Coping, Mental Health

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.

13 thoughts on “Whoa! I’m Depressed”

  1. I am on a very similar cocktail (450 Wllbuterin 200 Lamictal- 200mg plus Topamax for Migraine) and having the same issue… I swear it’s the Lamictal that’s causing the sexual side effects!

  2. It’s hard to recognize depression — or anything that’s chronic since it usually has a way of creeping up on you rather than hitting you over the head (and migraines certainly build to that point). And, of course you’re sick of the “constant vigilance”. It gets so old. But the good news is that you have ideas of how to counter attack – going to your psychiatrist, writing about your experiences. Whatever it takes. Good for you!Rosalind Joffe

  3. It’s hard to recognize depression — or anything that’s chronic since it usually has a way of creeping up on you rather than hitting you over the head (and migraines certainly build to that point). And, of course you’re sick of the “constant vigilance”. It gets so old. But the good news is that you have ideas of how to counter attack – going to your psychiatrist, writing about your experiences. Whatever it takes. Good for you!Rosalind Joffe

  4. Thanks, as always, for being so open and honest about your experiences. I can’t add much… the comments others have made echo my experience with pain and depression, striving and trying and how much I value your blog. I wish you the best… day by day by day by day.

    Thank you so much.


  5. I’m so touched by your comments. Although I’m still depressed, I’m much happier than I have been. Yesterday was a great day and today is starting well too. It is good to remember that depression and happiness aren’t mutually exclusive.

    Thank you all for sharing your experiences with depression. It means a lot to mean and other readers to know what you’re going through.

    Take care,

  6. Hi. This is by far the best migraine website I’ve found. You’re very REAL, and HONEST, and it helps me a lot. These chronic migraines create so much isolation. It’s a relief to find a place where people are trying to find solutions, talking about the tough issues. I’ve learned so much from this blog.

    I agree with other folks. For me, at least, this blog has NOT run its course. I would feel like I’d lost important friends if it closed. At the same time, I wouldn’t want to increase your sense of obligation if it really is time for you to do something else.

    One of the biggest gifts I’ve gotten lately is from a friend who is also a massage therapist. (And talk about gifts!!!) Anyhow, she has also produced guided imagery CDs that I’ve used for years. The one that I keep by my bedside is her “Pain: Softening the Sensations” CD. (She even made a special copy without the harp music because when I have a migraine I can’t handle any extraneous sounds.)

    Anyhow, Nancy Hopps (her name) lives in Eugene and I see her every couple of weeks for massage. She keeps reminding me that, no matter where I am at that moment, it’s okay to feel what I feel and be who I am. That I am handling things perfectly. To recognize how I am, but always without any judgment.

    Also, that I don’t have to do anything where I don’t feel safe.

    I hope you don’t think I get any kind of commission or anything out of touting Nancy’s stuff. It’s just the best thing I’ve found to help me relax when the blinds are closed, the ice is on my head, and the pain is driving spikes through my brain. At the very least, using her CD I can relax more and help the pain lessen. And what usually happens is that I can eventually fall asleep. Other people I know with chronic pain have had the same thing happen. So wanted to share that with fellow migraineurs.

    That all may sound very clear to others, but my “be perfect” and irritation with myself and constant struggle just to “break even” (i.e., come up to the level of energy, mood, output of “normal” people) drives me further down the depression hole.

    I don’t think I’m being very clear about this…migraine brain…have trouble thinking clearly and expressing myself…

    Well, just wanted to let you know, Kerrie, that I really understand where you are. I go there on a regular basis. And, frankly, I think we’re all pretty darned heroic for just being here, day after day, and coping with so much pain. And that’s if we never get off the couch or fix another meal or go outside to run errands, or whatever.

    I don’t comment a lot, but I know that this reaching out we all do means SO MUCH TO ME!!!


    PS Oh, if anyone wants to check out Nancy Hopps’ stuff, it’s at

    And if you are interested, I think she can make copies of the “non-harp” pain CD.

    And if you make it to Eugene, Oregon, you can also set up an appointment with her.

  7. Oh, Kerrie, how terrible! I fought depression from the time I was a little kid, even though I never went for a diagnosis until I was like, 22 or 23. I wish you well.

    I suppose the last thing you need is yet another bit of advice, but there are some people who think that the reason depression hits more in fall is because we get less Vitamin D from the sun. So you might consider a Vitamin D supplement – or even better, see if one of your health care providers can test your blood levels of Vitamin D.

    I usually start taking Vitamin D (in the form of cod liver oil) around the time of year when it gets dark before I leave the office. I.e., right around now.

  8. Hi Kerrie –
    Depression is SO tricky. I, too, find it frustrating to manage both migraine and depression. It’s so hard sometimes to notice that the depression has crept back up on me again, especially because migraine life gives me so much to be legitimately depressed/annoyed/angry/unmotivated/sad about!
    Plus, I put all of my effort into managing the migraines, so the depression sneaks up on me – and it surprises me EVERY time.
    I get so upset at first, but then I end up feeling SO grateful that it’s a treatable problem, and that I have always managed to find an effective antidepressant.
    I hope your med change brings relief soon. Thanks for all that you do here.

  9. Kerrie, I too am so sorry that you are in a rough spell. Please remember it is just temporary, because you are so pro-active when it comes to dealing with both your migraines and the depression, I can’t imagine you find something (and we’ll be the lucky readers to hear about it, try it out too….). It is an inspiration to me. Selfishly I have to say I am so glad you do not feel this blog has run its course – there are a lot of us out here who gain tremendously from the work you do, and I hope you know we are here for support when you need us.
    Good thoughts!!

  10. Kerrie, I am so sorry that you are feeling down but thankful that you realized it. I think it wouldn’t be normal if you weren’t depressed sometimes, with all your daily pain. When I am feeling depressed, I have to tell myself over and over that these feelings will not last and that I just need to hang in there until they pass. I am sending good thoughts and wishes your way.

  11. Oh Kerrie. I am sorry you are having a hard time. Its great that you are aware of what’s going on and doing something about it! Hang in there!


  12. Hi there, I just found your blog and I’m so excited because it’s been so helpful today! I’ve probably made my migraine worse by looking on the computer so much but I don’t care!
    Just thought I’d add that sex isn’t fun when you’re at the height of your migraines anyway. I’m a newlywed and luckily have an understanding husband!

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