Over the course of this blog I occasionally/often complain about the way I feel. Some of this is simply a blatant request for sympathy; however, in the interests of fair disclosure it is worth noting that comments about mental health and some other issues are not made from a disinterested standpoint.
Firstly, I spend much of my time in physical pain. I have had a number of treatments to combat chronic joint pain. There was no clear trigger for the onset of the pain but it is almost certainly linked to my muscles failing to adequately support hypermobile joints. The general issue has often caused me regular wrist pain since my teens (I am exceedingly limp-wristed…) as well as a serious long-term shoulder problem (constant pain and instability since 2008 and 1 operation) and possibly contributing to my tearing the cartilage in my left knee (also requiring an op)..
As a result I should do a long series of physiotherapy exercises to try and keep the muscles strong but supple! Unfortunately, I struggle with the actual practice because of the pain.
I used to take 500mg Naproxen twice a day for the pain (Aug 08 – Aug 13); it is a prescription NSAID related to ibuprofen and (on Dr.’s recommendation) I frequently took it in combination with OTC co-codamol and prescription Omeprazole is to stop the Naproxen causing a stomach ulcer. I stopped taking it because I wasn’t convinced that it was making a difference ..
Secondly, I have also lived with varying degrees of depression and anxiety since my mid-teens. In terms of ‘diagnoses’ at one low point (but not my lowest) I was offered the following assessment: Chronic Recurrent Major Depressive Disorder, Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Panic disorder with Agoraphobia. I have also struggled with self harm since my teens. This is a life-long battle for me but it isn’t unrelentingly awful.
So far I have had 7 different attempts at therapy varying in length (1hr – 6 months) and style (CBT, online CBT, Mindfulness and Counselling) and taken the following medications:
- Propanolol (beta-blocker) – for anxiety. Wonderfully effective at reducing the symptoms of panic attacks but mostly a stop-gap measure because of side-effects
- Citalopram (SSRI) 20, 40 & 60mg dosages – for depression. Helped at first then seemed to plateau and then slip down.
- Fluoxetine (SSRI) 40 & 60mg – depression again. Probably the most ineffectual of the meds I have taken. I briefly overlapped this with the citalopram while switching which was wonderful but probably dangerous and later supplemented it with
- Mirtazapine (SNRI)- 15, 30 & 45mg doses between Jun and Nov ’11 – still depressed. I took this both with the prozac and on its own. Good for sleep at first but I put on a lot of weight. I quit it cold turkey.
- Search meds to see more of what I thought at the time…
My mental health has consisted of plenty of low but steady years and a number of distinct, even epic, troughs including a couple of minor suicide attempts over the years. A bad patch resulted in me taking in an 8 month break from my doctorate and subsequently being supported through DSA – I am a huge advocate of government and institutional support for mental health issues in academia because I believe my life might have been very different with earlier active intervention.
When writing I also try to bear in mind the struggles of my friends and family who boast a broad array of illnesses, conditions and disorders including but not limited to: sight-loss, CFS/ME, fibromyalgia, epilepsy, diabetes, MS, cancer(s), dementia and heart conditions.