I went to see Dr. McEnroe yesterday. It’s been thirteen months since he put me on antidepressants. Placebo or not, they’ve done wonders. Thirteen months ago I was over 40 pounds heavier than I am now. I showed up at his office hiding myself in baggy black clothes and cried during the entire meeting. I felt like I needed a forklift to get out of bed in the morning. Although always an introvert, I’d become even more reclusive. I didn’t go to a single holiday party. I went months without a pedicure.
I was extremely overdue for a teeth cleaning. I didn’t cook any more. I didn’t have the energy. (Lack of movement and takeout probably were largely responsible for my weight gain.) In fact, I didn’t have the energy to do much of anything. Except turn the channel with the remote. When I was not at the office, I’d be either on the sofa or in bed. I went to bed as early as 8 p.m. because I had no interest in doing anything else. I’d sleep 10 or 12 hours a day. And still I was exhausted.
In the midst of my fog, it occurred to me the black dog was back.
After trying a few different combinations (one that made my hair fall out), we settled on 300 mg Wellbutrin in the morning, along with 15 mg of Deplin. (Deplin is a medical food. A super duper form of folate that has been shown to boost the efficacy of antidepressants.) I was taking 30 mg of Deplin in the morning, but Dr. McEnroe has suggested I take one in the afternoon, so now I’ve spread them out. Along with dinner, I take 40 mg of Viibryd. So that’s it:
Morning: 300 mg Wellbutrin, 15 mg Deplin
Noon: 15 mg Deplin
Dinner: 40 mg Viibryd
Initially, there were side effects. Eventually, they all dissipated. Except muscle twitching (myoclonic jerks) when extremely relaxed. (No, these are not ex-boyfriends. Go here if you’re curious about my jerks.)
I mustn’t forget the weekly (or bi-monthly, depending upon how things were going) visits with Annie, my therapist. Outdoor exercise (Vitamin D) also is part of the equation, along with good nutrition and less wine. And of course cat therapy.
On this regimen, I’ve made it through two deaths in my family within six months (brother and father), the holidays in the wake of those losses, cancer (and recovery) of my remaining brother, followed by an intervention in hopes of helping him to stop killing himself with alcohol. (He’s in rehab now, and doing great. ) Oh, and I was thrown together with my sister and her husband (who molested their daughter) due to the deaths of my brother and father, and so had to manage my feelings about all that (a post I’ve been avoiding).
I asked Dr. McEnroe last week whether I’d be on them indefinitely. After all, it’s been over a year. He said he’d like me to have one good year under my belt before tapering off. A year without crises or uber-stressful life events. A year where I could focus largely on me and taking very good care of myself. My goal is to make 2013 that year. With any luck, no one will die.
So the bottom line is, don’t listen to Newsweek.
For some, including me, antidepressants do indeed work.
***Because antidepressant-related searches are at the top of the list for traffic to my blog, I’ll continue to provide updates on my progress. Feel free to email me: email@example.com.