The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Whose brain is it anyway?

Bloody hell, this brain of mine just doesn’t shut up.

I’d forgotten that, but now I have to find a way of getting used to it again.

Over the past 6 weeks my tiredness moved up a level, to the point where large parts of each day were like wading through treacle, both physically and mentally. I was sleeping 2 or 3 hours a night more, though still feeling unrefreshed; if anything it was taking me even longer to completely wake up in the mornings.

The amitriptyline the doc put me on worked, insofar as it stopped the sudden and crushing mood drops, but it was like coating me in a large roll of cotton wool to the point where it was steadily getting harder to move or to think.

So when, on Monday, we met to review whether I should stay at the 25mg level or up to the more common 50mg, I told him of the side effects and said that it felt like I’d exchanged one form of non-functionality (the mood drops) for another (cotton wool – or treacle, depending which analogy you prefer). So I asked if there were any other options.

So now I’m on 10mg of citalopram instead.

Now while it will still be too early for the citalopram to have started kicking in yet, coming off the amitriptyline seemed to have a profound effect virtually overnight.

Suddenly my mind is bouncing all over the place - I am making connections and seeing patterns between bizarre and unlikely things; if someone suggests an idea, I can run it through empire building scenarios, which if followed would result in global domination within 3 years; and even the Sudoku puzzles are looking simpler.

In other words, it’s back to normal (excluding mood drops, general tiredness and any normal definition of normal).

But because it hasn’t been like this for several weeks, I was slowly adapting to a brain which needed to take its time, and overheated if it thought for more than 10 minutes without a 2 hour break.

Consequently for the past couple of days it’s felt like I’ve got a wildcat by the tail that I can’t let go of and isn’t going to give me any peace.

I daresay I’ll adapt to it, in the same way I eventually got used to having a new tooth I’d got used to not having (see But if feels so big), but for the moment I wish it would sit down and shut up for at least a few minutes a day.


Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Glad to hear things are looking up, Kim. With any luck this'll be the thing that works for you.

Charlie said...

Citalopram is a different breed of anti-depressant than amitriptyline, so maybe you'll adjust better to the new one.

Sven said...

There's no middle ground in the world of pharmaceutical enhancement is there?

Anonymous said...

sadly we're left to try one and then another if the other doesn't work. BUT at least there are options!

sorry you have to go through this - i know your pain.

good luck.

Restaurant Gal said...

I just hope you know I think about your good mental health every day. I am willing it to happen. When it does, share a little with this Gal, will you?

PI said...

So it seems your present state is either due to the 10 mg of citalopram or coming off the amitriptaline
or a combination of both. I know nothing about the drugs but the description you give of your present state sounds a little too frenentic and my instinct is to say watch it. Maggie should probably have an opinion. Forgive me if I'm misunderstanding.

Tom said...

I feel for you, man.

I started to pop the little blue pill (Sertraline) when my daughter was born, after putting my wife through 11 years of hell. Walking around my moods on eggshells.

I've found that the lows don't go away, but am able to manage them much better. No more crying like a baby when an Andy Gibb song plays on VH1. (That's just between you and me and your dozens of readers)

Hoping these chemicals connect the dots in your brain, Kim. Pulling for you.

St Jude said...

Obviously a lot has been happening whilst I've been away.

You just have to keep going and take whatever help is offered. You'll get there sweetie, you strike me as being a very determined person. Hopefully the new meds will have the desired result and even things out.

Kim Ayres said...

Sam - we can live in hope :)

Charlie - I was on this one for a while about 8 years ago - the only other time I've used ADs. I don't remember having too many side effects with it which is why the doc chose this one to try next

Sven - I think with all of these things it's about which ones have the most tolerable side effects

Angie - thanks. Do you have a blog of your own? I see you have a profile, but there's no blog to link to

Restaurant Gal - I appreciate your postive thoughts. Hugs and smiles all round :)

Pat - I think Maggie was a bit relieved to see me a bit more like my old self. She'd been getting quite worried whe nmy thought processes were so slowed down

Tom - thanks for sharing - I don't think it's that common for people to admit they're on ADs so it's good to find others who are prepared to challenge the stigma.

St Jude - you're alive! Woohoo! After 6 months of no blogging I was wondering whether to remove your link. So glad you're with us again :)

SafeTinspector said...

So are you getting the mood swings now or not? I wasn't really sure after reading the post twice. I hope you're finding a more traditional sense of normality now.

I'm unfamiliar with the drug names you are bandying about, but I found your description of "cotton" and "treacle" a bit frightenning. Not sure which would be scarier to me, the treacle-cotton thing or the depression.

Your "normal" state of mind sounds familiar. I often call my uncontrolled free-associative state "fireworks". Sometimes is makes conversation difficult and annoying for my conversation partners. Hope you get a reign on it soon for your sake.

Pendullum said...

I know that this may sound odd and I am not a pusher by any means....
But I know of many people who have sleep disorders including my grandmother...and the best thing to help is a bit medicinal pot.... My grandmother of all people is sleeping.... and she has been with this demon for 45 years....

savannah said...

*hugs* i wish you all the best, matter what you've been going through, you've always had a positive/supportive word for me.. i stand in awe..*bigolegeorgiapeachkiss*

Mary Witzl said...

Personally, I'd rather be exhausted than depressed, but of course I'd really rather be neither.

I felt a little like you during both my pregnancies, specifically during my 4th month. I had enormous bursts of creativity and felt I could solve the problems of the world. Then I hit my 5th month and my carriage turned back into a pumpkin.

I hope you get the right medication, Kim -- and one that you can fine tune to give you just the right balance.

Anonymous said...

huh, i must have done something incorrectly if my blog isn't linking to my name . . .
my blog is:

see you there soon, i hope!

michael greenwell said...

still bouncing around on a monday morn?

Brave Astronaut said...

My father spent his entire career in the pharmeceutical industry. We always had a copy of the PDR (Physician's Desk Reference) around the house. Who knew that I would need it to read your blog?

Hope that all continues to move in the right direction. You creativity is very important to all of your loyal readers and we are hope that you find your way to the end of the road to recovery soon!

Best, Brave Astronaut

Kim Ayres said...

SafeT - it's like the difference between a sharp pain and a dull ache. The depressive swings were like the sharp pain of intense grief, the amitryptaline was just feeling like you could never wake up properly. At the moment I have neither, but anxiety is running higher and I'm not sleeping anything like as much.

Pendullum - you're back! How wonderful to hear from you again - I'll be across soon to read your latest.

Savannah - I always appreciate your *hugs*

Mary - well I'm a week into the new ones now and so far, other than slightly higher anxiety levels and a lot less sleep, it's not been anything like as bad emotionally.

Angie - I'll be across to see you soon

Michael - slowing down a bit, but I think the lack ofsleep is beginning to catch up

Brave Astronaut - thanks for your support and warm words

jennifergg said...

My husband had a debiliatting depression a few years back and I know how difficult it can be, for everyone...sending thoughts of healing and balance!

Stella said...

Hope the citalopram works for you, that's what I'm on. For me it helps me achieve a "normal" state (normal for me I guess) and these newer ADs don't have as many side effects as the older ones. Good Luck finding what works for you.

Kim Ayres said...

Jennifer - thank you :)

Stella - it seems to be the AD of choice - I know about half a dozen people who are on it

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