Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chapter 5 - Duke Nukem - March Through May 2011

I am back to work now - full time. Probably sooner than I should be but there is much to do. Even though I worked as much as I possibly could while going through the ECT treatments (I'm still not sure how I did that...but I did) the work has piled up and has become a legitimate source of anxiety. I am also trying desperately to get back into the groove of family and exercise. But, I just cannot get negative thoughts out of my mind, I still feel fatigued and I just feel like I am going through life with no purpose. I am completely obsessed with why I don't feel well, and all of this stuff ruminating in my mind is not progress.

One of the soundest statements that I have ever heard is "a thought is just a thought". Realizing this has helped tremendously during my recovery. If your mind has the power to recognize this then bad thoughts can either be recognized as that and/or turned into something more pleasant. However, if you have been truly depressed then you also recognize how difficult this can be. I sometimes wonder if ignorance is truly bliss then perhaps I should strive for more ignorance than more understanding of my condition.

I am trying meditation, journaling, deep breathing, muscle relaxation techniques, exercise, vitamins and therapy. All of which are healthy for the mind and body. While one or a combination of all seem to help there is just no relief. I cannot put together one full day or 24 hours of feeling good. I anticipate my now monthly appointments with Duke Nukem hoping that he will be able to figure this out.

I am currently medicated with Oleptro, Remeron, Zoloft, Deplin and Ativan (if needed) and have begun to notice a pattern. Almost every morning around 8:30AM I crash. Sometimes the crashes are how I felt before I went to the hospital. Sometimes they last a couple of hours and sometimes they last all day. Another pattern I recognized was that towards evening time I started to feel OK. I am unable to connect the dots as to why because through journaling I cannot find a stressor or a trigger that would bring this on. And trust me this is a long story short as to the details of my journal and the analysis of stressors.

My theory, at this point, is that is has to be medication related. Either the timing of ingesting the medication or one (or more) of the actual medications. If you look at chapter 2 you will find a list of all the medications that I have been on. I took each one of these medications and broke them down into their chemical compositions (Wikipedia is awesome!) looking for a common thread especially in the ones that seem to make me feel worse. Interestingly enough I found something. A chemical called piperazine, which is in Geodon, Seroquel, Resperidone, Symbyax, Pexeva and Oleptro. Symbyax and Pexeva were the precursor to my implosion and admittance into the hospital.

What is piperazine? Here are some interesting excerpts from Wikipedia.
1) piperazine compounds have anthelmintic action. Their mode of action is generally by paralysing parasites, which allows the host body to easily remove or expel the invading organism.
2) Piperazines are also used in the manufacture of plastics, resins, pesticides, brake fluid and other industrial materials.

While I am sure that me and piperazine are not getting along I am also very suspicious of a chemical called benzo which is in practically all antidepressants.

At my next appointment with Duke Nukem I present him with this information and show him that the current medication Oleptro has piperazine in it and the current medication Remeron has a benzo component. He looks at me like I am from Mars and actually calls me weird. I told him that I think it would be best to wean myself off of these suspicious medications, and he recommends that I get a second opinion from another psychiatrist. it possible that he is thinking that because a prescription source may be drying-up that he better dump me?

Because I am not making the progress that I think I should be I am ready to try medication adjustments on my own. I performed several trial and error experiments on myself ranging from dosage amounts, dosage timing, and dropping medications one by one.

Here is what worked. I dropped Oleptro and felt better, I dropped Remeron and felt better, I dropped Deplin and felt better. For some reason, probably because I was scared, I didn't want to stop Zoloft as it didn't have the piperzine or benzo component, until I found a suitable substitute.

I have heard that it is a common mistake for patients to stop taking their medications once they begin to feel better. But in my case I am not feeling better so why not take a leap of faith?

It seemed to me that my body/mind was rejecting unnatural chemicals - actually they seemed to exacerbate my symptoms. So I began to research natural solutions for depression and/or anxiety anticipating a replacement for Zoloft. I brewed-up my own cocktail and titrated off of Zoloft. The main component of my cocktail was SAM-e and I added chromium and niacin. Within days I began to feel even better. Not at all where I want to be (i.e.: normal), but I am definitely feeling like this is the right direction. The problem is that in order for me to move forward I will need some help from an expert in the all natural field.

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