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Whoa! I’m Depressed

I’ve been debating all week whether I’m down or if my clinical depression is creeping back. Arriving a day late for the psychiatry appointment I scheduled a month ago was just what I needed to confirm my suspicions.

Even though I could reschedule for an hour later this afternoon, I was crushed. Not like a soda can that’s been stepped on from the top; more like one crumpled in a fist. Still, the anguish was disproportional for the event. Even after I found the Tully’s coffee in the hospital, settled in with tea and a cookie, and pulled out my magazine, I was near tears.

That made it pretty clear that my:

  • Exhaustion isn’t just migraine-related
  • Fall’s arrival is not why I want curl up on the couch
  • Lack of focus on and interest in blogging isn’t because The Daily Headache has run its course
  • Increased frustration with having a chronic illness doesn’t mean I’ve lost my ability to cope with it
  • Lack of interest in sex isn’t just a Cymbalta side effect

Convenient that I had an appointment with my psychiatrist. For two years, my cocktail has been 400 mg of Wellbutrin, 200 mg of Lamictal and 60 mg of Cymbalta. Because my doctor thinks that some of my disinterest in sex is from Cymbalta — and because doubling that dose two years ago wasn’t helpful — I’m increasing Lamictal to 300 mg. I’m also going to add ginkgo to see if it helps the sexual side effects.

I’m relieved. Having an aha! moment reminded me that beating myself up won’t do a bit of good. I am, however, sick of the constant vigilance required with depression. Maybe that’s another sign that I’m depressed.

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Sidelined by Side Effects

Yesterday I increased my Wellbutrin, started taking Lamictal and cut my Cymbalta dosage in half. And I’m feeling it. I’m shaking, my mouth is dry, my brain is fuzzy, and I’m a little nauseated and lightheaded. Based on my previous pattern, it should all wear off in a couple weeks, so I’m not worried about these symptoms. I’m just not thrilled with them.

Tonight a friend is having a party she’s referring to as the Gaggle of Gals. The last gaggle gathering was an outrageous blast. I think instead I will spend the evening reading and watching a baseball game.

I hope you all are enjoying the weekend and feeling relatively well.

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Adjusting Depression Meds

Today was my appointment with the psychiatrist to adjust my meds. The plan is to increase the Wellbutrin from 300 to 400 mg a day, decrease the Cymbalta from 120 to 60 mg a day and add Lamictal to the mix.

Lamictal, an antiepileptic med that is also a mood stabilizer, is used in patients with epilepsy (surprise, surprise) and bipolar disorder. It is closely related to Depakote, a commonly prescribed headache preventive, and both may reduce pain levels. Unlike Depakote, Lamictal also has antidepressant properties.

It will be about 6 weeks before I know if the adjusted doses of Wellbutrin and Cymbalta combined with Lamictal will be the right cocktail for me. To use a phrase I despise, I’m cautiously optimistic that this will be the right cocktail in the long run. But I can’t shake the knowledge that I’ve yet to find the right headache mix. If one disease isn’t fixable, then maybe the other isn’t either.

I’ve been treating depression as a minor relative to the consuming disease of migraine, and I really want to keep it this way. I don’t think I can handle having two diseases that require constant attention and upkeep. But I won’t torture myself with such thoughts right now.