Thursday, January 12, 2006


Crazy Is as Crazy Does...

Where was I? Ah yes, the Age of Effexor. Worked like a charm. The only problem was that if I missed a dose, I would get nauseated, feel light headed, and it was as if electrical shocks were shooting off behind my eyes. My hands would shake like a junkies...suboptimal for medicine. Well, just take your meds on time some would say. That's all well and good, unless you've been on call all night and go directly into an emergency surgery at 6am that lasted for 8-10 hours.

Please let me pause right here and assure you I was never physically or mentally compromised any more than any other surgeon who'd been up for 30 hours straight. But then, that's another post. No one noticed these deficits except for me. But I felt like less than myself.

The awesome psych guy I'd been seeing moved and, at his recommendation, I went to back to the original doctor. We had some horrid sessions. I'd tell him how the meds were fucking with my libido. He'd tell me about how he and his wife had gone through a lull in sexual intercourse. Talk about too much information. I'd tell him how I couldn't talk to my parents about what I was going through, and he'd tell me about how he and his wife dealt with their son. Now, granted, I was just a stupid med student. But I'm pretty sure my session weren't for my doctor to work out his family issues. Of course, our trust may have been irreperably compromised by the whole bipolar debacle. We finally decided I'd try Wellbutrin which was a fairly new "hot" ssri at the time. Please note that Wellbutrin is often used to help people quit smoking. I actually started smoking again! But my mood seemed ok and I wasn't having the nasty side effects. Lung cancer be damned.

At the end of my last year of med school, I met Rockin' Ron (ex-boyfriend previously mentioned in this blog) and for a time, I was blissfully happy. I got the internship I wanted in San Diego, and R-n-R and I moved out to SoCal. My hours were crazy, R-n-R continued to party like a rockstar, the relationship crashed and burned, and I moved for the third time in less than a year. Regardless, I felt fine. So I tapered myself off the Wellbutrin. And things went deceptively well for about a year...

In order to the rest of the story, you'll need the fairytale of Little Blonde Sulkyhood and the Big Bad US governement. Please stand by to stand by.

In the meantime, let me welcome James to the comments section. James, don't give up hope. James has a goal of bringing depression into the public eye and making it less of a stigma. This is HUGE! I know lot's of people write about it on the internet. But I'm sure many of those same people would tell you that this is still a very delicate topic with family, friends, and employers. And as Dooce posted recently, it also has an impact on an individuals ability to get appropriate health insurance. So go James, go!

I'm so glad that someone else had this experience with Effexor. I often feel, when I talk about it, like people think I'm insane. The electric shocks!

I'm on Cymbalta now and still have similiar side effects. I don't know what the deal is but I am still seeking to get it sorted out.

I really appreciate the's very flattering. Why is it with so many people dealing with depression (I've seen varying statistics...but 10% of the population seems to be a consensus) that it is still a topic that is "whispered" or talked about behind close doors? A rhetorical question...I apologize.
Anyway, I to have experienced the "electric shocks" of Effexor...what a crazy phenomenon. My experience was further compounded by my enthusiasm to gain control of my depression…there is a reason why they say ‘patience is a virtue’…my advise and lessoned learned is to follow you doctors order to ramp up SLOWLY…I knew better but was feeling rather desperate…so rather than ramping up over the 3 week period I was there at day 5!! I’ll never do that again!
And Stampy…as someone who has been to medical school…medical student (future doctors) have their own whole set of issues in addition to the “normal” issues that we all deal with. Through my experience and interactions, it is very common for medical students to be on various medications for “mental issues”…which I hope people find comforting rather than disturbing…
I also want to say that I love your sense of humor…I look forward to reading your future posts.

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