Next Wednesday, before I go to work, I have an appointment with my new medicine management psychiatrist.
I am not nervous about the visit, but I am curious. It is a teaching hospital. So every year, I see a new psychiatrist. And about the time we are finally making progress, they move on, and I get a new psychiatrist. Thus, the learning curve starts anew.
Breaking the chain, my most recent psychiatrist was with me for 24 months, not just 12.
Being so thrilled that she stayed that long, I never asked her why we were able to have two years together. She stated she was always excited to see my name on her schedule for the day. She said that I was doing the work needed to lead a balanced life with depression. And she enjoyed the photos of my grandson I would bring to each visit.
So, when she told me she was moving out west and starting a practice there, I was sad.
I was happy for her and her career, but sad for me and my recovery. I felt that she empowered me to think for myself and to make suggestions about my care. She listened. I cannot say that about many people. It was my doctor that suggested we try Wellbutrin instead of the Prozac.
She walked me through the 30, 60, 90-day timeline on how it would work.
I was impressed that she sensed my concerns about weaning off one before starting up the next one. Her understanding of the medicines and the effects allowed her to reduce Prozac, add Wellbutrin and then stop the Prozac. This change came about because I was having trouble getting going in the morning. Getting up was a real struggle. I would hit the snooze button multiple times, change the wake-up alarm to a later time, and just plain resist getting up.
I would calculate the least amount of time I would need to shower, shave, eat breakfast, and get to work.
Getting to my feet was only the beginning. Then I would spend the first three or four hours of the day groggy, and foggy. When the fog finally lifted, I was myself for the rest of the day. But this daily ritual was sapping all my energy for the day. This left me little energy to expend on the days’ needs. I could get maybe one stressful task completed, but this was at the expense for the remainder of the day.
A peer advocate said, when I shared this problem with a group, that it was mostly likely related to medication.
For months I endured this struggle to start the day focused and awake. I told myself, “Well you have depression, so this must be a phase of my depression.” It did not occur to me that feeling this way was not normal. OK, so as soon as I heard it may be medication related, I called my psychiatrist and scheduled an appointment. I was awake enough to hear someone else say that this is probably not normal.
As bad as the not being able to start the day was, I had as much trouble staying asleep.
If I went to bed at 9:30 PM, I would wake up around 12:30 AM. Then I was awake at 1:30 AM, 2:30 AM, 3:30 AM, and often 4:30 AM. After that, I would sleep until 6:3 AM, then 730 AM. And I would reschedule appointments, so I wasn’t required to be at a certain place early.
But I could always get up in time to make it to work, even if I was faking it until I was feeling stronger.
I will write more after our first session. The way it is set up, I need to be at the office about 7:50 AM. That means I must leave the house by 7 AM. This means I must get up no later than 6 AM. I tell myself I really need to be up at 5:30 AM so I can do my morning chores before getting in the shower,
When I get out of bed at 6 AM, not 5:30 AM, I feel bad.
But I bring that on myself. I set the alarm for 6 and wonder why I am not up and going at 5:30 AM. If I was that certain I needed to be up earlier, I know I would do it. But instead, I set myself up to feel bad by telling myself one thing, and then doing another.
My guess is this is an unhelpful thinking style.
I am not sure if I will share this with my new psychiatrist, after all, she will be refilling my depression medications. I am currently taking 450 mg of Wellbutrin XL. Through the winter, it seems like this will be best. As the days continue to get shorter, I will get out the day lamp again. It works best if I sit in front of it for 20 to 30 minutes first thing in the morning.
I used it from late December until March last year.
So, I will report back on what happens at my appointment. My optimism about working with my new psychiatrist is strong. Yet, I am already thinking about holding something back (my unhelpful thinking style), but I know that is not in my best interest.