mental problems suck ass

As some people know, I suffer from depression. I take 75mg of Effexor for it every day. This usually makes the feeling dissipate, so I can get on with my life and get some work done.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to working for me now – the last few days, I’ve felt bloody awful.

So, why am I writing about this, when I usually write about techie crap? I guess I just want to describe the feelings, so that people out there in blogland with the same symptoms might realise they should also be looking for help (yes, there is a light at the end of this tunnel, and it’s not a train).

The most obvious symptom I have at the moment is a huge amount of nervous energy, which I can’t seem to channel into anything useful. I have this awful feeling that I need to do something (like the beginning of a yawn, where you just have to finish it), but nothing I do will get rid of it.

There is also a lack of attention – I find myself struggling to stay on topic with anything, and cannot focus on my work.

Also, there is a nervous tick – right now, for example, my legs are jumping up and down, and I find myself cracking my knuckles and some other joints quite a lot.

Basically, I feel like a tightly wound spring locked up in a box and buried – the energy is there, but there’s no way to get at it.

An interesting thing, I think, is that in my mind, I am screaming, but the only physical signs of my stress (or distress) are my ticks, the fact that I keep going on short walks to try get rid of this, and the forcefulness with which I’m attacking teh keyboard.

My usual doctor is off on annual leave, and I was due to see him next on Sep 19 (which is both my birthday, and talk like a pirate day (funny thing: I viewed that page, saw the rounded borders, read the source code to see how it was done, and thought “IE7 supports border-radius now?”, then realised I was actually reading it in Firefox – this is probably a stupid point actually – stop reading it.) ), but I’ve managed to get an appointment for later today, which is handy, as I’ve been blowing my top for the last few days, and I’d prefer to not have killed someone by the time of my next appointment.

Oh alright – a bit of techie crap: in the HTML of this article, I’ve used <i> elements instead of <em> or <strong>. The reason I chose that particular element is that contextually, it was not necessary for the contents to be highlighted in any particular way – the italicising was just an aesthetic choice. This is similar, I guess, to having an <img> which is just there to relieve the boredom of a plain page, and really should not have an alt parameter attached to it, no matter what the accessibility gurus say.

AAAAAAARGH!!! GETITOUTOFME!!!

7 Replies to “mental problems suck ass”

  1. “The most obvious symptom I have at the moment is a huge amount of nervous energy, which I can’t seem to channel into anything useful. I have this awful feeling that I need to do something (like the beginning of a yawn, where you just have to finish it), but nothing I do will get rid of it.

    There is also a lack of attention – I find myself struggling to stay on topic with anything, and cannot focus on my work.

    Also, there is a nervous tick – right now, for example, my legs are jumping up and down, and I find myself cracking my knuckles and some other joints quite a lot.”

    Hrm, weird. I often feel like that, but I’ve never felt there was actually something wrong with me. I guess your symptoms last, rather than mine which go away after either a few hours or (sometimes) a day or two.

  2. It turns out I was suffering from a prolonged anxiety attack. The doctor prescribed something called Gerax (known as Xanax in the US).

    The symptoms mentioned on this page are:
    * Constant worrying
    * Trembling and muscle tension
    * Feeling tense and unable to relax
    * Feeling tired
    * Having trouble staying focused
    * Feeling irritable or grouchy
    * Trouble falling or staying asleep
    * Feeling nauseous or otherwise physically ill when worrying

    The only one of those that I didn’t actually have was the worrying. I’m actually pretty satisfied with my present situation.

  3. Kae,

    A bit of googling suggests that anxiety and nervousness are not uncommon side-effects of venlafaxine. Xanax seems to be a fairly hefty drug btw, googling suggests it’s a benzodiazepine – a class of drugs kept under lock&key in Irish hospitals I think (I can check that later), addictive for one thing.

    Have you ever gone to other doctors for second opinions, in particular with respect to potential for non-medicinal solutions to your problem, cause your doctor now seems happy to just keep prescribing you more and more drugs (Irish GPs appear generally to just dole out anti-depressants very freely, I remember Primetime or somesuch did a programme on it a while back – dont remember the details unfortunately.).

  4. Absolutely true, Paul – Gerax is a dependency-generating drug, and, to the doctor’s credit, he warned me multiple times to only take it when I actually need it, and not to take it for any more than 5 days.

    On the over-prescription of drugs, my doctors have actually been quite good in this.

    I believe that I am good at self-analysis (or introspection), so most of my psychological problems tend to fizzle away after I’ve examined them enough, but my own research suggests that there is actually a chemical problem with my brain, which reduces the ability of my synaptic receptors to absorb signals (serotonin, epinephrine, and norepinephrine), which led to a sort of “feedback loop” in my brain.

    My doctors originally prescribed an anti-depressant, but that only reduced the symptoms – I still went a bit mad every now and then, ranting about little things, and being exhausted when I should be energetic.

    After some time, they prescribed a mood stabiliser instead. As you rightly said, Effexor (the brand of venlafaxine I’m taking) has a load of possible side-effects, and anxiety attacks are one of them.

    Luckily for me, this is the first time I’ve actually had any sort of side-effect from those things. Those things are physically addictive! I went without my drugs for two days or so, by accident, and was a physical and mental wreck.

    Anyway – I took one tablet of Gerax last night. I didn’t notice any difference at all. This morning, though, I feel much better. There is only a mild tremoring in my muscles, but I feel like I can actually get some work done.

    I am currently on only two drugs constantly; Effexor to help with my chemical imbalance, and Xyzel, to combat chronic rhinitis (dust allergies). Both of those drugs were considered very carefully by both myself, and my doctors. I’m pretty happy that I’m not being over-prescribed on anything.

  5. I don’t usually leave any comments on blogs or elsewhere, even when I have something to say. Mostly it’s because I’m  afraid of not making any sense. Things sound okay enough in my head, but somehow when I try to vocalize it in some way it just sounds like gibberish.

    Nonetheless I decided I absolutely had to comment here because, for me,  it’s rare to find other people suffering from the same ailment as me and I’ve never been able to find any online forums or the like that I felt comfortable posting in. Even after all these years of dealing with depression  it still baffles me to know that there is other people out there feeling almost exactly the same way. I guess over time I convinced myself I was the only one.

    I too take Effexor (150mg) daily and have been for about 3 years. It helps, but of course it doesn’t get rid of it, not completely. I don’t beleive any medication alone will or can do that. Not now and very likely not ever. It’s such a complex disease and differs from person to person. I have dealt with it (sometimes better than others) my whole life and for me, I think it is something I will have to continue to deal with for the remainder of it as well. Please don’t think of me to be discouraging because that’s not my intentions by any means. I’m just simply stating my case and undoubtedly everyone is not the same.

    I also sought solace in self-injury or "cutting". I do it for 2 reasons. One is because I get so angry with myself for being this way and two is because the pain that no one can see, that is orphaned in my head isn’t rational. If I can make that pain visible then it makes sense. I can say I’m hurting because I’m cut and bleeding and you can show someone the wound and your reaction is understood. It’s cause and effect and depression just doesn’t work that way. Depression is effect with seemingly no cause.

    It’s also a bit ironic that someone here should mention Xanax. I have been addicted and abusing Xanax for over 3 years now. It is indeed an extremely addictive drug and for me it was like a ticking time bomb. Do be very cautious.

  6. This is an old post but I stumbled across it when looking for some programming resources (isn’t it funny how the web works), anyway I wanted to mention a few things since I have a close friend with severe ADHD that is in her later 30’s. Having been friends with her and her husband for over 4 years now there are a few things I’ve noticed that have made a huge difference in her ADHD (and from the research she has done in quite a few areas that affect brain/body chemistry).

    – Diet (when she eats a lot of processed food she even more unfocused than usual)
    – Exercise, it has been amazing to me the difference just 20 minutes of exercise 6 days per week has made in her personality
    – Rest: this one goes without saying
    – Additional Nutrition: she uses something called JuicePlus. This is not intended to be an ad as I make nothing by mentioning it but it really helps. We ended up getting on it and since our family (wife & 4 kids) has been on it we’ve had less sickness, less allergies and just more consisent heath. This stuff isn’t a cure all and during times when we’ve been busy and have forgot to take it for more than 2-3 days we can tell a difference.

    I’ll start keeping an eye on your blog, good stuff and I wish you the best.

  7. I am a Web Developer with 5 years commercial exp. now coding PHP. I am 24 this year and to me it feels like i have achieved nothing. I feel like a complete failure half the time even though most people i know dont have half the resume i have.

    I have suffered with depression for about 5 years now.. coincidence? you tell me! maybe i found the job as a freelance web developer because i wanted to hide away from my problems. I dont know, i’ve given up trying to explain it.

    I’ve been going through that same old cycle of being totally happy and fine, then neglecting eating, or drinking a bit too much one night and it all goes downhill from therein. It’s almost as if i am holding on to something and like you have mentioned “I feel like a tightly wound spring locked up in a box and buried – the energy is there, but there’s no way to get at it”, i feel exactly the same except, occasionally i just explode and take it all out on a friend.

    Of course they forgive me because im quite a passive person normally, usually happy to help and friendly so. But what is this? its a crazy cycle i’ve been going through for years thats stopping me even moving on, the only constant being the fact i’ve been coding all this time. It almost feels like my saviour, but others might say the opposite.

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