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  1. When I took it, it made me tired and groggy, but ironically did not help me sleep at all. So it just amplified the feeling of not having slept enough and increased my morning tiredness, which really wasn't what we were going for. It didn't seem to impact my anxiety much either way, except for the fact that I would end up drinking more coffee to counteract the tired/groggy feeling, which obviously didn't help. But I'm one of those people who can take Benedryl for allergies with no noticeable sedation, so it's not surprising that it didn't work for me. I have a friend who swears by it though, so everyone is different.
  2. It might not have been clear from my post, but I was on Lexapro years ago, pre-BP II diagnosis. I just wanted to share that side of my experiences with med start-up.
  3. I didn't have increased anxiety when I started Lamotrigine, but my pdoc warned me that it was a possibility. Lexapro, which was the first psych med I was put on made me super agitated, restless, angry and anxious, which pdoc at the time ignored, but my current pdoc thinks was likely a mixed episode, so that's a little different.
  4. The college I went to had both therapists and psychiatrist and was able to see people on an ongoing basis, including for fairly significant mental illness. They were hit or miss depending on the specific therapist, but no more so that it always is. You got a couple sessions free - I don't remember how many but not a lot - and after that, you had to pay $10 per appointment. They would bill to insurance if you specifically requested it, which most people didn't since $10 was less than you would usually pay anyway. I never used the counseling resources at my graduate school and just went straight to seeing someone in the local area. I think you could do 3 or 5 appointments a semester. There was a specific set number, whatever it was. I'm assuming they would refer you out after more than that, and probably right away if you had anything more than a single issue you wanted to discuss or general college-related anxiety and stress. I currently work at a community college that has free counselors, but again they only do time-limited, issue-specific counseling, although there is not a set in stone number of sessions like my grad school had. They seem to serve more to help connect people to appropriate resources in the community, whether it be mental health or other social services like housing/rental assistance, emergency financial assistance, child care assistance, legal services or whatever. We generally serve a low-income, high immigrant population, even relative to other community colleges, so many of our students may be struggling with a number of issues other than mental health, and our counseling center serves as kind of the point-of-contact for all kinds of assistance. It might be relevant, but I went to college at a large university that was the primary employer in the area, a mid-sized institution in a major metropolitan area for graduate school, and work at a community college in a smallish city in a largely agricultural area.
  5. I'm sure anyone who's in therapy on a regular basis has those weeks where you don't really accomplish anything. You know, where you just kind of talk about normal day-to-day stuff and don't really cover any major topics or do any significant work. I know that sometimes I'm just not up for anything big or anything too hard, but it feels like kind of a waste. I've got plenty that I'm still working on with my tdoc, so it's not a sign that I could start to space my appointments out more, but rather just that I wasn't in the headspace this week to push myself much. But I feel silly coming out and thinking that basically all we did for an hour was have a casual conversation about my life, and I feel like I "should" be doing more. I try to tell myself that at the very least, times like this give my therapist more context on my life that we can build on when we're tackling more difficult issues. But other than that, how do you avoid feeling like you're wasting your time or money, or that you're not doing enough to get better when you have these sort of sessions?
  6. I tend to feel best during spring and fall, but the heat during summer can make me irritable, tired, and apathetic.
  7. Have you tried talking to your pdoc about why you feel like you need a fresh start in the first place? I might start the conversation there. They might agree that it seems reasonable, in which case you can ask for recommendations, or you might be able to resolve whatever the issue is that makes you want to look elsewhere.
  8. It helps me to remember that I don't have to talk about anything I don't want to or am not ready to talk about. I try to push myself to talk about hard things because that is why I am there, but sometimes we're just not ready to talk about something, and a good therapist/pdoc should respect that.
  9. Thanks for the response bpladybug. It's good to see someone who is partnered with a trans person. Out of curiosity, was he already living as male and if so, did you know he was trans before you started dating? I'm not terribly involved right now with the queer community because I live in a fairly rural area with very little community. It's one of the reasons why I'm hoping to move to a bigger city within the next year or so. I do think this makes it harder because I don't have a whole lot of support, and because the community is so small, I don't really have any spaces where I can talk about being trans with any anonymity. I do have a good therapist who is quite knowledgeable about trans issues, and I've also been looking at lower surgery options. I had considered this off and on for a while, but it always seemed so impossible, but I'm back to looking into what I would need to do to make it possible.
  10. When do mood symptoms that were originally triggered by concrete events still warrant medical intervention? At first, I tried to reassure myself that feelings of sadness were normal in response to the even (they are, and letting myself feel emotions is something I have difficulty with). But it seems that the sadness is building a little bit to despair and feelings of worthlessness. I'm still managing my daily life well, but am having definite negative ruminations that are becoming somewhat distressing. My therapist is aware of this, and we are talking about why things are as hard as they are. What happened plays right into some existing insecurities I have about myself, so this is definitely something I need to work through. I'm not scheduled to see my psychiatrist for a couple months because we had - or so we thought - finally reached the point where I seemed pretty stable on meds and decided to space things out more with the option to call if things went downhill. But, when you can point to things and say that, "I'm depressed because of X, Y, and Z," when do you call? Especially when your therapist is telling you that X and Y are reasonable things to be sad/distressed about, but that there is some cognitive distortion going on, and Z is not really as hopeless as you feel it is. I'm planning to talk to my therapist but also wanted to see what other people's experiences were.
  11. I used to always get nervous before therapy. It took me a long time with a good therapist to trust that it was okay to talk about difficult things. I also had pretty bad social anxiety at the time, so talking to anyone about anything was hard. I graduated from college after about a year of seeing that therapist and had to find a new therapist and was nervous for a long time with that therapist. Slowly though I began to feel more comfortable opening up to people and to trust the process. I moved and had to switch therapists again, and guess what, was pretty anxious before my first few appointments, but the general anticipatory anxiety faded much quicker. however, I still get really panicky if I have something particularly difficult to discuss that week.
  12. I take lamictal and zoloft, and it doesn't seem to increase my anxiety. In fact, when we lowered my zoloft dose in response to a hypomanic episode, my anxiety, which had been pretty well managed spiked. We increased my lamictal from 200mg to 250mg, which knocked the anxiety back down.
  13. Were you diagnosed with Bipolar II originally? I know sometimes therapists and doctors keep won't update the code they bill under even when they've changed their working diagnosis. Basically, as long as it's not going to change insurance coverage, they'll often keep submitting the same information on claims rather than updating them every time.
  14. I'm not sure if this applies to doctors, but I know that in some states if a therapist refuses to treat you because you have a particular condition or because they have "religious" or "moral" objections to treating a particular population (usually meaning LGBT individuals), they are required to provide a referral to another qualified professional. Of course, that person is not obliged to take you on, they may not be in your insurance network, they may not have appointments open that work for you, etc.
  15. I took it briefly a while ago, I think 100 mg but I don't remember. It didn't help me sleep much, gave me weird dreams, and made me feel super lethargic in the morning. It wasn't that I had trouble waking up, per say, but it made it harder to really get going in the morning, which is exactly what you don't need when you're depressed.