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New to the boards, old hand at crazy

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Hi there,

I don't tell this stuff to just anyone, but nearly all of my adolescence and adult life has been a battle against mental illness. It's been harder at times than others. Right now, this is another one of the hard times.

I starting feeling depressed when I was about 14; my first suicide attempt and hospitalizations were at 17. Now I'm going on 36 and I'm in the middle of my third major Psychotic Major Depression. The catch: treatments for major depression don't seem to help me.

I've taken at least one of every type of antidepressant and many of the atypicals. I did feel that tricyclics helped me, many years ago, but the benefits stopped eventually. They always do. For the past year, I've tried antidepressant after antidepressant, fighting what was originally a feeling of melancholia. In the past few months, that feeling has shifted into intense, agitated, anger and anxiety with the occasional delusional thought. I can't sleep, I can't eat, I'm consumed by fantasies of destroying my apartment, of harming the one person I know who checks on me now and then. I'm able to control these impulses, but only at the cost of complete paralysis, complete isolation. I attend work more and more rarely. My employers know I'm sick; hopefully they won't fire me.

Naturally, there are other complicating factors here:

I seem to be an ultra-rapid metabolizer of most drugs. It's rare that I feel side effects, but, then, it's rare that I feel anything at all from a drug. The SSRIs, with their one-size-fits-all sort of dosing, always seemed particularly like a con to me, like I was being given sugar pills or baby aspirin without the orange flavor. But I'm sure there are many here who have had dramatic reactions to them; I think it's just my own imperviousness to chemicals.

So when the scrips don't work, what do you do? Look for joy elsewhere, of course. And so I learned early on that I could medicate my own depression with alcohol; drink enough of the stuff, and I actually start to feel something. And just like they warned me, after a while, I couldn't control how much I drank; I did stop for a while, and then I moderated, and then I felt bad again and I drank more and more and more. Prescription opiates, I discovered, are even better, and I'm lucky not to have a ready supply of them, I'm sure I wouldn't look back.

And, finally, I'm an oppositional person. I've learned to hide it as an adult under a smokescreen of quietness and good manners, but I'm not a docile patient, I don't like being told what to do, and if someone tells me not to do something, I'm almost certain to do it. Yes, that's right, I'm the person who ate an entire box of macaroni and cheese while taking MAOI inhibitors, just to see what would happen (slight headache, could've just been my imagination, nothing thrilling like a drug interaction). So, I'm not that patient who wants to believe. Unfortunately. I'm sure that patient feels better already.

So, I'm giving the mood stabilizers another whirl--the Lithium-Lamictal combination being that one other thing, besides tricyclics, that helped me in the past. I'm not bipolar in the classic sense. I've never experienced euphoric mania, with pressured speech, increased goal-directed activity, etc., etc. But I guess I could be some kind of non-canonical bipolar creature. Maybe Seroquel would help? I certainly need to sleep and eat more right now, so if those are the alleged side effects, bring them on. At the moment, Ativan is buying me a bit of time--the pleasure of getting REM sleep with vivid dreams after 4-6 weeks of deprivation is almost overwhelming, and I've exchanged the worst of the anger for a blunted, foggy feeling--but I know it's only temporary. It's a highly addictive solution, and if anyone's going to get addicted, it's sure to be me.

Oh, and another one of those treatments for depression I tried that didn't help? ECT. It did give me permanent memory loss, with the entire year before my treatments (2002) gone forever. Oh, well, bygones.

Thanks for reading. I'm in a bad treatment situation right now, it's hard to find a doctor in my town, and the one I finally did find seems kind of out of her depth with me. I guess I've got enough experience at this point to pull myself through it with the limited amount of help she can give me. I do feel determined to get through this without killing myself or anyone else. But it's hell.

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Irma, welcome to CB. Sounds like you have really been through the mill for the past 20 years. I hope some of our members can help you with support and information.

Please PM any of the mods if you have a question.


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I'm sorry you're in a bad place right now. I'm glad you found us, though. I've gotten a lot of good help and support here, and hopefully so will you.

Look forward to seeing you around the boards ;)

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Hi. Sounds like a tough road. Lithium and Lamictal can be a good combo. Does you doc have you at decent doses? That can make a difference. Seroquel has an AD kick for some. It is sedating... at low doses, it is the best sleeping pill for the mentally interesting that there is, IMHO. Others benefit from Abilify and Geodon. If you are having psychosis, any of these three would probably be a good add on. Even if not, one could possibly help the depression. Anyway, welcome. CB is a good place to ask questions or say whatever you feel like saying.

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