Here we go again

I think “Here We Go Again” is a title of an old song, can’t be sure though and it really doesn’t matter. In this sense it only means here I go, putting up another very late post.

I see it’s not been since January of this year that I visited here to write. I’m surprised! My my, where does the time go?

I’ve been active and there are many things that have happened around me. Perhaps no more than to the average bear but they were, of course, significant to me. Mostly it’s just life stuff.

One thing of note was that since my last post I’ve gone back on the ‘juice’. Now before you get all confused or concerned you must realize the ‘juice’ in this context is an anti-depression medication, in this case Citalopram. Last year I was on Mirtazapine but in my wisdom I chose to get off the meds and see how things turned out. Not too well evidently.

After stopping the Mirts I did not become suicidal or anything close to that self destructive, it was more a case of low moods and and a frequent sadness I couldn’t seem to avoid. In fact, as I told my doctor, I would often get very teary and emotional during commercials on tv. I short I was very often low. This didn’t happen immediately but became more pronounced over time. In a nutshell I was not better, more help was needed, but I persevered.

In January we went to Okotoks to our niece’s. That’s where we had gone to visit during our annual get-away and where I last posted  Typically we go somewhere away from our city to just be away, to regroup and recharge. January is the month our son died so since then, Jan. of 2000, we either take a week in our time-share or perhaps we go to visit kin. In this case the kin won. It was a nice visit, a good escape. I had no overt depression or anxiety but my sadness lingered.

During that same month my Mother moved out of our basement suite where she had lived for a 7 or so years. She and my step-Father had moved in when they found the challenges of living alone, away from town, a challenge. My step-Father Larry unfortunately passed away a few years ago just after his 80th birthday but my Mom stayed with us. Now, through a series of outside circumstance, she felt moving to Langley was the best choice for her and her siblings so she took on the challenge of moving and went to the big city. I supported her move and still do. It is her call and I think I can appreciate her reasons.

Since her move we have spent time refurbishing the suite in hopes of attracting another good tenant. I won’t belabour the point but all went quite well and in the end we gained my (ex) brother-in-law Jake as a new ‘person under the stairs’. I could likely write volumes about the dynamics of him and his wife (and her family) but I won’t. I would like cause you some disbelief and wonderment about how these kinds of relationships could even take place. Maybe not though, I guess they are on reality tv all the time.

But I digress. After our foray away and my Mom’s move I just reached the point where I knew a change was needed. Don’t misunderstand, my situation was neither caused nor exacerbated by either our trip, the timing, nor my Mom’s leaving. They were only pointers in time, the inevitable return to medication was evident by that point.

After our return home a visit to my doctor supported my diagnosis, he determined I was depressed and had a higher degree of anxiety than ‘normal’. A regime of anti-depressants were again prescribed. In consult with the doctor we decided to try the Citalopram as I felt the Mirtazapine did not hold up it’s end of the bargain and let me down after some time. This became more evident as I re-read my paper journal and saw a decline in my moods over time. Another reason I had chosen to stop the Mirts. The Citalopram would also apparently help with any anxiety.

At any rate here we are. After being on the Cital since Jan. 28th I feel better once again. Not so much something you may be able to see but more an even-ess and stability of mood. I have more motivation and am getting some things done. I do hope it continues. My sleep has improved and although I dream crazy dreams now it is more restful. A drawback to the Citalopram is a tiredness during mid morning but I may change when I take my dose to dinnertime and the drowsiness may abate.

So in that sense I hope the tagline “Here we go again” is a positive one and I don’t find myself regressing over time. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

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A New Med Regime Is In Order

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I’m dropping the meds, well not dropping my medication totally just dropping the dosage.

When I was first diagnosed with depression the doctor put me on 30mg of Mirtazapine, an antidepressant with the added benefit of being a sleep aide. In addition to my feeling emotionally crappy I had also been having trouble sleeping consistently.  Subsequent to that we raised it to 45 mg as I felt had stopped making progress, maybe I had even regressed a bit.  In hindsight I wonder if any of it was true.

20121019-233653.jpgA number of months ago I lowered my dosage back to 30 mg and then some time after that down ever further to 15 mg. This was after I had left work, not retired officially but was in the process of burning all my vacation and banked time.  I was feeling better and whether the decision was right or wrong I wanted to get off the “juice”.  My wife questioned my decision.

A few days ago I reduced the dosage down even further to 1/2 of one of the 15 mg tablets, or 7 mg +or-.  Only time and the stability of my disposition will tell whether that was prudent or not.  And these changes are all without the doctors advice or knowledge.  Again whether right or wrong I can’t say.

I still maintain my “depression” was more situational than psychological and upon further reading on a number of topics I also now wonder if emotional intensity is a factor.  Certainly the symptoms jive with my mood swings and their intensity but more reading will be in order before I can definitively say.

I guess the bottom line, or where the rubber meets the road, is where I’m at emotionally, how my mental health progresses.  That is what it’s all about isn’t it?  In that regard I’ve been feeling quite good lately, maybe even very good. Hearing myself say those words scares me though, like I’m waiting for the other foot to fall. I’m expecting some imminent decline in my mood or mental health. I’m thinking the doldrums must be around the corner because this is too good to be true.

What is around the corner is winter and with it the shorter days and less sunlight. To compound the seasonal issues we live in a river valley at the confluence of two rivers. One of those is a bit warmer and the mixture of the two, combined with turbulence from the nearby dams makes for very foggy mornings.  A double-whammy, seasonal change and weather fluctuations.

The lack of sunlight has been detrimental to me before and as a means to cope with it, to mitigate the dreary days, I was using a SAD light. This was after a doctor’s suggestion that I had Seasonal Affective Disorder (SADs).  I saw significant improvement in my moods after eating my breakfast in front of the light.  I was no longer as tired later in the day and my sweet tooth shrank to where a large bowl of ice cream at 9 pm was no longer a requirement.  On the whole I felt much better.

I haven’t used the SAD light in a couple years now.  Instead I now take a fish-oil supplement, an Omega 3 capsule, and have begun increasing my intake of vitamin D.  Both these changes seem to have helped me and the last time I tried the light I didn’t feel as much of an improvement.

Of course I am maintaining the supplement regime, I sleep better, my diet’s improved, and I’m putting concerted effort into improving my exercise schedule.  All these are good things and I’m “hoping” they are enough to keep me well.  I know “hope is not a plan” however I’m optimistic my new meds regime won’t backfire.

Wish me luck, please.

The Call Has Been Made, All in Favor?

I’ve made the call, the decreased dosage of my meds will begin.  I will drop down to taking one 15 mg pill a day, against the better judgement of my wife.

This is not a decision I’m making without any consideration of the potential outcome.  I know full well the possible negative side effects, however I am going to do it in consultation with my Doctor (may be after the fact that’s all).

From what I’ve read there have been some real horror stories of withdrawal, ranging from increased anxiety to nausea and sleep issues.  Sleep problems were one of the reasons this medication was chosen for me to begin with, in addition to the depression of  course.  I feel much better now though and sleep like a log.

We’ll see how it goes, I’ll try to keep you posted.

Depression. Mine is……well, Depressed – pt.1

I’ve been feeling pretty good lately, not at all angry and as unhappy as I was before.  My depression, if that what it is, seems to have diminished or become depressed itself.  I was never 100% sure it was depression but as I understand there is a broad spectrum of symptoms and I had a number of them.  In some ways it’s hard to remember really what it was like during the bad times but I think some mental health issues are like that, in that when you start feeling good you forget a bit about what feeling bad was like.  I have a sense I didn’t like it much.  Being as I’m in a good space now I thought I could update things a bit.  Have a seat with me and let’s roll.

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Oh Sleep, Where are thou?

A better day today with a (mostly) good nights sleep.  For some reason I’m not sleeping as well as I have been, and I’m not sure of why.  I have been waking up earlier than the alarm, and that’s early as the alarm is set for 5 am.  I had chaulked it up to a mismanagement of my schedule regarding meds but even at that I’d expect to be sleeping more consistently.

My sleep patterns were one of the things that were addressed when I was put onto Mirtazapine, I went from waking mulitple times during the night to sleeping right through and awakening relatively refreshed, perhaps a little sluggish at first but otherwise recharged and ready.  The only other thing I can think of at the moment is either: a) wine at/after dinner doesn’t work, or b) changing my meds from 1 – 30 mg tablet to 2 – 15 mg tablets has had some other effect.  That was only done because there seems to be a shortage of 30 mg tabs.  Shouldn’t but who knows.  Could even be c) Other.

Missing bags, Missing meds

Good morning, and it is morning, now being 6:55 am pst.  I normally write in my journal at this time, just after I arrive at work and have my morning routine completed.  I generally have 5-10 min where I can write, literally write with pen and paper, and comment on my morning or how the day ended yesterday.

Unfortunately after I arrived home yesterday afternoon my baggage neglected to follow.  My trip from Toronto was uneventful but somehow my luggage took a different route home and my journal happened to be in that bag.  My meds also were, and also unfortunate.  My wife being the resourceful person she is, called the pharmacy and they gave me a few days supply in anticipation of my suitcase arriving soon.  We shall see.

I’m told it is not a good idea to be inconsistent with the taking of anti-depressants (Mirtazapine), not sure why, and I know lately I have not been taking them at the prescribed time before bed.  I just seem to be forgetting that key component of my journey to get better.  It’s not a self defeating thing, of that I’m sure.  I often wonder if it’s just my body letting me know they are not required.  Realistically/intuitively I know that’s a dumb idea.  I am striving to improve.

So as I would note in my journal, it is good to be home and back to a routine.  I slept well last night and typically do most nights now. When I talked about my routine there are those I think I should change.  I frequently find myself planted in front of the tv after dinner, it seems like a good way to de-stress.  Often after work my mind is racing and trying to focus on something like reading a book has its challenges.  That is what I would like to do however and I try to make that part of my routine.  Other things don’t get done then so it’s a matter of finding that balance between doing household jobs like cutting the lawn, or honey-do jobs like repairing things that require fixing like a leaky tap etc..  I don’t have any of those, like leaky taps, but you get the idea.  It’s all about the balance in the end isn’t it.

Today’s a Good Day

I feel pretty good today, better than yesterday for sure. For whatever reason when I awoke yesterday morning I felt angry again. It was sort of an underlying anger, not a “punch the wall” anger, but a strong enough emotion that it was noticable that early in my day.  It’s hard to say why I felt that way, although I had forgotten to take my meds the night before but I wouldn’t think one day would set me back the way it did.  I promptly took my pill after I got up.

Underlying anger was one of the symptoms that led me to look for help.  At that time, about early Apr.2011, I went to my Doctor concerned over certain aspects of my life, sleep habits, mood, etc., he concurred with my suggestion of counseling, and he also sent me for some tests.  From there to here is a bit of a jump but essentially I was diagnosed with a mild depression, treatable with medication.  Mirtazapine was the drug of choice, 30mg the dosage.

So, back to today, I felt ‘normal” again this morning, a much improved state of mind.  With what happened yesterday morning and a general feeling my improvement has stopped I wonder if an increase in dosage is warranted.  I have a Dr. appointment next week and I can discuss with him.