Sunday, December 8, 2013

Antidepressants helped me get organized...and sick

Of course, I'm not a doctor, your health decisions are always up to you, and everything I write here is just my opinion.

But I did notice that after I started on my first antidepressant back in 2010 that it was much, much easier to get organized and stay organized.

On that first, and my second, my third, and my fourth antidepressants, organization of home and time seemed almost natural to me. Sure, I was still messy. But I understood that everything had a place. When I would finish with something, I would remember to put it back. I had the energy to put it back. I had the desire to put it back. The meds slowed my thoughts down and allowed me to stay focused on a task. Tasks that were mildly unpleasant or just uninteresting I now had the attention span to actually finish! I could say no to the desire to buy 10 of something and just buy one or maybe three. The deep need to "protect" myself with stuff was slowly going away.

The antidepressants also helped tremendously with my eating disorder. I had the energy and the desire to fight through the negative thoughts to find soothing activities to do instead of bingeing.

Hoarding is finally considered by many to be a formal mental illness that medication can help treat. Hoarding is even gaining acceptance as an honest-to-gosh disorder among the psychological community, gaining a place in the much-debated "diagnostic bible" of psychology, the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th revision).

All I can say is, thank heavens. It's easier to get help for something that's actually considered a real sickness.

Do meds help hoarders? I'm no psychiatrist, but maybe now there will be more investigation into testing meds to see if hoarders can be helped with these wonderful but complicated chemicals (did you notice I've been on four different antidepressants in three years?) For me, I'm about to do my own little experiment: can I live an organized, ED-free life without them?

As you know if you read my revived eating disorder blog, Body Image Hope, you'll know that I've spent the last week in full-out drug withdrawal. I went on a new antidepressant in early Summer because I was allergic to the one I had been previously given. This new drug seemed wonderful. I've never been so happy in my life or so happy about my body in my life. There was just one problem: I gained a lot of weight on this one. Like 20 pounds in four months. My weight had previously been stable within a half pound range for almost a year. Anti-depressants have a reputation for weight gain and this one apparently lived up to its reputation.

I quit the drug almost cold-turkey. I spent some time on a half dose and then dropped down to nothing on Black Friday. Full-out drug withdrawal followed. On Tuesday I had to keep from tossing my cookies in front of my whole company while getting an award at our annual ceremony (yay me?) I couldn't get out of bed on Wednesday. I tried to go into work on Thursday and was sweating so profusely while shivering in a meeting that I got sent home.

Now I'm better, and I'm back.

Why do I say that? Because I noticed some other really weird side effects of my meds: I stopped blogging and I stopped playing guitar. I love both of these things. I'm off the meds now and suddenly all I want to do is blog and play my guitar. Very strange. So expect more posts from me.

My psych doc has decided based on this that I might actually be okay without the anti-depressants for the first time in years. I originally went on them because I was suicidal after my grandmother's death and in the early stages of ED recovery. But now I'm much more recovered (minus the 20 pounds, grumble grumble, but I can live with them now). I've made peace with Gram being gone. Great things are happening for me at work, I finally can say that I love what I do and I look forward to going into work in the morning.

I wonder how I'll do? I suppose there are other meds. But I think I'm tired of side effects for a while.

If you've ever tried meds, if you're willing to share, did you find that they helped your original condition? Did they help your sense of organization?


  1. Oh goodness me have I tried meds. The only one I've considered taking again is Ritalin. I only took it when I really needed to study in college. I feel like I need it now in parenthood. I feel mental disheveled 24/7. I've tried many SSRI's to no avail. The first I tried was Paxil. I literally slept all day on it. I had Celexa for a short time, but I don't think I tried it long enough. I went on just about the highest dose of Zoloft and noticed zero effects. I know I *should* get back on them, but I'm hoping getting on birth control will at least help moderate my mood enough that I won't need to get on an antidepressant.

    I'm glad to hear you're feeling better! I can't even imagine how horrible that week was! So happy you'll be blogging more too :)

  2. Birth control made a huge difference for me. I'm definitely less agitated and I don't spend the two days before my period in bed just crying anymore. Zoloft is the next med for me. I really want to go without them, they've been such a help in the past but such a pain. I hope you can get back on the bc soon!


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