How It All Got Started, Part Four

When last we left my saga, I had finished my fourth session with the psychologist. We decided I need not return unless I had to talk to him.

Shortly after that final visit, I made an appointment with my doctor. She is new to the community and is very straight forward. A recent visit to her got me wound up to lose nearly 25 pounds.

I talked with her about what was going on in my life. She asked me some questions. I answered them forthrightly. Sure enough, I was diagnosed with depression. I told her about the different medications the psychologist suggested I try: Lorazepam (aka Ativan), Sertraline HCL (aka Zoloft) and Venlafaxine (aka Effexor). She refused to talk about Ativan because of its addictive properties. So she suggested I try Zoloft. I got a prescription and away we went.

A few weeks later I noticed my body itched all the time. The next thing I knew I had hives over most of my body! I had scratched my back so much that a rash developed on my back! I stopped taking Zoloft and called the doctor to tell her I wasn’t taking Zoloft anymore. She later told me that I was the first case she could find where a patient developed hives taking Zoloft. That meant no more SSRI drugs for me.

Next was Effexor. If the same thing happened with Effexor, then I could eliminate 80% of anti-depressants. Ouch! The hives cleared and I started Effexor. I waited the usual 4-6 weeks for results. After about two weeks I noticed a big difference. I felt much better. The fog lifted. I was happier. I wanted to be around people. No more snapping at my wife and children. No more anxiety over every little thing. Life looked a lot better thanks to Effexor.

An interesting side note: I dream in Technicolor. That’s my term for having very, very vivid dreams. My dreams are quite detailed and last all night long. All dreams are good dreams. It’s a pleasure to go to bed at night.

The only “problem” of sorts is trouble getting to sleep at night. It could be a sleep phase issue. I don’t know if it’s related to my depression. I hate to have to go off Effexor because it’s made a huge difference in my life. We’ll see how things play out.

There you have it. It’s been an amazing journey of about half a year. If only I knew years ago (maybe decades ago) that I suffered from depression, things would be much different. But God brought me to a particular time and place to face my illness with confidence. My confidence comes from Christ, Who loves me, made me His precious child in Baptism, and richly feeds me with His Word. Psychology and Pharmacology are good gifts from a gracious God. I would be much worse without them.

If you are reading this blog and wondering whether or not you suffer from clinical depression, don’t put off calling your doctor any longer. Please get an appointment to see him or her as soon as possible. Your doctor can help you draft a plan to fight depression with therapy. Don’t forget your pastor! Talk to him. He can be great help too. Let the physician care for your body and your pastor a cure of soul. It’s the best way to get to know yourself, and in turn, to draw closer with a loving and gracious God.



One Response to “How It All Got Started, Part Four”

  1. Thanks for continuing to write and share your story. I had some similar experiences with medication initially. I tried Wellbutrin but it not only kept me from sleeping but made me feel pretty agitated. It didn’t take me long to call the dr. and opt for a different medication. Lexapro turned out to be a good medication for me. Lexapro helped “raise the floor” and keeps me from feeling quite so anxious and depressed. It’s not been without side effects but I’ve been able to live with them so far and am otherwise pretty happy with the medication.

    May God continue to bless you and bring healing to your life.

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