cellomusette: (Default)
My basic brain issue can be described as ongoing depression with anxiety, and some complex PTSD.
For years, meds providers have been treating just the depression, with SSRIs, thinking this was the main issue and that the anxiety would naturally abate. My recent experience with going off my prescription SSRI contradicts all that.

I do need to be supplemented with something that provides an SSRI function. My brain sucks up serotonin like a sponge, and I become a moody miserable nonfunctional bastard. Who somehow retains a flatness in my affect. No, we don't want THAT! But: how much SSRI dosing do I need? The answer: Not tons. Just enough to make a difference, without turning me into a zombie. Luckily, I'm sensitive to medications, and St John's wort/hypericum works for me. The benefit of the herb is it's strong enough to boost my serotonin, but mild enough to leave my mental energy and creative force intact. I have more drive, ambition and clarity than I've had in years, possibly ever.
(Still taking fish oil, too. High dose of omega-3 = increased grey matter function and reduced inflammation in the body and brain. Do the math. It's a win.)

The trouble with hypericum: for me, it doesn't treat anxiety. I find myself having difficulty compartmentalizing emotions that come to the surface because I'm used to having them stuffed down by the old drugs. And anxiety, if it goes steadily for long enough, crashes me into a depressive funk. So: it MUST be treated. I've had poor results with magnesium supplements, 5-HTP and chamomile.

What works for anxiety, for me, is diazepam (Valium). It does not make me sleepy, if I take it for anxiety (and I don't take it for anything else, really). It does not make me feel "high". It does not give me an artificial feeling of everything being right with the world.
It just makes me normal and functional so I can go about my day in a good mood.
It stops me from involuntarily tensing up my body in reaction to stress.
It has NO side-effects. No weight gain, no headaches or dry mouth or stomach upset or hangover.
IT JUST WORKS.

Now, if I can figure out a dosing schedule that works for me, I may be able to get my brainpan under control.
cellomusette: (wiggles portrait)
My personal angst follows a pattern. Angst will build up over the course of a couple of days. Then I'll have one REALLY angsty day, where I'm venting and upset. During my very-angsty time, ideas for solutions will start brewing under the surface, but I'll be too upset to acknowledge them.

At the end of Super Angst Day, I'll sleep*. Once I get enough sleep to feel mostly refreshed, I'll start considering the solutions and feeling much more at ease. If I follow this up with positive action, then the angst has served its purpose.

So I guess what I'm saying is, angst isn't all bad. It can provoke us to make necessary changes in our lives, if we don't encourage it to go on forever and ever. I don't really mind having a horrible day if it moves me to improve the overall quality of my life.

*The sleep is a crucial part of the equation. Without the sleep, my brain cannot reboot itself. I think this is why 12-step programs use the slogan "one day at a time." Without the break between days, I think we'd all be pretty much fucked.

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