Jump to content

Becoming a stay-at-home dad made me realize my cocktail isn't working.

Recommended Posts

I've recently realized that I have been for many years (decades?) settling for just "good enough" results from my medications/treatment. I suffer from MDD that has been my constant companion since adolescence, ADD Inattentive-Type, and PTSD (with a side of insomnia) from a horrific experience with Anesthesia Awareness during major surgery. I was completely conscious/aware, and able to hear, feel, and smell every second of the painful surgery, but was unable to move or communicate because of the paralytics that were administered. And I thought I had issues before that nightmare. 

Anyhow I think I've been settling for two reasons:

  1. As a teenager and young adult I saw how my mom suffered every time her pdocs changed up her cocktail. I guess since she never told them, "yes, this is the right treatment for me, I feel great", the well-meaning doctors were always trying something new, with sometimes terrifying results. I still remember her pleas and prayers that they would just leave her medication alone (they did -- eventually). We don't share a diagnosis, but I can see now how her experiences might have instilled in me the perhaps subconscious propensity for settling for treatments that offer only so-so results, for fear that the new, unknown medication(s) would make things worse. 
  2. Before I became a stay-at-home dad I worked in a demanding, executive level position. Fear of changes to my medications, or rather the possible unpleasant side effects of new medications -- and the possible impact on my job kept me telling my pdoc everything was fine. What if I got so discombobulated I needed inpatient treatment? What if I freaked out at work? Besides, my consistent schedule and support system at work and home allowed me to get by with coping mechanisms honed over the years. I had external, structural, and social crutches to augment my half-assed medication.


Cue Music and Begin Cheesy Movie Montage Segment:

  • Met and married a wonderful guy
  • Bought and renovated an awesome house
  • Fostering (adopting soon) a bright healthy toddler
  • Left the rat-race to be a stay at home dad

End Cheesy Movie Montage Segment 


My crutches are gone. There is no one to cover for me or pick up the slack. I can't reschedule things I don't have the energy for, or delegate things that make me anxious. I can't sleep half the day if I need to. 

It's me, my kiddo, and my broken brain.

Now, because I've had a big life change, I know some might suggest that perhaps not "doing what I love" or "contributing" has worsened my depression. I can safely say that isn't the case. I have always hated working. If you'd asked a young me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I might have said "retired". I worked because I needed to, was fortunate enough to have some marketable skills and did well for myself, but the moment I no longer had to work, I was out of my office so fast I left a puff of cartoon smoke behind. I do not miss working and I do not feel any less worthy/valuable on account of it. And yes parenting is hard, but I never expected anything less. 

I think I simply have more time "in my head" and without the distractions and crutches I've realized that I've never truly had a good handle on my mental illness, and I'm scared. Worst of all I realize I am to blame. Every time I told my doctor my symptoms were better controlled than they were in reality I was doing myself a disservice. 

I know I need a serious cocktail change. What will happen? Will I get worse? What will I tell my pdoc -- that I have been lying for years? 





Link to comment
Share on other sites

If need be, then yes, tell your doctor that you have not been completely honest and give him/her the reasons why. I'm pretty sure he/she will understand, and I'm certain you are not the first patient who has done this. You've got to look out for yourself and that means being honest with your doctor.

I'd also suggest seeing a therapist if you aren't already. They can help you with some of the very issues you talked about in your post.

About meds and side effects ... when I first started on psych meds I was given tricyclic antidepressants because that was all they had. Those meds were rough. I mean very rough. I had all day sedation and spent my teenage years in a fog.  But the newer meds (SSRIs, SNRIs, Wellbutrin, etc.) have much fewer side effects. Plus there are meds like Abilify that really, really help me without any side effects at all, but some people do get side effects from them. Also, there are Rexulti and Vraylar - all meds with minimal side effects that can augment ADs. Right now the biggest side effects to watch out for are weight gain and akathisia (for Abilify and the newer AAPs), For most meds, gone are the all day sedation and zombifying effects of the older meds. You should be able to find a cocktail with minimal or no side effects, Of course, there will be start-up side effects but those go away soon enough.

Take a look at my cocktail in my signature. I have very few side effects from those meds. It's the best cocktail I've ever been on. You will find your own effective cocktail too.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey, No need to reiterate anything that jt said, but I have a few things to say + questions. 

You're not a liar! Your pdoc will understand your strategy and he/she should understand your fears. It sounds like you came up with a great strategy that worked for you. What I didn't understand about meds is that they take it slow and easy these days. If anything, I wish they'd work their magic quicker. Don't worry and take it at a pace you feel comfy with.

You mentioned not being able to take long naps - I've napped with young ones and it's very refreshing! 

You've taken on some big changes and your new road will have bumps. But those roads never stay smooth for anyone for any length of time. Do take JT's suggestion and try therapy. You can quit or find a new therapist if it's not working. But being able to spew and rant is very important to my mental health!

You're still in charge of you. Chances are that you'll come up with another strategy that works for you, and change it again if necessary. You've taken on a hell of a lot of changes. I'll be thinking about you - Breathe! and take care...


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with the above comments. Start weekly therapy with a counselor you get good vibes from. Be honest with your psychiatrist, including your reservations about having a worse outcome with med changes. It is quite possible (probable even) that there are better meds out now than when you got locked into your current cocktail. Perhaps I have been fortunate, but my worst side effect was sedation (being a zombie) and apathy. From there, pretty much every med change I've done has been an improvement--or just didn't work at all. I say go for it and get some new meds! You'll be a better parent for it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would start with your fear of changing meds.  Trust me when I say your not alone.  Things like ok a b and c are screwed up but I can "function" so... Lets leave it alone?  Not probably what anyone wants.  The people who care, you, your doctor.   Will changing meds make things worse?  Maybe.  But if your proactive you will not be in a worse place for long.  What I think you should consider is that you do a 180 and be in close and honest contact with whoever prescribes things and start taking notes and talking strategic wise how you best find a better solution.

I say all this as a guy that didn't do this (more then once) and it didn't work every time!  Not a surprise eh?  Well the last go around I really talked.  Got rebuffed (fears I created for my GDoc by my own stupidness / lazyness)  Anyhow I got things to where they are good.  Most of the trouble getting to that point were my own doing (or lack of)

One thing I believe in is that this.  If you can't measure it?  Its not science.  And while medical stuff is still "an Art" doing things in a scientific way seems to make a lot of sense to me.  So... If you want to make things better start by defining whats going on now and then when changes are made you have some record to go by.

I have been looking for one that is better then the one I was using.  A couple that came up in a search that might be of value so you can report to the doc (And see for yourself)


And this Phone App


Any Mood tracker I think is better then nothing.  I used it to track when I was taking stuff for anxiety.  The anti Benzo people are freaking everyone out.  Being able to tell you doc when, why and how many certainly cools over any issues they have.



  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've used moodtracker. It's rudimentary, but absolutely better than nothing. I think Hal has some good ideas. It would probably calm your anxiety over new meds if you take notes, track your moods, and write down a list of your questions and concerns so that you can address ALL of them with Pdoc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Similar Content

    • By Cassandra007
      Coming here 5 years after the fact. 
      I started Latuda for bipolar depression that wasn’t responding to the lamotrogine I was taking. About 4 months later a stressful new job coincided with a unique form of nighttime anxiety unlike the GAD I’d struggled with my whole life. I struggled with it for 18 months, diazepam and lunesta being the only things to help. Which resulted in daytime fogginess and forgetfulness. 
      Neither my p-doc nor therapist linked the anxiety to Latuda given the 4-month delay in the anxiety’s onset after starting it. I only cracked the code by discovering a few buried comments on this forum that described the specific experience of the nighttime anxiety—I called it the witching hour because it was like clockwork, and I had a whole routine to deal with it, which included isolating myself from my family and distracting myself by reading dry technical books until I fell asleep. 
      As soon as I discovered comments here that described my experience among others taking latuda, I stopped taking it. The nighttime anxiety evaporated almost immediately. 
      I feel like a jerk for not chiming in on this board at the time to potentially help others in the same boat. So…if you visited this sub-board trying to crack the code within a similar context, talk to your doc about switching to a different bp or schizophrenia drug. There are plenty of folks who thrive on Latuda, and god bless ‘em. But if you feel crippled by a new nasty panic, look into whether it’s your Latuda. 
    • By Blahblah
      Has anyone (without a clinical thyroid disorder) tried Cytomel and had benefit with depression & fatigue? It seems most docs are resistant to trying it due to the possible heart/ bone density side effects.
      Even when it comes to thyroid disorders, There are some circles that disagree with the TSH lab ranges (what is "acceptable") and that TSH may not be good indicator of thyroid function for everyone anyway...
      I know T3 is rarely prescribed (even for ppl with thyroid issues). But I also read that in a few studies, folks with treatment-resistant depression (with no thyroid issues) can also benefit from using T3 as an add-on or "booster".
    • By Blahblah
      I banged my head (outer eyebrow near temple) a week ago, on a cabinet door. I'm wondering if anyone here has got a concussion from this sort of thing? How do you know for sure?
      I iced it for an hour immediately, so very minimal bruising, but had a large lump (which is going down). Its very tender. My temple and eyebrow still feel "achey" (it's not really a headache). I also feel extra lethargic with brain fog, abrupt worsening of mood. I go to doc tomorrow, but I read that MRI scans cannot show mild concussions (only bone fractures or brain bleeding) and I also wonder if it's just my depression getting worse (versus a head injury from a bump)...?
      I HATE going to the Dr for this sort of thing... because I don't want to be labeled as "malingering" or a hypochondriac mental case. Doctors always see a diagnosis of depression on my file (and meds I'm on) and of course (being a woman also), it makes them more apt to always write things off as psychological or stress-related. 😞
    • By Inanlae
      So for seventeen years I've had pain depression.  It especially feels like it's squeezing my heart.  It hasn't historically been *about* anything.  I've just chalked it up to biochemistry, heredity.  And I've thought about suicide, most days, for at least fifteen years - because pain sucks.  Ups-and-downs.  Roller-coasters.  Probably every person on here has done time at the worst torture theme park in the world.

      Two years ago, my cocktail started working.  There was some CBT and DBT in the mix too.  I decreased my daily Ativan from 3mg to 2mg.  Plus 20mg Latuda, 300mg Sertraline, 100mg Topamax.  I actually felt happy, for about two years, until this October.  Then it stopped working.  And I stopped working.  I work in a level I trauma center, where I identify cancer, anemia, and the effects of the coronavirus on the human body.  I feel like I have a front row seat to human suffering, without being empowered to ameliorate it, and it's another kind of torture.

      I am very tired of fighting.  If there was a euthanasia travel agency, where I could just walk in, plan my funeral and end-of-life arrangements, plan my ideal death, and just call this thing at 38, that would be a somewhat attractive option (not telling, The Tallest Man on Earth, flaming-Viking-burial-at-sea.)  I'm tired of fighting this disease, personally.  And I'm tired of coming up against the tsunami of "world suck" (H/T Vlog Brothers) which seems to be hate-fucking itself ad astra.

      So the strain theory, which I haven't read much on yet, is that we consider the termination of our lives when under one or more types of strain.  I personally find this theory hopeful, as targeting the sources of strain, i.e. "world stuck," could reduce the inducements to terminate one's life.  The General Strain Theory, according to one Wik I. Pedia cites loss of positive stimuli, addition of negative stimuli, or the inability to reach a desired goal, as three possible sources of strain.  I will follow up on this with my tdoc on Wednesday.  I think work is introducing negative stimuli, and I have a shit ton of unreached goals, but am starting to care about goals less and less.  Basically, it pisses me off that I've had to dramatically reduce my goals due to my diseases, and it's kind of tempting to just leave the party.  Please feel free to weigh in if you have personal and or academic experience with this.

      I'm also meeting virtually with my pdoc tomorrow... to tweak the cocktail.  Would love recommendations.  My current rx mix, dxs and rx, failures are in my signature.  Lamictal induces hives and vomiting.  Depakote causes dyskinesia.  Lithium ruined the thyroid and causes acute renal failure.  Medicine.  Ha ha.  Organ roulette.

      So the observation about different species of depression is that while for a decade-and-a-half I experienced what seemed like purely biochemical, chains-around-my-heart, tar-and-shark-filled, basements-beneath-basements depression.  This feels more like a rational(?) depression, which has me concerned about whether it will be responsive to biochemical therapy.

    • By Isaiah2017
      I'm having a hell of a hard time and experiencing rather weird symptoms. Whether they've anything to do with Mirtazapine (Remeron) is something that I strongly feel but can't quite convince any doctor of.   I was put on 15 mg of it in spring 2015 for depression and a severe insomnia - I hadn't slept an hour like since 25 nights back then! The benefits showed immediately within a day and surprised myself and my family. I would sleep well and be in a very happy and cheerful mood.   Then however, from summer 2016 I developed some strange food intolerances; caffeine, sugar, fruits containing high amounts of fructose, yoghurt, butter and so on. Eating anything of that would cause me jitteriness and insomnia. I steered clear of those foods.   From autumn last year though, a lot of those food intolerances have relented and it changed into intolerance towards medicines and supplements that I was on; the thyroid medicine for hypothyroidism, Vitamin D, Calcium, Vitamin E and could never again tolerate any new medicine or supplement. Symptoms resulting from these are, again, jitters, insomnia and a strange kind of feeling of being struck on the head, like I can't hear anything and the thinking becomes very unclear and blurred. Coupled with this is a weird sensation that if a medicine has any potential side-effect (even physical, such as urine retention), I get it at all costs. So I'm steering clear of the culprits here too.   However, avoiding the culprits doesn't end my misery, it just helps in avoiding a whole new set of symptoms, because since autumn 2016 I'm under constant brainfog anyway, have heart palpitations immediately after every meal (but worst after breakfast), have concentration and focus issues, lead a life without any hobbies, wishes or desires. Nothing excites me, nothing interests me and nothing catches my attention. Leave tasks pending for months (the most unlike me habbit), have badly lost my sense of humour. My sense of humour was something that I literally used to pride on, and friends from around the world would call me to fresh up if they were having a dull day. My mind feels numb, although it isn´t as if it´s the sedating effect of the Mirtazapine because 90% percent of the nights I don´t sleep well, and on a lot of nights I feel as if I´m asleep with an awake mind!   The GP who put me on it considered it to be just the effects of anxiety and depression and recommended the doubling of the dose to 30 mg. When I contested that, given that I´ve my doubts of a lot of these issues being brought upon by Mirtazapine itself, she referred me to a psychiatrist. He too strongly denies of Mirtazapine having any hand to play on it and instead thinks it´ll be best to combine it with another antidepressant for day-time.   He put me on Paroxetine, boom, a flood of side-effects! Then changed to Fluoxetine (Prozac) - third day on it and having weird feelings. The heart poundings are one and is in fact making me very depressed and hopeless!
  • Create New...