This post is about depression, sleeping, and peeing. It’s not the kind of thing most people want to read about, but if you’ve got problems with any (or all) of them, you might want to read on.
I used to awaken numerous times in the night, often the result of needing to pee. Once I’d gotten up to pee, I’d go back to bed and lie there for hours. I’d finally fall asleep when it was time to get up and go to work. Even though I’d been in bed for ten hours, I’d wake up exhausted. I walked around in a constant state of sleep deprivation. And I constantly needed to pee. I’ve been on medication for several years for overactive bladder. It’s helped, but not entirely. Until recently, I still had to pee all the time. I’m talking a dozen times throughout the work day. And often the urgency was overpowering. I’d be on a conference call, and the urge would hit. I’d pace my office, try to focus on the call, but end up fantasizing about peeing in the trash can, instead. When the call ended, I’d run down the hall to the restroom. Since this is an anonymous blog, I’ll tell you that I didn’t make it on a couple of occasions. (Good thing I had gym clothes as a backup.) Or I’d go to an appointment, pee before I left, and then need to use the restroom again when I arrived at my destination fifteen minutes later. I’d then have my meeting, which would last thirty minutes or so, and then need to go again on my way out. I’ve had to go in the middle of massages. In the middle of teeth cleaning. In the middle of acupuncture treatments. I’d done a series of acupuncture treatments in an attempt to solve both the sleep and the bladder problems. It did no good. I went to a urologist who put me on medication. As it turns out, what I really needed was a psychiatrist.
But I had no idea why I developed this problem, and my (somewhat cursory) online research suggested doctors don’t really know, either. Some of the medication the urologist put me on was useless for me. I tried two different types before I settled on a third that seemed to help. But not entirely and not all the time. And it was so random. At least seemingly so.
And then I fell into a deep depression, and luckily, I went to a psychiatrist. And a therapist. The psychiatrist put me on antidepressants. Slowly, I began to feel better. I began to sleep through the night. A few nights of good sleep a week turned into good sleep most nights. That’s right: most nights I sleep through the entire night without waking to use the bathroom. Since I’ve been on the antidepressants, my bladder symptoms virtually have disappeared. It’s really quite remarkable. So, of course I googled it and dug a little deeper this time. We all know depression causes insomnia, or in some, hypersomnia. But what I didn’t know is that there’s a link between depression and overactive bladder. Treat the depression, and the bladder problems disappear.
It seems when the brain is misfiring, it can cause all sorts of issues: sleep, bladder, cognitive (including brain fog and memory loss), and emotional issues. Since I’ve been on antidepressants, all those symptoms have improved. Every one of them. What am I taking? Currently I’m on 300 mg Wellbutrin, 15 mg Deplin, and 2 mg Abilify. I started the Wellbutrin and Deplin three days before Christmas, and the doctor gradually increased the Wellbutrin dose until I hit 300 mg. I started the Abilify at the beginning of February, first 1 mg, then 2 mg.
All this leads me to believe that I’d been suffering from depression for years, at times worse than others. But now, I feel better. Much, much better.
If you have symptoms of depression, I urge you to not suffer in silence. You don’t have to. See a psychiatrist and/or a therapist. Take the medication if prescribed. If the first one doesn’t work, try a different one. There is help out there. And there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Brain function is like any other physical aspect of the body. And when it goes haywire, it shouldn’t be viewed any differently than high blood pressure.