On Thursday, it was a gorgeous 80 degree day in Maryland. Seriously, it’s going to be 110 in July, but on Tuesday, I spent a great deal of time outside with a friend on a hike (no photos!), just hiking.
On Wed, I went to see my new primary care doctor – she’s at least 15 years younger than me, replacing my prior primary care doctor who retired. The past six months have been tough for me, I truly thought I broken myself. The worst fell on Jeremy (of course, who else?). I think the only time it was worse was when we were newly-ish married (2001) and I could not get out of bed for a few months and he dragged me everyday on a walk and to play trivial pursuit. So many games of Trivial Pursuit where I sat there crying and unhappy and simply a depression-filled mess. I did go on SSRIs then (it was the worst time convincing me then to take the medication) and did have some therapy and since then, I feel like I managed pretty well. I went off the SSRIs after a year or so and then I’ve gone on them at least twice more, once in Singapore when Edda was diagnosed (2006) and once again circa 2011-2012. But the last 10 years, I’ve been doing so well relatively speaking. No SSRIs, no huge, sustained mood swings, even during the Trump era and the Covid era and even during the beginnings of menopause – the hot flashes the summer of 2019, I was managing pretty well – that is, until I wasn’t. This time, my depression manifested itself in huge feelings of rage and anger – which I did not recognize at first as a different manifestation of my regular mood cycles. I guess starting in September when Edda’s childcare situation was at its worst (she was kicked out of a program for being non-compliant), I started to become angry with my patients and I didn’t want to help them anymore (which honestly, is one of my core personality traits/values, I have had no problem with being helpful in the past) and was one of the reasons I had to leave the job, and then I turned the anger towards Jeremy (poor guy). I think I’ve yelled at him more often in the last 6-8 weeks than I have our entire 24.5 years marriage. It was as if I embodied a completely different person. Where did all the rage come from? Anyways, we both knew that I probably should go on medication again, but because I was so angry, I didn’t want to hear it. I don’t like the medication, I don’t want to take the medication, I resist any suggestion while I’m in the midst of a mood cycle at any hint that maybe I should go back on my meds. Anyways, I have to credit Christine who at one Sunday night dinner – I would tell everyone at the table that I was continuously righteously angry at Jeremy (because I’m right!) and Christine looked at me and smiled and said – there’s something you can take for that. And I said – I KNOW! and then I resolved to not take anything for it, because I was JUST FINE. Anyways, the situation was getting intolerable and so clearly unsustainable, so I finally made an appt to meet the new doc, who is lovely and did not pressure me to take any meds (actually she suggested therapy first (I dislike therapy and have found it much less helpful than medication) and she checked my thyroid which was perfectly fine), but she suggested the lowest dose of Effexor which I started on Friday morning (I have taken Lexapro in the past and was what I was expecting this time, but she suggested Effexor which is sometimes prescribed off label for menopausal symptoms – so two birds/one stone). And I’m not sure if it is the placebo effect or what, but I could feel the unclenching of those terrible thoughts in my mind. Things that would make me angry three days ago did not on Friday. I actually tried to make myself mad by thinking the same things that have pissed me off for months now, and whereas before I could take those thoughts and wind them up and have them tighten ready to release like a coiled snake, on Friday I couldn’t hold them at all, like they were spider webs that my hands would just pass through. Hopefully, this med will take and I won’t have too many side effects, I really would like the old Doris back. On Thursday night, after I had procured the meds, but not yet taken the first dose, I was on a walk with Jeremy and I was like – what if the meds don’t work and I’m really just this angry, bitter person forever? That would be bad. But I think they will work, even if only for a little bit, I’m glad for this break.
Not that I didn’t try everything before hand: exercise, enough sleep, fun activities!, but not too much!, saying yes! or saying no :(. No caffeine – that’s been forever. I can’t manage no sugar, no gluten or no dairy. I did not try weed, magic mushrooms, melatonin, or whatever other supplements people are trying.
The world is a difficult place, but I always want to be able to see the beauty that is there as well.
One thought on “Days.”
It sounds like you’ve been on a really difficult path and I hope that modern medicine can help you out. There’s no need to suffer and fingers crossed really hard that this works for you and you feel better soon!