Yet again, I find myself writing for no specific reason other than I find it a little bit cathartic. Maybe it’s a personal self-indulgence, probably very few people care, but I have some thoughts and things to say and diaries are “out” and blogs are “in”.
Well, as anyone
struggling with mental illness knows. Scratch that, anyone living in a climate that has drastic seasonal changes know, seasonal changes bring about mood changes. I’m pretty certain this is true for all of us as humans. Those of us with Interesting Brains know that seasonal changes can be especially difficult.
Honestly, this year ain’t too bad (yet/fingers crossed/knock on wood). Then again, I’ve done this for going on more or less 6 years now, so I’m less stupid (term used endearingly) than I’ve been before. I’ve been feeling some “melancholia” as the docs from the 19th/early 20th Century might say. At a certain point, I think/hope that I just know in my gut that things aren’t good in a psychological kind of way, and that I have the power and thankfully the support to be proactive. I’ve tried lots and lots of antidepressants before, and I think the consensus in the past has been that they don’t do much for me. They don’t catapult me into (hypo)mania as is the general worry for people with Bipolar Disorder I/II, but they haven’t really helped. Then again, I was younger and never really kept track of my dosages and length of treatment. But trying to look at my life objectively, I can see that while sometimes these feelings are mere reflections of the stage I’m at in my life, they could also be indicative of a need to switch-it-up, medication-wise.
I’m not suicidal. But… I hate talking about/admitting this… the thoughts creep. I always stand so, so far back from train platforms. Part of me is concerned that with no premeditation, I might just leap in front of an oncoming train (or sometimes, bus). When driving, I contemplate what it might be like to get in to an accident (I’ve been blessed that I’ve never been in a driving accident.) This is so grossly morbid, right?
I’ve learned that these are signs. I know that I should not be having these thoughts. I know talking about them with anyone I care about probably isn’t fair, because I don’t want them to worry. But these are MY personal red flags.
So a few weeks ago I talked to my lovely pdoc about maybe adding in a lil “antidepressant” action. As I’ve written about before, I personally feel like I’m done with the SSRI’s. They don’t work for me. I know they help lots and lots and LOTS of people and I want people to find the best treatment plan for them. They do not work for me. But Wellbutrin is a little bit of a different animal. I’ve also written that I don’t believe so much in the classifications the drug companies and doctors and people give medications.
So a quick Wikipedia told me that Wellbutrin serves as a non-tricyclic antidepressant fundamentally different than SSRIs. I guess I was operating on the assumption that it was an SNRI, but I AIN’T NO DOCTAH/scientist. Anywhoo, specifics aside, I’ve been on it for (*checks calendar*) just over 5 weeks. From what I remember, the effects of an antidepressant isn’t supposed to be evaluated until about 6 weeks from starting, and I’ve been tapering up gradually and will probably still increase.
I guess I should start getting to my point. I think the Wellbutrin might be helping. I’m still having the neggies (maybe that’s my new word for negative thoughts), but something I’m experiencing is changing. I want to take this med, and I have faith in it. I don’t think it’s a placebo effect. LET ME BE HONEST, its reported side effects of weight loss, etc., are super appealing. I haven’t dropped any significant amount of weight, but after my prolonged stint with an atypical antipsychotic (read: Abilify… sorry I’m not sorry to name-call), I’m convinced it contributed to a crazy 30 lb weight gain. So I remain cautiously hopefully with the new concoction.
I haven’t been dancing nearly as much as when I was in school (did I mention I officially earned my BFA? Woo for me?) and haven’t been eating especially well, and I know my weight fluctuates ridiculously for numerous reasons, but a little weight loss would be nice. I’m not going to count on it, but I’ll hope with proper exercise and diet I can get to where I want to be. Abilify, while trying to stave off depression, literally emotionally ruined me over the inexplicable weight gain on a tiny dose. This is one of those things that must be weighed with pros and cons for whomever it is prescribed, but it seemed to do more harm than good for me.
Alright, I set out meaning to make this post about Season Affective Disorder (SAD). Sooooo many people struggle with this. No energy, no motivation, depression. When Daylight Savings hits, it will become worse. Fall back, ugh. All of a sudden, it’s dark in the evening. It’s rough. But for anyone with psychiatric problems, it’s important to recognize changes in mood and be proactive. Goodness, I’m mostly such a hypocrite as I suck at being proactive. But I hope it helps. I’ve gotten a newer, stronger light box and need to work on sleep hygiene (BTW there’s a sweet iPhone app called ‘Sleep Cycle’ that I’ve enjoyed using). SAD doesn’t mean you have to be sad. That’s what I’m hoping! I hope all are enjoying the transition to fall. All being said, I love fall.
Leave comments if you’ve had similar experiences or thoughts on SAD, medication, etc.!