Depression sucks, but you don’t have to

Lately I have been experiencing the Sad Ponys.  I don’t like to talk about this much, because let’s face it, Sad Pony is a real downer.  But sometimes his weight is really, really heavy and I need help getting his big pony butt off of me.

Part of my problem is with my medication.  Now I’m not one of those people that fears aspirin and thinks Big Pharma is planning a major takeover with doctors around the globe and that if you have depression all you should do is take vitamins and hop on a couch.  But I will say that getting the correct meds and the correct dosage can feel much like a nasty trip down the rabbit hole.

Side effects may vary.

Side effects may vary.

Recently I was put on Abilify.  They have commercials about it all the time, just like they do for every other medicine, as if we average schmoes can decide if we need a new heart medication even if the side effects are dry eye and death.  I always figured that’s why we went to doctors, you know, so those peeps with all that education would tell us what medicine we need.  But sometimes they don’t know so they just kind of throw stuff at us cause, doctors.

So I was a bit skeptical about taking this stuff, but I did because lately I’ve had the depression that makes you tired all the time and reduces your emotions to “don’t care”, “really don’t care”, and “fuck off”.  So I took it.  And it was so far out.  It worked.  I started having this energy I haven’t had in so long I’d forgotten what it felt like.  At work I got some actual work accomplished.  I didn’t have to go to bed as soon as I got home from work.  Of course I kind of couldn’t go to bed because I was so freaking wired, but that was a small price to pay for experiencing energy and actual emotion.  I played a moving song and actually cried because it was so beautiful and I was feeling something.

I might have cried a bit much.  Damn it.

I might have cried a bit much. Damn it.

So when I went to see my shrink I was expecting an attagirl and a prescription and a bye-bye, cause my shrink doesn’t exactly talk to me or look at me for very long, which is generally fine with me.  But this time he was very alarmed.  ZOMG.  I had gained ten pounds in two weeks!  Hadn’t I noticed?  Well, no, not actually.  I experience a fun thing called bloating a lot of the time so I just figured it was that.  And anyway, it wasn’t technically 10 pounds because he didn’t realize I gain and lose five pounds like every morning and if he’d weighed me then he’d realize I’d only gained like six pounds.  Or so.  And also once I told him to check his chart he realized it had been a month, not two weeks, since he’d seen me.

I don’t have a great deal of faith in this shrink.  For one thing, he didn’t know when my last visit was.  For another, I don’t think he knows who I am.  I’m pretty sure he couldn’t pick me out in a line up.  In other words, my shrink is an asshat, but that’s not generally a problem cause all I need him to do is sign off on my meds.  But this time he took me off, because weight gain is a major problem.  I told him I had so much energy, though.  And he said, “Good thing, cause you gain all the weight!”

He is still living today by the grace of God.

So after tsking a while about THE WEIGHT he decided to take me off that one and immediately put me on another medication that was “pretty much the same thing.”  You know, don’t worry your pretty little fat head, Alice.  So I left and just as I was feeling it couldn’t get worse, I realized I had split my pants in the front.  Ah.  So yeah, I guess I might have put on a little bit of weight.  Yay.

Scale of Injustice

Scale of Injustice

I tried the new med.  But I wasn’t doing well on it, judging by the amount of crybaby per day increasing exponentially.  Of course, since he took me off one and immediately put me on another, I wasn’t sure if it was this drug or coming off of the other drug or something else all together.  I looked up this drug and realized it was a medicine for your thyroid.  Which he didn’t actually tell me, cause, well, I’m a woman and a regular person, not a doctor, so who needs to know that he’s messing with my endocrine system, am I right?

So I called the shrink nurse (her name is Boo and no I’m not kidding) and she told me to stop taking it and “see what happens.”  I love being experimented on.  It’s like when Alice was like, wtf, I’ll just eat this crap and drink this stuff and oh SHIT I am 16 feet tall.  But I did it, and well, stuff was still crappy but it was hard to tell the current crap from the other crap.  This experiment was not very well done.  I think these people need to go back to rats.

My friends said I needed a new shrink.  So I tried two others.  The first one would not take anyone who had seen another shrink in the same town (there are a total of five in this town, two of them children’s shrinks) in the last year.  Well, great, so that’s really helpful.  Then I tried the other shrink and surprise, she doesn’t take insurance.  Of any kind.  These people apparently don’t want to have patients.  I guess that makes it easier on them, though I’m not sure how they stay in business.

I'm sitting on youuuu.  Oh, yeah, your shrink sucks.

I’m sitting on youuuu. Oh, yeah, shrinks suck.

So I was kind of stuck, and I don’t like feeling stuck, and that made the Sads even worse, and I was having trouble even going to work.  But I did yesterday, and I made it through.  Not with doctors, or meds, but with a little help from my bloggy friends, Merbear and Twindaddy.  These guys stayed with me on the Internet, checking in constantly, and keeping me sane.  It’s not like they didn’t have other things they could be doing besides entertaining me, but they did it anyway, because they care about me and they are awesomesauce.  We talked about intellectual topics like all the ways to say pee (“piss, number one, urinate, oh what a relief it is, etc.”)  I made it through the day because of them.  Thanks, guys.

I’m not sure what’s ahead, but I figure eventually I’ll get out of this damn rabbit hole.  Because there will be someone to throw me a rope.  I’m very lucky for that.  But I wanted peeps to know because sometimes I use humor to cover up how I really feel (no shit, right?) and that doesn’t help those who are in the same boat floating on a sea of tears, dealing with the mad hatter and that bitch the Queen of Hearts, and everything else Wonderland tosses at you.  We aren’t alone.  We aren’t ever alone.  There’s always a place at the table.  New cup, move down.

Come join me for tea.

Come join me for tea.

46 responses

  1. From a mental health standpoint, take 3 or 4 letters from the alphabet and add the word “syndrome” and/or “disorder” and I have it.

    Finding the right meds can be like a blind squirrel hunting for an acorn – eventually it will happen.

    Another thing…..ain’t it odd that Bi Polar, ADHD, etc folks like us often write funny blogs and stuff? Are we hiding the pain behind the humor? I dunno.

    I just like to think that I am a brilliantly hilarious SOB. 🙂

    1. Yes, I have noticed an awful lot of funny people with depression. I like your comparison of the blind squirrel hunting for an acorn – I am so a blind squirrel right now.

  2. Wow, that shrink sounds like my regular doctor, right down to the frequent switching of meds and obsession with my weight. Excuse me…. I mean “veight”. I need to lose some veight and my blode prayzure would do down….

    1. Oh, man, my doctor has an accent too. I can’t figure it out though. His name is Spanish, he looks Asian, but he speaks Jerk. Go figure.

  3. Why couldn’t he put you on both the abilify and the thyroid med? Did you ask about labs? You could maybe go to a larger city to expand your provider options. Not that the drive is fun, but maybe you could go shopping or something while there. Hang in there and text me whenever.

    1. I think that would be double timing it . . . I have considered an endocrinologist because I don’t have enough gist doctors yet. I’m hanging in there. Text you soon.

  4. I know how that feels all too well. Thank goodness for friends who help us through.

    I went through a year of getting better…then worse…increase meds…better again…worse again. It sucks that there is so much trial and error involved with this, more often than not.

    The lack of transition between medications is scary. It is already bad enough when it is a well planned crossover to a new prescription, I cannot imagine any doctor telling you to go cold turkey. Can you go to your primary care doctor and discuss medication options?

    1. My primary doctor did say he would handle my meds as long as it didn’t get “too serious”, then I’d have to find a new shrink. That’s the whole problem, there ISN’T one. But I will consider our closest decent sized neighbor – that’s 2 hours away though, and if they expect frequent visits I’m toast. I’m hoping to get in with the shrink’s nurse, who is ten times more competent than he is.

  5. Poor Alice,,,I feel your pain.
    I have found in my past the only way to get heard and the help your asking for takes going to the hospital and refusing to leave until you get heard. I actually was told by the therapist to do this (she also told me that if I told them she said it, she would deny it). It was the only way for me to get a desperately needed pyschiatrist up here where I live.
    Congrats on getting to work and isn’t Mer and TD just the shits?? They’ve helped me thru my depression funks too.
    P.S. you are a really funny girl,,,keep writing and if you need someone to vent to or just to speak to you can email me at

    1. I hope it doesn’t come to that point, but sometimes it does feel like no one really takes you seriously till you go to extremes. Mer and TD are the total shits, man, and in a good way. Thanks for the compliment, and I might just take you up on your offer. It is nice to have other people in the same boat. Mine is should you want to email me too.

  6. I’m on Abilify along with a slew of other meds, I went from 130ish to 160ish since I have been on it, but my doctor doesn’t want to take me off it just yet. {{hugs}} Hope you feel better soon!

    1. A doctor who cares about more than just weight? I’m shocked. I hope it continues to help and that the side effects abide soon.

      1. Yeah he also doesn’t seem to care that my Lithium makes me breakout like a teen. But at least I have my sanity. 🙂

  7. Oy, honey, I’m so sorry to hear that you’re down the rabbit hole. It can look mighty black down there. And without a competent shrink-o-matic, oy. Listen, I drive two hours each way to get to the shrink I finally, finally, finally found, by way of my therapist who sat on him (and she is large, like Sad Pony) until he agreed to take me, because officially his practice is closed. Sometimes you gotta use “protexia” as we say here in Israel–that means using your connections. It’s doubly, triply, awfully hard when you’re trying to swim through molasses in the wintertime (which is what depression feels like to me) and be expected to advocate for yourself at the same time. I have connections everywhere (I have M.D. after my name) so if you want me to try to locate a better shrinko for you let me know. Sending good juju your way!

    1. Yeah, I just realized there are a few more shrinks in my area than I realized. Not sure if they’ll take patients either, but it’s something. And if I can see the shrink’s nurse most of the time . . . I don’t know, only that I need some help now. I am trying to take this new pill again. We switched Alice’s antidepressant. Let’s see what happens!

      1. Good luck with the new pill! Hope it opens the windows and lets in some fresh air and light.

  8. Alice, you are very welcome. I’m here for you whenever. And you forgot whiz…

    1. Frack, I KNEW I forgot one. I am the whiz kid.

  9. You know I love you Alice.I will bring crumpets.

    1. Jolly good, I will bring coca-cola. I don’t like tea.

  10. Good luck, sweetie. I gotta tell you though – finding the right doc makes all the difference in the world. My first doc was an utter asshat. He kept me so medicated that I could barely function. I finally switched at my mom’s insistence and life has been oodles better since then.

    Keep trying, keep the hope alive, and never forget that we’re here for you.

    1. Thanks so much MM. It helps to know that there are people out there.

  11. ((hugs)) I know the med thing and the sads thing, both suck.

    1. Yes they do. Thank you for the virtual hugs.

  12. Your shrink is a twat. Sorry. Vulgarity seemed the only thing appropriate. He probably has a raging case of syphilis.

    1. I fucking second that.

    2. Hahaha, now that made me feel better. Except – who would give that guy syphilis? Ew.

  13. Hooray for friends. And L said what I was going to say about the shrink ever so more eloquently than I could have. She’s good like that.

    The constant experimentation of drugs and the doctors not knowing what they were going to do or even why they worked most of the time was one of the reasons I stepped away from psychology after I graduated with a degree. The case studies were fascinating and I love helping people but I couldn’t get on board with prescribing stuff without knowing what it was going to do.

    I hope Sad Pony takes a vacation to the Bermuda Triangle and leaves you be for awhile.

    1. L is very eloquent, yes. I love psychology and diagnosing people but I can’t say I’d know what to say to people who were seriously ill. STOP THAT! like Bob Newhart maybe.

  14. If only Sad Pony looked less adorable, and more like the nuisance he is! I’m sorry to hear you’re going through this. When I first entered the mental health care system, a good friend warned me that it would be a very not-easy process at exactly the time when I most needed things to be simple. Kinda f-ed up, huh? *Hugs*

    1. He is deceptively adorable. Don’t let him sit on you, though.

    1. Thanks, I truly appreciate it.

  15. Thank God for your friends. I’m sinking down the rabbit hole myself this year, loads of changes in my life, most not so positive. I am clawing my way up for air, though, dammit. I do use humor to get me through. It’s like that saying–something about, if I don’t laugh, I’ll stay in bed all day. Hope you find a doc that can help you and is not an asshat.

    1. A doc who is not an asshat would be nice. So would staying in bed all day. Wait, no, I should get up during the day and do that sleep thing at night.

      Thank God for all my friends, yes. I am so thankful.

  16. Being bi-polar, I know a little something of which you speak. I finally found a great doc that actually specialized in bp and got me on meds that mostly work.

    At a time when we are at our weakest we are expected to be strong enough to self advocate. All the good most docs do, we might as well shop directly from pharma and kick the middle pack to the curb. Save money.

    And what is up with every freaking psych drug causing weight gain? What we don’t have enough problems? Lets add potential diabetes and heart conditions. I swear one day I am going to google to see if there is any that could cause weight lose as a side effect… other than diet pills.

    Sorry you’re feeling so bad. Hope that darn pony finds something else to do soon.

    1. My brother is bipolar, so I understand some about that. It’s even trickier, with the lithium and getting the dose just right. I know what you mean about the docs – there are times I wish I could just pay the stupid shrink his money and not have to actually go see him.

      I hope he finds something else too – and good luck to you as well.

  17. What an ordeal. I’m glad your friends have helped you get through this.

    I can’t believe your shrink gave you thyroid medication without, you know, testing your thyroid. I’m hypothyroid, and it’s really easy to diagnose — they just do a blood test. And then they give you medication and test your levels every few months and adjust your meds until your levels are stable. You don’t need an endocrinologist for this — the guidelines are really simple and are based on comparing a number from your lab results to a couple other numbers.

    For me, getting my thyroid under control made a huge difference in my energy level, so you might want to think about asking your regular doctor for a thyroid test.

    1. I’ve been tested for hypothyroid before and it was never levels low enough to require medication, though they were low and I did have the symptoms. Since drugs can be used to treat different things, I guess they don’t have to have the blood tests done. I really don’t know. I’m going back on it to see what happens, now that I know it can’t be leftovers from the abilify affecting me. I’d love to use the abilify, but the weight gain does scare me. We’ll see what happens. I do want a return to my energy – however much I can get. I feel like a sloth.

      Thanks for your kind words.

      1. Wait — are you suggesting that just because I have no medical training and don’t even know for sure what drug you’re talking about that I’m not the ultimate expert here? That can’t possibly be right. 🙂

        I hope you get your energy back. Feeling like a sloth really sucks.

  18. THE BE BUILT BLOG | Reply

    I’m not on medication like Abilify but I thought this was a cool (and enlightening) post!
    Best of Luck with everything!

  19. I hope you can find a real doctor sometime soon. I don’t really see how depression is more concerning to a doctor than a few extra pounds: at least, when you are depressed, you probably won’t be interested as much in keeping your health, and that’s much worse to your physical well-being than gaining a few pounds.
    (I just read an amazing post on depression on Hyperbole and a Half, for at least second time, so it’s possible that for the time being, my understanding of depression will be colored by that post – especially because I have no personal memory of depression that I could relate to)
    And, if I were a doctor, I would just prescribe you a daily dose of Twindaddy and Merbear.

  20. I reckon that humour as a defense mechanism is an in-built thing. I also reckon that the beattitudes were edited, or if they weren’t, Jesus really should have said “blessed are those who can laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be amused”. When something is funny, it takes us out of the black hole for a moment, which is always a good thing.

    *love & hugs* (Or would you prefer spankings and butt plugs? 😉 )

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