat.” Just going through the motions. It’s a good sign that it’s starting to annoy you though – perhaps tweeking with your dose might help.
    Sometimes I’ve felt this way when I’ve been stable on meds for a while then the depression goes up a notch – actually that happened recently. Then it kind of fixes itself as my situation stabilizes.
    Definitely talk to your doctor. We’ve got your back!

  3. Oh lady, how timely your posts ALWAYS are. I've been semi-obsessive lately about why I feel soooo bad and nothing seems to work. Thank goodness for my husband letting me cry my eyes out the other day, and actually having some true empathy for me. I have zero desire to do ANYTHING anymore, especially anything with my kids, and I feel awful for it. Even when I wake up early and I'm not really tired lately, my anxiety keeps me anchored to the bed instead of actually working on that damn To Do list. I'm so f'ing tired of feeling this way ALL the time. I am trying bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, and taking supplements out the ying-yang. It's costly, which extra pisses me off that women's health is so underrepresented in the medical field. There's little hope that any of this will be reimbursed by insurance. But I'm putting my eggs in that basket for the moment. I'm tired of being told that this is only a mental health issue. I can't shake this feeling that it's more than just my head factoring in here. I'm also trying to cut out the sugar as much as possible. I've read some websites and books about the effect that sugar has on our bodies, and just how much sugar is in the stuff we're eating. Three days without a Coke and it's KILLING me!! But after five years, I almost can't even hope that any of these things will work because I'm convinced that I will feel this way for literally the REST of my life:-( But every once in awhile, I get a glimmer of hope that maybe today is just ever so slightly better than yesterday, and that keeps me going!

  4. One thing that has made a big difference with me and depression in the past was injecting vitamin b12. I did it twice a week at home for a while. The trouble is that it’s hard to find a doc who will prescribe it and the ones who will can have other annoying quirks. (taking it orally doesn’t have the same effect – absorption issues.) I noticed an effect even with just one shot, though. I haven’t done it for several years now and am trying to break out of a depression – without meds at the moment. I’m going to a fairly new gp tomorrow and hoping they will at least give me a shot or two. Wish me luck!

  5. I have struggled with some of those same feelings. I did much better with an SNRI. Currently on Effexor. Not sure if you’ve tried that one yet. None of them seem to put me back to my completely “normal happy state” but Effexor has gotten me the closest. Keep up the blogging. I really find a lot of comfort and reassurance reading your posts. Don’t feel quite so alone.

    1. I am also on Effexor…for about 6 years. Hysterectomy first, then the death of my best friend and then my sister. So, Effexor worked really well getting through all of that evenly. Now, I just don’t really care about much on a day to day basis. Essential chores get done, but I can’t seem to be passionate about ANYTHING…even passion! I’m considering going off of Effexor for a week or so to see if I dissolve into a crying mess or if I just return to what I could consider day-to-day emotions….both “up” and “down.”

  6. YES to the max. Jesus. I often describe this feeling as being able to see with my eyes how lovely my life is, but not be able to *feel* the lovely. I know it’s there, but it’s brushing by me. I’ve never gone on meds, but have often wondered if they’d help even me out. I become nervous, however, that they *would* help and then I’d be dependent on pills for my happiness. I feel like I should be able to get there on my own, you know?

    Yes to this. Thanks.

  7. You describe this feeling so well. It's such a hard thing to understand if you haven't lived it. You'd think that not feeling enough would be good for those of us suffering from depression, but most of us still want to feel SOMETHING. It's so hard to find the right balance.

  8. Hi, first time here and I’m running late so this’ll be short and sweet! I’ve been on Zoloft for years and finally maxed out at 200 mg a day and it just wasn’t cutting the mustard. I asked my doc to try Abilify. First two days I felt like a complete zombie and I’ve been eating anything that is not tied down. Started taking it at night, and I don’t even recognize myself. This is the closest I’ve felt to “me” in YEARS. I have energy, I WANT to do things, I smile, I laugh. It is amazing. If you want to read my post from two weeks ago you can see just how bad it was before I started it. Eek, my rides here. Good luck!
    Stephanie

  9. You have described me to a T in the last year. I use to be super A game person, now I can look around at the accumulating dust, the bills piling up, the things not done and shrug. I just took a 2 hour nap after a 7 hour sleep last night – cause that’s normal. My kids are out of school in a week and I am seriously gonna be struggling to maintain. It is such a gradual slide I don’t realize the depth of the fall until actually right now. So I suppose I should do something….eventually.

  10. For me there’s a difference between apathy and anhedonia (inability to enjoy life). Anhedonia is BAD and means I need to do something big involving meds or therapy or whatever. Apathy, for me at least, is more a sign that I am not happy in my life and can be combated by making changes. I was very apathetic when I was a SAHM in an unhappy marriage where I felt like I wasn’t a good parent or living a meaningful life.

    Routine gets me out of apathy, having things that I force myself to do on a regular basis, and it may involve adding new things to my routine. Getting out of my house. Giving myself rewards for stuff I didn’t want to do. Shaking up the norm. If those things don’t work, then it tends to be less about being unfulfilled and more about mental health.

  11. Yup. I think the meds question is always one that trips me up, as even though most of the time I don’t feel like it’s working, I fear how I would be without it. And the apathy? Oh, the apathy, which is why I linked up with my post today. It’s so much easier to just pretend to the outside world that it’s not going on, but yet you can’t escape yourself (or reality for all that long.) Thank you for providing this venue today and hang in there, my friend. XO

  12. Hi! Please don't go off your meds. Usually you will be ok for a little while as the medication slowly leaves your system, but then you can nose dive. I learned that the hard way. Just something to think about… but I'm wondering if you ever considered augmenting your ssri with an antipsychotic? Ssri's never made me feel 'normal' until my doctor added one. Don't be too hard on yourself. If you only accomplish one small thing each day know that is enough. I'm always in awe of working moms who seem to manage it all. I can barely get my kids off to school, clean up breakfast, and then suddenly it's time to pick them up again. What makes me overwhelmed is no sweat to most, but I'm ok with that. Cut back where you can so you have more time – to take your time. Be gentle with yourself. (So, I actually didn't address the apathy thing but yes, totally 'normal' )

  13. You articulate so perfectly the kind of fog I live in when I’m on meds. I have never made it “through” the med grey and into some kind of territory where I felt like meds were a benefit. I’m hopeful for you, though, that since you have had previous success with meds that you and your doctor will find a new combination that works. Wishing you all the best. Also, I understand the kind of win it is to have the linkup back in the midst of the fog, so I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate it. And you.

    <3

  14. I’m on meds and probably will be for life. To tell you the truth I have no idea if they work or not b/c I’ve been on them for so long & I get by most of the time but Idk if I could feel better. I’m afraid to go off & find out. Going on new meds is a pain in the ass, but I’d say stay on it for a little bit to see if it evens out. If it doesn’t then see about trying another one. Although I don’t like being on meds, they are needed. You have to take care of yourself. If you had a physical ailment, you would get the medication you need, right? You need to do the same for a mental one, too. Hang in there. Also, I take a B-complex vitamin that helps my mood.

  15. I felt kind of like that on Effexor, but it was when the colicky twins were babies so it was hard to tell what was a symptom and what was exhaustion. I remember being physically unable to cry. I would try and couldn’t. I’m wondering if they could add an ADHD stimulant into the mix for the focus piece? I’m sorry you’re struggling to find the right mix.

  16. I don’t take antidepressants, but sometimes I think I’m depressed (maybe to a mild level?).

    I stop caring about things. I usually stress out to get things done, to feel I accomplished things done. This was creating issues with my husband so I started to let go.

    I notice I feel angry after, whenever the end of the day feels to an end and I didn’t do what I wanted to do but did what I needed instead. I just don’t feel happy even when I did one of ‘my’ own choices.

    I’m starting to replace the light in the house, I heard “day light” creates a better mood. So far I love it because a) my house is very dark due to being surrounded by tall trees and b) well, I live in Vancouver a gloomy city.

    I hope you get out of the ‘meh’ stage soon and feel better. We all deserve to feel better.

  17. I was on Lexapro for depression and for Zoloft for postpartum depression. What I didn’t like was as soon as I started feeling better, the docs would wean me off the medication. Then, of course I’d get depressed all over again. I’m tired of that cycle. I find that when I get depressed or anxious, I just shut down & go through the motions.

  18. I can’t even express to you how much I love this post, and even more that you’re so cool to talk about it. I have struggled with depression my whole life. It’s been with me always, in the bad times, and even in the good times. I don’t take any type of anti-depressents, as I have felt very “not myself” in the past when on them. I have found talking about my fears or what is depressing me helps the most (and of course writing). While I felt pretty in check over the last few years, having my son kicked the anxiety and depression into high gear recently. So, a whole battle to work on….yay. Thank you so much for this post

  19. JD I have gone through periods of time where I feel like this, whether it’s the meds or the stress of life and a coping strategy I never quite know. I do know for me one way to start feeling a bit more is to get in touch with what I”m grateful for, even if I can only feel grateful for the fact that I have hair on my head, or legs that can get me to where i want to go. I’m glad you are taking care of yourself by touching base with your doctor. I do hope you find a solution that works for you! I hate depression, it really does suck!!

  20. YES, I have felt like that on anti-depressants. Then the next one made me so sleepy, I felt like I had to pull over on the side of the road to avoid a car accident.
    I'm sure you know to tell your doctor if you want to wean off one med, or all meds, they can recommend different things first, and/or help do it the right way if that's what you want to try to do. Good luck! It could be worse, but that's not a great "feeling" for lack of a better word.

  21. I take Cymbalta and was having issues with dyslexia and made weird mistakes a few years ago when I was taking it during the day. I did fine when I took it at night only. Ask your dr if that is an option. I hate taking antidepressants but they are necessary and help me with my situation.

  22. Hi J. D,

    I have been struggling with depression problems for years and I am currently on 3 medications. Prozac, Welbutrin and Trileptal. I used to ask my doc why I had to be a 3 medications and he told me they all do different things. After dealing with this for 20 years I finally see what he is talking about. Trileptal is actually an anti-seizure medication, but for some reason’s it helps tone down my anxiety and helps make me feel more comfortable in my own skin. I will tell you that two months ago I was feeling very angry and upset and why can’t they find something that will make me feel better. I am very affected by good self care and enough sun light, so I am feeling much better now that summer is here. I also find that sometimes taking a medication at morning or night can really change things. I wish I could give you some magic answer, but please don’t go off all your medication. My doc told me that the more timse you go off of medication and relapse with another severe depression, the harder it is to climb out. By taking my medications I can hold down a job, manage to make a few dinners a week ride bikes with my kids. Without the meds I would have to exercise like crazy and be a self care obsessive addict to manage my anxiety. It is just too hard without the meds and so on them I will stay. I don’t like it, but I want to enjoy the days I feel good. I wish you the very best in communicating with your doctor and finding a better solution.

  23. I wonder if it’s that beginning foggy state of having the meds’ effects and maybe in time you will start to level off? I know when I started Zoloft almost seven years ago, I felt completely drugged up and it was AWFUL. things settled and now I still am so glad I started it!! I am ME and I can FEEL and be exactly me- but the ‘better version’ of who I am without the anxiety.

    I do pray that you can find some relief!

  24. I used to call it the "zoloft zombie", when I'd go back on it, or increase my dose. A few weeks of fog, exactly what you're describing. difficulty concentrating, tracking conversations, making priorities, caring about much. Once it was leveled off in my system, though, it went away. Maybe give it a few weeks?

  25. I so totally get this! I was on Effexor for probably two years longer than necessary and I felt like a zombie. I didn’t give a rats ass about anything, let alone my own well being. Just sort of zoned all day. Didn’t care if something catastrophic happened or if nothing happened at all – either way, my reaction was the same.

    I wish I had a solution or recommendation to offer.

  26. Yeah, I totally identify with you on this. It definitely beats being suicidal which absolutely sucked. I don’t ever want to go back to that. And if I have to have a confrontation with someone I’m not a big weepy ball who can’t even choke out an argument, so that’s a huge bonus. On the other hand I find myself saying “Shouldn’t I be upset about this?” over some things, but it’s not all the time because sometimes I find myself becoming really emotional about really stupid stuff. Like when people sing the National Anthem, or win on Wheel of Fortune, or when I hear “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Mis. Like I could just go and bawl my eyes out somewhere and yet, I get a call that my Mom’s in the hospital and I’m like “Eh, she’ll be fine.” Big WTF? there. I take Wellbutrin and I also take Concerta for ADHD so maybe that’s why it fluctuates? I dunno. I hope we all figure it out. 🙂

  27. I have gone through the same cycle countless times. Lately I’ve chosen to be on only my anxiety and insomnia meds and forego the SSRIs. It’s a tough balance and something that is constantly being re-evaluated in my head. Best of luck to you in your evaluations. If you do decide to stop the meds, make sure you have a planned doctor appointment about a month after you stop so you can be sure you’re being looked after.

  28. thank you for this post … I will be sharing it with my new Dr. it describes EXACTLY how I feel (or don’t feel) on meds… haven’t been able to find a good balance in over 7 years 🙁

  29. I have had this same problem…with Prozac, Citalopram, and others. Then, I found a new business to get me out of my 9-5 stressful job AND one of their products==Confianza. It's amazing! It helps me focus, mellows me out when needed and it's awesome! It's all herbal (mostly organic) and no drugs!! I can LIVE my life again and not feel like I'm gonna strangle people or sit there like a lump! It's amazing and I love it!! Feel free to contact me if you want more info! I LOVE to share this amazing product with people! It has CHANGED MY LIFE!!

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