Hey guys! The weeks are going by so fast and I figured it’s time for a check-in on my medication journey. I recently had my one month follow-up appointment and my two month appointment is coming up, but there has been some changes since I last checked in so let’s get into it.
Since my last update, I haven’t been feeling too different honestly. I suppose there were certain situations I was in where I would typically experience more anxiety, but that’s really hard to accurately gauge because it could have just been a good day. However, if I look at the big picture I can definitely see a difference in my energy levels and overall optimism. I don’t feel as hopeless and absolutely over it as I did when I went to that first doctor appointment, or when I cried in my boss’ office the next day, in fact I feel pretty optimistic about this whole journey.
When I was weighed at my follow-up appointment, I noticed I had lost five pounds. It is super hard for me to lose actual weight, I can tone up or slim down but my numbers roughly stay about the same. Losing five pounds in four weeks is startling, especially when I factor in the minimal to zero exercise I had over this time while I was on vacation, let alone all the crappy food I ate! I was actually expecting to have gained weight. I have to admit that the first few weeks, I had essentially no appetite. I think that first weekend I started taking the medication, when I holed up in my apartment and suffered through insomnia, I ate maybe two whole meals combined.
When I have anxiety, I don’t eat as much as I normally would. I hate the feeling of being too full, so I would rather graze throughout the day than have three large meals. Because my anxiety was at an all-time-high and I coupled that up with depression, I was not only too anxious to eat too much but I was also too lethargic to do anything about it. That was me for the first few weeks, and I’m sad to see that there is actually evidence in the form of this five pound weight loss to prove it. I didn’t think it was as serious and evident as it turned out to be.
My doctor had me fill out these two questionnaires that assess your anxiety and depression levels. These are in no way a diagnosis or scientifically supported, but help your doctor get an understanding of where your mindset is at each time you take them. When I first took the tests, I scored in the “severe anxiety” and “moderate depression” range; my second time showed that, while my depression stayed in the same range, my anxiety was reduced to a moderate level. My doctor and I considered this a small victory, especially since I was only one month into the medication and it can take up to six weeks to feel any changes.
While my anxiety has gotten a bit more manageable, my doctor was still concerned about my depression levels and so recommended I up my dosage from 50mg to 100mg. As you all know, this medication stuff still scares me, but I’m much more optimistic about it now that I have felt some positive changes. She reassured me that I shouldn’t feel any side effects when I start taking the higher dosage as I’ve already introduced this medicine into my system. I almost made her promise me on this because I did not want to suffer through that insomnia or loss of appetite again…the two things I love the most, sleeping and eating!
I have now been taking the 100mg dosage for a little over two weeks and, thankfully, have felt no side effects. I’m sleeping fine, eating fine, and getting back into my regular workout schedule now that I’m back from Hawaii (If you haven’t read my recap for my Hawaii island-hopping vacation, make sure you check it out!). Life kind of feels like it’s getting back to its’ regularly scheduled programming.
One of the reasons I love writing these updates is because I can look back at them and realize, damn I have actually come a long way. It’s been a little over six weeks since I’ve started taking this antidepressant and, even if I don’t feel like my anxiety or depression is mostly gone, I do not feel as terrible as I felt before. I definitely do not feel like I have severe anxiety anymore, and because of that improvement, I feel like my depression has lifted a bit too. I’m picturing clouds, dark and stormy and hanging right above my head. I was practically unable to see through those clouds and see the sun. I was in the dark. Now, even though it can get overcast or drizzle from time to time, the sun is up over there. I can see her and I can feel her warmth and it’s such a relief.