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Re: hypomania Gummybear

Posted by Zellie on January 6, 2004, at 11:07:12

In reply to Re: hypomania, posted by Gummybear on January 5, 2004, at 23:00:36

Dear GummyBear:

I have had quite a time throughout my life dealing with GAD and Depression, and with Panic Attacks in my earlier years.

I feel for you. It feels like a life in shackles.

I am 42 years old, and only this past year have had a formal diagnosis on the disorders (I also have OCD and ADHD). I began seeing psychiatrists when I was 9 to try to help with the anxiety and panic. I saw countless others throughout the many years that followed...was put briefly on imiprimine, and vallium to treat anxiety and depression at different times. I had given up hope that there was ever going to be help for me, so I had not gone to a psychiatrist since my mid twenties.

I managed to push through in life, but it was taking a huge toll on my body, my family, and my life in general. I finally had symptoms that were like chronic fatigue, but the blood tests could not find anything out of order. I believe that it was my entire body shutting down from the intense stress it had gone through for so many years.

As it turns out, my youngest child has many neuropsychological disorders, so the more I went to seminars to learn how to help him and the longer I took him to see his specialist, the more I was enlightened to my own dilemmas.

I began seeing a psychiatrist last February, who specializes in adults with ADHD, GAD, Depression, etc. Following my diagnoses, he had me read up on and research various medications that would help with all of my particular disorders.

The one we chose to try first was Effexor(XR), because it targets Anxiety, Depression, and ADHD, in particular (the ADHD once it reaches 150 mg).

He had me titrate up at a snail's pace, to minimize side-effects, and to watch closely for any signs of Bi-Polar disorder. (He had already ruled out hypothyroid problems via blood tests, which can mimic depression).

I was about a month at 37.5 mg, then 5 weeks at 75 mg, then about 6 or 7 weeks at 112.5, then after about 8 weeks I went to 150 mg. I am very, very grateful for having gone up so slowly, as it really served to dramatically minimize the side-effects. The down side of going up so slowly was that it took longer for me to be feeling better. Looking back, though, it was worth it.

What I noticed was that the Effexor worked on the Anxiety first, minimizing it substantially. But I felt more depressed than ever. That's when I realized that I was not really more depressed, but rather, I was just feeling it more, now that the anxiety had been taken away. The anxiety had actually served the purpose of prodding me on through the depression all those years. Once the anxiety was taken away, the Depression reigned.

Once I got up to about 112.5, the depression was starting to lift. By 150mg, not only was the depression gone almost all of the time, but it also started to have an effect on the ADHD.

I still feel a little depressed during PMS. Other than that, I am free of depression and GAD.

In November, my pdoc started me on 100 mg Wellbutrin as well, to further target the ADHD. He had me try Concerta first, but it brought back some of the anxiety. So then we talked about trying Dexedrine (another stimulant medication for ADHD, and one that my youngest son takes), but again, because of the GAD, we opted for the Wellbutrin. It is not as effective in controlling ADHD, but given my anxiety and depression, we opted for the Wellbutrin.

I have, indeed, been able to be much, much more productive.

However, it is not the meds alone that has been helping. I have been learning countless strategies also, to help me get and stay motivated to do daily tasks. I am part of a support group at a Mental Health centre in Toronto, and I am currently part of a study for Light Therapy. Light Therapy has been found to be successful in alleviating symptoms of Season Affective Disorder, Depression, and PMS. The study I am involved in is to see if people with ADHD also find a reduction in their symptoms.

Because it is known to be effective in Depression and PMS, I thought it could only help! I'll let you know as the month progresses.

I also joined Flylady.com, which is a wonderful website for the disorganized and unmotivated. Although it is mainly designed for at-home women (I do work when I am able), I make it work for me, too. It has been a Godsend in helping me keep my home in order, and keep from being overwhelmed. Because of a life of overwhelmedness, I had a house full of clutter left in its wake. I am now able to work my way through it, at a slow but very steady and productive (encouraging) rate.

I no longer wish I were dead. This is the first time in my life I have EVER been able to say this. I am calmer, at peace, steady, more fun to be with (my husband is grateful!), not agitated and irritable, not discouraged and hating myself.

This is largely the result of the medication. The other things help me be more productive, but I could never be a part of the other things (support groups, studies, etc.) if it weren't for the meds. I was completly crippled a lot of the time, and unable to work.

Needless to say, I am very, very grateful to be able to rise above my own disorders now, so I can help my family more, and help out others, too, who are numerous out there.

As for the panic attacks, I haven't had one since I was 27. At that time, I opened up about all the "sins" and deeds I felt guilty about, and got it all out into the open. It's not that my sins were likely any worse than most other people's, but because I was hiding them and trying to portray myself as being "together," the pressure it put on me sent me into horrendous panic attacks that I'd had since being a child. At times I had been unable to eat for many days, for fear of dying whilst swallowing, I often couldn't breathe, because my throat became so tight and constricted. It was living hell.

I didn't know that coming open about who I was would take the pressure off me. I learned to be who I really am, without trying to cover it up. I confessed it all in order to become a Christian, not because I thought it would end my panic.

A few times I have had twinges of a panic attack beginning, when I am in a situation where I feel there is a lot at stake in making a good impression on those around me. As soon as I feel that, I stop and think "who am I trying to impress here?" Then I strive to be more who I really am and not fret about what they think about me. By removing the pressure, there is nothing to make me panic.

That's my story, anyhow. I hope that maybe something in it somewhere will encourage you to keep working hard at freeing yourself from the bondage of your disorders.

By the way, there are a few side-effects I must contend with (sexual drive is low, climax is slow or absent, sweats sometimes, heart-rate increase at times), but I am monitored closely by my pdoc. I will gladly put up with the side-effects, in order to finally be able to enjoy life, for the first time ever!

Kindest regards,
Zellie

> That's a very intriguing glimpse into hypomania - I am 23yr old female and have GAD with panic attacks and depression. All this only struck me about a little over a month ago.... and now EffexorXR....
> My life has done a full 360 degrees.
>
> My doctor said that I may be bipolar or have rapid-cylcing bipolar. There has been no bipolar ever in my family history. I am not convinced that I have either of these because I mostly feel depressed or really scared (anxiety) - and the moments that I feel okay, I just feel normal. But I did go out on boxing day and buy pants, 2 pairs of shoes, and a top - all of which I kinda need. I don't have all that much money, would this be classified as overspending????
>
> I haven't had any urges to do any sort of "projects" but I think I may have developped an internet addiction. Mostly, I don't feel like doing anything except lying in bed and watching tv or surfing the net.
>
> I have been very slow to responding to the Effexor XR treatment.... and have severe mood swings from feeling okay to being depressed and crying to racing thoughts of suicide which throw me into a panic attack.
>
> Does anybody know the symptoms of rapid cycling bipolar?? I am concerned I may have it particularily since Effexor XR is proving to be a very slow slow remedy.... not quite sure it's working.
>
> Thanks,
> G.bear.


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Psycho-Babble Medication | Framed

poster:Zellie thread:13781
URL: http://www.dr-bob.org/babble/20040105/msgs/297114.html