Beating the Beast


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Hmmm, where to begin? I suppose autumn of 2001 would be a very good start.  I was married and had seen our GP who prescribed Xanax, for Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  Though, I did not feel I had any anxiety of any kind.  True, I am a worry type person by nature; I just felt there was no need for these pills.  My wife thought that they might help with my worry.  Keep in mind, that in 2001 – I had NO knowledge of psychotropic drugs.  If you can, remember back to that time in 2001, there were hardly any commercials on T.V. compared to the barrage of advertising today for many Rx’s.  My doctor’s words about Xanax were “It’s just like doing a shot of strong Irish whiskey”.  “It’ll calm your nerves” What I didn’t know at the time, was that the Benzodiazepines can induce depressive symptoms in certain persons.

So, here we are, my wife & I, having a rough spot in our marriage after 9-11, and all I wanted to do was sleep (because I was sedated way too much) when we were supposed to have serious, marriage saving discussions.  Turns out that I was drugged quite a bit by a heavy starting dose.   By March of 2002, I had moved out, convinced at the time, that my wife was the cause of depression.  I knew NOTHING about depression at this time in my life, NOTHING.  I just knew what her & I had gone thru from autumn 2001 to spring 2002 sucked, so bad.  I wanted out, I wanted away from these ill feelings and racing thoughts, the crying, the everything.  Again, I was convinced it was someone else doing this to me.  I was blind to the fact that I may suffer from depression.  I kept myself very busy over the summer of 2002, still trying to stick to my guns about wanting a divorce SO bad, because I had associated those depressive feelings to my wife and the marriage. We had been separated since March 2002.

Fast forward to autumn 2002 & I am divorced – though I felt no relief, it was a hollow victory.  Hmmm, I just figured that what I went through, maybe it’d take some time to feel something again – to feel myself again.  Oh, btw, I’m hooked on Xanax all this time too; I didn’t know that it was highly addictive.  Fall 2002 and winter 2003 begin.  I’m living back home with the parents, trying to save some cash and eliminate debt.  I’m “getting out there” again, and trying to date.  I meet a wonderful woman, SO pretty; my heart melts & races too! – We start dating & things are going ok.  I was just thrilled to move on to something considering being divorced.  Not desperate, just true happiness that I hooked up with someone SO beautiful & who carried herself very well.  During our courting, I discovered that she’s a real, true to life schizophrenic.  I didn’t run after discovering this, I was actually fascinated & somewhat scared.  She seemed safe enough (at the time).  After about 8 months of dating, I had to call it quits.  Her behavior made it difficult to date & stay in love with her.  Heartbroken somewhat because I thought it was such a shame that a woman, so beautiful has to suffer from such a wicked disease. 

Autumn 2003, single again, and bought my first house…again, I feel NOTHING, no joy, no hopes of new memories…I’m pretty much flat, but I keep it all inside.   I get settled into the home, and get internet hooked up.  Just for spite, I start looking up things about psychotropic drugs.  I wanted to educate myself about all the types that were out there, what they were Rx’d for, everything.  I had been interested in my ex-girlfriends meds and was thinking that there might be hope in a cure or to keep her stable, etc.  I just wanted knowledge.  Here is where I go way wrong.  Since I was feeling so flat after a new house purchase, I e-filled a prescription for Paxil-CR, think to myself “I must have depression”.  I take Paxil-CR for about 3 weeks, also, going hog wild on the net researching meds, illnesses, etc. – I come across a certain yahoo group, in which members are totally against all psychotropic drugs, and claim they do more harm than good.  I get totally sucked in, thinking that, OMG, this is what happened to ME – just after taking Xanax.  It seemed to make such sense to me at the time.  I thought I came across the greatest group in the world.  I was gonna eat right, take supplements, and just start to feel better then I ever had.  I wanted to go med-free in Jan of 2004, which I did.  I was proud that I kicked a 2+ year Xanax addiction, and that I got thru SSRI discontinuance syndrome/sickness from abrupt stopping Paxil-CR.

I start 2004 living, but still not feeling myself.  There was a company buy-out in early 2004 that brought some stress to me.  Nothing trigger like, but stress in the fact that 5 years with the previous company was worth nothing.  Kinda a bummer really.  I date another woman from March 2004 to September 2004.  A break-up in September & HERE COMES THE BEAST FOR CERTAIN.  I get very depressed, insomnia sets in.  My mind really struggles with what I “thought” was true from the Yahoo Groups site, vs.  if all these meds really work, are they cash cows for big pharma?, super racing thoughts...I keep thinking that if I get enough sleep, I’ll be ok, this will pass…It didn’t.  It got worse.  Deeper & deeper into depression and insomnia at its finest.  I see my GP who prescribes ‘Restoril’ (a Benzodiazepine class sleep aid) – doesn’t help, only strengthened the beast.  My behavior becomes borderline psychotic.  I’m making it to work, but can’t concentrate to save my soul.  Coworkers notice that I don’t “look” so well.  After a month of insomnia and super bad work stress, I manage to get into an emergency visit with my Pdoc.  She sees that I am not “all that well”, as we attempt to treat this as out-patient.  My Pdoc recommends that I stay with my parents to be around people, vs. alone in my home.  I had been given ‘one’ dose of ‘Seroquel’ and also ‘Effexor’ to help me sleep and start meds for depression…Holy hell the next morning…

I wake up, stuttering beyond belief, asking my parents if there is a Catholic loophole, and if they’d just kill me, so I can still get into heaven.  I can’t even get thru a sentence without stuttering – thoughts were irrational, again, trying to figure out some catholic loophole… away to the hospital we go!!!

I’m in ‘the’ hospital for about 2 weeks.  I got caught up on my sleep, thanks to heavy Seroquel doses & a whole slew of other ‘goodies’ from the hospital.  I manage to get stable enough to leave the hospital, and am back home for about another week.  My Dx in the hospital is something I’d rather not speak of, plus, I don’t believe in labels.  I get stable enough to make it to work and back, that’s about all I can handle.

I stay with parents until December 2004 / January 2005.  This year, I’ve been struggling with severe depression and working very close with my Pdoc regarding meds and diet and a correct Dx. 

So, here I am, at BtB, learning, growing, and attempting to beat this fucking illness.  Possibly learn about triggers, and make many memories along the way.  Thanks for having me.

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Revised: 04/02/05.

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