Sunday, December 14, 2008

Open to Suggestions...

I've been grouchier than usual lately. All kinds of excuses for it come to mind. Seasonal Affective Disorder is definitely topping the list, but there are more. Holiday stress, menopause, an inherited tendency to depression, and poor coping skills are all factors. Yes, I admit to the latter. I'm not so good at coping with daily stresses. Snapping at people and overeating are my modus operandi. If a half dozen Christmas cookies taken orally twice a day could cure depression, I'd be healed!
For years I battled depression medically, using Prozac, Zoloft and the like. Then we had an insurance changeup, and I realized I might not have drug coverage in the future. I asked the pharmacist how much my prescription would cost me without insurance copay and was horrified at the response--over $400 a month. I tried quitting cold turkey at that time. Dear Readers, do NOT do this!
I suffered extreme dizziness, nausea, and whacked out thoughts. I thought I was dying. It took me a while before I realized I was experiencing withdrawal! How silly of me! I thought withdrawal only happened to junkies. Well, guess what?
I went back on the meds and started anew to wean myself gradually. It took weeks of tapering the dose and adjusting to each new, lower level before I was completely free. There were occasional dizzy spells even doing it that way. These are some powerful chemicals at work in the brain.
I found that symptoms of menopause are masked by using antidepressants. I never had a hot flash, mood swing or sleepless night. I do now. I also realize now that I did nothing in the way of learning new coping skills while I was medicated. So basically, it prevented me from growing and maturing.
This is the first winter and Christmas season in years that I have been med-free. I know I may require some medical assistance to regulate my brain chemistry in the future, but for now I'm not experiencing the crippling depression that sent me to the doctor in the first place. I'm functional and up to living. I'm able to work, and I'm knitting and writing to keep myself going. But this morning I snapped at my husband for no reason, and even to my own ears I sounded like a petulant, spoiled child. I'm not looking for perfection here, but at least some semblance of self control. I'm open to any and all suggestions for cultivating patience and coping with stress, but I am thinking that Nike might have the real answer to this (and so many other things in life, too): Just do it.


  1. Well done, getting off the meds! But Im sure you must sometimes wonder , why did I bother, when I feel like crap? I was on the estraderm patch for really bad menopause sleeplessness, for 12 years and finally got off it 2 years ago. Im 59 and the hot flashes are showing no letup, about 12 to 20 per night and about half the sleep I need. Plus get up to pee every 2 hours. What a dirty trick after we go thru all those years of childbirth and child raising and then they leave home and you think some time for me....boy, Im sounding really crabby arent I ? No answers from here, just commiseration.

  2. I wish I had answers for you, but I don't. I think you are doing well to recognize that you were snappy and childish and that you need to learn a few coping skills. And you have the distractions of knitting and writing. When my daughter has depression eppisodes I try to get her distracted and encourage her to look at things differently. This seems to help sometimes, if I catch her early enough. I hope someone has a few ideas to help you. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.