I’m taking Lithum now. Along with 3 other meds. I feel better if only slightly high. My friends agree that I’ve been a bit over the top in the past week or so and acting more “bubbly” than usual. This is ironic given that I’m taking a mood stabilizer.  Maybe THIS is stabilization, given that my mood is always low. Maybe I finally feel good enough to do anything so i do it all at the same time.

I’ve been painting, exercising, reading, fixing and cleaning things, going outside to get stuff i need. Talking way too much and being funny (or so I think). I’m having some trouble sleeping though.

The psychiatrist that prescribed lithium said that if this treatment does not work he’ll have me go under ECT.  I was scared but I’m not anymore. Anything to get out of the prison of depression. I don’t want to go back in there.

  1. #1 by Lucida on September 26, 2011 - 8:18 am

    Great to hear you are feeling so well. Perhpaps it’s the meds or maybe it would have come about naturally. Whichever, it’s probably not worth questioning at the moment. Enjoy the good mood and the increased productivity. It’s really good to be able to get out and acheive the things that depression prohibits and hopefully this could even break the cycle of illness. Difficulty sleeping might be due to the change in meds but probably not worth worrying about for now and best to make the most of it by getting stuff done.
    I really hope this is the beginning of something good that you’ve deserved for such a long time.x

    • #2 by purplesapho on September 29, 2011 - 9:08 pm

      Thank you! I am still having some trouble sleeping but it’s not disrupting my life the way lack of sleep usually did. I really hope this improvement lasts. I’m scared it may be short lived!

  2. #3 by Diver on September 29, 2011 - 8:13 pm

    Hi. I’m glad to read you’re having a break from the depression. You seem to have been doing it tough for awhile now. That lithium must be potent stuff to blast through your depression like that. I’ve been reading here since you began blogging and vibes like ‘bubbly’, ‘outgoing’ and ‘productive’ … well, this is sure a big change to the usual tone of your blog. Anyway, glad to hear you’re getting some relief.

    At the same time I was shocked at what you wrote about your psychiatrist. ECT? What sort of kitten-murdering psychiatrist is he? From what you’ve blogged he seems to have settled on PURE ‘symptom relief’ as an approach to your condition, rather than any analysis of what’s causing those symptoms. I mean, sure, you’ve been struggling with a crippling agoraphobia concomitant with depression for years (as have I) but as far as I can tell from your blogging these are merely the surface symptoms of a neurosis aren’t they? i.e there’s underlying causes to your condition that can be explored and worked on in order to cure you? But your psychiatrist seems like he couldn’t care less. Instead he’s resolved to merely bandaid you, to stone you till you’re nice and compliant and ‘bubbly’, with ECT as his next best option. It all sounds pretty odd to me.

    I don’t know what’s happened to modern psychiatry. The diagnoses in the DSM are all symptom-focused. So called ‘therapy’ (eg CBT) is symptom-focused. Medications of course are totally symptom-focused. I dunno, seems like something’s gone really really wrong with the profession. The word, “psychotherapy” comes straight from the Greek : ‘psyche’ meaning “spirit or soul”; and ‘therapia’ meaning “healing and wholeness”. Yet most psychs these days seem to have completely abandoned the idea of ‘Healing The Soul’ in favour of mere ‘Symptom Relief’. Your psych sure seems to be a case in point.

    ECT? For what it’s worth I’d say “Don’t go there ms Sapho”. From your blogging it seems to me that you’re a nice sensitive artist with primarily ‘social’ issues who deserves better than the sort of rough-house experimental therapy that you’re currently being offered.

    • #4 by purplesapho on September 29, 2011 - 9:07 pm

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write this comment. I don’t know you and it’s surprising to hear you’ve been reading this blog for so long. I agree, the tone has changed drastically as has my behaviour.

      However, I disagree with a number of things you’ve said, some are not so important and some are crucial.

      1. I don’t have agoraphobia. It’s social phobia. I’m not phobic of open spaces and crowds. I actually don’t mind them. It’s the interaction with people that I fear. One on one talks, small group conversations and phone calls.

      2. While there are strong cognitive factors around my depression and anxiety, I also believe I have strong biological ones aswell. There is all kinds of undiagnosed mental illness in my family and both my parents have depression and anxiety issues. Usually depression has a high heritability and a strong biological component, especially if there’s no antecedents of significant mental trauma to justify a reactive process. While I agree with you that a lot of health care can be bad in the mental field as in many other areas, and that many patients are being treated based on symptoms (psychiatry is very young, and hopefully better ways will be discovered in the future), this is not always the case and I don’t think I’m being mistreated.

      3. There’s no evidence that psychoanalysis based therapies are 100% effective in all cases, especially those that have a strong biological component.

      4. Please don’t demonize ECT. It’s ironic that perhaps ECT and other “scary” treatments like transcraneal magnetic stimulation, vagal nerve stimulation and deep brain stimulation are probably the ones that actually attack root causes in the brain. For a lot of patients these have become highly effective treatments and the reason they’ve been able to leave their illness behind.

      I want to write a post on ECT to clear a bit of the stigma it has. Offer a couple of truths and argue against some of the myths.

      Like I said before, thanks for your comment, it is much appreciated.

      (mini disclaimer: I have an MD, however I’m not a psychiatrist. Read with caution.)

  3. #5 by Diver on September 30, 2011 - 4:06 am

    Fair enough, my assumption that the houseboundedness and fear of socially confining situations that you’ve reported over the years constituted ‘agoraphobia’. I’m called ‘agoraphobic’ (clinically) and those symptoms certainly do quite neatly encapsulate my own understanding of the condition I’ve been dealing with for 30 years. I shouldn’t generalize though, please accept my apology for the assumption about the nomenclature.

    Did it seem like I was arguing that psychoanalysis-based therapies are 100% effective in all cases? I wasn’t, really! Read my comment, note the question mark. I was just enquiring how you felt about exploring the possibility that there might be some underlying cause(s) that’s triggering your genetic predisposition to depression? Alternatives to shock therapy and drug regimens interest me, that’s all. Your reply hints that you see “no antecedents of significant mental trauma to justify a reactive process” … ok, fine … assuming there are indeed no other things besides ‘mental trauma’ that cause our neuroses … things of the soul perhaps???? Lots of question marks! I’m not advocating mind you, guess it’s just my bias is to Jung and things metaphysic seeping out. I of course accept that you (seem to) favour neuroscientific and biological explanations for stuff.

    I’ll be interested in your reading your argument for ECT. Personally I have a suspicion it’s just a form of invasive medical barbarism and a demonstration of the essential arrogance of science. Those are mere intuitive suspicions though. I’ll be more than interested to see if you can change my thinking on the subject 🙂

    PS … very much enjoyed your artwork in the next post, especially the portraits. Your style is quite lovely.

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