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15 August 2006 @ 07:43 pm
It looks like I picked the wrong week to....  

As I believe I mentioned, I'm currently in the process of trying to figure out whether the new anti-depressant works at all and if it does how much of it I need to take for it to work sufficiently (or, better still, optimally). It appears that this is not the best time to be trying to fill out the self-evaluation part of my annual review at work. Go figure.

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skzbrustskzbrust on August 16th, 2006 02:48 am (UTC)
Mizz Laura Jeanmizzlaurajean on August 16th, 2006 02:54 am (UTC)
Have you made a doctors appointment?
Fred A Levy Haskell: Fredcritter eyes onlyfredcritter on August 16th, 2006 07:20 am (UTC)
Matthew B. Tepper: In Minneapolis with beardasimovberlioz on August 16th, 2006 03:19 am (UTC)
¡Ai chihuahua!
Chuckthatguychuck on August 16th, 2006 02:59 pm (UTC)
A close friend of mine just began taking anti-depressants / mood-stabilizers. Though I know it's a personal question, what do you do to determine how things are working?

Thanks Fred, it's appreciated.
(Anonymous) on August 17th, 2006 04:13 pm (UTC)
Hi, Fred! I wish I could help.

You are a very cool person. I really enjoyed hearing you and Steve jam way back in January at Confusion. :D

I hope your new meds stabilize soon, and start working. I also hope you have a good doctor who listens to you and doesn't mess around. I'm guessing they want you on the new drug for some weeks before making a judgment call. :/


Some of the standard answers are: See a therapist frequently to help gauge moods. Use a daily mood journal. Take your medicine as directed - unless you have Really Bad Side Effects.

Medicine tangent:

With really bad side effects, I'd call the doctor asap. Falling asleep at work counts. I'd slept normally.

If you get Toxic Shock Syndrome, seek help immediately. Any doctor who blows you off needs to be replaced. This is serious.

With really weird side effects, I tend to stay on my usual meds and cancel the new. I've been on my anti-mania medication [Tegretol] for 14 years.

I've tried a few antidepressants, way back in '93-94. One had the peculiar effect of making me so nauseous I couldn't eat. It lasted for days. I personally cancelled that one and told my program that the doctor could discuss it with me later, because it wasn't worth waiting a few more days without food to see him.

I didn't get overridden. Sorry, common sense is trump in certain instances.

Other tangent:

Ask people to keep an eye on you when you need distraction. [Not necessarily cheering up.] Make sure they know you. People who know you slightly and think you're "always happy" or "always down" are not going to be helpful.

Attend a group run by MDDA [Manic Depressive Depressive Assoc] or AMI [Alliance for the Mentally Ill]. Sharing experiences with other people HELPS.

I'm not a doctor - I'm just an experienced person who's bipolar. :>

- Chica/Anne Zanoni
Fred A Levy Haskell: Fredcritter eyes onlyfredcritter on August 21st, 2006 05:56 am (UTC)

My policy on "personal" questions has always been "ask away." At worst I'll politely decline to answer. Besides, in this case 'twas I who mentioned the potentially touchy subject myself.

Okay. To determine how the anti-depressant is working, you take a single yarrow stalk from the bundle of 50 and lay it crossways in front of you (this symbolizes the Wu Chi—the unchanging ground of being). Divide the remaining stalks into two piles. Set down the pile in your right hand. Take one stalk from that right-hand pile … oh … wait … that's something else.

Seriously, it tends to be more difficult to tell the first time you try. I remember saying to Susan some years ago, "This Prozac stuff just isn't working." Her reply was, "Heh! You think not?" The point being that somebody who knows you well and whom you are around frequently can be a very good reality check (if there exists such a person, of course). I reckon less intimately-associated people could possibly be good resources as well, but may be somewhat less reliable. [I am, by the way, using "you" in it's generic sense—I realize the subject of this discussion is not you but a close friend of yours—I just prefer "you" to the less-engaged sounding "one."]

Chica's suggestion of a mood journal is probably a good one, since mood disorders tend to affect memory, self-perception, and perception of memory ("I've always been useless and I'm never going to get better"), although I've never done the mood journal thing myself. I reckon something as simple as a five- or ten-point scale of "how do I feel right now" done regularly at the same time maybe twice a day over a few weeks could provide valuable insight.

Finally, I guess, just pay attention to yourself. Pay especial attention to those aspects of yourself and your life that caused you to seek help in the first place. One of my symptoms is that I have both trouble sleeping and trouble staying awake, so paying attention to sleep/awake habits and cycles is a good key. Noticing how you interact with and respond to other people can be valuable as well, although that's harder to interpret.

Please wish your friend good luck from me and reassure them that they're not "crazy" and they're not alone. There are many of us whose internal chemical imbalances have been ruling us for many years and who have found at least some relief in a course of medically-supervised drug treatment; not at all unlike those who are diabetic.

Chuckthatguychuck on August 21st, 2006 02:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks Fred, your words are very appreciated. I'm passing them on.

Hope to see you in Michigan this coming January!