Today is brought to you by the letter “M” and I choose for it to stand for “Medication” as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

My theme for this Challenge is depression and anxiety and all that goes with it.

I have been on a TON of different medications over the years for depression and anxiety.  Effexor, Luvox, Buspirone, Zoloft, Cymbalta, Wellbutrin, Cipralex, Abilify, Lorazapam, Clonazepam, Diazepam (there are a lot of PAMS) and the list goes on with more forgotten meds.  Recently I stopped taking Cymbalta and went through a bad withdrawal which you can read about on my blog post entitled, ” Cymbalta Withdrawal.”

My current Zoloft dose seems to be giving me really bad night sweats.  I have to change out of my wet pajamas in the middle of the night when I am woken up by the sound of my teeth chattering.  I am doing a lot of laundry these days!  I also have been getting junk food cravings. I want to change this medication but I just started it and it seems to be working.  The night sweats are just getting too much.  The problem is that once I find an anti depressant that works, after a few years it stops working.  It’s like your brain just gets used to the medication.

I sometimes feel like a walking pharmacy and it almost feels like I am being sanitized on the inside, with all this medication I am taking.  Every morning it is the same routine, drink my tea in bed while checking my emails and Facebook.  Then, I try and choke down a hand full of pills with last night’s stale leftover water.  Not sure why I never use the tea for this other than the fact I might gulp it down to quickly.  I like to enjoy my tea in bed or on the deck in the summer, without tainting it’s taste with that medicinal flavour.

My Pharmacy

My Pharmacy



Today is brought to you by the letter “C” and I choose for it to stand for “CYMBALTA” as part of the A to Z Blog Challenge.

My theme for this Challenge is depression and anxiety and all that goes with it.

I recently went through a horrible Cymbalta withdrawal.  You can read about it HERE. 

I had tapered off the Cymbalta while adding Zoloft and when I finally ran out of the Cymbalta, all hell broke loose.  If you are on Cymbalta and are thinking about switching medication, just be forewarned and you might want to read my aforementioned blog post on that matter.  medication

The reason I switched my depression medication is because it stopped working.  While being treated for my new found anxiety, my depression came back full force recently.  Cymbalta was working for a few years, kept the depression at bay for the most part but I guess your body gets used to the medication and a change is needed.

Cymbalta (duloxetine) is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor antidepressant (SSNRI). Duloxetine affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause depression.

Cymbalta is used to treat major depressive order and general anxiety order in adults.  Cymbalta is also used in adults to treat fibromyalgia (a chronic pain disorder), or chronic muscle or joint pain (such as low back pain and osteoarthritis pain).  I noticed it’s mild pain fighting skills only when I stopped taking it.  It was an effective medication for awhile and it might work well for you but be careful when you stop taking Cymbalta, especially without tapering off gradually.





Anxiety 101

My new, but dear friend just messaged me on Facebook saying she is back from the hospital after having her cervix, ovaries and uterus out.  I have been looking after her 2 cats, going over there feeding them twice a day, hoping I won’t disappoint my friend.  I hope I feed them just right.  I hope I don’t do something wrong while over there, etc…

She said she was home in the Facebook message and couldn’t find one of her cats.  OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD!

Whew! 10 minutes just passed, the cat appeared.  Oh shit, was getting very anxious.  I so don’t want to screw this up, I want to be there for my friend in her time of need.  She is a bit older than myself and doesn’t have a lot of friends.  She lives alone so it will be tough for her for the next few weeks.  She can’t do any stairs or drive so I will need to help her there as well.

I hope I don’t have a real mental breakdown in that time.  I need to keep it together for a few weeks which might be hard.  I do feel better than 10 days ago when I was in the throes of my Cymbalta withdrawal after switching to Zoloft.  I was convinced at the time there was no way I could look after someone else, let alone myself.  That has subsided.  I re-added Clonazapam to my diet.  Actually, my GP gave me a prescription for a few of them while my whole Cymbalta thing was happening and my psychiatrist was away.  Takes the edge right off but I get sleepy and don’t want to do anything which is fine I guess.  I can’t have one today, I need to go over and look after my friend tonight before she goes to bed and stuff.

medicatedSo today I am putting on a brave face and putting my big girl pants on because I am needed.

Got a Speeding Ticket Today

Got a speeding ticket today, was deserved but let me back the day up some!

My partner took today off so she could go to my psychiatrist appointment with me for support.  I needed a strong voice in my corner to express my frustration of not being able to “fix” my anxiety and now, my deepening depression because of it.  I have been slipping deeper into a depression again because of my hopelessness I feel in dealing with my anxiety.  The frustration I am having with my psychiatrist at the moment in making matters much worse.  I feel he is not helping me in the least and I have been waiting for a referral to a psychologist for quite some time.  My insurance is on my case, wanting to know what’s taking so long.  Every time they call, I just get all stressed all over again.  I just want to tell them, “Hey, I’ll call YOU when I start to feel better, how’s that?”

My psychiatrist told me the doctor he was trying to refer me to, isn’t taking anyone who deals with insurance because it requires too much of her time.  WOW!  So I guess I must wait even longer now.  I ended up seeing my GP last week in the throes of my Cymbalta withdrawal problems and because I was very worried about my frame of mind (enough said of that).  She set up a counseling session with a nurse next Monday to talk so at lease I have THAT.  My psychiatrist of course upped my Zoloft another 25 mg even though I am soaking the bed in sweat every night because of the low dose I am on now.

Very distracted, driving home, crying a bit, cop standing on side of road with a radar gun.  He got me going rather fast in a 50 kph zone so I was clearly in the wrong and I admit that.  I roll down the window and start crying again and the cop asks if everything is ok.  I reply that I’ve just come from my doctor’s office and am upset.  My partner chimes in that I suffer from depression and I’ve been having a rough time of late. He said he would be very fair and he was.  He reduced the ticket as low as possible and no demerit points.

My partner had to drive home because I was a mess.  I have no coping skills, seems they are broken and I am feeling like I am constantly walking around on egg shells. I almost feel like I am having a hard time looking after myself in a few ways.

Spring Has Sprung

Downy WoodpeckerWhat a difference a few days make.  Spent a great weekend with my partner and today I went out to photograph birds and fill the feeders.  It is just at freezing but a gorgeous sunny day and all the birds are singing.  Spring has sprung and my mood is a lot better this week.  The Cymbalta withdrawal is now behind me and my psychiatrist is back from vacation, I will see him tomorrow.

One of my older friends has decided to quit the rat race and sell everything and move to Florida with his wife– Ugh!!! I wish I could do something like that (see previous post).  For now, I will enjoy this day for tomorrow will probably be a shit show.

What’s This, Hope?

I’ve found hope.  Sounds simple enough but it has been so damned illusive.  When I felt it, I was caught off guard not remembering the last time this emotion made it’s presence known.

I went to see my GP yesterday, as my Cymbalta withdrawal was not going well and my psychiatrist is on vacation.  I also wanted to get a referral to another, more capable psychiatrist in my opinion.  My doctor convinced me to stick it out with my psychiatrist because there would be about a year’s wait for another one.  Part of the many pitfalls of the Canadian Health Care system.  A fifteen minute appointment turned into a 45 minute one (I think she was giving me a psych test) and she spent a lot of time asking me questions.  I was not used to this.  Normally I just get stared at by my psychiatrist my whole appointment. Its all very awkward.  She gave me 2 resources I was unaware existed, as well as hooked me up with a nurse for counseling sessions, all covered by O.H.I.P (Ontario Health Insurance).  I left there after sobbing for 45 minutes, feeling hope for the first time in I can’t remember when.

Woke up today, no nausea from the Cymbalta withdrawal so hopefully that is over.  The nurse from the doctor’s office called first thing in the morning to touch base and see how I was.  We’ve scheduled an appointment for two weeks from today to discuss my depression and anxiety and what she might be able to help with.  Feeling relieved.  Actually messaged my friend and we took my dog for a long walk around the neighbourhood.  Its just above freezing here and sunny so it was beautiful.  We talked about counseling and how it helped her once or twice in the past.  I smiled, I laughed a little bit and I had the energy for a nice brisk walk.  Yesterday when I was struggling with the encapsulated poop, I had just left it in the yard and went in the house crying.  Today, I picked up that poop!  Yes I did.  I also took out a ladder and changed the decorative flag in front of the house.  This is a big deal for me as:

  1. I have been feeling incapacitated the last week.
  2. This flag changing business is a two person job.

I can’t wait till my partner gets home, she will be so surprised, and relieved that I am up and about, functioning and everything.  I am looking forward to our weekend off together.

Depression Can Be Fatal

Tried so hard last night to get to sleep before my crying jags started up again.  I had taken a Seroquel and was waiting anxiously for it to kick in.  My partner, lying behind me was rubbing my back which made me start to cry again.  It’s so frustrating and embarrassing.  I hate for her to see me this way.  Not just because I feel so ashamed and guilty for acting and feeling this way, but because I hate having her worried about me.

I have been off work for almost a year now.  Money is tight, trips cancelled, grand plans put on hold and its all my fault.  The guilt is becoming so unbearable and I am crying again as I write these words.  I have had depression on and off my whole life but lately it is anxiety that I’ve been treated for.  Now, my depression has come back full force and my psychiatrist does nothing but stare at me while I cry for my weekly 20 minute appointment, then ask if I need any refills.  It’s a real wonder why I’m still here

Decided during my feeling of hopelessness this morning, to call my regular doctor to find out how I can fire my psychiatrist and get a new one as mine is a fucking idiot!  Sorry for that.  Usually I would have to wait months for an appointment but as luck would have it, she was on urgent care tonight (she works in a clinic with other doctors) and there was an appointment available tonight.  I booked it!  I need to gather my thoughts and figure out what I need to bring up with her without dissolving into a puddle of tears, rambling on and on about my issues.

  1. Get a referral to a new psychiatrist.
  2. Discuss my Cymbalta withdrawal problems.
  3. Let her know I am afraid I am deteriorating and my thoughts of suicide.

Took a break from writing this post to go outside and pick up dog poop as it is zero degrees Celsius and sunny (nice for March in Ontario, Canada).  I promised my partner I would go outside today. Things were going well till I couldn’t chisel the poop out of the snow as it has melted down into it.  I usually do this every 2 days or so but in my Cymbalta withdrawal this week, I have left it.  Again, my fault and I began crying.  Tears were rolling down my face as a was getting more and more frustrated at the encapsulated poop just beyond my reach.  I did the only sensible thing and gave up.  What if my neighbour sees me crying, picking up poop.  It’s not the poop, its me!

This is why I need to do something and go see my doctor tonight.  I realized that depression can be fatal.

Cymbalta Withdrawal

I feel like crap!  Day 5 off Cymbalta (on Zoloft now) and I feel nauseous, cranky, teary and shaky.  My partner left for work and I was trying to keep it together before she left so she wouldn’t worry about me. My psychiatrist is of course away and I ran out of the Cymbalta a bit early.  It wasn’t like I wasn’t supposed to stop it soon anyway.  I thought about having my regular doctor call in a prescription to the pharmacy but then I would have to just go through withdrawal again later.

I woke up in a pile of gross sweat again today, totally soaking through my PJs.  I can’t remember the last time I got more than one night out of a shirt and sleepy pants.  This symptom has been with me since I started taking the Zoloft about a month ago and isn’t letting up at all.

I feel like shit because I am ignoring my beautiful dog as well.  I have no energy to take her for a walk in the woods which she loves.  She is so easy-going and puts up with anything, I don’t deserve her.


Depicting Depression and Anxiety Through Photography

Well, today is a better day.  Awoke at 4 AM as usual, drenched in sweat and soaking through my sleepy pants, but at least I’m not crying.  Day 4 no Cymbalta and the nausea is less noticeable and I actually have energy today.  I know its better because I went to pour myself some pop and it overflowed all over and down and counter.  I did not cry.  I did not run from the room.  I slowly mopped up the floor, cleaned the counter top and thought to myself that if this was yesterday and this happened, I would be a mess right about now.

I have always been into photography but have rarely taken my Canon DSLR off the auto settings.  I think I take decent photos but lately, my partner urged me to upgrade my camera and focus on photography.  Being home all day off work, has really made me lonely and restless lately.  This could be good.  I have been pouring over online tutorials, learning about the different settings on my camera and experimenting shooting my dog.  I prefer landscape photography but she is just so photogenic.  I want to try and capture my depression and anxiety through photographs I think.  I’m not sure what I want to shoot on this subject but I guess I’ll know when I see it.
To motivate myself, I just bought:
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5


I’m Still Here

Woke up alive today.  That was the bad news. Oh, and there wasn’t any good news.  I was almost hoping I would succumb to some medication complication in my sleep last night so I wouldn’t have to endure day three of Cymbalta withdrawal.  My doctor has been tapering me off Cymbalta while steadily increasing a new drug for me, Zoloft.  I was down to the low 30 mg tablets and then I ran out.  It was planned to taper off but I hadn’t planned on heavy withdrawal symptoms and now have no pills left.

For the past 3 days, I have been feeling queasy, head achy, irritable and have been crying on and off most the day and night.  Sometimes when I am crying, I can feel my heart ache because I am so sad and inconsolable.  I can feel my depression gripping me tighter and tighter.   My doctor is on vacation of course and the pharmacy has an old prescription for Cymbalta on hand but won’t give it to me because it is a different dosage.  I left the grocery store in tears today, which is why I seldom venture out any more.  It was all I could do to get up and drive myself there today and now I still am suffering from the same withdrawal effects.

I have been dealing with depression more than half my life but I am supposed to be treated for anxiety mostly these days.  The anxiety is a relatively new event for me and one that has me at the end of my rope.  I’ve been off work for so many months because of my anxiety.  Work, that’s another story altogether.

After several failed attempts at returning to work (sat in work parking lot having panic attack after panic attack, unable to get in the door), I feel embarrassed , ashamed and weak.  That is why my depression has come back full force in the past few months.  I told myself that I would give this one more shot so we are changing all my meds and seeing if it helps.  So far, meh!