The Diagnosis

I visited my doctor last week and he gave me his diagnosis: Major Depressive Disorder. What is that, exactly?

“Major depressive disorder (MDD) (also known as clinical depression) is a mental disorder characterized by a pervasive and persistent low mood that is accompanied by low self-esteem and by a loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities. “ – Wikipedia

I can’t say that this isn’t me, so what do I do now?

Sigh

The initial recommendation is medication. And my doctor was actually quite encouraging about it, too. I wasn’t looking for medication, but I’m thankful to know that he didn’t just brush off my symptoms like I was an idiot (which was something I was worried about).  He appeared genuinely concerned for my well being and wanted to see if medication could help pull me out of whatever it is that’s got me down. I explained my issues and work and he seemed to believe that I could be back to “myself” again in 3 to 4 weeks.

I’m now taking Venlafaxine. This is an anti-depressant medication that is used to treat a variety of conditions. The basic idea is that this is supposed to increase my serotonin levels and may improve my mood, my energy level, and may help restore my interest in daily living.

Sounds pretty awesome, right? Well…there are a few side effects to consider:

Side effects may include nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, constipation, loss of appetite, blurred vision, nervousness, trouble sleeping, unusual sweating, and/or excessive yawning.

Sigh.

The information provided to me by my pharmacist actually states the following:

“Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects.”

Of course, it says that right before detailing all of the SERIOUS side effects that could occur before I call the doctor or go to the hospital.

Sigh.

So I took my first pill on Wednesday morning and ended up feeling…off.

I was yawning and tired all day…sometimes staring into space. It was odd because I slept like a rock the night before, so it was strange to feel so tired. My mouth felt a little dry and my lips a little numb. My stomach and my body felt…weird (which is the exact word my physician said to describe how I’d feel).

He wanted to take me off of work for a month to let the medication kick-in. I refused…primarily because I didn’t want to be one of “those guys” who runs to the doctor for an excuse to get paid time off of work. If I feel sick, I’ll call in sick. I’ve spoken with my HR person and I feel better about how the next few weeks will go.

At this point, that’s the only plan in place. I’m meeting with my doctor again on the 16th for a follow-up so we’ll see how things go from there.

I’m doing everything I can to fight this. I’m not going to let a mental condition affect me anymore. I want to get back to the “old me”. I’m tired of being tired. I’m glad that this isn’t just me and that there is a reason for how I’ve been feeling lately. I’m going to fight this and come out on the other side feeling better and stronger than ever.

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3 thoughts on “The Diagnosis

  1. I know how difficult it is to take that step of asking for help. Be hugely proud of yourself for valuing your happiness and well being enough to know you deserve more. Life is too short to spend it not feeling like yourself. It took me over 3 years to feel like “me” again all because I initially refused to seek help and then because I refused to take a full dose of my med. Once I did it was like a light switch flicked. My life is full of joy, full of energy. I see the positive in things once again. I cherish being around other people. I no longer feel like I’m constantly trying to climb up out of a hole. The side effects sometimes present themselves but they usually disappear in a few weeks. The adjustment time is the worst. Every thing you experienced I did too but it all went away. It was totally worth it in the end. There is light at the end of the tunnel. You just need to fasten that seat belt and stay on the ride for the long haul. You’ve got this.

    1. I refused to look into this for a very long time. From Sunshine’s perspective, this may have been going on for well over a year and I was too bull-headed to really admit it to myself.

      I’m now looking forward to seeing that light. The tunnel can’t be over quick enough.

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