Where to begin? I guess I want to start off this post by saying I felt the need to write this simply because I know other people are going through the same thing. Ok, maybe not exactly the same thing, but you know what I mean.
As I mentioned before I have been going through some *issues* as of late. Both physical and mental health issues. It all started with my stomach feeling weird about 5-6 weeks ago. I went into the doctor (not my PCP) a few times, was prescribed two antibiotics for a possible infection (was running a low fever) and also an acid reflux pill for a possible ulcer. During all this I developed anxiety and was given an anti-anxiety drug. It worked really well in calming me down, but can be highly addicting so I didn’t take many. Also a side effect is depression. A few days after the anxiety came a crushing depression. A depression the likes of which I have never experienced. I had no motivation. No interest in anything. Completely exhausted all the time. Couldn’t concentrate. Loss of appetite. I just wanted to sit on the couch wrapped in a blanket and cry.
Let me backtrack for a second.
I took the birth control pill for 20+ years and never had any issues with it. Things were glorious. Then January of this year came and for some unknown reason my ob/gyn prescribed me some other pill I hadn’t been on. Two months into taking this pill I started getting what I now know are ocular (or aura) migraines. They don’t actually hurt like a typical migraine for me, but they make me feel dizzy and weird, and blur my vision. I freaked out, thought I was having mini strokes. Went to a neurologist, had MRI’s of my brain and neck and everything was fine. So they are definitely ocular migraines which could have been related to the pill I was on. In May I went off the pill following the advice of my primary doctor and neurologist.
Two months later is when everything else started. So now we are back to a couple weeks ago and I went to see my primary doc about the depression. After talking to my good friend who is an RN and other people (and reading a ton online) I realized it was highly likely that the anxiety and depression could have been at least partly from hormonal issues. My doctor agreed it could be related and so she prescribed me a low dose of an SSRI anti-depressant to hopefully help. The same day I also went back to my ob/gyn and talked to her about it to get her opinion. She agreed with me and my primary doc and thought if the SSRI didn’t help after 6-8 weeks, she could put me on a low dose progesterone pill. And then she tells me one of the side effects could be depression. Sigh.
So I decided to start the SSRI first to see how I did. The first pill was fine. With the second one I started feeling that weird restless mind feeling many people report when they start or stop SSRI’s. By the third one I was getting really sick (I’ll spare you the details). By the fourth I thought I was having a severe allergic reaction to them so I called my doctor on a Saturday. She told me to stop them, so I did. By Monday I was even worse, so I went into see her. She ran some tests and I came up positive for a bacterial infection (called Clostridum Difficile) which is pretty prevalent in hospitals (I was in one in July for a kidney stone shock wave treatment). Oh and also when you take antibiotics, especially two (which I had been put on) AND an acid-reflux medicine (which I had also been on) it makes things worse. So now I am back on antibiotics (which ironically is the course of action) and taking probiotics. During the week I was physically sick, I actually felt ok mentally. No depression. And now physically I am feeling much better.
Yesterday I started feeling that creepy creeper feeling of the depression kicking in again. Slowly but surely. Again I’m having a really hard time concentrating and severe lack of motivation to do anything but sit and stare into space. Then I realized today that my period should be coming soon. This is why I really think in my case this is all hormonally related. I never had any issues with PMS or PMDD up until I went off the pill. Granted there have been many stressful things going on in my life over the last year, but this seemed to sneak up so quickly and seems to be moving in this particular cycle. Or it could be that I have been depressed because I have been sick. It’s really hard to figure out what is causing what at this point.
Next steps? Well I am finished with my antibiotics this weekend, but plan to take probiotics for at least 3-6 more months. I am writing every single thing down in a daily journal to track both the physical and mental things going on. Seeing a therapist. I would really, really like to NOT have to take an anti-depressant if at all possible. I would rather try the birth control pill again to see if that helps. After all this I am extremely weary of taking anything and would rather be as free of meds as possible.
So basically it’s been a daily struggle for me since August and I want to thank you guys for hanging in there with me. Many of you have written me emails and let me know I am not alone and I am very grateful for that. Thank you.