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Really Don't Know How To Label This

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This is the first time I've ever posted to a forum like this. I usually vent to my husband who has his share of advice and thinks he's helping me, but sometimes it feels like he doesn't understand what I'm going through. But I feel like I'm letting him down each time I have one of, what I've dubbed, "episodes."

Roughly 10 years ago, out of the blue I had a sleepless night. I thought nothing of it. Came home from work early and then took a nap. But then it continued and continued. Soon I was obsessing about not getting a night's sleep. So I went to the doctor and got put on Paxil, got Ambien and went with it. I had just moved in with my soon-to-be husband at that time, was planning a wedding and really wasn't happy in my job. So I chalked it up to good old stress. After about a year on the A/D, quitting my job and feeling the stress had died down, I seemed OK. Eventually I weaned off of the Paxil, partially because of the weight gain and the stigma of being on an antidepressant.

My next episode occurred when I gave birth to my son about 5 years later. I had terrible post-partum depression. I think part of it was brought on by my lack of sleep and the old fears of insomnia that were still somewhere in my head. I ended up going back on an A/D, a different one my OB/GYN prescribed for the post-partum and was seeing a cognitive-behavioral therapist. But she and I didn't click, and neither did the medicine. I was a mess -- wasn't eating, hated the baby, couldn't sleep, cried all the time. My husband didn't know what to do with me. I saw one psychiatrist who was useless, and then ended up going to another psychiatrist who did some talk therapy with me and put me on Prozac. The Prozac eventually helped I spent over a year talking with him, but didn't feel like the therapy itself was doing anything.

On and off in between I've had some other relapses. I've had several instances where I wean myself off of the A/D, have a good run for a while, but then relapse into another insomnia episode that triggers my depressive feelings. I was off Prozac for my entire pregnancy with my second daughter, but went back on it directly after as a precautionary measure against another post-partum depression event.

I do think that depression and anxiety is part of it, and I have a relatively negative attitude a lot of the time and get angry mood/swings often. I recently tried a new birth control pill and the hormones really messed me up. I was violent, angry and yelled. I do a lot of yelling and get bent out of shape for nothing sometimes. I think most of my problems are linked to this stupid fear I have of insomnia. The idea is always in the back of my head that maybe this will be the night that I don't fall asleep and the cycle will begin anew. I dream of a hypnotist putting me under and taking out the negative thoughts -- somehow I haven't managed to reprogram my brain not to think this way. I don't sleep in the same room as my husband, fearing any little noise or his snoring will keep me up and trigger panic. I don't enjoy going on vacations or sleeping out because of the different environment. Two days ago my daughter was fussing at night and stressed me out. I couldn't fall asleep. Naturally the insomnia thoughts crept back in and now it's been 3 days of crappy nights' sleep only alleviated slightly by a few extra Xanax pills I had from an old prescription.

I have an appointment with my GP tomorrow. I really don't know what to do at this point. I get fixated, very blue and then out of control over all of this. I hate what I do to my husband and kids when I'm like this. I'm not a good mom. I really beat myself up about it and I can't concentrate on anything else. I don't want this to ruin Christmas.

Pills work for me. The A/Ds work. I just feel guilty taking them, like I'm less of a person for doing it. I crave a doctor telling me that it's OK to be on these for the duration. That, like my cholesterol medicine, it's a maintenance drug that just keeps me healthy. But a little voice (and the crapload of information on the Internet) really adds to the frustration and anxiety that pills are a crutch. I'm 35 and I'm still worried about what others think.

Thanks for listening to my rant. I'm sure you know what nervous energy does to your thought processes, so I apologize if this post seems manic. I'm working on 4 hours of sleep and feel very anxious. If anyone has words of advice, I appreciate it. Will see what yet another doctor says. I know there is never an easy fix, but I just want to feel good from now on and not have this nagging monkey on my back!

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There is nothing wrong with needing to be on medication. Mental illness is no different than physical illness in that if you need medication to be healthy, then you need it. You are no less of a person for being on meds.

I know personally, I will be on psychiatric medication for the rest of my life. And I'm OK with that. Without my meds, my life would be intolerable.

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My ex-husband used to say taking meds was crutch. Needless to say, that's one of the reasons he's my EX! LOL.

I am like AquaViolet in that I know I'll always be on medication for my anxiety. I'm OK with that because the alternative is too awful to contemplate!

So, tell yourself that the meds are good, and that you are a good person and are helping yourself by taking them. It's the truth. You are being kind and helpful to yourself. You'd help other people, right? Why not yourself?


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I can relate with the insomnia. I'm dealing with depression, anxiety, PTSD also and don't feel guilty if I need meds to cope, although I don't advertise it to my friends or family either. I'm trying some natural supplements which do seem to help with falling asleep at night and relaxing (a supplement that contains L-theanine, 5-htp, GABA and melatonin along with L-tryptophan and I just started passion flower, I alternate trying to see what works best). I still can't sleep longer than an hour or so at a time and I know how aggravating it can be. I'm also on the maximum dose of Ambien. My doc thinks I can't sleep because I was in a coma in 2008 from a seriouos illness and had to be hospitalized again last year for stomach problems and that that triggered kind of a PTSD situation from being so sick in 2008. When I start to fall into a deep sleep, I think I'm slipping back into a coma and jerk myself back to consciousness. It's frustrating.

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Thanks everyone for the support. :whatsthat:

I also think a big part of my problem is that I have to figure out the "hows" an "whys" to everything. Like, is there a trigger that causes me to have a relapse? Am I just psyching myself for it to happen. Is the fact that for my job I spend hours browsing the internet for every imaginable topic and I just have too much misinformation at my disposal?

I haven't yet figured out if my insomnia is the cause of my depression or the depression is the cause of the insomnia. Or if there's even depression at all and it's more anxiety. I don't think I've been properly labeled, and likely never will. All I know is that any night I have a tough time settling down I work myself up into a frenzy. I think I'd rather have a root canal than a sleepless night and feel that panic. So maybe it's a little PTSD type thing, too. Recalling past bad moments.

Anyway, I just got back from the doctor. As suspected he's going to put me on an antidepressant again. I've mostly taken Prozac with good results, but he wants me to try the newer one Pristiq because it has less of a chance of weight gain as a side effect. Considering my cholesterol is high and I'm slightly overweight already (probably from my on-and-off of Prozac over the years), I'm going to give it a shot. I'm usually of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mindset, but the doctor wants me to try it. He probably gets a kick-back from the pharmaceutical company or something for writing a script -- who knows. I have to hope he has my best interest in this. I've also gotten some Ambien to help me through until I'm feeling more relaxed from the A/D. We'll see how it all goes. I'd really like the find the magic answer. When will they discover a button to turn off your restless mind? Maybe when we're Darth Vader-eque robot humans, I guess. Probably not in my lifetime.

I'm not thrilled about being on an antidepressant again, but I want to sleep and not worry about sleep. Unlike other phobias, like planes or spiders, it's not like you can avoid going to bed at night, right? I also just want to feel consistently happy and not fly off the handle for stupid things. So here we go on this crazy train again.

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I'm kind of in the same boat that you are right now. My insomnia has come back with a VENGEANCE since I got off the Zoloft. I've always had insomnia, but while I was on Zoloft it was nonexistent. Then after I got off it, wow, came back worse than ever. I hate it because when I don't get a good nights sleep, I am anxious and irritated the next day. Even my wife sees it, and it's not fair to me to take it out on her.

My pdoc also wants me to figure out how to combat this insomnia. He says it's extremely important for my brain chemistry to get a full, good nights rest. I tend to agree. I told him about how the Zoloft helped so much, but do I want to get back on an AD just to help me sleep? I don't know. In a way, I'd actually feel relieved to be back on Zoloft again because it worked great and I slept so well. Plus, my anxiety has come back pretty bad lately. It's not the panic attack, high anxiety kind, but rather a very low level, irritating type of anxiety. Some days it's not there, but most it's just enough to "feel" it and I'm really at the end of my rope with it.

I certainly hope you can find something that works. If it means getting back on an AD don't be upset about it. These meds really can and do help many, MANY of us. I know some people are against them, but overall they can be a great tool for us to manage our mental health. Unfortunately like you said, there is no magic cure. Maybe some day. Until then though, I'll take all the help I can get.

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I am going through something of the same thing but with digestive disorders. I am unable to tell what has caused what. And like you obsessing over your insomnia, I am obsessing over anything related to my digestion.

The title of your thread caught me because it's a hard thing to label. What's happening is the brain is obsessing over something. Anxiety and depression get the most press but 'Obsessive Disorder' doesn't get much mention, though it should because it is intertwined with both the aforementioned disorders. Obsessive thinking is a complex problem to approach, sometimes it's even a difficult thing to articulate. But the obsessive thinking is what's causing all the problems and like anxiety and depression, once the ball starts rolling, it is hard to stop. Pretty soon, you're thought patterns center around the thing you are obsessing about. You are now unintentionally feeding the monster and don't know how to stop it.

I have my doubts as to whether or not a medicine can cure this. I believe it takes cognitive therapy, sometimes just on an individual level---getting your mind off what you are obsessing about. Sit in a darkened room and just try and be, without thinking. Ward off thinking. This helps to give you back control over your thinking. Or use a technique called visualization and visualize yourself falling asleep.

There are limits to what medication can do. Obsessive Disorder perhaps needs a more cognitive approach. Like Pavlov's dog experiment, we learn that the brain learns and makes associations and then becomes like a machine---it creates the fear and it produces the response, and keeps going in that matter. Something has to break that association. Something has to swing the pendulum in a different direction. I believe it's the individual that has to gain back control of his thinking and that only be achieved through effort i.e. medication and cognitive techniques.

Edited by absurd01
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Trazodone will help you sleep. It's helping me with my chronic insomnia, anxiety and depression. For insomnia, it works immediately. But, don't take it on an empty stomach or you will feel drugged-up. I take half a 50 mg. about a half-hour before bed with a high-protein snack (such as a mozzerella stick), then if I wake up in the night or too early in the morning, I take the other half. I am GRATEFUL. Doctors tried to steer me to more complicated meds that take time to build up in your system, which I tried, but Trazodone was prescribed for me after my father's 1990 suicide, and it worked then right away, so I finally insisted upon it recently. "But no one uses that anymore; its' so old" (and CHEAP, I might add, another plus if you're paying out-of-pocket), to which I replied, "Well, somebody is, because they're still making it." It got me off Xanax and Wellbutrin. It got me off Paxil and Zoloft years ago. Trust me, it will give you a restful sleep!! God bless you ~

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