About 9 years ago I jumped on the psych med-i-go-round. It was my last year in university studying human kinetics - I was really stressed, not getting much sleep, not eating very well and consuming way too much caffeine. I pretty much crashed and burned with anxiety and depression over probably a 4 month period. It was possibly due to years of stress and not knowing exactly what I wanted to do after graduation (to continue studies or find work). I was rock bottom, not being able to focus on anything and the anxiety was so bad that I isolated myself. That is when I first saw my psych.
I was prescribed Celexa and that did nothing. It was my first drug and I was desperate and only gave it probably 3-4 weeks. Then I was put on Effexor. It worked wonders in about 3 or 4 weeks at 75mg or 112mg. I was back to my old energetic self and focused. I came out of my shell and was socializing again.
I finished my degree and decided to forgo post-grad and start up my own business as a fitness trainer. The next 3 years were going well as I was building up clientele. Outside of work I was involved in long term relationships. Effexor was working pretty consistently. When it lost effectiveness, I would up my dose and be fine pretty soon after. I forgot to mention I was taking a pre-workout supplement (NO-Xplode or another) while on Effexor (which is probably a no, no) to give me an extra energy boost. Perhaps the meds were losing their potency and I needed another boost because coffee was not helping.
Effexor then started to poop out on me. I would relapse into depression/anxiety for longer periods and upping doses was useless (I believe I went up to 187.5mg).
We then tried augmenting Abilify without success. Then I switched to Pristiq which also didn't work. Then it was onto Wellbutrin to no avail. I ended up reintroducing Effexor and it worked again with the break. Not as well, but I was functioning. I began abusing pre-workout supplements just to keep me my normal energetic, positive self.
Again, Effexor pooped out after a couple years. Over the next few months, I tried Zoloft and nortriptyline and another med.
At this point, I was sent to a specialist. He changed my diagnosis to bipolar II even though I exhibited signs of bipolarity until I was on medication. He suggested different cocktails with lithium or Latuda. I refused.
I made the stupid decision with my original psych to try Effexor one more time. Surprisingly, another break from it and it worked again. Not as well, but still got me up and going. I stayed on it for a year and weaned off this April this year. I was fine med-free for a couple months, then anxiety/depression reared it ugly head in July. Another foolish mistake I made was to go back on the Effexor from mid-July until September. I had to keep increasing the dose until it was clear my "go-to" drug was no longer an option.
I began weaning off rather quickly by decreasing 37.5mg each week. I went to half of 37.5mg, then nothing. I have been completely off Effexor for the last 10 days.
This is one of the longest bouts of depression/anxiety for me. It has been 4months. I have had to stop working (as I usually do when I am in this state). My job requires energy, positivity, focus. It is also a social job and depression/anxiety kinda make that impossible. It really is depressing that I have had so many relapses that it screws up my career. I wonder if I didn't go on meds in the first place if I would have relapsed.
I had to wean off the drug while severely depressed/anxious. I think this has made the experience worse. I am experiencing bad insomnia, and what I think might be depersonalization (my senses seem altered, hard to describe - dream-like). I am also feeling like my mind is blank. Usually I have a nice flow of thoughts and can start conversation but it seems impossible now. It is very uncomfortable and I have isolated myself from friends. I also cannot find pleasure in ANYTHING. My concentration and memory are not very sharp. When I have weaned off in the past I do not remember it being this extremely awful.
I have a few questions: Can the brain recover and balance itself? Is there anything I can do to move things along faster? Or is it probably best to explore other medical options? Should I get extensive bloodwork or an MRI done?
Sorry this was such a long intro. I applaud you for reading this because it is not the most exciting story.