Tag Archives: medication

Trip Planning (or Keeping Panic To A Minimum)

This past weekend, I went to Maryland for a family reunion. I just got back last night so I’ll recap the trip tomorrow, but I wanted to share with you how my trip planning went.

I’m a pretty good traveler, but I get so nervous and panicky about things. I always want to make sure I remember everything and I know I overpack because I’m scared I’ll forget something that isn’t easy to find (like clothing). For years, I’ve taken panic meds before traveling (for a day or so before flying and then right before my flight to be ok with flying). But since I’ve been doing better with my panic attacks and my Vyvanse makes the panic meds not as effective, I’ve been trying to get through traveling without the meds. I’ve been doing ok with doing that at the dentist (which is a miracle), so it should be the same for traveling.

I tried to do all of the other things I do to prepare for traveling to keep myself calm. I made all of my usual checklists, I did all of my usual prep work (checking all my travel toiletries and supplies), and tried to plan for some fun things to do on the flights there and back. I flew there with my brother and sister-in-law, but I flew home by myself so I wanted to make sure I had plenty of new library books on my Kindle to read and other things to keep my mind off of flying.

I was doing pretty great with my prep stuff, until I started planning out my clothes. While I am used to occasionally having hot days in LA, we don’t have humidity like they do in Maryland. I wanted to make sure I had clothes that would do their best to keep me cool in 90 degree heat and 90% humidity. Most of what I packed were workout clothes since those wick away sweat (I know that’s gross, but it’s true). And my outfit for the reunion was a tank top and a skirt so I figured it should keep me a bit cooler than other things. But just knowing that I might be sweaty for the entire weekend stressed me out.

I don’t know why that got to me so much, but I really was stressing a lot about the clothes and what would and wouldn’t show sweat if I was gross. I know that everyone else might be just as gross and sweaty, but I still didn’t want to look that way. I think part of it is knowing that I don’t want to look like I’m sweating because of my weight. I don’t want to be that stereotype and while I’ve been making good strides in my fitness and weight loss, others don’t know that and I don’t want to be judged.

I was talking to my mom about this a bit last week before leaving and she helped to calm me down a bit. I said that I just wanted to make sure I was impressing everyone since outside of my immediate family I haven’t seen any of the people at the reunion for 5 or 16 years (or ever in some cases). My mom was telling me how it doesn’t matter whether or not I impress people. I’m living my life the way I want to and as long as I’m happy it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. I know I’ve known this, but having someone else tell me it made it finally register in my brain.

I really tried to focus on how awesome it’s going to be to be going on a trip and to see family that I haven’t seen in years. I’m so lucky that I had the opportunity to do this and I’m grateful that I got to go. These family reunions are held each year, but since everyone pretty much lives on the east coast they are always held there. And I usually don’t get to go so this time was really special. Focusing on those things did help me relax a bit and not feel like I really need to take my panic meds. I’d rather not have to take them anymore so testing myself is good for me. I’m so used to taking them, and trying to get off them is a good idea since I pretty much have to choose to take them or my Vyvanse (and I would rather be taking Vyvanse).

A full recap of my weekend in Maryland is coming and I can’t wait to share with you everyone that I got to finally see again!

With The Good Comes The Bad (or My Vyvanse-Free Weekend)

Overall, my weekend was pretty amazing. I had so much fun shooting “Single Parent Date Night” and even though the night shoot was tough, it was the greatest time ever! It’s been a long time since I’ve had to be up all night (and even longer since I’ve had to do it to act), so planning out my weekend was a bit weird and I really did try my best.

Even though I had to work early Saturday morning, I went back to bed after work to get some extra sleep in. And I made no real plans on Sunday because I wasn’t sure how I would feel or if I’d get any sleep. And I also readjusted the medications I take each day to plan for the all-nighter.

I was able to take most of my medications as usual. But I skipped taking Vyvanse on Saturday because I didn’t want to take it in the morning since I wanted to go back to bed after work and I didn’t take it in the afternoon because I honestly forgot. And since the time I got home on Sunday was the time I usually take my first Vyvanse dose, I skipped that one too. And since I skipped the morning one I skipped the afternoon one too on Sunday.

I know I’m supposed to take a break from Vyvanse from time to time, but this was different. I didn’t take the break because I wanted to, I took it because I needed to for the weird schedule I had over the weekend. I thought I had prepared myself for taking the break, but the planning wasn’t enough. And it actually backfired on me.

Saturday and Sunday ended up being 2 of the worst food days I’ve had in a long time. I honestly can’t remember the last time my food was as bad as these days were. I’m not sure if Saturday was also bad because of stress and Sunday was also bad because of exhaustion, but it doesn’t matter. And it didn’t help that our dinner break for the shoot was at midnight and we ate pizza (I was hungry otherwise I would have skipped it). Fortunately I didn’t feel too sick on Saturday, but Sunday felt like a food hangover all day (and continuing to eat “bad” foods didn’t help that feeling). The one good thing with all the bad food choices was that I really wanted to get delivery food on Sunday for dinner, but I managed to resist that and went to the grocery store for a better choice.

I don’t want to completely blame the lack of Vyvanse on these bad days, but I did feel a difference in my body even mid-day on Saturday. I wasn’t feeling as strong as I’ve felt recently and I just wasn’t able to focus properly (Vyvanse is also an ADHD medication so I guess it’s been helping me focus and not just helping me with the eating disorder). I really hated how I felt and I wanted to be in a positive mindset because of the filming that night. I think the excitement of the filming did help a bit, but it still wasn’t quite right to me.

While I’ve been wanting to believe that the Vyvanse was helping me, I never was 100% sure about it. I knew that there was a bit of difference in my life, but I’ve also been doing a lot of self-improvement work lately so I thought it could also be that. But spending the weekend off of Vyvanse really did prove to me that it is working and that it is the right thing for me to be on right now.

I was back to my normal medication schedule on Monday and eating did get better that day. I think now I’m back to being on track but of course my scale is reflecting my bad choices and that stinks. I’ve been making so much progress lately and it does feel like a giant step back. Eventually I’ll get back to where I was and I just have to be patient with myself.

Even though this was a really bad weekend with my food and recovery, the good really did outweigh the bad and I wouldn’t change anything about my weekend. But I did joke to my co-star (and writer of our film) that the next collaboration we have needs to be something that shoots during the day because the night shoot was so crazy for me.

Seeing My Therapist (or Building Habits)

I saw my therapist earlier this week. This was the first time that I had seen him in 6 months because he has been feeling like I’ve been doing a pretty good job lately. So he trusted me to be ok with a 6 month gap between appointments but let me know that if anything changed I could see him sooner if I needed to.

I had been feeling pretty good about this appointment lately. After my interview for the audition recently, I have really realized how much progress has been made and I knew that my appointment would be filled with positive news.

I had brought a couple of things with me to my appointment. Usually, I bring my happiness checklist, but I’m now using an app to track that so I made sure my phone was charged so I could show him if he wanted to see it. I also brought my Spark Planner with me. I’ve been tracking so much stuff in there lately and I wanted it to remind myself of anything as well as proof to show him if he wanted to see it.

The first thing discussed in my appointment was how I was feeling about Vyvanse. I think I’m doing pretty well on it and there was only one minor concern about things. I’ve been taking my larger dose in the morning and smaller dose at lunch, but I feel like maybe those should be switched. There is more time between lunch and bedtime than there is between breakfast and lunch. And since I’m not having sleeping issues with Vyvanse, I’m not worried about a slightly larger dose at lunchtime. My therapist agreed with me completely and my new prescription bottles will reflect that (for now, I just take the afternoon medication in the morning and visa versa until I’m using my refill).

After that check in, we discussed how I’ve been doing with my happiness checklist and other things. I told him how I had been using an app for the checklist since it’s easier and I always have it with me, and I think his biggest surprise is that I’ve continued to keep it up. He wrote down the name of the app (HabitBull) so he can tell other patients as well, so that made me feel pretty awesome.

And then we talked about my Spark Planner. I told him how I had been tracking a lot of stuff in there this year and I was showing off the various sections of it. I showed him where I can track my annual goals, monthly goals, and weekly goals and I think he was impressed that there is such a big focus on goal setting. It’s good for me to have goals to reach toward, so the more I can focus and have to think about my goals the better.

But what my therapist was most impressed with were the monthly challenges that are within the Spark Planner.

30 Day Challenges

I showed him the monthly challenges I’ve been doing and let him know that I’ve basically had 100% success with keeping up each challenge even beyond the month that I set the challenge for (the only one that hasn’t been 100% has been weighing myself in because I can only do that at home and I was in Santa Barbara for Rayshell’s wedding without my scale). And I know that I can’t do 100% perfection with all challenges for the rest of my life, but even if I only keep them up part-time these are all good habits that I’ve been building and that’s just awesome.

And habit building is exactly what my therapist wants me to focus on over these next 6 months. The more I build positive habits in my life, the more likely that recovery from my eating disorder will become a positive habit eventually. While the individual habits are sometimes recovery related, even the non-recovery ones are helping me get into a better space in my life and to build my habit building muscles up so that I can use them for whatever I need to.

I knew when I bought my Spark Planner that it was going to be a good thing for me, but to know that my therapist thinks that this is what will help me get to recovery one day is amazing. I’m still figuring out what recovery really means to me (and that’s something I did discuss with my therapist), but I’m feeling even better that recovery is in my future one day.

At the end of my appointment, I felt incredible and on cloud 9. My therapist even said that in some ways, I’m doing better than he is and he needs to get better and doing some things like I’m doing now. For me, so much of my habit work is having something to remind me to do it. I have so many alarms/reminders set on my phone so I know to do something. If I didn’t have that, I would easily forget and that’s what life was like before. There’s no shame in needing to be reminded to do something, but for some reason I was not willing to do that before.

But now that I’m fine with the dozens of alarms on my phone, I’m making sure I’m getting my new habits done and I’m excited to see how I’ll be doing in 6 months when I see my therapist again.

“BLUE” (or Supporting A Friend’s Film)

This past weekend, I got to attend the premiere of my friend Robert’s film. This was something that I know he had been working really hard on, and I was so excited to see the finished product. So I had been counting down the days to the screening!

Robert worked with Marie and Chris (the epic party throwers) on this project, so a lot of people attending the screening were the same people who I see at lots of parties throughout the year. That made the event even more fun and I think everyone shared my excitement about it!

The film that Robert and Chris did is called “BLUE” and it is a very personal story for Robert. It shows people what it is like living with depression and how it can rule your life even if you are doing something fun or that you love. Depression in the film was represented by Blue, a puppet, and I think it was a really great way to show people what mental illness is like.

Blue

Technically, I was diagnosed with depression when I was younger, but the more I’ve learned about mental illness and depression I believe that I was actually misdiagnosed. I think my depression was a side effect of my panic/anxiety disorder. The panic attacks made me sad and I didn’t know how to make things better. That depression is very different from when people are diagnosed with depression, but I can still relate to the concept of the film.

While I don’t deal with my panic/anxiety on a daily basis, I do live in fear for when the next attack will be. Fortunately, they are getting better now so I’m not in as much fear as I was before. But I’m still wondering when the bubble will burst and I’ll have a horrible panic attack that causes me to not be able to do anything for a day or so. That feeling is similar to what some people with depression feels when they wonder when their next down time will hit them.

I loved this movie! It’s short, but the message is very effective and clear. I think it’s a great way to show others what mental illness can feel like and how we can feel crazy when we can’t just forget about it. And I think that everyone else who viewed it felt the same way because everyone was just so touched after the end credits were done.

And because my friends Robert and Chris are so amazing, they have posted the movie on YouTube for everyone to see and share.

(if you can’t see the video above, click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rk_D9x5BeRI)

I hope that you all take a few minutes to watch this movie and to share with everyone you know. Let your friends who have a mental illness know that you are trying to understand them. And let your friends without mental illness know that they should watch this so that they can try to understand their friends who battle this every day.

After the screening, Robert had arranged for a photographer (Adam, who did my last headshots!) to take photos of us with the puppet who was in the movie. I love photo booth set ups and this one was so much fun! And of course, taking photos with a puppet is a pretty awesome thing too.

Me and Blue

Adam also took some fun candid shots before and after the screening. Most of them haven’t been posted yet, but I love this one of a bunch of us in the backyard before the screening started.

Party

After the screening and photos, most of us hung out in the backyard just chatting like normal. But it wasn’t like normal because everyone was more open than I think we’ve ever been before. We were discussing some more serious things than we normally do and there was no shame in what anyone had to say. This movie really did bring us all closer together even though we were already pretty close to begin with. I think anything that helps to remove the shame from any mental illness is such a gift and I’m so glad that Robert and Chris did this so we could feel more open with each other.

If you deal with depression or mental illness, please know that you aren’t alone. There are so many of us out there who know exactly what you are going through and maybe not everyone is ready to share that with the world. By being willing to share, you might inspire others to share and be open too (I experienced that with this blog).

And if you are dealing with mental illness and want help, please get it. There is no shame in needing someone to talk to or medication to make things better in your life. You may find a way to live a fuller life by getting help, and that is something you don’t want to miss out on.

I’ve Made Progress (or I Think My Therapist Will Be Proud)

Yesterday, I had a phone interview/audition for a commercial about people who have binge eating disorder. I actually had auditioned for this commercial last year when it was slightly different, but when I saw they were shooting again I submitted myself.

Typically for auditions you don’t have a phone interview, but since for this project you have to prove that you have been diagnosed with BED by a doctor and meet other requirements that aren’t normally an issue with commercials, the phone interview is the first step.

I’ll start by saying that I’m not going to get the audition for this because they need to fit certain age and size requirements right now, and I’m not a match for that. It’s not a big deal and I’m totally ok with not being able to audition because I got so much out of this phone interview.

The woman I spoke with yesterday was actually the same woman who I spoke to last year for the phone interview and audition I had. It was nice to catch up quickly with her and she was excited that I had submitted myself again for the project (I was afraid that they wouldn’t want me to since I didn’t get it last year, but I figured it was better to try than not to).

The phone interview first covered a lot of technically stuff. You do agree that you are willing to share medical information with the production team (if you got the commercial, it wouldn’t be public so your privacy is protected) and you have to agree that you are ok with sharing the fact that you do have binge eating disorder. Since I share that on here, I have no issues with saying that in a commercial. I think that most people aren’t as comfortable being public with things as I am, and I understand why the casting team wants to check with the people they are talking with to make sure they know how public it will be.

After going over that I was diagnosed by a doctor, we went over what treatments I’m doing for my eating disorder. I mentioned that I’m still taking Vyvanse and that I’ve finally been seeing some progress with it. I think a lot of the progress is due to some personal development I’ve been doing along with the monthly challenges in my Spark Planner. But to be honest, until I had to share what things were like before versus what they are like now, I didn’t realize how much progress I’ve made.

My eating disorder is not gone (I still wish it was and I know that it is not a totally realistic goal to have), but my episodes are less frequent. The reduction has not been as much as I would have liked it to be, but anything is better than nothing. I’ve also had more clarity lately about things. I’m not letting myself stay down about stuff as long as I would have in the past. If I have a bad meal or bad day, I’m getting back on track a lot faster than I would have before. I’m not waiting until the next week to fix things.

I haven’t seen my therapist is almost 6 months now. When I last saw him, the plan was to go 6 months and to see what that brings. Of course, if I felt like I needed to see him sooner I could have made an appointment. But the past few months have been pretty awesome for me. And when I see my therapist again next week, I think he is going to be pretty happy with the progress I’ve made and hopefully he can help me plan out how to not just continue with what I’m doing but to continue making steps toward whatever recovery will end up being for me.

My Medication Routines (or Feeling Like An Old Lady)

Growing up, I didn’t take any medication or supplements on a regular basis. I took medication when I was sick (and since I got strep throat multiple times a year that did feel like a regular medication), but beyond when I was sick I didn’t take anything. Not even a multi-vitamin. It just wasn’t something that my family did and since I ate a pretty decent diet there was no need for any supplements.

The first time I had to take a medication on a regular basis was right before I turned 18. When I was getting ready to leave for college, I had a doctor’s appointment where I was checked out and got up-to-date on immunizations. One of the things they check for is TB. This is done by a skin test where they inject a little amount of a TB protein under your skin and then you return a few days later and they measure the bump. My senior year of high school I did tutoring at low-income schools and I must have been exposed to TB because my test came back positive for TB exposure. Even though I had my tutoring job, it was pretty unexpected that I would test positive for exposure and since I was leaving for college soon we had to get everything in order quickly.

I had a chest x-ray and tested negative for TB (most people with exposure don’t have the disease), but I was still required to take a year of medication to make sure that my exposure remained dormant in my body. That was a year of medication (which my body didn’t react well to) and a year of a B6 supplement because the medication can cause a deficiency. I had to do this the first time I was living away from home, so I took it seriously and never missed a dose. I knew that I needed to take the medication for a real reason and I didn’t want to make any mistakes or have to extend how long I was taking it for any reason.

Since then, the only other medication I took on a regular basis outside of painkillers for my hip was birth control. This of course changed when I started on Vyvanse. Then I was taking 2 medications in the morning and that wasn’t too bad or difficult to manage. Then my Vyvanse dosage increased and I started taking one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Once I started the afternoon dose, I had to add melatonin to my routine and take that before bed (the Vyvanse can make it difficult to sleep).

Taking medications 3 times during the day isn’t always easy to remember, so I have an app to remind me to take my mid-day and nighttime things (it’s easy for me to remember my morning stuff). It’s actually pretty nice to have an app to remind me especially at night because it’s a reminder to turn off the tv or stop doing whatever I’m doing and start getting ready for bed. Since using the app, I’ve been able to get to bed earlier on a regular basis and I know that even without the melatonin I’m sleeping better now (so that’s a bonus!).

But lately I’ve been working on other things that can help my health and that has included taking supplements. I’ve tried many times to take a multi-vitamin, but my stomach can’t really tolerate them. But I discovered that I don’t have the same stomach issues with the gummy ones, so I take those now. My mom recommended that I start taking Zyflamend and some sort of oil, so I started those. I tried fish oil, but my body wasn’t feeling good on those so I switched to flax oil. And then the new hip surgeon recommended I add glucosamine so I got some online and started taking them yesterday.

My mid-day and nighttime pill routines haven’t changed, but now I’m taking so much stuff in the morning to keep me at my best.

Morning Medicine

I know that some people don’t believe in supplements, but I don’t think they are doing any harm to me so I figure that even a minor benefit will be worth it. And it takes me so little time in the morning to take everything so it’s not a big inconvenience to my life.

But I never thought I would be someone who takes a ton of pills each day. That always seemed like an old person thing and I don’t think I’m that old yet. But it seems that more people my age are looking into more supplements now than people did when I was younger, so it makes sense. Hopefully all of these things will help me as I’m working on my recovery and will keep my body at its best for as long as possible.

A Year On Vyvanse (or Help Is Expensive)

I’ve been taking Vyvanse for just about a year now. It’s crazy to think that a year ago I started my journey with this medication and my therapist. And while I’m still struggling, I’ve made some significant progress over the past year.

When I started Vyvanse, I had so many hopes that this would make all my binge feelings go away and I would be “normal”. And for the first few days that was exactly what it felt like. But then my body adjusted to the medication and while it does help quite a bit, it’s not the miracle drug that I secretly hoped it would be. Over the past year, we’ve adjusted my medication a few times. I started at 20mg a day and right now I’m at 50mg a day (30mg in the morning and 20mg at lunchtime). There is a chance that things will be adjusted again when I see my doctor in a couple of months, but for now I’m happy where I am.

While I’m so grateful that I was approved to be on this medication, I know how lucky I am. Not everyone does get approved even if they have a history of binge eating disorder. I think you need to prove to the doctor that you are working on things yourself and not expecting the medicine to do all the work for you (similar to getting approved for weight loss surgery). I think the fact that I was doing a regular workout routine helped show my doctor that I am working toward a healthy lifestyle and one of the things holding me back from achieving what I want is my eating disorder.

I’m also grateful that my parents have been willing to help me with the expenses related to the medication. I do have health insurance (which got so much cheaper after the Affordable Care Act since I have so many pre-existing conditions), but I still have to pay for prescriptions. My medication co-pay is $50 a month. And I have to pay that for 2 different strengths of Vyvanse, so each month costs $100. And on top of that, I have a deductible for my prescriptions. Thankfully, I maxed when I refilled 1 strength of Vyvanse the other day. But it still made it extremely expensive ($250 for the deductible and another $150 for the prescription). It will be just the co-pay for the rest of the year, but $100 a month for a medication that isn’t required for my health is something to really think about.

I’m thinking about talking to my doctor when I see him in a few months about either going back down to 2 20mg pills a day or up to 2 30mg pills a day. That way, I only have 1 prescription per day and it will be half the price I have now. Money isn’t the best reason to ask for a prescription to be changed, but I at least want to bring up the concern to my doctor.

Outside of the help that I’ve gotten from the medication, there have been so many positive steps I’ve made in the past year toward my recovery. Before, my recovery was a passive effort. I tried, but I wasn’t trying that hard. Now, I have changed how I track my food. Not having to see the calories has allowed me to have 100% accurate food tracking with no stress. I’ve been listening to podcasts about recovery and reading books to help me. These are things that I should have done years ago but haven’t. While the books I’ve got aren’t free, I wait until they are on sale to buy them. And of course, the podcasts are free to that saves some money.

It’s sad that for me to get help it costs as much as it does. But I’m spending a lot less than many people do. For people who don’t have prescription coverage (or as good of coverage as I do), Vyvanse can cost significantly more than what I’m spending. I’m lucky that my appointments with my doctor only require my co-pay and nothing extra. And I’m not in an in-patient facility (which can be thousands of dollars a day). It’s not making my money issues worse because my parents are helping, but that’s also a lucky break I have. I wish that more things were available and free (or cheap) to help with recovery from a binge eating disorder. I feel in the next few years that maybe there will be more offerings as more people are diagnosed or aware of this eating disorder.

For now, I’m happy where I am a year into this new plan and hopefully the next year will bring even more progress toward recovery and hopefully an idea of how to maintain the progress I have made so far.

Replacing My Scale (or Somehow It Wasn’t A Big Deal To Me This Time)

I’ve seriously had a love/hate relationship with the scale. I refuse to look at any scale other than my own because I know that the scale might not be calibrated correctly and I’m not being weighed in the condition that I always weigh myself in (which is first thing in the morning after going to the bathroom and before I eat or drink anything). If I have to get weighed in somewhere (like at the doctor or for an Orangetheory challenge), I do blind weight where I step on the scale backwards and don’t find out what it says.

I’ve had panic attacks related to my scale. If I have to replace it, I feel like all the effort I had previously put into my weight loss is worthless because the new scale might weigh me differently than the old one. I’m aware how crazy that sounds, but panic attacks aren’t rational and that’s really what my crazy brain thinks. So I’ve gone months in the past without a working scale (which doesn’t help my panic attacks either because I’m terrified I’ve gained a ton of weight and don’t know it), or I search high and low for the exact same scale I previously owned thinking that somehow that would make a difference.

I don’t know when this issue with the scale started, but it’s been like this for a very long time. So when my scale was acting weird I got really nervous. I would step on the scale and a variety of error messages came up. But since it would eventually zero out I thought I could weigh myself. But I would get such an extreme range of weights from the scale. It could start at 375 pounds and then go down to 17 pounds and everything in between. So I knew that something wasn’t right and it needed to be fixed.

First, I changed out the batteries thinking that it would fix the issue. But even with the new batteries I had the exact same error messages (mainly it was an overload message which shouldn’t have happened because the scale is good up to 400 pounds and I’m not near that weight at all). So since the new batteries didn’t work, I immediately went on the search for a new scale and was scared that it would take a long time to be ok with a new one.

I’m shocked that I went onto Amazon, found a scale with decent ratings, and felt totally ok ordering it right then and there. Because of Amazon Prime the new scale was at my doorstep early the next morning and the old scale went immediately into the trash.

New Scale

As soon as the new scale was set up (I’m happy that it came with batteries so I didn’t have to buy them), I stepped on it. I weighed 4 pounds more than I did on my old scale, but that’s ok. That is my new current weight and as long as this scale keeps working that will be the weight that I will be working with.

It was as simple as that. No panic attacks (although I was mad that my scale broke and the company had gone out of business so I couldn’t get a replacement or any help) and I’m fine with the new scale. I don’t know what changed in my life to make this so much easier than all the other times I’ve had to do it in the past. I still plan on doing blind weights when I’m not at home, but I know that doing that will keep me from worrying what the scale says at other places or under other conditions. I wish that so many other things that cause me panic attacks or anxiety could go away for no reason like this did. So many things would be so much easier if that happened, but I know that it’s a bit of an unrealistic dream.

I’ve got a few other things coming up that have always caused me panic that I haven’t had to deal with recently (more on that in another post) and I’m cautiously optimistic that somehow they will be easier for me now. I had that experience at the dentist recently and there really is no reason for it. I’m wondering if it has anything to do with the Vyvanse dose I’m taking. It’s supposed to make my panic/anxiety disorder worse, but maybe it’s making it better?

I can only hope that that’s true.

I Support Depression Screenings (or Why Must People Shame Others?)

There was an announcement made the other day about the idea that pregnant women and new mothers should be screened for depression. When I read this, I loved the idea right away. 10% of new moms will have some sort of depression and I know that there isn’t always a lot of help that is offered right away. My friends who have had babies have said that the first few weeks after birth can be lonely because they are in their own bubble with the new baby. And if they are depressed and in that isolation, it can be a horrible combination.

I think we are all familiar with some of the horrible stories of when postpartum depression is undiagnosed and new mothers do something drastic like hurt themselves or their children. While screenings can’t prevent all of these incidents, they can help limit them. And knowing that everyone is being screened for depression may help take some of the stigma off of it for new moms.

I don’t have any children, but the idea of postpartum depression has been something I’ve thought about. I have been diagnosed in the past with depression (I still debate if that was the correct diagnosis or if it was really my panic/anxiety disorder being misdiagnosed). While I was being treated for depression my doctor asked me if I was on birth control. When I told her that I was she seemed relieved. I was told that the hormonal changes that come with pregnancy could be pretty bad for me and could make my depression worse. I did some research on postpartum depression and it seems like it’s manageable if diagnosed and treated. Now that I’m not sure if I’ve ever had depression I’m not as worried about it as I was before. But it will be something I bring up when I have kids in the future.

But if people aren’t too familiar with depression and have postpartum depression, they might not know that this is something that can be helped or fixed. And having this screening for new moms will help make sure that everyone is ok.

But after this new announcement, an author shared on Facebook her thoughts about it and it made me pretty mad.

PPD

This is a horrible statement to make. Being diagnosed with depression doesn’t automatically mean getting medication. When I was diagnosed with depression I didn’t get medication. I only got medication after I was diagnosed with panic/anxiety disorder and then it’s only medication that I take when I need it (which isn’t often). Medication is not the only way to treat depression and in fact it’s rarely the first option.

Saying that all hormonal changes are normal will make women who are suffering from postpartum depression think that they can’t get help or that doctors will ignore their symptoms. Saying that meditation, prayer, nutrition, or love will fix it will make women who don’t see results from those things feel even worse about their depression. Sometimes you need to see a doctor, sometimes you need talk therapy, and yes sometimes you need medication.

As far as I know, none of my friends with kids have had postpartum depression. But if they did, I would have supported them in any way I can. I know that mental illness is not something that you can just wish to go way. You need to get help and there’s nothing wrong with that. And hopefully anyone affected gets the help they need and get through this. Depression is something you can overcome, even if sometimes it feels like you can never get out of the hole you feel trapped in.

If you or someone you know has postpartum depression or is struggling, please reach out and get help. Help is out there for you.

Less Panic At The Dentist (or Am I Finally Over This?)

I had to go in for one of my regular cleanings at the dentist on Monday. I’ve talked about my issues with the dentist before and I hate that I’ve had this problem for so many years. I wish I could be someone who doesn’t think twice about going to the dentist and just shows up and gets the cleaning done with.

But instead, I get horrible nightmares relating to my teeth for the week or so leading up to the appointment (usually they are about my teeth falling out or having massive holes in them). And the morning of the appointment my stomach is horribly upset and my heart is racing. I feel sick until after the hygienist (who is awesome and knows how to deal with my panic attacks) tells me that there is nothing that concerns her. Then I just deal with minor stress through the rest of the appointment (she could always change her mind and see something bad with my teeth) and don’t feel stress free until I’m paying the bill (which I think is what most people get stressed about).

This appointment had to be rescheduled from earlier this month and the only time they could fit me in was in the afternoon. I usually like morning appointments so I can get it over with, but it wasn’t going to work that way for me. So I did my best to get through my day (including a morning workout at Orangetheory) and tried to not freak out too much.

Because I’m on Vyvanse (which is a stimulant), my panic medication (which is a depressant) isn’t as effective as it could be. If I was smart that day, I would have used that day as a day off of Vyvanse and just taken my panic meds. But I didn’t think things through. I took both my morning and lunchtime Vyvanse before my appointment and made sure that I was properly panic medication medicated before going to the dentist.

On a random note, I found out that one of the dental assistants at my dentist’s office isn’t there anymore. She was the one who would always call me before an appointment and remind me to take my medication. She saw me before I started taking it and she joked that she never wanted to see that crazy side of me again. I was pretty out of control at one major appointment and I know it isn’t fair for anyone there to have to deal with me when I’m in the middle of a horrible attack. But I’ve always properly medicated myself since then so I saw her reminders as just something funny and a joke between us.

When I got to the office, my heart was racing and I was shaking and sweating. It wasn’t pretty. And I had to wait a bit for my appointment which seemed to make things worse. Thankfully, when I sat in the chair I was able to relax a bit.

It does help that the hygienist changed the order of the cleaning so that it’s easier on me and my panic attacks. It’s all minor stuff she did, but it’s made a major difference for me.

And I’m shocked to report that even with the higher dosage of Vyvanse plus having taken both pill prior to my appointment that this was the easiest appointment I’ve had in years! I don’t know what changed, but I stopped panicking within a few minutes of the cleaning starting. I usually have bruises on my wrists or arms from where I pinch myself to not focus on the cleaning, but I’m bruise-free! And I’ve had appointments where after I’m done my body aches from shaking through the entire appointment. But this time I don’t know if I was shaking at all!

I don’t get why things are easier on me now. It really should be the opposite. And I’m not over my issues with the dentist because my morning was just as bad as it’s ever been. I just was able to feel normal again much sooner than I usually can.

I really hope that this is a new trend for me. If I can get to the point where I’m only panicking before arriving at the appointment, that would be a huge victory for me! I know that if I need major dental work again in the future that the panic attacks may come back stronger than ever (it was a major dental work appointment that started the attacks). And because genetically I have bad teeth it is very unlikely that I won’t need major work in the future.

But for now, I’m thrilled with the progress I’ve made so far and I’m glad that I don’t have to be back at the dentist for 4 months!