Friday, March 27, 2015

Cipralex Dreams

I came on here to check out when I restarted the Cipralex, and it was exactly one month ago.  "They" say it takes 4-6 weeks to be in your system the way it should, and it looks like that is accurate.  Last time I started it, I believe it took that long to get through the side effects, but this time I didn't have noticeable side effects, so I've been noticing other things that have changed.

I have an app called Optimism where I track my mood/sleep/exercise data, stay well strategies, triggers and symptoms every day.  The graph has been working its way up to the "good" part since I started tracking.  It is very interesting to watch it climb as the days on Cipralex fly by.

The real "tell" on how the drug is building up in my system, though, is my dreams.  I've always had intense dreams to begin with, and the drug magnifies the intensity times 100.  It is hard to wake up in the mornings because I am so exhausted from my nighttime adventures and emotions.  Last night's dreams were no exception.

I started out at an old school friend's house - it was his birthday and an ex-boyfriend of mine was going to attend.  We were all already married - to our current spouses - but I wanted my friend to tell me later what my ex was up to since I couldn't stay for the party. 

Then my dream moved on to me outside my current home, where I found a cell phone that belonged to a girl named Cindy Jeffery.  I figured out that was the sister of a current friend - who bears the same name as my school friend above - and so I made my way over to his house to give him this phone.  He also was having a get together.  But I couldn't stay because I had to get to school.

My school building was downtown and I had to walk through lots of downtown people - business suits, homeless suits, people rushing and people sitting.  There was lots of traffic (people and cars) and lots of dodging.  The part where I was actually at school was short and I don't remember it.  I just remember that the ground floor could be rented out for functions.  There was a kitchen, sitting area and at least 50 beds in rows in the "foyer" part of the building, even next to the escalators going up.  All the walls were windows like those of downtown buildings usually are, and people could see in, but they weren't looking.

I guess I booked this space because before I knew it, I was back there with my car, trying to find parking on the street.  I lugged in some bags and surveyed the corner where I would set up the Christmas tree.  There was already one there, sparse and barely standing, but with lots of presents under and around it.  The space had been double booked.

The other people there didn't even notice or care that I was there, and my parents came with plans to spend the evening and night there with me, even though I had only planned for the evening.  I didn't bother setting up our Christmas tree or any stuff; we couldn't figure out where everyone was going to sleep since most of the beds were already taken.  A fluffy black and white cat met me in the kitchen area, and he needed food.  In the next second I was at my home (not my current house) with my mom, finding cat food in my pantry.  The cat food was made up of giant-sized chunks of vegetables like carrots and celery, along with the standard dry cat food nuggets.

As I held the cat in my arms, it gagged and threw up a little mucous, which I figured was because it was so so hungry.  It took a few bites from a slice of carrot that was as big around as a loaf of bread, and in the next frame, the cat wasn't there.  I held a beautiful baby girl, round and pink and snuggled right into my chest.

I was at an outdoor event, sitting on a bench, with my mom beside me and my grandma standing in front of me and we were all talking about this sweet baby girl that I held.  I decided I'd be adopting her, and was suddenly at my house with people milling about and me telling them that I was adopting this sweet girl as they stopped to comment on her beauty.  She slept in my arms, snuggled into my chest and my heart was filled with sad that someone had starved and abandoned her and joy that she was now mine and would now be healthy and loved.  I knew that my current kids would be thrilled.


Then I woke up super drowsy at 6:56 and turned on my alarm to go off at 7:00 since I forgot to turn it on last night.  And I snuggled into my warm and cozy bed soaking in the dream joy and waited for the bathroom to be free so I could get up and get ready for the day.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Thanks, doc.

One month and 20 days ago, I was at my doctor's office asking for something other than Cipralex because my anxiety was getting out of control and I wanted to avoid the cholesterol problems that I found I had during the last time I took it.  Well, my doctor was less than helpful that time; was annoyed that I wouldn't just go back onto Cipralex and in a mocking voice asked if I wanted to try Effexor then.  I said I guess so, filled the prescription, did research and decided that Effexor is a little too scary for me.  So, as noted here, I started up with the Cipralex again from what I had leftover from last year, and took the smallest dose possible to try to feel better.

Yesterday morning I was back at the office to refill my prescription to Cipralex.  Since I've been having some other issues, I had prepared a whole speech for when my doctor came into the room.  It went like this:

Dr:  Hi, how are you?

Me:  Well, I've been struggling with a weepy eye since November, low back pain since December,  an aching chest since January and frequent migraines and extreme fatigue over the last little while, but I'm here to get a Cipralex refill.

That did not happen, because all I could think of going in there is how doctors only hear people complaining all day long.  And I didn't want to be just another complainer.  So this is how it really was:

Dr:  Hi, how are you?

Me: I'm doing alright.

Dr:  What can I do for you?

Me:  I am here for a prescription refill for Cipralex.  I know you gave me Effexor last time, but I researched it and the side effects look too scary for me.

Dr: *gives me an I told you so smirk*

Me:  So I've decided to take the Cipralex despite the cholesterol problems it causes-

Dr (cutting me off):  High cholesterol is not a side effect of Cipralex.

Me:  I had good cholesterol before I took it, high cholesterol while I was on it, and good cholesterol when I was off it.

Dr:  I've never read that cholesterol is affected by Cipralex.  I will refer you to a dietician nurse for your high cholesterol and I'll monitor it.  And you can ask the nurse about cognitive behavioural therapy too, when you see her.

Me:  Okay...

Dr:  How much are you taking?  5? 10?

Me:  2.5 mg

Dr:  What?  That is not anything.  That is not enough.  You have to take 5 mg.  Even 5 is nothing.  10 is the therapeutic dose.

Me:  It works for me.

Dr:  Take 5 mg.  *hands me prescription*

Me:  Thanks.  Have a good day.  *leave room*


I left feeling so very sad.  Sad because I am a strong and confident person who is not afraid to stand up for myself and I still left frustrated that I was not heard.  Sad because I had a great relationship with my doctor until I started taking antidepressants.  Sad because I can feel that even though I see all the campaigns to get mental health out in the open and recognized as a real thing, nothing is changing. 

I have a friend who, after much encouragement from me, worked up the courage to tell their doctor about their struggle with depression.  Something that had been going on for years.  That courage was rewarded with a simple "go out walking more, and spend more time with your family".  Guess how helpful that was.

It is over two years later and this person is STILL fighting depression, trying to figure out a way to manage it on their own, but sinking deeper and deeper by the day.  For over two years I have been listening and encouraging this person to get a second opinion, but they are resistant because they spoke up and got no help.  Can you imagine feeling like you are drowning in a deep dark pool for years and years with no hope of rescue even as you look up and see someone standing at the side with a branch strong enough to pull you out??  Some people reading this will say yes.

I was thinking of these people as I drove home from my doctor appointment, and about the photo that shows dealing with life-threatening injuries the way mental health issues are dealt with.  I have a new one..."Yup, your arm is definitely broken.  Go out walking more and spend more time with family.  That should clear it right up."

I'm looking forward to my appointment with the dietician.  I plan to bring a list of my meals consumed, exercise done, and sleep accumulated to the appointment, to avoid wasting her time and mine.  I know she will ask why I'm there.  And I will not have a good answer.

Sunday, March 8, 2015


I had a very short reminder of joy this evening.  It felt so good.  I hope that it comes back long-term soon.

Saturday, March 7, 2015