When I was first diagnosed, I did everything I could to get better. I saw my primary care physician, and had him recommend a psychiatrist. I talked to my parent’s pastor and had her recommend a therapist. I took my medications, kept track of my moods, but nothing helped.
The first diagnosis of depression I received was from a nurse practitioner at my college’s health center. She also prescribed my first anti-depressant, Citalopram, an SSRI. (I will be explaining the different types of medication in a later post). While on Citalopram, my depression continued, so when I got home from school, I visited my primary care physician and obtained a recommendation for a psychiatrist.
The first psychiatrist I saw diagnosed me with dysthymia. She switched my medication to a combination of sertraline, an SSRI and Wellbutrin, an NDRI. Neither medication did anything to fix my mood. Instead, I started shaking in my hands and my legs. Whether this was a side effect of my medication or a worsening of my depression, is still unknown. I was also seeing a therapist, weekly. The talk therapy was helping more than the medication, but not enough. I ended up having to drop out of school because of a loss of motivation and disinterest.
I stopped seeing my psychiatrist, mostly because I didn’t like her. I felt like she wasn’t helping me, that she wasn’t listening to me. I felt like another number to her, an experiment. But I did continue to see my therapist. I also stopped taking my medication. Not something the doctors recommend but I didn’t feel any different when I was on it. The medication didn’t feel like it was making any difference. About a year later, my therapist again suggested that I needed to be on medication. She recommended a psychiatrist and I went, hoping that this time the doctor would listen. He put me on Cymbalta, an SNRI, starting low but quickly increasing the dosage with each visit.
I did feel better, initially, but after a while, it was like I relapsed into a more depressed state. I stopped remembering to take my medication and then I stopped caring about attending my appointments. Again, I felt like the doctor didn’t really care about me. I was just another patient with a problem. How could he understand what I was going through and which medication to treat me with, if I only saw him fifteen minutes, once a month.
I stopped caring about anything and my parents, fed up with my behavior, kicked me out. While at the time, this almost devastated me, it ended up being one of the best things to ever happen to me.