The clouds have cleared and the sun is shining.

Today marks one month since I changed my medication. I started Lovan on 17 August 2017, after a five day break of no medication between coming off of Mirtazapine cold-turkey.

When I first started Lovan, I caught a cold and was a little worried as I initially thought I was having some reaction (itchy throat and eyes) to the new medication. It turns out it was just a common cold though.

I took the pills for a week and a bit and had my next GP follow up on 25 August 2017. I was feeling more positive, more in control, less clouded by anger, anxiety, rage and paranoia. I understand this is not all medication, as it takes longer than that to kick in – I DO however believe there was an evidenced change from stopping the Mirtazapine, starting the Lovan and generally feeling as though I was in charge of my mental health.

For the two first weeks, whenever I would lose my concentration or feel out of sorts (forgetful or teary), I would remind myself that I was doing the best I could and that I was ‘taking charge of my mental health’, it became my little mantra.

By the third week I was really feeling better. I was less paranoid, I wasn’t suspicious, I was not crying as much. Not finding fault in the actions of others. I was looking at my Husband with clarity and love which I used to look at him with.

I knew the biggest test of all was coming, the anniversary of my Father passing, it was always a tough time of the year for me. Which I have now written extensively about in my previous few posts. Surprisingly, when the anniversary rolled around – I took the day off of work, looked through some old photos and cherished positive and nice memories of Dad. I did have a little cry in the morning but I was not distraught like I normally am.

We then headed off on a ten day holiday, which we returned from yesterday, Our holiday was so relaxing, I read books, ate good food, went swimming and re-connected with my Husband. It felt truly wonderful.

I head back to work tomorrow, which is always sad but I have to be honest – I have only cried once or twice in the past week and a half and it was once when I was thinking about our wedding anniversary coming up (happy tears) and once when we were listening to our wedding playlist whilst getting ready to go out on our holiday.

I have really decided to pay attention to my mental health, to listen to my feelings and to lend my ears to those who need help. The journey is not over, it will never be over, however I do feel as though the fog is clearing & I am going to do my very best to be more in tune with my loved ones.

I am forever grateful to those who have read along here and supported me along the way. Much love to you all x

And after the past 18 months of torment, it was truly magical to shed happy tears.

Lucy

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I let my heart & mind rest, for a while <3 My Mirtazapine Story (Part 1).

Hi there – thank you for reading again!

Okay, so my last post ended with when I started Mirtazapine for my depression. Mirtazapine is an atypical antidepressant and is also known as Remeron/Avanza and works to correct the neurotransmitters in your brain (which mine were most definitely Out. Of. Place).

I am no chemist, but if you would like to know more about this medication please see following link from the PBS: MIRTAZAPINE.

The Dr who prescribed this for me understood I had depression and anxiety but when I said I had insomnia as well, I think this is what swayed her decision to prescribe this for me. I remember the only side-effect I was told was ‘you will be drowsy and maybe dizzy – so take it before bedtime’. I remember laughing to myself thinking, yeah right – I don’t sleep.

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Sleep was the first thing I noticed about this medication, I could take it and be asleep within 20 mins – eyelids heavy, thoughts slowing. I could sleep for 5 hours at a time, it was my miracle pill. Within 2 weeks the panic attacks were lessening and I felt a little better, but that early in that might have been the sleep rather than a change in my depression.

It took a couple of weeks to feel any effects emotionally, but it definitely helped with the sleep straight away. I could sleep, I was not crying as much during the day. My anxiety was more manageable. I COULD leave the house to go to work. I was in control. I was able to choose how I would react (to a certain degree).

I still had sadness, I still had depression I was still anxious but I could leave the house. I could get 5/6 hours sleep a night. I could make plans. See my friends, travel the world, manage and excel in my career, have a rewarding relationship and finish my Degree. Thank goodness.

My relationship took its natural course and I suppose too much damage had been done and we had grown apart. Or perhaps I had more clarity about my life – what I deserved and what I needed in my life. Which was structure. I felt more in control.

When I felt brave enough and ready, I went overseas and had a phenomenal holiday as part of a tour group and I met one of my best friends whilst doing so. I changed my degree, I applied for a new job – I had a career in mind.

Within 12 months I had my life back on track. I was still having anxiety and depression and I was still taking the time to feel my feelings and cry when I needed to. BUT I was leaving the house. I was a better friend, a better Daughter/Sister and a better employee/student.

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I guess looking back, there definitely were some effects to note. The first being, I lost motivation for a lot of things. I used to be completely in control of my eating and physical exercise. I had a pretty good appetite, in that it was manageable. I didn’t really need to snack throughout the day – don’t get me wrong, I could binge eat on the weekend but I could handle eating a relatively normal amount of food on a day to day basis.

My energy levels definitely dropped as well. It felt like a relief though, when I had been operating at this constantly anxious – go-go-go level. I figured I was just sluggish because of the medication but after a few years I think it went from being a chemical effect to being just ‘me’. Slow, low motivation, low levels of interest and packing on the weight.

When I started Mirtazapine I think my weight was around the 74kg mark (I am 5″9). I would say by the end of 2011 my weight was around the mid80kg mark and by the end of 2012 I was up past 90kg. Now, I am not blaming the medication at all for all of my weight gain, but when I was 74kg – that was heavy for me and I could go between 65kg – 75kg, maybe 78kg if I was fluctuating. The 78kg being quite heavy. I could lose it though, with diet and exercise.

Mirtazapine was my anti-depressant, it is what I took every night. It helped me sleep and I assumed it was helping my depression and my anxiety. I had an insatiable appetite, I never felt full, I was sluggish and slow and before my period I would be absolutely melancholic, miserable and felt quite hopeless.

If I am honest, I can say that for the next 6 years it helped me with my anxious mood and deep depression. However, with the nightmare which the Mirena IUD brought me, it’s impossible for me to pick when it stopped working. It did though, and it had some pretty nasty consequences when it did stop working.

Mental Health Australia

SANE Australia

Beyond Blue

Headspace

Lifeline

This is a several part blog, so seeing as I am still recovering from the events last week, I might leave it there for now :).

TBC

Lucy

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I’ve been lying to my loved ones. Which was okay….until it wasn’t.

Some days I kick serious arse. I knock being a Wife/Lover/Friend out of the park, I am acutely aware of my friends and families troubles, I can offer advice around the clock, I am there for everyone above the capacity I would normally think it humanly possible. I am the best employee, a great daughter and a best friend. I am engaging, mature, educated and confident. This can go for a day, a few days, a week or sometimes (though rarely…) an entire month.

But then, it hits me. I can’t get out of bed, I don’t go to work. If I am at work, I may as well not be. I become agitated at everything, I start small arguments for no reason…I have my “spikes out” as my Mum described my aura in those moments. I don’t answer texts, I can’t even shave my legs, let alone wash my hair.

I am haunted by melancholia. I don’t think that is too strong of a word for the situation, because I feel nothing but deep and persistent sadness and dread. Like I am covered with the heaviest, darkest and wettest blanket of sadness and hopelessness.

It’s f*cking awful when I feel that way. I have no idea how it makes my friends/family/Husband feel.

The last few months, I have had some low moments, a few high moments – but in general – mostly stayed along the baseline of any personality test.

The last two months I have lied and said I was busy, cancelled plans because I was busy, avoided spending the night at my Mum’s house when I went to visit (it is a four hour return drive and I still could not stay overnight), because I was busy and not picked up phone calls/responded to text messages, because I was…busy.

I have been busy fighting irrational thoughts, been busy breathing, I have been busy compartmentalising my thoughts and been busy taking a moment/s to myself. I have kept myself busy cleaning my house, cleaning my heart and cleaning my mind. I was busy silencing the pecking crows in my brown, busy trying to keep the negative Nancy’s at bay and been busy trying to regulate my heartbeat.

Mostly I have been busy putting me first.

I have missed a stack of parties, an engagement party, a wedding, two concerts, one going away party and an opportunity to see a friend who has been living in Dubai for two years. Bad friend, huh?

I flipped my own life on its head – I stopped sharing. I have made a conscious effort not to rant and rave via text/phone/in person whenever something or someone upsets me. Obviously this is a lesson I should have learned years ago, I am in my thirties after all…HOWever I am getting a grasp of it now. In the best possible way in which I can.

This week I lost control. I lost control big time. I found myself uncontrollably crying for three days. Not small crying. You’ve seen my last post. That was something so dark, I haven’t had it in years.

My Husband found me crying in the shower. Almost catatonic with grief. Overwhelming sadness.

I had to be honest with myself. What could be causing this? Is it the anniversary of my Father passing, or is it something else?

It is probably too much for one post. My break down was on Tuesday/Wednesday. The rest of the week was rough. It’s now Saturday night. I might leave it for now.

But please. PLEASE. Don’t be silent. If it’s more than relaxing/having “me” time or just taking a minute. If your silence is drastically different to your personality. If you’re having thoughts which are dark and potentially threatening to your health and wellbeing. Pick up the phone. Speak up. Ask for help. Do not suffer in silence.

I will share more of my story shortly. I am not sure if anyone is reading, but I think for my own mental health I need to document this.

Wishing you all a happy, kind and loving weekend.

Lucy

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