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News: Talk about how to cope with chronic illness, disability, and other health issues in the academic workplace.
 
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Author Topic: Managing long-term depression and its affect upon work  (Read 2870606 times)
elie_s_dad2
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« Reply #45 on: April 03, 2012, 9:51:48 AM »

Titian - hope the punching bag + Ativan has helped.

Merce - it sounds like you're having a crappy, crappy time. When I feel a bit low, I can be very unkind to myself and don't give myself any credit for managing to get through crap. (Does that make sense?) I suppose the key is trying to not allow absolutely justified sadness to progress to a clinical depression.

elie_s_dad - thank you for sharing that - it's heartening to read of someone that's managed to get where I hope to be. The advice you give is exactly what I need to do, especially getting out and being with others when I feel down. I think that's why I find time outside of the semester hard work.

On disclosure - I'm really p!ssed as I found out our new Dean (who I haven't met yet) knows all about my health problems and has seen a batch of Dr's letters and Occupational Health stuff.  I did not want that to be my first impression. I'm thinking I may as well make an appointment to introduce myself. (He invited us to do that. ) Any thoughts?


I switched from generic lamotrigine to the brand (lamictal) and it seems to have lifted my mood, and helped the underlying anxiety. Hmm. It's a coin toss as to which you get when filling a prescription. (I went to a different pharmacy than usual). I even switched back to the generic stuff for a while to test my theory so I'm 95% sure that the brand works better.  I'm not sure whether I can get my GP to specify the brand version in future.

I would introduce yourself and not mention your health issues unless he brings it up (something a supervisor likely would not do in the US at least for legal reasons).  Don't focus on the fact that he's read about your health issues, but rather focus on what you can do to make a good impression just as you would if you were any other Professor.

It's probably not so bad that he saw the health information your university had recorded (hopefully not any confidential stuff?) because it sounds like a lot of your peers knew about your struggles and you're better off with him seeing information within a clinical / health related context than hearing gossip.

If you think he might be taken aback by something he read about you, try to demonstrate in your interactions with him that you are responsible, reasonable and dedicated to your work.  It won't take long for his first hand experience with you to replace what he's heard or read in second hand accounts.

Re generics - In the US, it would not be at all unusual for a patient to ask their doctor to prescribe brand name versus generics, but the patient may have a hard time getting compensated for brand name meds depending on their insurance.  Since the system is entirely different in the UK, I guess talking to your doctor would be the best way of figuring it out (you don't lose anything by just asking about it and if you don't have an appt coming up you could call his/her secretary who may know the answer offhand).
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baleful_regards
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« Reply #46 on: April 03, 2012, 8:23:51 PM »

chaos - When I went to Pristiq, I started losing weight.  I'm down about 4 dress sizes....which is fine with me, but Yeah. One year on and easily 50 pounds down. It has that effect, so can't be given to people with underlying food issues ( anorexia etc). That being said, my blood sugar and cholesterol are GREAT, so it has helped some other health concerns too.

I'd been on Prozac for 10 plus years in increasing doses until it just pooped out. I'd had a stint where we added Wellbutrin for a year to my cocktail...which produced the most spectacular manic episode ( and massive weight loss) until I seriously flamed out. It seems I am one of those "people" for whom Wellbutrin can cause a manic episode.

I also wanted to mention that I seemed very sensitive to generic formulation...at least with Prozac. I know it seemed silly, but it was a noticeable difference for me. I also seem to "process" meds a bit more rapidly than typical, so that was a factor as well.


Weaned off the Ativan, which made me oddly depressed for days after the dose. I try to use Rescue Remedy to nip anxiety in the bud before it gets a toehold and starts to really spiral.

It can be such a maddening guessing game.

My best wishes to you all.
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chaosbydesign
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« Reply #47 on: April 03, 2012, 8:35:42 PM »

chaos - When I went to Pristiq, I started losing weight.  I'm down about 4 dress sizes....which is fine with me, but Yeah. One year on and easily 50 pounds down. It has that effect, so can't be given to people with underlying food issues ( anorexia etc). That being said, my blood sugar and cholesterol are GREAT, so it has helped some other health concerns too.

I'd been on Prozac for 10 plus years in increasing doses until it just pooped out. I'd had a stint where we added Wellbutrin for a year to my cocktail...which produced the most spectacular manic episode ( and massive weight loss) until I seriously flamed out. It seems I am one of those "people" for whom Wellbutrin can cause a manic episode.

I also wanted to mention that I seemed very sensitive to generic formulation...at least with Prozac. I know it seemed silly, but it was a noticeable difference for me. I also seem to "process" meds a bit more rapidly than typical, so that was a factor as well.


Weaned off the Ativan, which made me oddly depressed for days after the dose. I try to use Rescue Remedy to nip anxiety in the bud before it gets a toehold and starts to really spiral.

It can be such a maddening guessing game.

My best wishes to you all.

Prozac made me crazy. I take Seroquel and Wellbutrin. I like the Seroquel, but the Wellbutrin (which I've only been taking for a week) seems to make me anxious and a little manic early in the day, and irritable and depressed later in the day. I don't know what's up with that -- I'm waiting to see if that goes away, otherwise I might ask to try something else.
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baleful_regards
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« Reply #48 on: April 03, 2012, 9:35:00 PM »

chaos - When I went to Pristiq, I started losing weight.  I'm down about 4 dress sizes....which is fine with me, but Yeah. One year on and easily 50 pounds down. It has that effect, so can't be given to people with underlying food issues ( anorexia etc). That being said, my blood sugar and cholesterol are GREAT, so it has helped some other health concerns too.

I'd been on Prozac for 10 plus years in increasing doses until it just pooped out. I'd had a stint where we added Wellbutrin for a year to my cocktail...which produced the most spectacular manic episode ( and massive weight loss) until I seriously flamed out. It seems I am one of those "people" for whom Wellbutrin can cause a manic episode.

I also wanted to mention that I seemed very sensitive to generic formulation...at least with Prozac. I know it seemed silly, but it was a noticeable difference for me. I also seem to "process" meds a bit more rapidly than typical, so that was a factor as well.


Weaned off the Ativan, which made me oddly depressed for days after the dose. I try to use Rescue Remedy to nip anxiety in the bud before it gets a toehold and starts to really spiral.

It can be such a maddening guessing game.

My best wishes to you all.

Prozac made me crazy. I take Seroquel and Wellbutrin. I like the Seroquel, but the Wellbutrin (which I've only been taking for a week) seems to make me anxious and a little manic early in the day, and irritable and depressed later in the day. I don't know what's up with that -- I'm waiting to see if that goes away, otherwise I might ask to try something else.

The Wellbutrin launched me into a six month mania, replete with all the classic trimmings. It was a "rare" reaction I was told, but not out of the realm of possibility.

The worst was when the depression followed and I caught myself dreaming of the mania and so I started to take the Wellbutrin again ( you know, to launch out of the depression because that is SO logical).

I missed the "I have so much energy I can quilt and do punishing yoga and read these books and scrub the grout and never ever eat!!" that Wellbutrin gave me and when compared to the "I sleep 22 hours and am still exhausted and must be prodded to shower every three days as I stare, balefully, at others in the house" depression.

Your doc may say that it needs a few more weeks to even out, but don't be afraid to speak up if you still feel -well, Off. But I know you know that.
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britmom
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« Reply #49 on: April 04, 2012, 9:35:40 AM »


I would introduce yourself and not mention your health issues unless he brings it up (something a supervisor likely would not do in the US at least for legal reasons).  Don't focus on the fact that he's read about your health issues, but rather focus on what you can do to make a good impression just as you would if you were any other Professor.

It's probably not so bad that he saw the health information your university had recorded (hopefully not any confidential stuff?) because it sounds like a lot of your peers knew about your struggles and you're better off with him seeing information within a clinical / health related context than hearing gossip.

Unfortunately, he was given some information that I had specificed were not to go beyond HR. I'm really annoyed about that. He could bring it up, it might be considered that he wasn't doing his job by ignoring it. Euch.

Another quick question for anyone hanging around: any suggestions for helping me to sleep besides calming music, baths, keeping a good routine etc? I need to lower my antipsychotic dose because it's slowing my thinking down so much I can't do any work. But then I won't sleep well... and so on. I'm wondering whether there are any herbal supplements that might help.

PS My doc gives me leeway to vary my dose +/- 75mg.
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irhack
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« Reply #50 on: April 04, 2012, 9:37:40 AM »

Re sleep I'd make sure I wasn't consuming caffeine after noon. IRSpouse takes a homeopathic remedy called calmes forte when he flies to sleep on the plane and says it works great.
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baleful_regards
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« Reply #51 on: April 04, 2012, 10:59:35 AM »

I've used Calm Forte - But I've also used Rescue Remedy Sleep formula and a 3 mg melatonin tab to great success.

I had to stop any prescription sleep meds, as they were making me too groggy which felt like depression.

The current mix is a good one for me.
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saucygrad
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« Reply #52 on: April 04, 2012, 5:22:31 PM »

Not trying to intrude upon this thread, but I'm just bookmarking it because I'm also struggling with long-term depression.  It is interfering with my schoolwork and career aspirations.  I have days where I can't find the inspiration to get up and get to class-- even with my stipend staring me in the face, even though I love my field, even though I've done the readings.  It's also wrecking my personal life.

I've been medicated for depression years ago (escitalopram), but it didn't work.  Tried a tetracyclic (mirtazapine) recently and I ate and ate and slept and ate and slept more.  Going to my GP tomorrow to at least try something new and manage things before seeing a psychiatrist.  Anyone have any advice for either appointment, or just pushing through?  I only have a few weeks left this term.  My grades are wonderful but my attendance is spotty in one of my classes, and I just don't have the guts to tell my professor (who did work in trauma and violence, so she's probably understanding!) what's wrong.

Good luck to everyone dealing with things right now.  Hugs all around.

Also, britmom-- I'm quite the fan of mint tea, or lavender tea.  Both also soothe my nausea and stimulate my appetite just enough so I have a small meal or two when I don't feel like eating.  I haven't tried melatonin, but I have friends who swear by it.
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merce
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« Reply #53 on: April 05, 2012, 4:05:55 AM »

As regards getting help to calm down or fall asleep:

I either make valerian tea which can be purchased from herbalogists in Europe or swallow the valerian pills which are in the vitamins section of the grocery in the US.
They stink like cow patties but they do knock me out naturally.

You can mix chamomile, lavender and valerian for a night time tea.
Or Mint and Valerian.
I did mint and red bush tea and that did not turn out well. I got nauseous. Don't try that one.
I love, love,love the sleep I get with ambien but I post here without knowing it. I write emails of crazy stuff to people without finding out until they ask me what on earth I had sent them. Or I find weird things strewn around my house. So, I need to let the ambien go. Eventually.


In this position I think we should give ourselves huge cheers when we manage to get up and go into the kitchen to get a bowl of cereal. I make deals with myself: If I get up to get the bowl and cereal and pour milk on them, there is no law that says I have to sit in the kitchen to eat. I can come right back to bed and eat it here.
Most of the time if I get up and to the kitchen thanks to this self-talk I will end up sitting at my dining table instead of going back to bed. If I do go back to bed I don't feel guilty but like I am lucky to be a grown adult who can do something crazy like eat cereal in my bed.

So, when I wake up on a teaching day, it's a bit more difficult. I basically chant, just 4 hours and then I can come back and jump into bed. I say this basically staring at my bed while I dress. I'm panicked to leave my bed but i repeat that and take deep breaths. And I say just go and once you start talking in class it will end. Then you go to the next one and it will end. And if you do that you can have a chocolate. Then only one class left. And then back to bed! Yay! I'll be back in bed in less than 4 hours.

It sounds awful. Perhaps this "system" will only work for me, but if you are having difficulty with class attendance you might give it a try.

Pushing it a bit, I sometimes say, "i'll start class but let them out early. I'll make something up and let the kids go. Five minutes. That's all. Just go in the room and let them go. And once I go into the room I usually end up teaching the class.


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saucygrad
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« Reply #54 on: April 05, 2012, 9:00:38 PM »

Oh, merce, I relate completely.  I have to coach myself into doing the simplest things... on days off, showers and first meals don't happen until 4:00 pm.  Hugs to you.  The little things are worth celebrating.

I start a new pill tomorrow-- Pristiq.  It's really new and my GP is giving it to me temporarily until I can get in to see a psychiatrist for a more thorough evaluation.  It was so expensive.  My GP gives me the impression that it's super strong and powerful, and that she needs me to be on something fast-acting until she can check on me again.  I see that balefulregardss (sorry, I've been off the fora for about a year and I don't know if you have a nickname that you prefer) has been taking it awhile.  Would you mind PMing me about your experiences, if you so desire?  I'm curious and I am not a fan of, say, Crazyboards.
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baleful_regards
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« Reply #55 on: April 06, 2012, 9:20:41 PM »

Oh, merce, I relate completely.  I have to coach myself into doing the simplest things... on days off, showers and first meals don't happen until 4:00 pm.  Hugs to you.  The little things are worth celebrating.

I start a new pill tomorrow-- Pristiq.  It's really new and my GP is giving it to me temporarily until I can get in to see a psychiatrist for a more thorough evaluation.  It was so expensive.  My GP gives me the impression that it's super strong and powerful, and that she needs me to be on something fast-acting until she can check on me again.  I see that balefulregardss (sorry, I've been off the fora for about a year and I don't know if you have a nickname that you prefer) has been taking it awhile.  Would you mind PMing me about your experiences, if you so desire?  I'm curious and I am not a fan of, say, Crazyboards.

I will saucygrad. I am a full year and a half on Pristiq and think my doc put me on it fairly soon after it became available.

I've been really pleased with it overall.
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psychdiva
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« Reply #56 on: April 23, 2012, 10:34:29 PM »

when I wake up on a teaching day, it's a bit more difficult. I basically chant, just 4 hours and then I can come back and jump into bed. I say this basically staring at my bed while I dress. I'm panicked to leave my bed but i repeat that and take deep breaths. And I say just go and once you start talking in class it will end. Then you go to the next one and it will end. And if you do that you can have a chocolate. Then only one class left. And then back to bed! Yay! I'll be back in bed in less than 4 hours.

This is so familiar I could cry. I stayed in bed all day today, awake for only 4 hours. I just couldn't bear the thought of the piles of work and mess that waited for me. I have to get up and out tomorrow, so I'm trying to get up at a reasonable hour.
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merce
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« Reply #57 on: April 23, 2012, 11:35:52 PM »


The semester is almost over here.

Is it Spring where you are?
Nearing the end of a semester  or a something?

You know you will be better once you are out of the house. You can make it!
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« Reply #58 on: April 24, 2012, 4:56:05 AM »

when I wake up on a teaching day, it's a bit more difficult. I basically chant, just 4 hours and then I can come back and jump into bed. I say this basically staring at my bed while I dress. I'm panicked to leave my bed but i repeat that and take deep breaths. And I say just go and once you start talking in class it will end. Then you go to the next one and it will end. And if you do that you can have a chocolate. Then only one class left. And then back to bed! Yay! I'll be back in bed in less than 4 hours.

This is so familiar I could cry. I stayed in bed all day today, awake for only 4 hours. I just couldn't bear the thought of the piles of work and mess that waited for me. I have to get up and out tomorrow, so I'm trying to get up at a reasonable hour.

I know where you both are coming from. This phase will pass. Just keep that in mind while you're in it. Sending hugs your way. Also, please feel free to PM me if you need anything more.
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britmom
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« Reply #59 on: April 24, 2012, 6:04:01 AM »

when I wake up on a teaching day, it's a bit more difficult. I basically chant, just 4 hours and then I can come back and jump into bed. I say this basically staring at my bed while I dress. I'm panicked to leave my bed but i repeat that and take deep breaths. And I say just go and once you start talking in class it will end. Then you go to the next one and it will end. And if you do that you can have a chocolate. Then only one class left. And then back to bed! Yay! I'll be back in bed in less than 4 hours.

This is so familiar I could cry. I stayed in bed all day today, awake for only 4 hours. I just couldn't bear the thought of the piles of work and mess that waited for me. I have to get up and out tomorrow, so I'm trying to get up at a reasonable hour.

I know where you both are coming from. This phase will pass. Just keep that in mind while you're in it. Sending hugs your way. Also, please feel free to PM me if you need anything more.

Just echoing what merce and  crumpet have said. I'm just coming out the other end of an episode. It's frustrating as heck that it's taking so long to get back to normal, and I'm still having to mess with my med's, but everything comes to an end.

I'd second the recommendation for velarian tea. I find it quite strong stuff - it helps knock me out. (Although I'm a lightweight when it comes to such things.) Be careful about taking anything with hops in it, however. (Many of the valerian teas I've seen also have hops.) From my mooching around the internet, I've read a fair few reports that hops can worsen depression.

While I seem to be going on about alterntive remedies, I'm a big believer in medication. I'm still amazed at how well and 'happy' I feel when I'm at the right dose, and how quickly everything unravels when I mess around with them. From my experience, feeling low can become so entrenched that it becomes the new 'normal.'
« Last Edit: April 24, 2012, 6:05:29 AM by britmom » Logged

Sometimes the only way to stay sane is to go a little crazy - Girl Interrupted
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