Yep, I am doing the Happy Dance this week!! Me & my Tribe. After a lifetime of dealing with depression which was recently diagnosed as Severe Depressive Disorder in addition to PTSD, I finally have answers & a solution. Since I was 18 yrs old I have had bouts of depression. I also tried to commit suicide three times over the years. The last time was in my mid-30's. During my early years of adulthood my depression sometimes was the controlling factor of my life leaving me barely able to function & sometimes it was just under the surface waiting to reappear. I thought I was "managing", I thought this was just how everyone felt. I wasn't really happy, but I wasn't really unhappy. But I would have moments of extreme joy, & moments of extreme sadness. During all these years I tried to find ways to feel better, find someone who would make me feel better. I turned to drugs & alcohol for many years. I always functioned in my life in so much as I went to work every day, I was a good employee, & I was a very hard worker. That was as far as "normal" went in my life. Then would come the day where I would begin to sabotage my job...or so I thought. I now know that most likely the one who did the destructive stuff was another personality. The evil twin I have always called Delores.
I have been blessed the past few months (after such a bad depressive issue) to have a wonderful therapist who sent me to an equally wonderful psychiatrist who began with a full assessment & got me started on meds. My Shrink put me on an antidepressant & a medical food called Deplin (Classified as a “medical food” rather than a drug, Deplin is essentially folate that has already been converted to L-methylfolate, so it can automatically be used to create serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain).
After doing well on these she took a sample of my saliva & had genetic testing done. The results show that I am missing two genes that convert folic acid into L-methylfolate. Additionally, my brain does not produce dopamine, also due to the missing genes. I also cannot take SSRIs because of the missing genes ( Fluoxetine (Sarafem), Paroxetine (Paxil), Sertraline (Zoloft), Citalopram (Celexa),Escitalopram (Lexapro),
In the past, doctors have prescribed SSRIs so we now know why the drugs never helped me. Now I am on Effexor ER 75 mg that contains dopamine. Additionally, the variations in my genes leave me at a higher risk for bipolar disorder & schizophrenia. She believes I have also suffered from Border Line Personality Disorder in the past but has assured me that I no longer have this. There are many drugs I cannot take such as oxycontin & oxycodone. I cannot have grapefruit or grapefruit juice. There is a whole list of can't have which I will need to share with other doctors. All the can't list inhibits the metabolism of the antidepressant. Additionally, I metabolize the antidepressant slower than other people (the gene thing again) so that means I do well on low doses because they stay in my system longer. Again a problem in the past because I was always on a very high dose so I felt like a zombie all the time & would stop taking the meds because I felt so flat.
I will be on the Effexor ER 75 mg & the Deplin 15mg the rest of my life. That is ok by me. Every day I feel better. This week has been particularly good. I think I feel the way the so called normal people feel. My brain no longer feels like it is swelling in my skull trying to break out. I am truly joyful! I just plain feel good. I wake up feeling good, I have wonderful days, I feel good when I go to bed at night. I sleep all night. My appetite is under control. I no longer binge. I am walking 30 minutes every day. I am doing yoga once a week for an hour. I meditate & I practice Reiki. And, as you can see, I am writing again. Today my therapist released me & told me to just check in with her either by phone or an appointment every few weeks. I see my Shrink again in September for a med check. For the first time in my life I feel so hopeful.
While I am well aware that we are all responsible for the choices we make in life & for our actions, I also know now that there was a reason for so much of my behavior, my bad relationships, my disengaging, my rages, my manic moments, & my deep-seated depression. I truly could not help it. WOW!! This week I expressed my first true emotion, said what I had to say, & then I was over it. JUST LIKE THAT. No more obsessing, no more compulsion to rehash & rehash. No more noisy chat going on in my head. WOW!!
I know many of you who have known me for years will be surprised by all of this, but you see I am very good at covering (I learned this very early in life). Very good at blending in & trying to just be. When I could not do that I would disengage & go deep within myself while staying away from everyone. My wonderful Boys (Lobo, Scrappy, & Zane) have been life-savers during the really bad times. Scrappy is my Emotional Support Animal (he has a vest & can go everywhere) & travels with me. I come home almost every day at lunch to spend time with The Boys. Scrappy has helped me keep the anxiety & panic attacks during PTSD episodes under control. Most of the time our breathing is in sync. He sleeps on the pillow next to me each night with Lobo beside me & Zane at my feet.
In case you are wondering, the PTSD was caused by an abusive ex-husband's treatment of me. I can get triggered by a word, a look, or a raised voice. Sometimes I don't even know what triggers me. But it is getting better. My therapist did EMDR for the PTSD & it has worked wonders in closing negative channels & opening positive ones. Reiki also has been such a blessing for this.
S0, my brain is healing with meds. My Spirit is healing with Reiki & with the EMDR. My emotions are healing because I now have answers. I am becoming the woman the Universe has always intended. I am peaceful, joyful, & truly blessed by my friends who have walked the road with me on this part of my Journey. For those of you who have been there for me to call, text, or visit...THANK YOU!! Your acceptance & unconditional love means the world to me.
So, dear ones, that is what has been going on with me these last few months. Intense work to heal. I believe I will be writing more about this part of my Journey. But I believe the Journey is going to be so much more now that I am no longer wondering what is wrong with me. My Gifts are becoming very acute. New ones are appearing. The Road looks bright & I am oh so ready!!