In February I started a new job. It was a fresh new start in a role I had not held before at a company I didn’t even know existed. There were no dragons to fear going into work, no one micro managing my schedule, I even had my own office. But the change was more then I was prepared for, I moved from one end of the spectrum to the other and had transitioned between polar opposites in terms of my working environment. It is now June and I am finally starting to feel like I am getting my footing.
In March I had an appointment with a new psychiatrist and in the weeks leading up to the appointment the occasional chest pains I had became a daily thing. They were so uncomfortable and painful that I couldn’t be involved in things. They left me at my desk, arms wrapped around my chest, feeling like it was collapsing in. Driving home from work it would feel like my chest was folding into itself. At times it felt like there was a clamp around my chest and someone was rotating it tighter and tighter. The only sense of relief I could get was by sitting up even straighter while rotating my shoulders back, expanding my chest to its maximum region. If was at home, I would unsnap my bra, yank it through the sleeves of my shirt and toss it to the side, letting out a giant sigh of relief.
I was beginning to feel more anxious and nervous, with no cause or reason.
When I met with the doctor we introduced a new medication to treat my anxiety – Buspar. One tablet, twice a day.
Along with the addition of Buspar into my regular routine, returned the dark thoughts and overwhelming depression. Soon every day left me thinking I would be better off dead. Soon every day left me day-dreaming about putting a bullet through my head.
The chest pains decreased some in occurrences, but it still felt as if my chest was closing in on itself heading into the afternoons and evenings. The psychiatrist suggested I change the time I took my second dose, so I did.
Things never really got a whole lot better on the Buspar. The intense mid-day chest pains began to lessen, but I also was getting better at managing all the things going on at work. I had begun “single tasking” and devoting my attention and focus to one thing at a time until that one thing was done. I wouldn’t let emails, text messages, or wandering thoughts about anything pull me from whatever my task was at hand. With a completed and successful task, I would reward myself with a quick peek at Facebook, checking my personal email, or returning a message to a friend.
My depression continued to mount though. I cried every night for weeks, sometimes with no real trigger why. Other times we would be watching a show and the season finale would hit me in all the feels (I’m looking at you Supergirl and The Flash); my empathy for the characters and story-line would go overboard, my mind would take it to reality. I would feel their pain, their sorrow. I would relate it to memories of my own, reopening wounds and fears that clearly have not fully healed.
I felt like I was spiraling back down into a dark hole and when I asked the psychiatrist for help got a blunt response telling me to back down on my dosage of Zoloft.
It was such a slap in the face. I had confessed all these dark feelings and thoughts, spent time, effort and energy to explain what was going on, the changes in my life, and the various things that I had tried. All to get a message back that said to cut my dose of Zoloft in half and see what that does. Had they read nothing I wrote? Had they not made the obvious connection that this was not a problem before the Buspar was introduced? Did they not care enough about my own well being and mental state to call me and see if I was okay? Were my thoughts of suicide and self-harm not important because I had not acted on them before?
So I reached out to the first psychiatrist I had seen, the one who picked up the phone and called me the last time I told her that suicidal thoughts started shortly after I began a medication. I sent her a novel of a message, releasing all my frustrations with the response I had been given. Expressing how I did not feel like I was getting the care I needed or deserved and asking if I could return to being a patient of hers.
The next day I got a message back telling me I had miss read the original message I had received, that she was relocating out of the area and that I should follow up with my psychiatrist like I was told to.
Did no one care about my well being? Had everyone left me feeling stranded after I had given them everything I had? Was the solution really to just carry on?
Shortly after that my psychiatrist had me stop taking Buspar. Slowly the chest pains began to lessen and my anxiety level began to come back down closer to normal. It wasn’t the answer, but it was a short term solution.
I met with my psychiatrist again this month. It was the most awkward meeting I have had yet. She began by telling me she had read through all the old messages I sent, hinting at the fact she had seen my other messages asking to change doctors. She reminded me that she was not the only one in that practice and said she would be happy to help me find someone I felt better working with if I wanted. I told her I was fine for the moment, but I appreciated her letting me know, and we got on with the appointment.
We decided to transition me off of the Zoloft and onto Cymbalta. So much for being as happy as Olaf.