Monday, January 16, 2006

Er... sorry about last year...

I haven't really blogged about this particular topic but, um, here's the thing.  Somewhere around the Christmas Shopping 2004 season, I started experiencing what we'll politely call a bit of a chronic pain thingie.

It took way way way way too long to get diagnosed -- but three doctors later, I finally got a diagnosis and a treatment, which involved (who knew?) taking antidepressants.  I'm not an antidepressant sort of person by nature, but, as I quickly learned (after much poking around on the internet) tricyclic antidepressants tend to work on chronic pain thingies.  (And, as I also learned on the internet, "we don't know why -- they just do.") 

So, I started on the antidepressants around last May -- I take a pretty high dose, but only at night.  I noticed a few behavioral effects ... mostly the added 25 or 30 pounds (side effects include "an increased appetite, especially for sweets" -- which translated into my sucking down a big box of Jujyfruits every two days).  Not that I had a really big problem with that.  Sure, I pretty much had to buy a whole new wardrobe, but it was nothing I couldn't deal with.  Because the tricyclic antidepressant actually WORKED for the chronic pain thingie, and I'm all about the no chronic pain thingie.

Somewhere around last September, my doc switched me to a different tricyclic (it promised less side effects) and told me to go three months pain free, and then taper off its usage.  It didn't work at all.  Still had the side effects AND the chronic pain thingie came back.  So I switched back to the old one and have been taking it solidly since October.

Which means that now, I've hit my three months pain free, so I'm tapering off the usage.

I've noticed a change over the past couple days -- mostly with my sleeping.  I woke up yesterday at 8:30, and today at 9:30.  Unbelievable.  Ever since I started on these things, I've been unable to wake up without my alarm clock before 10:30 (and, even then, it usually required the alarm clock -- sleeping til I woke up generally meant 1:00 in the afternoon).  And last night, I couldn't fall asleep cause a neighbor's windchimes kept me up.  Windchimes.  I heard windchimes and they bothered me. Wonder how long they've actually had the windchimes and I just didn't notice.  Falling asleep was never really an issue ever since I started taking these drugs.

I'm also just way more alert.  I feel it.  Not like I'm all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and all that.  I just feel more awake.  Don't want to lie down and sleep another 4 hours or anything.  Just want to get a move on the day.

I'd been aware, in some ways, that the antidepressants were having this sort of effect.  And I know there were definitely some days where it was obviously worse than others.  (Er, sorry again 'bout your Christmas party, Peg.)  But I don't think I've realized until just this morning exactly how much it was affecting me on a day to day basis.  Wow.

I may have to go back on them.  The tapering off thing has been "so far, so good" (knock wood) in terms in terms of the chronic pain thingie -- but the specialist suggested that they might not knock it out for good and she'll put me back on them if I have a relapse in the future.  (Boo on relapses.)  And I really need to emphasize that this is ok with me, because the exchange of these symptoms for no chronic pain thingie symptoms is so worth it -- I'll take the damn antidepressants every day for the rest of my life if that's what it takes.  I'm OK with that.

Still.  How amazingly wonderful it is to have a day or two that's been pain free and without the side effects of being highly medicated.  I hope I can do this more often.


pegluh said...

I'd still like to know why they can't just fix you without the meds.

lv2trnscrb said...

I like your attitude about being on antidepressants and realizing the side effects of weight gain without getting too upset about it. So many people need the help of them for either their moods or chronic pain like you mentioned and don't want to take them for fear of the weight gain.

I hope you will successfully be able to stay off of them.


helmswondermom said...

I hope you can feel that way more often, too.  Hopefully you won't have to go back on them, but if you do, you do.  Better not to have the pain and still be able to function.

andreakingme said...

Well, if you're talking about what I think you're talking about, I feel the same way you do. You've suffered long enough.

Here, have a cookie.