Sunday, August 2, 2009

a losing battle

Things have changed since a couple of weeks ago when I posted that life was returning to normal again with my emotional/mental state and I now find myself in a situation that is just as difficult to deal with as my withdrawal from Paxil.

When my withdrawal symptoms finally faded, I felt great. I thought the worst had passed and that I was successfully on the new drugs -- Wellbutrin -- and that life could resume again.

But looking back, it seems that I felt that way just because -- relatively speaking -- things were great. Anything would've felt great after finishing going through what I had just gone through. So in comparison, I thought things were hunky-dorey.

It didn't take too long before I started feeling not-so-great again. But even then, I contributed it to the sudden loss of my Grandpa and a stressful relationship issue that I needed to deal with. Especially in the days preceeding the latter issue, my anxiety levels were quite high but I didn't think it had anything to do with something other than the conversation that was looming.

However, even after all was said and done, things didn't calm down for me emotionally. I had that almost constant ball of anxiety sitting in the pit of my stomach. After I had completed my first month of being on the low dose of Wellbutrin, it was time to up the dose to the higher dose. At first I was reluctant since I didn't want to increase the level of insomnia that I was already often dealing with; a common side effect of this drug. But it soon became clear to me that I had no choice.

Even while making that decision, I struggled with whether it was the right one or not. Here's the thing...I looked on-line to see if Wellbutrin actually helped deal with anxiety or if it was purely to treat depression -- 'cause those are 2 very separate things, which I struggle with both of them. Of course I found conflicting reports on the internet. Some people claimed that Wellbutrin was definitely the cure for their anxiety, while others claim that anxiety was a side effect of taking the drug (when they were taking it strictly for depression purposes).

So now I was left wondering: Am I feeling this anxiety because I'm only on the low dose so it's not really helping it? Or am I feeling this anxiety as a side effect, in which case doubling the dose could potentially double the anxiety?

All I knew was that I was feeling exactly the same as I remember feeling a year and a half ago before I ever started taking any anti-depressant medication. So I figured I would try doubling my dose and see what happened. If the anxiety worsened, or didn't improve, then I knew I would need to try something else. But if the anxiety decreased, then I would know that the drug just needed some time -- and a higher dose -- to start working properly.

So far it is hard to tell what is what, as I have only been on the higher dose for just under a week. I am not experiencing any improvement in the anxiety, but it's hard to judge if it's getting worse or not.

Of course my mind is now telling me that I made a huge mistake in going off of Paxil to begin with. It worked wonders for both my depression & anxiety, the only real negative side effect being the weight gain. And now that I have started a local Biggest Loser competition and have started losing a lot of weight -- it makes me wonder if I had started doing this earlier, maybe I could've combatted the weight gain and remained on Paxil and saved myself from all of this turmoil. Afterall, I knew that my own bad decisions and lack of discipline contributed to the weight gain, and that the blame couldn't only be placed on the Paxil. So now that I have drastically changed my habits...would I have needed to quit the Paxil??

But I can't turn back time; I can only move forward. I have to say that I seriously toy with the idea of going back onto Paxil. And if it weren't for the hell I went through to get off of it the first time, I wouldn't hesitate. But I don't want all that I went through to be for nothing, only to have to eventually go through it again when I will one day be able to (hopefully) function without the help of any medication.

I spoke to a pharmacist this afternoon, and he advised that I give the Wellbutrin another week or two -- but that if it's not doing what I need it to be doing by then, then I would need to seriously consider trying something else. I don't look forward to having to keep switching meds until I find the right one, but it may just be what's in my future.

I'm upset that I am wasting my summer by having to deal with all of this now. But at the same time, it's probably better that I deal with it now than in winter, which is by far the hardest time of the year for me at the best of times.

So now I just leave it in God's hands. I trust that He will guide me to what will be the best things for me. And I can say, if it weren't for my faith, I would be pushed over the edge. In fact, there already is a very thin line between where I am now and going completely insane. I catch myself getting so worked up about all of this at times, where I know it would be so easy to cross that thin line and end up who-knows-where. But when I get to that point, I just pray and pray and pray and God brings me back to the 'safe' side of the line.

So as I continue to fight this seemingly losing battle -- please continue to pray for me. I need it more than you know.

(To read about a battle that I am actually winning...check this out)


Pam said...

Oh girl! I am so sorry for all that you are dealing with. I would say that if in a week or so you are not feeling better, talk to your doctor. Maybe it means a higher dose or maybe it means another medicine. Whatever it is....I'm praying for you and thinking of you!! Love ya girl!

Anonymous said...

Have u considered maybe trying a low dose of anti-anxiety med (ativan) to help bridge the gap? I don't know if it even an option for you, but maybe worth looking into. It is something you only take on as needed basis. (usually)
Just throwing that out there for you.
Lots of luck to you

TammyIsBlessed said...

Praying for you Andrea.

Gin said...

I understand the struggle. I was on Effexor for 4 years and have only been off since Christmas. My heart goes out to you. My stuggle was with both anxiety and depression. My weight - well, that didn't factor in because it's been an issue for so many years. I will pray for you. I found Psalm 121 to be calming. Hugs!

Jamie said...

I will be praying for you; that God gives you the strength you need and people in your life to encourage you.

Amanda said...

You're in my Prayers.

common mom said...

Thinking about you!

andrea said...

this has been sucha tough time for you. i wish that I could take this pain away and you would find an answer. I'll be praying as you wait/make decisions.

Roo said...


Leeann said...

I'm sorry that you are dealing with this...but very thankful that you write about it. You are a hero to many, my friend.