11th March: An awkward meeting

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This morning I eventually went to a meeting with one of my module tutors and Enise (uni mental health advisor), at the uni med centre. I felt really ridiculous that I’ve let my stress over uni work reach that stage. But I know that I haven’t chosen for it to get that bad, and the meeting itself was probably useful. I walked to the med centre with the uni tutor, and it was a nice opportunity to chat a bit. He normally sees me around my work, when I am almost always stressed, so it was a chance to talk about something else for a bit. I really want to get across that I really hate the way I’m letting uni work get to me so much, and that fact is stressing myself equally as much as the work itself. Not sure I made my point as all I can think about at the moment is work stress!

I can’t remember what we actually talked about in Enise’s office. It’s all a bit of a blur. I know there were some tears, but I’m beyond feeling embarrassed about that now, in front of anyone. If I felt fine then we wouldn’t be in that awkward situation in Enise room!

I know at some point Enise asked me about me coming off the sertralines. I’d seen the dr earlier in the week and told him I didn’t want to be on them anymore, so he gave me advice on how to taper off them. I was half expecting him to protest, but I guess there isn’t anything he can say. Enise made it clear that she didn’t think it was a good idea, right now, but she couldn’t argue either that they were doing me any good! It was slightly awkward discussing that with my tutor in the room, though I think he found it more awkward than me! He definitely saw me taking my pills one morning, after I’d slept over night in the studio so was looking pretty rough, and he questioned if they were ProPlus pills. I gave him a good roll of the eyes and he shut up after that. If he didn’t know what they were then, I’m sure he made the connection  after Enise questioned me about the sertralines.

At the end my tutor asked if he could have ‘a private word’ with Enise. I was fine about that, though I haven’t a clue what he could have thought up that was so ‘private’, especially after the sorts of things Enise had been asking me in front of him. After he finished talking to her, Enise called me back in, mostly to make sure I was utterly clear that she thought it was the worst time for me to think of coming off sertraline, and that I must be crazy. Um yah… She also reported that my tutor had told her that he thought I could still be heading for an A/distinction overall, if only I’d believe in myself and have confidence. Either that comment was meant to be top secret and he told her that ‘in private’, or else she made that up anyway. He’s never told me that I could ever reach those grades, and that comment has only piled on the pressure. I thought that Enise at least knew me well enough by now to know that a comment like that isn’t going to boost my confidence at all, and only confirms that since I’ve lost confidence (it seems easier to work with that fact than to exhaust myself trying to fight it), I’m bound not to do well.

Sometime later this afternoon after I was back at university, Enise phoned me again, again reiterating that it was a bad idea to come off antidepressants (yah okay, I’m get the message!), but how about trying mirtazapine? I had to agree with her that my concerns were mainly specifically to do with the sertraline/Zoloft, rather than antidepressants in general. She said let my dr know I’d agreed to try it. Right. Okay, I guess I have done in that case? Hmm.

I’m going to research a bit about mirtazapine before I blindly swallow the pills.

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11th February: Woop! A day of no tears!

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Woop- a day of no tears!

Gah how sad is that, that that should be a real achievement!

But is that simply a one off? Is it because I’m feeling like I’m able to have some guilt-free sleep and general lounge about that I feel I don’t need to worry? Or it is – heaven forbid – that the sertralines are beginning to work?

On the one hand, it would be good if the sertralines are starting to work, because then maybe I’ll be able to cope better with work when I come back to it. On the other, I really don’t want to be on such a high dose of sertraline. Although maybe once they’ve started working then I can reduce the dose again?

3rd February: Sertraline Decisions

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So today wasn’t a good day.
Having got up late (thought I would keep to an 8-6 schedule – reasonably human – ended up in the studio at 10 to 11. Did get a bit done in town, first time there for ages), I started off on the wrong foot.

We’re meant to be doing a presentation at the Forest of Dean. Ridiculously pointless as it is the presentation for last term, for the previous assignment. Aside from its pointlessness, I think the main thing that was getting to me was that after the presentation last term, and feedback from the report, I’ve totally lost any confidence that I did have in my work and conclusions. So then I have the dilemma that on the one hand I could use that last presentation, with its problems, but I couldn’t physically bring myself to do that. Or spend more time going back though it, trying to improve it (which is what we’re expected to do), which is painful especially realising all the problems that I’d rather skimmed over before. Which I’m glad I did at the time, otherwise I’d have been a total wreck!

Anyway, I had to spend the rest of the day fixing up my presentation which was painful and, after the first few minutes which were useful refreshing my mind on how much work I did last term (nice surprise!), I couldn’t help feeling it was a waste of time and that I reall don’t want to be doing the presentation tomorrow, or working on it today. So one way or another, felt my blood bubbling and simmering all afternoon.
Setraline news

Friends are starting to gather my issues. Sort of letting things slip on purpose. As much as I hate myself for having to take the anti-depressants, I’d rather people know so that I don’t need to be so secretive about them or pretend I’m fine. Although maybe that’s a good idea as perhaps I was half believing my optimism too? But somehow it would be so strange to say that I’m on Zoloft, and actually I’ve been on them the entire time! I think it would even take me aback if someone announced they were taking anti depressants?

Tomorrow I’ve finally got an appointment with Enise (=uni/NHS Nurse Shrink) again. Don’t really know what to talk to her about. I guess about my thoughts on all my different medication options. I think she’s the best one to talk to about the medical vs uni work causes of my feelings. She’s the only person half connected to both, even if she knows me least well.

My thoughts on the sertraline and uni work are:

  1. Currently on 150mg a day. Really don’t want to be having to take that much. Partly I guess I don’t want to think/believe that I need to be on that much. Would rather be happy for being happy, not for being on happy pills. Partly because it seems to be a never ending trail. Don’t really know yet if they’re still helping very much. With work taking a breather for a few weeks, I’ve possibly had a false sense of security (SG suggested that, at first didn’t believe/want to believe it. But realise its probably true).
  2. Up my dose of sertraline, to 200mg, the max recommended dose by a GP. If sertraline is still going to help me, then this would give it its best shot. But as above, I’d much prefer not to be on them at any dose.
  3. Could come off the sertraline altogether. If they’re not helping me, then there’s no point being on them at all. But my Home Dr was ‘nervous’ at that idea of coming off them altogether. How is that meant to make me feel???!!! With final projects coming up, it’s probably not the best time, but then I’ll be sailing, so that’s probably not a good time wither as I’d be away from doctors during that time. Then I’ll be into applying and (hopefully) starting a new job, in a new house and potentially even a different place…if I could survive that off anti-depressants, then I’d have real confidence! But maybe not very sensible either…
  4. Also worried that if I go up to the maximum dose for sertraline, then if I do ever feel I need to up them, I can’t. So aswell as feeling bad, I’d have to cope with trying out a new drug. Of course maybe that would never happen! Or of course changing to a different drug would make all the difference. But would probably be better to try something else out before I was desperate.
  5. work-wise see my options from a few days ago.
  6. Now more worried about work as I had thought over Christmas I was just worrying over the time it took for me to do the work, now I need to worry about the quality of it too!

So having thought about all this stuff, I’d really like to know if it is my work that is making me feel how I do (worried, exhausted, not concentrating, feeling irritated, easily upset, teary), or if those feelings are making my work difficult.

On the one hand, I don’t think that I am innately a negative, pessamistic, depressed person, as I never had those feelings til I started being teased about my ears, and then I was perfectly happy again during my gap year, when potential stresses were probably highest, and even in my first year at UCL, everything was great. While on sertraline in my 3rd year, things were fun too. But recently (2nd year, last year and this year) definitely my feelings have been strongly connected to my uni work, if subtly different reasons.

Where does this leave me?