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About justpete

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  1. So, I've been on Abilify for about 4 months, now, and I am glad to report that it actually does not seem to affect me in the way I was worried about. I don't drink heavily to begin with, but I can have 2 or 3 beers and not notice any stronger effect than before. Of course, I still urge everyone else to start slow and see how it affects you if you choose to consume alcohol while on this drug. Everyone is different, so be safe.
  2. I just started on Abilify 2mg a couple days ago, and I was wondering about people's experiences with consuming alcohol while on it. I know that the literature says to avoid alcohol while on it, and that it can intensify drowsiness and other side effects, but they say that about all of these medications. I just want to know if I can go out to the bar with my friends and have a few beers without passing out or acting erratic. Any first hand experiences with social drinking while on the drug? Thanks!
  3. I am doing very poorly right now. Last night I wrote in my journal -- scrawled, really -- "If I had access to a gun right now I'd be dead or dying." Thanfully, the lorazepam I had taken kicked in, and I fell asleep. I don't even really remember writing that. I was panicking alone in my apartment. I didn't realize I'd written it until the morning. Thanksgiving, and the stress around it, and the fact that someone I loved very dearly is no longer with me to celebrate with, made this past weekend more than I could bear. But it doesn't start there. In October of 2010, two days before halloween, I had a breakdown and series of horrific panic attacks, some of the worst I've ever suffered. Now I associate Halloween with them, and it's been horrible every year since. Then comes Thanksgiving. The in mid-December, a two-fer: one is a dear friend's birthday, again who is no longer with me, who I lost in a very painful way, and the second is when I first met the person I celebrated life (and Thanksgiving above, and Christmas to follow) with, who is no longer here. Follow that with Christmas, which is like Thanksgiving but twice, and then New Years, where all I do is turn off my phone and computer and sleep at my office to avoid contact with anyone because I can't stand the thought of another year, let alone a "happy" one. And then my birthday, just a few days later in January, where the celebrations are just for everyone else's enjoyment, but I would rather climb into a hole. I know I am being vague about details, but that's because I literally am unable to type out the words that would make it all clear. Suffice to say, I can't take the holidays. They hurt far too much.
  4. Has anyone here done exposure therapy before? What were your experiences? My anxiety and depression go hand in hand. Memories associated with a person tied to a place have led me to panic if I am forced to go near those places. This can be anything from, say, a business, to something as mundane as a street. Yes, an entire street. I have a memory associated with a person that took place on one specific block of a street, and now I suffer intense anxiety if I have to even cross that street, let alone drive down it. Unfortunately, this street is 11 miles long and cuts across a significant part of the city I live in. In other words, I have to cross it EVERY DAY. But, that's just an example. I have these memories associated with stores, bars, parks, entire neighborhoods... it's horrible. These are all places I used to love, and they've all been cut out of my life for over three years now. So, my therapist wants me to begin exposure therapy. Just the thought of it produced an anxiety attack in her office as we talked about it. Honest to God, the thought of it makes me physically ill. I haven't slept since my last appointment three days ago. We start next week by just building a list of these triggers. Not even facing them, just listing them. Even that has the anxiety building just writing this post. I can't imagine actually being able to go through with it. I don't even know what it involves, because I can't even bring myself to research what the process is like. I haven't been able to focus. I can't express how seriously afraid I am of the thought of facing these things. It's insane... but then, that's why I'm here, huh? Has anyone done this before? Please share your experience.
  5. When I finally decided to go to therapy, I didn't want to be there either. I just knew I had to. My first therapist and I didn't really click, and after 3 sessions, I just stopped showing up. I went another few months without going to therapy, but by then I was already on medication, so I had to maintain my relationship with my psychiatrist. After my psychiatrist got a better feel for who I was at the time, she recommended I see another therapist, and referred me to someone she thought would be a good fit. And she was right. I wound up staying with that psychologist for over three years, before she left the practice this past August. I suggest you keep at it with therapy. If you don't click with your therapist, ask for a referral to another one. I feel as though if I hadn't, I wouldn't be here today.
  6. I've been dealing with depression, in therapy and on medication for over three years now, and I still have not told anyone in my family. I just never thought it would last this long...
  7. I oversleep every day. Every day! No exceptions. I wound up setting up six alarms, all set to prime number minutes, starting an hour and a half BEFORE I actually need to get up, just so I can get up on time. It's not that I'm exhausted, it's that I just don't want to get up. I hit snooze on all those alarms, and since there are six of them, they're essentially going off non-stop. I know this sounds ridiculous, or like a joke -- I agree, it does! -- but I just can't force myself out of bed. On weekends, I'll sleep til 2pm. I won't shower til 5. I also have the lying-awake-unable-to-stop-thinking problem, but when it gets super bad, I'll take a lorazepam, and that usually helps me fall asleep pretty quickly. But then I still have the issue in the morning... Depression. Sucks.
  8. Even if you can no longer see her, I'm sure you can still call and leave her a message and ask her to call you back. I feel it is important for you to at least discuss this in some manner, even if only to express your thoughts over the phone. If for nothing else, it will help to feel a little less powerless over the situation. I do have to say, while it would definitely feel violating, keep in mind that ultimately it's not just that she is mandated to report, but really it's because, when all is said and done, she is looking out for your own safety. And please don't feel judged by police officers or medical staff. They know it's their job, and they've probably seen a whole lot worse than you. I've never had the cops called, but after a particularly hard therapy session, I did have my therapist and psychiatrist both lay out for me what would prompt them to, and why they would do so. They gave me the prevention hotline number in case I needed it, and set times for me to check in with them by phone before the next appointment, etc etc. At the time, I was mad and thought they were overreacting, but today I think back and realize that hey, there are people out there to be my safety net, even if I don't think I need it. Just keep it in mind. By the way, it never hurts to repeat it, but the national suicide prevention hotline is 1-800-273-8255
  9. If I miss a dose by three or more hours, the withdrawal is unbearable, and doesn't simply go away by taking the missed dose. Once the withdrawal sets in, it lasts for hours and hours. Oh man, indescribable. That said, after so many medications that didn't work, I have to say Effexor has been the most effective. Granted, I'm also on bupropion, lamotrigine and lorazepam (as needed). I'm going through a depressive episode right now, but overall, Effexor and therapy have brought me a long way from the truly dark place I was in not long ago. I'll stick with the side effects for now. I don't want to go back there...
  10. I feel like this all the time, it seems. However, it's not to see who misses me, or whatever. I just want to take a break. I remember one time early in therapy, I told my therapist I was so tired, emotionally and physically, and that I just wanted to go to sleep and not have to deal with everything. Little did I know that this is a red flag for suicidal ideation. But, I don't think that's necessarily what it is. It's just that the battle is so exhausting. It's not that I want to give up, it's just that I'm tired of the battle. I just need a break. But, I keep on keeping on. Well, as best I can, at least.
  11. So, I did go back. After straight up skipping an appointment with the new therapist a couple weeks ago, I went back on Monday. She had news for me... she, too, is leaving the practice. Guess that made that decision easy. Story of my life.
  12. Oh, sorry, I meant to say you'll have to force it. I didn't think I could, but once I realized it's literally a split second action, and doesn't require any immediate follow up, I found it coming somewhat naturally. Don't look at it as an emotional act. Think of it as a required task, like going to class, or eating. Eventually it just kind of starts happening. Keep in mind, we're all in somewhat of a similar boat here. I'm not some carefree happy go lucky guy here to tell you to cheer up, you can do it! I'm on these forums, after all. Stuff's not easy. There are definitely a ton of things I can't do. But a smile's not the hardest thing to do... or fake :D
  13. One of the easiest, and possible best things to try is, next time you see her, smile at her. Smile at her each time you see her for a few days. Even if it doesn't lead to her talking to you right away, you'll at least learn a bit of what's going on by how she reacts. If she smiles back, her body language, etc. It's all unconscious and very subtle. You won't even realize it, but after a few days of smiling at each other, you'll suddenly find your confidence has built a bit. This coming from a dude who also has anxiety issues surrounding talking to girls (or anyone, really). Smiles. Powerful things...
  14. Following up from my post above, I went to see my psychiatrist yesterday to discuss the sweating. Basically, she asked me to hang in there at least a little bit longer to see if it gets better, or at least reverts to the level it was at before, which was bearable. We discussed other medications as possible alternatives (pristiq, and another I forget the name of), but my insurance wouldn't cover them, and the costs were more than I could manage. So, looks like I'm going to be sweating a bit longer, which really sucks. Sweating during the summer is one thing, but it's begun to get cold here, and sweating in the cold is just about the most uncomfortable I've ever been.
  15. I've been on a slew of drugs for about three years now (bupropion, lamotrigine, venlafaxine, lorazepam (as needed)). Over those three years, I've gained about 50 pounds. I know some weight gain was due to just being depressed and not doing anything, but I know some of those medications can also cause weight gain. Anyway, fast forward to today when I'm starting to make progress, and no matter what I try, I cannot lose any weight. I already eat a pretty healthy diet, but with added exercise, I only lost 5 pounds in the past 3 months, and cannot break past that. I talked to my psychiatrist, and she said some of these medications cause us to want to "hold on to our calories more." I get it, but it still seems like exercise is exercise, and yes it might take more work, but I should be able to lose this weight. Anyone else having this problem? You get back to your pre-depression diet and routine, but no matter what, you just can't lose the weight? How did you overcome it, if you did? This added weight is depressing in and of itself. Just what I need :(
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