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22 months of 20mg citalopram, day 11 on 10mg

by on Aug.15, 2012, under General

So September 2010, after a few personal incidents of broke personal possessions, anger out bursts and not wanting to do ANYTHING, the Dr put me on a daily dose of 20mg Citalopram. My side effects from the long list seem to have been limited to headache, sweating & tiredness. At the same time? I invoked a work benefit call the Employee Assistance Program and got some free (to me) counselling.

The initial effects on my state of mind were a little peculiar, week 3 & 4 were almost euphoric. If you can plot ones mental state of mind on a chart from 1 to 10, (1 being suicidal, 10 being best party ever), i would describe my state, pre citalopram as 2-3, never suicidal, just pissed off with everyone & everything. So week 3&4 being almost 8-9 was a major shock to the system, albeit a good one. Then came the roller coaster ride. During the next 12 months I could be anywhere from 4 to 8 on the scale and change to the other end with no warning.? The triggers up or down were unpredictable and uncontrollable. A piece of music, a comical text, a silly sign or a positive email may be a positive trigger, but equally a text, email, ?could just as easily, be a negative, ?Humans do not often notice a stable state, but instead they really notice change, and the constant swings up and down the scale was very off putting. It took two weeks for me to realise that even a bad day was still better than an average day before citalopram. This WAS progress..

Looking back to before September 2010, it was no surprise I was struggling. My wife had been on similar drugs for over two years, following the death of her gran and 19th year old nephew only months apart (I will add, I hope I never have to go to a funeral of a young person again, it is wrong on so many levels). So?I had that and some major work issues to deal with, which I will not discuss in detail, let?s ?just say impossible deadlines to deliver major service releases which no one wanted to back / support. During all of this I also lost interested in anything techie.

The whole personal journey leading to September 2010 was a massive learning experience. I will admit until witnessed my wife go through mental health hell, I had always been one of the “pull your self together” brigade, but then I got to experience the whole depression & anxiety trauma first hand.

My personal journey from September 2010 till December 2011 was a complete roller coaster, Good days, bad days, non descript days, fluffy days all merged into fog. Then while rehearsing for my first stage apperance since I was 11, a Dads dance for my daughter dance school, I met a guy reading A.C. Grayling’s What is Good. I am not a big book reader, in fact not sure, I had read anything other than technical manuals since I left college. but this book caught my attention. Graylings comparison of good, bad, evil, sin and the like was an eye opener, Grayling is certainly not known for his religious compassion, so as such his philosophical analysis of the good the bad and the ugly steered right into my thought processes. This was the first of many books I have now read more on Philosophy, personal morals, social morals, Depression and atheism. The later has made me realise I am NOT an atheist, more just agnostic. It is not to say that I think a supernatural being ($deity) does NOT exist, more like, I dont care and everyone is allowed to have their own view. This and other realisations have enabled me to deal with , rather than have them run my life, the issues that started this all off.

January 2012, I had decided I wanted to change my job, not leave my employer, just move to another dept. First i had to finish the project, I was working on, but i made it no secret I wanted a change. Then comes ?the push, I get 28 days ?notice i am being push out of the team. So 10th April I become the proverbial spare prick at a wedding. the act of being pushing had a surprising result, I was not expecting, I became depressed once more with a side of confused, angry and frustrated, it had pushed me back SIX months, if not more. Despite getting a new role on the 13th april 2012, the months that followed were no pretty. I destroyed laptop, for no reason, many many anger outbursts…. More sessions with an EAP appointed counsellor.

So here we are, August 2012, 5 months into the new (well kind of) role, it is actually same job, same responsibilities, different priorities and different boss, later (oh and great team of people). I am am now in the slow process of coming off the citalopram, Day 11 on the reduced dose, 10mg. My mental state is bobbing along around 5-6 on the previously discussed scale. I am still reading books. I am back to tinkering with technology, I bake cakes too,? the triggers are still there, but trigger a smile or a chuckle, even the bad ones. All is looking good, watch this space !!

For those who think depression is weakness, it is not !
For those who are experiencing depression, there is an end !
For those was friends and family suffering depression, Do NOT just walk away.

For everyone, understand that everyone is different, different beliefs, different ideas, different capabilities but that is no reason to think any less of them, help them if you can

2 comments for this entry:
  1. Steve Ellwood

    Congratulations on your progress, Lee. I had a very poor 6 months – ending up off work for most of it – and am still taking medication. It isn’t weakness; it can happen to anyone, and it was another friend at work who helped me realise that openness was right for me.

  2. stymaster

    Great (and brave) post (with good advice). I don’t have direct experience myself, but as you know I do have second-hand experience, and can appreciate what a struggle this must have been.

    Have you seen/followed Time to Change? They might even be interested in this post.

    As to the atheism thing, I count myself as an atheist as I don’t believe in $deity, but if others do, that’s fine by me.

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