On where I’ve been

648_pd2159608_1True, if ridiculous, fact: other than my wife, no member of my actual family is aware of what I’m about to tell all of you right now.  They will be by the time I hit Publish, or at least my parents will be, but I’ve been putting off writing this post for days because I needed to talk to my mom and dad about it before they find it on the blog and, mysteriously, telling 20,000 strangers on the Internet about my medical issues is easier than talking to my parents.

Last Tuesday I had a panic attack at work.  How I managed to keep it from the kids, I have no idea, but I managed to keep my shit together just enough to call the office and tell them that they needed to put someone in my classroom for the rest of the day right the hell now or who the hell knows what was going to happen.  Wednesday was not a whole hell of a lot better and midway through my morning classes I excused myself for a couple of minutes to call my doctor and make an emergency appointment.  They got me in Friday afternoon.

The doc immediately diagnosed me with what she called “major depression” and insisted I take the next two weeks off of work.  As that would burn through all my sick days for the rest of the year and the thought of writing two weeks of lesson plans was worse than the thought of going to work, I talked her down to a week.  I haven’t been back to school since last Friday.  She’s also referred me to a shrink and gave me a prescription for Lexapro, which is an antidepressant.

I met with the doc– I need to double-check his credentials to find out who I was actually meeting with, come to think of it– yesterday, and he’s modified the diagnosis to generalized anxiety disorder.  I don’t think either of the two diagnoses quite hit the spot, although the depression is probably closer; my anxiety is very specific and focused.  I’m anxious about my job, and that’s basically it.  It’s just that teaching is, y’know, kinda a big part of my life.  But at any rate I’ll be seeing him every two weeks or so through Christmas; I gently declined to make any appointments any further out than that.

Thus far– granted, three days, so I know nothing– I do not like being on Lexapro very much.  I haven’t slept in past 11 barring massive illness since my son was born.  Two of the last three days I couldn’t drag my ass out of bed before one, and while I managed to get out of bed at about 10:45 on Tuesday I didn’t actually do anything with my day until then.  You may have noted that blog posts have been sparse and I’ve barely been on Twitter for the last couple of days.  I can assure you that that is not because I’ve been being highly productive doing other things.

In other words, I’m acting more like a person with depression now that I’m on a drug to treat depression than I was before I started taking the drug.  That seems… backward, somewhat, but I’ll give it a couple of weeks to take effect like I’m supposed to before I start squawking at my doctor about it.

I dunno.  Nothing changes, mind you; I’m still looking for another job, and I’m convinced that once I find one all of my other issues will drop away.  I understand that antidepressants aren’t something you’re supposed to quit cold turkey, but as soon as I’m out of the classroom I’m going to insist on coming off of the Lexapro.   Hell, if the constant sleepiness and general ennui and lack of motivation don’t go away with a quickness I’m going to insist on coming off of it anyway, because the treatment at the moment is worse than the disease.

One thing at a time, though, I suppose.  Just like everything else.

Published by

Luther M. Siler

Teacher, writer of words, and local curmudgeon. Enthusiastically profane. Occasionally hostile.

25 thoughts on “On where I’ve been

  1. I know that antidepressants can sometimes make things a bit worse before they make them better — my suggestion would be to stick with it for a little give it time to try working (but ultimately, of course, listen to what your body is telling you!) I’ve had good luck with Lexapro because it does treat both the depression and the anxiety (which play off one another and tend to go hand-in-hand a LOT. Best bud’s, those two, and really good and knocking you down and then punching you while you’re there), but know that it does interact with everyone a bit differently.
    Good luck figuring out what’s going to work best for you with this!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Take it one day at a time. This didn’t happen all in one day; the treatment won’t either. Perhaps a leave of absence from teaching will help. Check with your district (or teacher’s union) to see what they can do to help. Hey, we need your sense of humor here. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My partner has depression/anxiety. It is tough. Wishing you lots of support from family, friends and colleagues (and the lovely people of the Internet!) Good that you can post about it. And teaching is a really tough gig! All the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have been diagnosed with everything in the book since age 13. I’m not 24 and I finally found a great counselor who wants me off my medication and he’s been teaching me cognitive therapy. Sometimes your family doctor can be the worst drug dealer out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Antidepressants are tricky and most of them — especially the newer ones — do weird things to me. The only one I’ve ever had any success with is Zoloft. They do take a couple of weeks to level out though — nearly all of them — and your sleeping in is not at all uncommon when starting a new one.

    That said, I don’t take any. I have cyclic depression that I just deal with, but it can also hit me at unexpected times, and lots of stuff can trigger a slide into it. Also generalized anxiety, and in my case the diagnosis is spot-on. I’ve been prone to depression for as long as I can remember. The anxiety developed in my mid-20s. I (mostly) manage it with cognitive techniques, but it took me a couple of years of therapy to get to the point where I could be alert enough to it to know when it needs managing.

    Deprression & anxiety feed one another. Anxiety can trigger a depressive episode, and depression can make a person more prone to panic attacks.

    I feel for you, dude. I’m hoping this is situational and getting out of the classroom resolves it for you. Hit me up privately if you want to talk about it in confidence.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Feeling your pain. Hope you get things resolved quickly, but it is often a process. Try one drug, try another, then another until you get the right one for your body chemistry. It takes about 2 weeks before it’s really changing your body chemistry, and no, you shouldn’t stop it suddenly. That could make things much worse. Just keep in close contact with your doctor and keep trying until you find the right one for you.

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  7. They do take a while to get to working the way they are supposed to and your body has to get used to them. The sleeping in and lethargy don’t surprise me. I think by the time Monday comes around your body will have adjusted to them sufficiently. That doesn’t mean that it is the right drug for you or the right dosage. Sometimes you have to play around with them. The only anti depressant I’ve taken is Celexa. It works almost immediately for me, like withing 24 hours. It works so well that those around me notice the difference even though they don’t know that I am on anything. I currently don’t take anything because I don’t have insurance or a doctor and the walk in clinic doesn’t want to deal with it so no happy pills for me.. I just have to live with it and deal.

    I hope you are better soon…at least so that you can think more clearly about what you need to do and want to do and can do.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That is a lot. Wowzers. Hang in there. Those drugs can be tricky and sometimes it can take awhile to settle in the system, and sometimes you have to find the right drug for you. Hard to say but that is what they are trained for, and I know in a lot of cases medication with cognitive therapy results in being able to get off the meds after awhile.
    Gotta do what you gotta do. Wish you well with the job hunt and crossing fingers for you.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Huge sympathy. I had a depressive episode 4 months ago and am now also on anti-depressants. Like others have said, give it a couple of weeks for the meds to kick in. My first week was dreadful, I just sat in a heap unable to do much, but it gradually got better and since then I’ve been feeling really good. Wishing you all the very best.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Like others have very eloquently put, Luther, I hope the very best for you. It does take a great deal of courage to talk about something so raw, powerful and personal. It hit a cord with me that you did that and, having followed this blog, I know about your struggles with teaching. I hope you do find a different job and soon. Like Gene’O said, if you need to share and privately, absolutely give me a shout.
    And take good care. I’ll be thinking about you and hoping for better things for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. FUNSIES! i’ve never been on anti-depressants per se, but i’ve spent the last two years on gabapentin for the jimmy leg, and apparently it’s also considered effective against, among other things, social anxiety disorder (spoiler alert: i have experienced no less social anxiety, AT ALL, and in fact i was so overwhelmed just by the act of walking into lebowskifest in costume last summer that literally the only thing that kept me from crying and bolting until bill showed up (and i was already with two friends) was getting deliberately drunk. which of course is a really good idea, and i won’t be doing that anymore.) what was i saying? oh right, that gabapentin doesn’t help with ADD.

    er, wait.

    oh, i know: i can’t speak to the anti-depressant part of things, but i can say that the tiredness/sleepiness thing? doesn’t get better (for me, on this stuff, grain of salt, play one on tv, etc.) in fact i saw a GP for the first time in about five years recently and she saw that i was on the stuff and she was like, wow, that’s a lot… are you tired? and i said DUDE I AM EXHAUSTED and she was like, yeah, i would imagine. at least for me, the only thing that helps is just forcing myself to get up and do something. like, workdays and weekends-with-plans? not too bad. weekends off? i can and will sleep all fucking day. up by 10, eat some cereal, load the washing machine, nap for two hours, eat some lunch, lump on the couch until bedtime which ideally would be 7pm but bill usually shames me into something more like 10. there’s a tremendous inertial hump that has to be gotten over, but once that’s scaled it’s pretty much like any other day of general adult tiredness during which i occasionally sneak out the back door with an IKEA pillow and nap for half an hour. cough (no lie: i actually just typed ‘couch’ and so you see: brain drugs? not helping, bahaa.)

    anyway, i have written probably more that you did at this point, so i’ll stfu. but you know: as slowly as the time must surely pass while you’re waiting to feel better, you’re addressing things, and that’s huge. and in the meantime, maybe it will help to schedule yourself a daily walk or grocery shopping or whatever, just to force you to get moving, but if not, i certainly wouldn’t judge you for napping your way throuzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I was hit with some serious depression this past spring and summer, and I really feel for you. A lot of what you aren’t saying, I can hear, the stuff that went through my head, like the fear of what’s to come, if the new state was permanent or not, and feeling like I was disappointing myself and my family.

    This is just a moment, and I know you well enough to know you will get through it. You are talented, and have a moment where your mind and body went one way when you thought it was going to go the other. I’ve come to think of it like having a serious flu, but of the mind instead of body. It’s an odd way to think about it, but it takes “mental issues” down several pegs for me.

    As always, I have your back if you need my friend. And all of this, all of it, is going to make your writing better.


    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hang in there. In my twenties (a VERY long time ago) I was dosed with Valium (sends you to sleep) for anxiety. Three miserable years later I was treated for depression and responded after 6 weeks and have never looked back. It was grim while it lasted, but depression (if that is what it is) can sometimes be cured. Ten years ago my husband suffered panic attacks, these also have been managed (after some wrong medication for depression), and he is OK now and not medicated. So, as I say, hang in there, one in four women and one in ten men will need help for a condition of the mind sometime in their lives.


  14. As you can tell, many of us in the blogging community have personal experience with anxiety and depression, so just know that we understand and we’re here to support you.


  15. It takes at least a month to start to feel the results, and that’s assuming they get the dose right out of the gate. I finally got help for both the depression and anxiety with Effexor, which at a low dose handles the seratonin and at higher doses handles the anxiety. Keep on trucking. With the year you’ve had you’d be crazy not to be depressed and anxious.


  16. […] I can’t complain. There are people at work with vertigo issues that keeps them falling over and they can’t drive, there are those who are sick all the time, and there are those who struggle with sickness much more debilitating than a sniffle. […]


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