Summer is over! The days have become shorter and the evenings has become longer. Along with it, the silly season has arrived with it a huge blow! It all starts with days of low moods, rocky emotional feelings followed by nightly battles of insomnia. What a shitty combination!
It’s been about a month since I first experienced sleep problems and they escalated into insomnia. It is making my life miserable. I have lost interest in most things. I stopped playing games, ceased being creative, stopped building computers and generally vanished from my friends IM list. Everyday I’m struggling with life — I quickly became an exhausted emotional wreck. At night, I’m really struggling to fight for rest, I spend some of my time in tears being completely frustrated that I have lost control.
Even getting my ass to London for my treatments has become a major task. Every thing is no longer enjoyable. Even writing this has taken me a week or two. Even then, I’m not entirely sure am I happy with it’s content or does it make any logical sense. So if your reading this.. and shit gets confusing. Think about how I’m coping….
Just this week alone I calculated that I managed to sleep for a little more than fourteen hours. That’s about an hour up from the previous week. My problem isn’t getting to sleep but staying physically asleep for any length of time to recharge my energy. Usually, I only need four to five hours, six if I’m lucky! Before I feel the urge to get up and continue on with life. However, recently I’m not even managing three. I’m constantly feel tried. My body aches. My body temperature fluctuates, my extremities feel cold, sometimes shivery. Like I’m going through menopause all over again. I’m limping to do things. It’s a sodding nightmare… My appetite has vanished, on the upside I’m losing weight!!
Tuesday 20th Oct
I’m not getting out of bed. I’m simply too exhausted. Instead I’ll lay in bed slumped on my side, resting with my arm tucked under the pillow for comfort; eyes slightly open. My mind is racing through a billion of thoughts per second; none is which is important, yet I’m thinking about nonsense. Eventually I’ll close my eyes to sleep. I tell my brain to shut up and as usual, it ignores me. Eventually I start to nod off, only to be rudely woken several moments later by some random noise.
I ask myself “What’s up with me?” I have no clue.
There’s simply no explanation for this lunacy. I feel I’m going slightly mad!!
Sometime in the afternoon, I call up my doctor up, book an appointment. Luckily I’m spared an emergency slot. Upon arrival, I explained my troubles to them in great detail, informing them that I haven’t had a wink in days. He said, first we need to get you to sleep. He asked what have I tried previously?? Then I’m briefed on how they’re unable to prescribe me Zopiclone or other addictive medications. And suggest I take an alternative.
[history] : Many many years ago I used to take Zopiclone for sleep and it worked a treat. However under the new health guidelines our government has set, this drug has become a Class C controlled substance. Obtaining a script from my doctors is near impossible those days without first jumping through lots of hoops. This means a referred to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT : is a scam) then, if that fails, you are past to a psychiatrist for evaluation and it’s up to them to decide.
For many people, they have resorted to buying drugs off the internet. It’s faster but rather dubious, they take a chance on their genuinity. Personally I have way too many other bio-chemistry problems to take the risk. [/history]
They suggests an alternative which may work. Phenergan (Promethazine 25mg) it’s their choice. An antihistamine many users said to be effective due to it’s light sedative effect.
So for three nights I try this drug with enthusiasm, hoping they’ll work. I really needed some sleep. Unfortunately they aren’t effective. I’m only achieving an hour’s sleep which I can get without drugs. I spent the following hours laying in bed wondering, pondering what might have happened? I re-read the enclosed leaflet and learn 50mg can be used. So I try this. Tossing back another pill with a glass of water. Second attempt. Again there’s no effect… I feel that I might as well be taking a placebo or a sugar pill! At least It’ll taste sweet.
The following morning I felt awfully, as the effects of the drugs were still lingering in my system. I frantically searching the internet for answers only to discover a number of users noted “…this drug was useless” and I was one of them. I felt somewhat relieved yet frustrated… As soon as the morning came, I contacted my doc up and explain my situation, they book me another appointment. Still a few days away…
Wednesday 21st Oct
I dragged myself to the clinic, thankfully it’s not too far away. Once I’m in the surgery, I immediately explained to my helpful doctor that those pills where rubbish and suggested they give me something with more potency. A few questions and answers were swapped, I also mentioned I needed something for my dark moods swings cause I’m feeling the blues, my appetite has diminished, lost interested in everything I once enjoyed and at night I’m constantly thinking about life, that my mind keeps pacing in fifth gear. That I’m worrying about things that I have zero control about!
He suggested another antihistamine to be taken before bed, this one called Atarax (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride 25mg) which, again should work, in theory as a sleep aid. Plus a script for Prozac (Fluoxetine 20mg) which should be taken early in the morning to help alleviate and manage my depression.. He reminds me fluoxetine may take a couple of weeks before I’ll notice any change.
That night. The first time, in such a long time I managed to acquire almost eight hours of rest. I woke up feeling happily refreshed like my sleep problems had been cured. Also, during the day I noticed a certain level of calmness. I found myself worrying less about life. It was great! I was in euphoria. I could relaxed, my mind was at ease. I genuinely felt chilled out!! That evening, I even had a long conversation with a pal… He noted I sounded like I’m on a high on something and asked what I’d been smoking… lol
Now, I waited two full days before I starting Prozac… I figured, since I’m not a danger to myself, the anti-depressants could wait. After all, they were a drug I had previously used. It stabilized my moods and they worked a treat! — However, every now and then, I have often have super dark, gloomy moods where I’ll vanish from society, into the comfort of my den. Unlike some people I don’t have destructive suicidal thoughts, like I once did. Yea. I learnt from that. Instead I’ll become uber emotional. Tearing up and crying cause life’s become unbearable.. On the side of caution, I wanted to know what effects those hydroxyzine’s would have on me, if any.
Extreme side effects of any new drug is always a worry with me. Having first hand experience and ending up in ICU with anaphylactic shock for some antibiotics in the past.. I learnt not to rush into medication combos. I don’t want that happening to me again. No thank you!! I almost died.
Once I’m happy with those hydroxyzine was having the desired effect. I starting popped Prozac pills during the day and Hydroxyzine at night. Despite me feeling a sense of calmness during the day. I started experiencing a strange tense sensation. Unbelievably, I kept wanting to bend the edge of my glass desk. Which was impossible. Like have you ever tried bending 12mm laminated glass with your bare hands at room temperature? Seriously.. This was weird, kinda trippy.
The following morning I reported this feeling to my doctors, they suggested I discontinue the uses of Fluoxetine immediately and schedule yet another appointment for a review. They mentioned, maybe I needed something different cause there’s been a change in my chemistry since I last had them – Made sense to me.
Over the course of a week, the sedation effect gradually worn off! Though I kept popping those little green pills merely because give me a lovely sense of calmness. Freeing myself from life’s worries. At night I could lay in bed with a clear mind. The voices in my head had become muted — It’s a beautiful feeling. No-one to talk back at me and tell me I’m a failure or my life suck.. lol
During the day, I’ve learnt that I can concentrate with the tasks in my hand, read several chapters without my mind wondering off. But I’ll be honest… I think the hydroxyzine are treating another issue which I never knew I had, till I popped that first pill. Strange. I’m discovering more about me every month.
Wednesday 4th Nov
Because my sleep was simply broken beyond belief, something had to be done. I revisited my doctor, pretty much begging for some form of relief. I really needed to sleep tonight cause tomorrow I’m off to London, it would otherwise be a long long day.. I explained what has been happening with my previous course of meds.
Now, my doc suggested I should try another medication and writes me up a new script. This one should help solve my depression, insomnia and offer a level of calmness. He went on to explain that they work differently from any other antidepressants I had previously. The drug was called Remeron, the pharmacy gave me a generic brand (Mirtazapine 15mg). It’s a small, tiny yellow pill with a light score and the number 1 stamped on one end. To me, it didn’t look like much. But damyum! One pill before knocked me out for twelve hours flat. I slept right through the night like a baby. Dead from the world. I had wonder vivid dreams.
Thursday 5th Nov
The following morning I woke up bright and early. I had the most blissful sleep yet! I showered, dressed and groomed myself, ready to leave for the morning train London bound. For me, life felt like it had started to looking up. I felt energised.
Some time in my voice class I started to feel tiredness. I yawned several times through the two hour session. Tried my best to stay focused, drinking lots of water kinda helped. The previous energised feeling was short lived.
During the later parts of the afternoon I felt like I’m on a chemical high (again) with a weird floaty feeling in my step and a strong, very strong urge to collapse and to sleep, my mind was clearly not with it. A one point, I even nodded off for two to three stops on the London tube. All whilst I was standing up! Thankfully my friend was there, though she didn’t know what was happening with me, only that Im sleepy. Droopy like. I spent the evening dragging myself everywhere, trying to keep up with my friend. I wasn’t in the mood for clubbing, even though my friend attempted to get me into a few.. The problem was the noise… Everything sounded so damn loud and the street lighting was tack sharp and unusually bright!
On the way back. My initial idea was to sleep through the journey but that didn’t happen. I ended up chatting to my friend via text.. This kept me alert and focused; which was great!!
I arrived home after midnight. Ready for another shot. Again I slept through the night having beautiful vivid dreams… This time I slept for almost 22 hours, It felt more like a week! By the time I came to, it was 11pm, Friday night.
Tuesday 10th Nov
It’s now been about six days since I started on this new course of antidepressants. So far it’s working well. I’m getting uses to the morning drug residue and my body is adjusting slowly. I get a full night’s sleep, every night. The effects of the drug is pretty quick, usually I’ll start to drift off within an hour. Though I’m not able to wake up at the crack of dawn like before, instead I’m currently sleeping well into the mid-afternoons. However I’m super grumpy when ever I’m woken up unexpectedly and I didn’t feel the same type of calmness Hydroxyzine gave me but it’s still good.
Since starting this medication, I have read much about Mirtazapine and can confirm this medication is everything others has said it to be. I am certainly feeling more stable this past week. My appetite however remains low, I’ve not noticed any increase in food consumption yet. Though depending on how much I drink the previous night, I have noticed that I’m experiencing the occasional dry mouth. To solve this, I keep a bottle of filtered water within reach.
I’m hoping over the next few weeks I’ll gradually start getting beck to my normal productive life. Right now I’m just gonna take it easy. I will try to get myself back into the gym at some point…
So, currently all I’m taking is 15mg of Mirtazapine every single night till my doctors tell me other wise. The pharmacist supplying me those drugs mentioned my doctor will increase the dosage eventually. What sort of effects this will have remains to be witnessed. I am hopeful my quality of life will improve in time…. I will continue to post updates, as the week fly by.
I am grateful my specialists have decided not to put me on those “Z” medications, I don’t need an addiction right now as I know deep down I’ll in my heart, I have to remain strong, be a pillar of hope and wisdom for that one special someone I care deeply about. I believe she needs my loving support. I know here’s a challenge lying in wait and I’m committed in being the best that I can, even through these rough times.
Thanks to everyone who read this entry, I’m terribly sorry it’s soo long. I wanted to compile my day to day experience into a single entry. I hope the contents here will help someone else who is suffering from anxiety, depression, insomnia and stress.
Keep your chin up, there will always be better days. As I’m discovering..