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Everything posted by Catnapper

  1. If I recall correctly, I was on 40 mg this last time around for a few months. Now that I've been off of it for slightly over a year, I'm happy to say that I'm back to normal, except for extreme physical exertion. But I think I always made funny faces during heavy exertion, so I can't really blame that on the Abilify. I have read articles on PubMed (but don't ask for citations!) that said the tardive dyskinesia can last for up to two years after stopping the med, and if it hasn't gone away by then, it's likely permanent, which is more optimistic than what the neurologist told me. So it is possible for it to stop after a long time has passed, as it did in my case. After spending some time in the neurologist's waiting room, I realized I didn't really have much to complain about anyway. There were some seriously ill people waiting to see the doctor, so I hope they have all gotten good care and are better.
  2. Saturday, February 13, 2021: I'll start with the good news first - ECT has really worked for me!!! I've been so sick for so long it's just miraculous to me to feel better. My initial Beck Depression Inventory test that they do at the start of every visit started out with a score of 43, which is in the worst of five possible rankings, "extreme depression". Now it's running anywhere from 6 - 9, and since 10 and under is considered normal, I'm officially better and actually feel better, too! I haven't had any negative side effects at all, either during the initial index series of multiple treatments a week, or now on monthly maintenance treatments. My memory has actually improved, and my IQ has returned so I'm able to do my job in an engineering field once again. It's been just over a year since my first ECT treatment on February 3rd, 2020, so I thought it would be a good time to restart this diary - here is the first part: https://www.crazyboards.org/topic/99471-my-ect-diary-first-treatment-on-february-3-2020/ . I had an index series of twice a week treatments for a total of 15 treatments, the last of which took place on April 3rd, 2020. At that point the pdoc was going to taper me down to once a month maintenance treatments, but then I got coronavirus (a moderate case, didn't have to be hospitalized, thank god), and shortly thereafter they completely closed the program down for a while due to the virus. By then my mood was showing major improvement, although as I told the pdoc, "I'm better, not well". Because I didn't seem to be making much progress at the beginning of my index series, at treatment number 10 the doctor changed the electrode placement to bilateral and that seemed to make a huge difference. It's the most effective electrode placement, but since it's also the most likely to give side effects, they start out at other positions such as right unilateral. I will go for my 23rd treatment on Monday, February 15th, after getting back on a regular monthly schedule in August 2020. The pdocs rotate, so I will once again see the pdoc who did my first few treatments. I haven't seen her since last February and I'm excited to let her see me when I'm well! I was so sick and so miserable when I first met her. At my very first visit after the pdoc met with me, the anesthesiologist examined me prior to my treatment and with no one else in the room asked me, "So what would you be doing if you weren't here today?" My response was, "I'd be lying in a darkened room wishing I was dead". That seems like an impossibly long time ago, and although it hasn't been a straight-line recovery, by any means, it is amazing how much better I feel most of the time. Since I'm still having some bad days in between treatments (but staying far away from the bottom of the abyss and no suicidal thoughts at all), at my last visit the pdoc suggested shortening the interval to once every three weeks instead of four, and I completely agree, but I can't take that much time off work. I was on medical leave when I started ECT and I barely kept my job, had to start back on probation, etc., so there's no way I can even think about jeopardizing it. So I'll keep on with the four week schedule and hope for the best. I see my regular pdoc weekly (who also does therapy) and I'm looking forward to seeing him in person again when things open back up. It's reassuring to me that my regular pdoc used to work at the university where I'm being treated so all the doctors know each other. I'm very lucky to have found such good medical care and to have good medical insurance, too. But I feel in my heart of hearts, and as I told my favorite doctor during my index series while I was lying in the treatment room and he was sticking sensors on my head, "Instead of all this, maybe I just need to smoke a joint and get laid!"
  3. I am mostly recovered from the worst episode of depression I have ever had. It lasted about three years, and I've been recovering over the last year - I'd say I've been mostly well for the last six months or so, and of course it's not been a nice tidy straight line recovery. I'm 61 years old and this was probably my seventh? multi-year episode; I quit counting at four or five. When I'm well, I keep up with my hygiene fine, but even though I feel pretty good now, I still catch myself wondering when the last time I showered was, and not being able to answer the question. It seems such a huge effort to clean myself when I'm sick, and it often is because I put it off for so long. Now when I finally make myself shower I realize it's not a big deal and doesn't take long, and it definitely makes me feel better, so why am I fighting it so hard? I'm lucky to work from home so I don't have to get dressed if I want to (we just use audio, not video, thank god), but I know it's better for my overall mood if I do get fully dressed. This seems like such an easy thing, and the last really depressive-episode-behaviour to keep hanging around. Has this been your experience, and do you have any suggestions on how to get back into the habit of unremarkable and reasonably frequent showers?
  4. I'm finally coming out of my worst multi-year depressive episode yet. I quit counting at around 5 or 6, maybe this is number 8? My pattern is a several month long (early in the disease) to a few years of a depressive episode in which I eventually end up in a non-functioning suicidal state, followed by a nice long run of 3 to 6 years or so of wellness, maybe with a little hypomania thrown in here and there. I'm 61 so this has been going on most of my adult life. At this point I'm on multiple meds and monthly maintenance ECT, and I've begun to notice that my recovery seems to be as insidious as the downhill path into a depressive episode. When I'm becoming depressed, I think a lot of the insidious nature is due to denial because I want so badly to not be getting sick again. This is the first recovery where my awareness of getting better, although not due to denial (I think), is always a surprise and something I don't realize is happening until I look back and think things like, "Wow, I haven't talked about suicide with my pdoc in a long time!" Maybe not noticing or focusing on my current level of wellness is a good thing, since it may mean I'm finally getting out of my head a little, as my pdoc has always recommended as an important coping skill. Have you felt your recoveries have snuck up on you like mine seems to be, or how has your experience been?
  5. Hi Grouse! Isn't it nice to come here every few years and find the same crowd hanging around? It's good to know this place still exists.
  6. I have taken Ambien generic for a long time (years) and I've found that which generic you get makes a huge difference. I think the one made by Torrent labs is ten times better than any of the other ones I've tried. I'm not usually sensitive to which generic I'm using and can't tell the difference, but there was a huge difference with Torrent labs. I use the regular non-extended dose. I've never had the name brand so probably it would be even better, but I will never find out in this lifetime!
  7. In South Carolina I had a cool pdoc, and insurance didn't care, but the pharmacy sure did. There was less than 12 hours before I would meet the two day time frame on a refill, and despite knowing that I lived 30 miles away, they wouldn't fill it so I had to go back the next day. It was for Ambien and I don't understand how you can get high from it since it just knocks me out. This happened multiple times. As my pdoc at the time said, if you give certain people a little bit of power they'll lose their common sense and become complete sticklers for rules. So disheartening and such a pain to deal with!
  8. It could also be a result of how draconian your particular state is, too. I used to live in South Carolina and in the little town I lived in the pharmacists were all sticklers for the exact time a new prescription could be picked up for any controlled substances. Since I lived way out in the country this was a major hassle. And if you're using insurance, they also may be playing a role behind the scenes and not approve a med to get filled until the last moment. The other thing about the role of the state is that not only do their electronic systems keep tabs on patients, they also keep tabs on doctors so the doctors can get in trouble if it looks like they're over-prescribing.
  9. I don't know if you're driving or walking or taking the bus, but I live in the suburbs so have a car. I also live alone and I find that getting a tea from Starbucks and sitting in my car and watching and hearing other people in the background is useful, even if I don't actually talk to anyone. I usually just read the paper on my phone but it's nice to see movement around me. Now that it's finally cool enough to be outside again, I also like to go to a park nearby where lots of people walk their dogs. It's not a true dog park, but there are lots of dogs nonetheless.
  10. I had another terrifying suicidal episode this afternoon. My mood hasn't been great for the last week or two, but it's definitely been in the normal/okay range and I'm mostly functional. At least I have been okay at work every day, although I'm not sure I could say that if I wasn't able to work from home. I would have trouble getting fully dressed and getting to the office on time but I can manage to get it together enough to make it to the dining room table. This afternoon I had just finished a voice-only work meeting (thank god we don't have to use video) and was sitting on the back deck. The weather was beautiful and my deck faces the woods so it's a nice place to be, but I suddenly had this nearly overwhelming feeling that I should just go ahead and end it, that I was never going to get better, and what was the point, anyways? I felt like I wanted to jump out of my skin, I was even shaking a little bit and and breathing hard, which has almost never happened. It probably lasted about an hour and I was able to convince myself to sit really still until the feeling passed. I felt like if I got up I wouldn't be able to control my actions. It did eventually pass, it's been about six hours ago now, and now I just feel tired and I know I need a shower but that seems like a hill too high to climb right now. I have to keep rationalizing to myself that by the luck of the draw and nothing else I was born a white person in America and lots of people all over the world would kill to have my life, at least the physical attributes. I'll never starve to death and no one is likely to bomb North Carolina anytime soon and I feel terribly guilty for even thinking about ending my life. But that feeling is combined with being really pissed off that the only reason I'm staying alive is because of guilt. I see (on a damn screen) my pdoc every week and have therapy with him, too. I told him about these brief extremely intense suicidal episodes when they started happening a month or so ago. I've dealt with depressive episodes my whole adult life (I'm 61), but these recent suicidal experiences are the first time that I've really thought I truly am crazy because they're the first times I've felt so suddenly out of control. I don't know what to do, but I sure am glad you're hear to listen to me freak right the fuck out.
  11. I have also wondered if I restarted again now that a couple of years have passed if I would get the same good effect that I did when I first tried it. While it worked, it was amazing. I don't know if I would say it's better than the results I've had with ECT, but it was definitely less of a hassle since you don't have to go to the hospital, meet with an anesthesiologist as well as a pdoc, change clothes, etc., etc. Plus in my particular case the ECT hospital is 1.5 hours away and the ketamine place is only 20 minutes.
  12. I tried ketamine infusions in the fall of 2018. The plan was to do twice a week for three weeks, and then scale back and get to once every three to four weeks. I didn't have a lot of response until about the fourth dose, and then it was pretty incredible. I was suicidal in the morning, almost didn't go to my 2:00 pm appointment, finally made it in, and by 11:00 pm that night I was my old self again. It was an amazing day! I had been, and still am, being treated with meds and therapy, so I had lots of things in my system besides ketamine. I'm glad it's been working for you. Unfortunately, it didn't last for me. Over the next month or two, it eventually had no effect at all so I stopped. My pdoc who I also see weekly for therapy remarked that my mood seemed up and down during that time. I also had one evening of the worst agitated depression I've ever had. I was drinking some tea in the Starbucks parking lot and realized it would be way too dangerous for me to drive, especially since the place I wanted to go the most was the Wal-Mart down the road and buy a gun and shoot my head off. I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin. I probably sat in my car for about three hours before I trusted myself enough to drive. As someone who graduated from high school in 1977, I used to get high a lot and if you were around then, you know we weren't too picky about the substance. At first ketamine made me high as hell, and I loved it because you could be absolutely ripped for an hour, and an hour after that you'd be as sober as a judge. If I had my eyes open it felt terrible, all jerky and jumbled, but if I closed my eyes I had amazing visions. I could feel myself turn upside down in the chair and fly backwards, and the world was so colorful! The pdoc at the infusion place said that most of his patients didn't have as much experience with drugs as me so a lot of them didn't like the trippy part. My best advice is to use headphones and listen to some upbeat music - Earth, Wind and Fire was great. When the ketamine quit doing anything for my mood the visions also stopped at the same time, which was really disappointing. I haven't done drugs in years and years since my industry does random drug tests, so it was a nice time for me to be able to get high again legally. : ) In one way, though, I'm secretly relieved because it was $500 per infusion and insurance didn't cover any of it. Now I guess they have the nasal version which I think insurance pays for. My miracle treatment has turned out to be ECT, which I started this February. I've had a really good response with it and I can't recommend it enough. I wish you luck and am glad the ketamine is continuing to work for you. I've also been through the job loss, bankruptcy, etc. cycle and know how awful it is.
  13. Wonder what his screen name on Crazyboards is? I guess we could figure it out from his use of random and incorrect capitalization in his posts. Sometimes when I see his tweets, I wondering if I'm actually reading German, where all nouns are capitalized.
  14. I'm trying to prevent these thoughts so I don't ruin my karma, but my god! How can he say don't let covid dominate your life? WTF??? Tell that to the 210,000 people who have died so far, and all their friends and family. If I still lived in D.C. I would be down at Layfayette Park screaming Fuck You!! at the top of my lungs!! Truly a textbook case of a sociopath - absolutely no empathy or even basic humanity. In all his messages since he became ill, he has yet to offer sympathy or condolences, or maybe an apology (wishful thinking, I know) to even his own staff, much less all the other regular Americans whose lives have been ruined by the coronavirus. I'm ready to break out the tumbrils and cart him and all his cronies far away from the White House! Another thought - if having unprotected sex after you know you've been diagnosed with AIDS is a crime, why isn't endangering others once you know you have, or have likely been exposed to, coronovirus?
  15. I forgot about this part. This also happened to me, it was on day 10, maybe 11? And it was a crash, I thought I was nearly well and the next day I woke up sicker than at the start. I didn't go to the hospital but I did have two telemed appointments two days in a row at the request of the doctor, it was clear they were very worried. I live alone and have some risk factors so it wasn't unreasonable on their part. It did freak me out, though, especially how far and fast that I fell. I think Trump's doctors would be crazy to let him talk them into letting him out tomorrow, because if he crashes, he'll be wheeled out of the White House the next time. It's terrible that he went for a ride today to wave at people and has potentially sickened or killed the others in the vehicle with him. The presidential vehicles all seal up tight enough to protect from chemical attacks, so it was a criminal act to knowingly expose others like that.
  16. Yes, I've ended up on a phone call after the video froze, and I don't like it. I don't like the video, either, but it's better than nothing. Living alone during this pandemic is making me crazier than usual and I really miss being in the same room with my p/tdoc. It's not like I miss physical contact with him, since there wasn't any, but a video image is so completely inadequate. It's just really frustrating, and it doesn't seem like there's an end in sight anytime soon. The good news is I was finally able to get screen sharing to work so I was able to show him some kitty pictures, which was helpful and lightened the mood a bit.
  17. ROFLMAO!!!! As a coronavirus survivor, in my fantasy life Trump will be humbled by his illness and follow in Chris Wallace's footsteps when he said on Friday, "Just wear the damn mask! Follow the science!" Of course Trump hasn't been able to admit he's been wrong or say he's sorry in his entire life, so I don't think that even hospitalization will change that pervading personality defect. But I can fantasize... I was lucky that I had moderate symptoms and didn't have to be hospitalized. It wasn't the sickest I've ever been, but it lasted the longest - I had symptoms for two weeks, followed by another two weeks of crushing exhaustion. I'm sure that hospitalization for Trump is nothing like it is for everyone else, and won't be humbling in the least. I don't wish anyone illness or death, but if Trump survives I will admit I dread hearing about how he had the worst case of coronavirus, excuse me, "China virus", than anyone in the world ever had, how the doctors couldn't believe how fast he recovered, etc., etc., ad nauseum. There aren't enough negative adjectives in the English language to express my feelings about him. In my fantasy life, this episode also makes Trump's supporters finally realize that the virus isn't a hoax, wearing a mask protects you and also everyone around you, and is a civic duty. But since I realize "civic duty" is an unknown concept to any of the selfish assholes who say that wearing a mask impinges their freedom, I also have a realistic view that this whole episode probably won't change anything for the better. Fuck it, I'm going back to bed at 2:15 in the afternoon...
  18. What jarn said makes sense to me. My only other concern is how she would act if she knew and you started being symptomatic, or just having a bad day/ week. If I thought she would try to be almost too nice and continuously ask how you're doing, and if there's anything she could do to make you feel better, I wouldn't tell her, or tell her very little. I don't know about you, but I'm like a cat - when I'm not feeling well I want to crawl up under the bed and hide till I feel better. Having excessive (or almost any) care from others, unless I absolutely can't get through things myself, is something I avoid at all costs.
  19. Something strange has started happening to me over the last few days. My mood is okay after finally coming out of a years-long depressive episode, but I've started getting short (a few hours) but extremely intense suicidal thoughts. Then my mood goes back to normal. When I've had suicidal thoughts before it's always been during the darkest parts of long-term depressive episodes, so my mood was going from suicidal to just really depressed and back again, not from suicidal directly back to normal. I've not experienced such a short and wide range of feelings and it's freaking me out. I had my regular weekly pdoc/tdoc appointment yesterday and he made me see the disconnect in my thought process and how I was catastrophizing things, which was really helpful. I had called him in distress the day before our appointment and he talked me back off the edge of the cliff. During the times of the suicidal thoughts I don't feel like I'm in 100 percent control of myself and it's terrifying. Have you had this experience?
  20. Some pdocs do both meds and therapy and I'm lucky to say I've found one. I've also seen pdocs in other places I've lived that just do meds, which was fine, too. The first visit, no matter whether the pdoc also does therapy or not, will last one to two hours so that you can be correctly diagnosed. It's definitely worth the cost and the effort, although as others have pointed out meds are not an instant cure. But I wouldn't be alive without them. In one of your earlier posts you said: "The thing is, I've been just barely able to keep functioning even through the worst of this, and I'm afraid of doing something that would waste money or make me feel worse, threaten my ability to work, etc." Not trying to scare you or make you feel bad, but the reality for me has been that my ability to work has been destroyed by this disease on multiple occasions and meds are the only thing that has brought me out of the abyss.
  21. One last comment about insurance - assuming you're in the U.S., even if you have a high deductible, psychiatrists are M.D.s so you'll only have to come up with your office visit co-pay, the same as you do for your GP.
  22. I've had a similar experience to sugarsugar. I had my first depressive episode in my twenties, except I didn't realize I was sick. Mental illness wasn't talked about in the popular press the way it is today. I had a few more episodes in my thirties, and went to a therapist for the first time when I was 40. During my very first visit she said I needed to see a psychiatrist, so I was diagnosed with MDD and began meds. It was life-changing and I finally felt like I was alive. I move every few years for work (construction), and when I saw a psychiatrist at my new location about nine years later, at my first visit he said I had bipolar. He prescribed a mood stabilizer, which I took along with the antidepressant that I was already on, and it was even more life-altering than my first antidepressant. I'm not a doctor and not at all qualified to diagnose anyone, but based on what you've described, you need to see a psychiatrist, get diagnosed and treated, and maybe start therapy sometime in the future. These are physical illnesses so need to be treated medically. Therapy is useful to give you insight and help you change behaviors, but it won't make you well. It's good you have a GP, but a GP isn't qualified to deal with any significant mental illness. Since you have first-degree relatives that have already been diagnosed, that raises the odds that you have a significant illness and need medical treatment. You're reading a post from someone who has declared bankruptcy twice, lost one house to foreclosure, and damn near lost another, so I know all about being broke, losing my job, and all the other difficulties depressive episodes cause. I have very few regrets in life, but by far and away the biggest one is that I didn't get treated when I first started getting sick. I've lost years of my life to bipolar, which I experience mostly as years-long depressive episodes. Bipolar and depression have biological causes. No one asks to have a mental illness and you shouldn't feel bad about seeking medical treatment. Keeping up good habits like exercise will help things, but that's not enough to make you well. I hope you see a psychiatrist soon, and I hope you get to feeling better.
  23. Well, I hope you can work things out eventually with your friend, but in the meantime you sound like you aren't feeling great and may be pretty depressed. Are you being treated by a pdoc or anyone? We're all living with the fact that there's no real cure, just remission, but it's possible to get a lot better, and I hate to think that you're suffering unnecessarily. And it's also really nice to talk to someone that does understand and never in a million years will say the stupid and hurtful things that we've all heard from others, even (maybe especially) from those who mean well.
  24. I had one knee replaced in September 2019 and the other in December 2019, so I'm just at one year out. It's amazing the way the debilitating joint pain is gone, but by the time I got surgery my muscles had atrophied away to nearly nothing so it's been a long and slow recovery. I'm working from home and not exercising nearly enough. Have you had any joint replacement surgery? How did it go for you? Do you have any good motivational tips for continuing to do the stretches and other exercises from physical therapy?
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