I just got back from my appointment with the doctor.
The whole thing was utterly nerve-wrecking. I’ve been waking up earlier than usual recently, so I spent most of the morning trying to distract myself with fun art things, then did some research on different medications so I’d have a rough idea of what each medication was when we were talking about them.
One “fun” thing about getting ready for mental-health related appointments is choosing precisely how to get ready. I know from seeing letters psychiatrists have writen about me that they do write about your appearance – make-up, clothing, hair – as well as your demeanour. Knowing this actually generates a lot of anxiety, as my first response when I’m anxious about something is to dress up – wear bright colours or full black, do my make-up, shower, wear perfume. But this can also lead to the (utterly wrong) conclusion that I’m not depressed at all. It depends what wins out – my anxiety, or my depression.
I might be wearing a clean outfit, but it might also be the only clean outfit I currently own. I might have picked my nicest dress simply because nothing else has been washed recently. I might be wearing make-up because I haven’t been looking after myself properly, so my skin is worse than usual. I might be struggling so I’ve worked through some DBT self-care techniques to help. I might not have showered for a week prior but forced myself to shower that day (or the day before) because I knew I was going out.
Or if I’m really, really at the bottom and depression has won out, I’ll wear my tatty FAIL hoodie (it’s a comfort item), a pair of jeans and might not have showered. I might only have woken an hour before the appointment so my brain will be sluggish.
(Note for those who know me in real life – if you see me and it’s, shall we say, obvious I haven’t showered or done laundry in a while, don’t be afraid to tell me! It’s actually helpful if I know because it can give me a kick up the butt to do something about it)
Today was definitely a day anxiety was winning out.
I got there slightly early. I always try for afternoon appointments as morning appointments are hard, but the doctors at that surgery always run later and later during the day, so even being there on time can lead to a twenty minute or half hour wait. I really hate waiting rooms. One woman was being impatient and pacing, refusing to sit. Another couple had an argument, then had a small make-out session. This all made me very anxious, as the waiting room is very echoey and I dislike noise.
The appointment went fine. Turned out her first choice was citalopram – I thought it would be as I’ve been on it before for a number of years, but I’d also stressed that my concentration was really bad on that drug and I didn’t really want to go back on it. He greeted me with, “so, did you get the citalopram?” which freaked me out. Luckily, she did actually have had a few alternatives down in case I didn’t want citalopram again (though the GP had to re-read the letter he’d obviously skimmed to realise this).
One was duloxetine, and the other was one neither of us knew (I think it was Moclobemide, but I have no idea why I’d be given an MAIO – maybe to avoid use of tricylics?). The GP didn’t want to give me duloxetine, because in his opinion it didn’t work, but I think neither of us knowing about the other one pushed him into it. I’m actually happy about this as it was one I’d highlighted in my mind as wanting to try.
I’ve just taken my first dose. I’m currently on one 20mg (cute little blue tablets! A relief after venlafaxines massive capsules) twice a day. I have never been this happy about the prospect of enduring the rough wave of side-effects for two weeks.
In general health news – aside from one or two hiccups I’ve managed to navigate successfully, eating better is continuing to go well, and I’ve lost some weight. Which is nice as the scales were tipping in at an embarrassingly high number – higher than I’ve ever been at!. I’m seriously impressed I’ve managed to keep it up considering how ill I was last week. I’m actually pretty sure the iron tablets are helping as the hiccup coincided with forgetting to take it for a few days.
I’m amassing a large collection of green tea. I’ve started making iced green tea in varying flavours (favourite so far as Green Tea with Orange and Lotus Flower), lightly sweetened with agave nectar, which is really nice when I fancy something cool to drink. I did an Asda Shop the other day online and found some skinny chai tea I’m pretty excited about trying, too.
All and all I’m on a very welcome upswing right now. Hopefully things will be back to normal soon!