View Full Version : Depression + ADD + Anxiety= AAAHHH

03-04-07, 11:26 PM
I feel emotionally raw every hour of every day. I never know when I'm going to cry... it just creeps up into my throat like a hard knot, just waiting to capsize my cognisance. It happens in front of my students, in front of my mother-in-law, with my husband... and it doesn't matter where I am. Yesterday, I walked into a meeting and just teared up at the sight of a few kindred spirits... I wasn't sad really... just terribly lonely (which, of course, I don't notice until I am not alone anymore... strange.)

A lot has happened in 2 years. I got married, had a baby, began working (teaching–this is my second year), and started grad school. Last summer, when I started grad school, I decided to get my ADD symptoms officially diagnosed so that I could get some meds that would allow me to focus on school... instead of feeling guilty about not being at home with my daughter all the time. My dr prescribed 20 mg Adderall XR.

This past semester, I decided to cut back on the Adderall bc it was becoming a roller coaster ride. I don't like taking it on the weekends bc I become so task-oriented that I don't *enjoy* the time I have to spend with my little girl. This causes my mood to "crash" (comorbid with "stimulant"). It has gotten quite scary... and I wind up spending Saturday mornings in bed. This frustrates the hell out of my husband bc that means he has to get up with her (which he does every morning since I leave for work at 5:30 am, so he never gets a break). THe past 2-3 weekends, I have called a friend to come over so that I will get out of bed. During the week, my husband brings me a glass of Carnation Instant Breakfast (with whole milk :D ) and starts the shower... so that's how I make it to work.

Each day feels like a giant mountain that I have to climb... and each day I start at the base of that same damn mountain (I believe that was the "hell" of a mythological character). So in the mornings, I can't wake up (until I take an Adderall). Meanwhile, the evenings find me lying awake in bed, my mind racing, my feet cold/numb, occasionally I'll break out in a cold sweat. After I've been asleep for 2-3 hours, I wake up to these mild panic attacks (this has been in the past 2 months or so). I can always talk myself out of the panic by breathing with my husband's snores, or pretending that the bed is sand and I'm at the beach, breathing with the sound of the waves (I know, very zen). If that doesn't work, I'll get up and get on the computer, searching for anything that confirms that I am having a panic attack and not a stroke or heart attack... until I am too tired to keep my eyes open.

THe past 3-4 four nights, I haven't slept at all. I'm too scared to go to sleep. Everytime I start to fall asleep, my heart jumps and races. Breathing becomes such a conscious effort, that I become afraid of falling asleep and allowing my body to take over the control of it subconsiously. I'll nod off for a minute and then not be able to open my eyes (a very strange sensation). Well, last night, I couldn't talk myself out of the attack. I wasn't doing anything... I was jsut sitting up in bed, watching the Cosby Show (usually I've already been asleep when these happen). All of a sudden, I felt my throat begin to close up and my hear tstarted racing and I couldn't stop it. I woke up my husband and calmly told him we would need to go to the hospital. He wasn't really with it, so I got up (seating and dizzy) and got my phone. Then I had to lay on the ground on my back with my arms over my head to catch my breath. I was too weak to sit or move. It was all I could do to keep breathing.

Now, I am not a wimp. I can do just about anything I set my mind to. My parents were very "grit your teeth and bear it," so that's how I try to be (although, I must admit, I'm not much good at it, but I'm also not a whiner). However, this was out of my hands. When the paramedics showed up, I immediately began to calm down. They said it was an anxiety attack. An anxiety attack?! I wasn't even anxious when it happened. THey told my husband that he could take me up to the hospital later if it happened again so that they could give me medication to sleep. So my thoughts are: Can you give me some coping strategies so that it doesn't get out of hand again? They said, "Yeah, try to calm down."

I eventually fell asleep, but I made my husband turn his bedside lamp on... I'm still scared to fall asleep. If it's all in my head, then I should be able to control it, but how do I prevent these attacks? I'm going to my doctor tomorrow (well, I've got to call first thing and hope for an appt)... I'm hoping to get off of the Adderall (which I believe may be the source of these attacks) and onto Wellbutrin (which my mother has found to be successful in curing her anxiety and depression, and I've heard it is helpful with ADD).

Problem is... I don't have time to cope with adjusting to medication. I am too stretched. As I wrote that last sentence, I started crying again!! This feels like Dante's INferno... I'm just spiraling down and it just gets worse and worse. I have depression, ADD, and anxiety... and I have bitten off more than I can chew. I can't drop classes (bc I "just can't"... that's what makes me proud of myself), I can't quit teaching (that's where we get our health insurance), and I certainly can't leave m family... although they might be better off without me. I can't cope... fingers crossed, both hands, behind my back that the dr puts me on something that helps me. I just want to feel like myself... well, a version of myself that can actually check everything off on her to-do list.

03-05-07, 01:37 AM
I relate to nearly every word of what you're saying. In this case, I say much of the issue is related to the medication that you're taking and your psychosomatic reactions to it, all of which you need to address with your doctor. Adderall, from what I understands, enables the flow of dopamine, which, while occassionally adding to a sense of one's well being can also enhance anxiety. As for the depression, all I say is that I can commisserate, as it is something that I am at war with right now.

Get help. And don't be afraid to ask.

03-05-07, 01:58 AM
I agree, it is time to go the Doctor. You may be having post partum depression. For sure, you are overwhelmed. I thought I was having a stroke when I had my first panic attack.

You may be asking too much of yourself to have a young child, a new job and be in grad school all at the same time. Teaching and being a Mom are 2 full time jobs already. Not to mention housework and marriage.

Maybe you should take the semester (or a few semesters) off.

Antidepressants really helped me with the "bursting into tears" at odd moments.

Things really can get much much better, but you need to get help, now! Take gentle care, dear! ;) :)

03-05-07, 08:49 PM
First get to a doctor, then to a counselor. The counselor can help you see the big picture and talk therapy is excellent for depression and panic. It will help you identify your triggers and stressors.

Delaying grad school is OK, you wouldn't be a failure-trust me. I went back at 45. It would probably be a lot more fun if you wait a little bit and then go back. Right now you could end up hating it and that could deep six your grades and success. You have to take care of you first or you will not be able to live happy and healthy.

I fight all 3 too. Am taking several doctor ordered weeks off work-not what I wanted-but I finally stopped being stubborn and knew he was right. Getting better is my priority, not back to work.

Take a couple of mental health days from work and relax. Your kids will survive! Does your union have a sick bank where you donate a day or more of sick leave and then get extra days if you need them? Your doc might want you to take time off to get better.

Breaking into tears is a sure sign your depression is not adequately treated. It could also go badly for you at work-trust me. BTW-my doc started me on Lexapro-I am noticing improvements after just 4 doses-it tends to be faster acting and treats both depression and anxiety. Hard to believe this is the same brain I had last Monday!

Example-I just ate a complete meal and am having seconds-I have not been able to eat for weeks. Not crying every night either-less and less. The panic is still there but not as severe-Trust me, I did not expect this much improvement so soon, but I still have a ways to go.

Meds will help a lot, but really and truly, look at your life and the stressors-that is what probably set off this depression-not your fault, OK, but stress is a huge factor. If you don't deal with the stressors, this cycle will continue-meds cannot do it all.

For me, several major life stressors and a physical illness set off my relapse. Calling the doctor was so very hard-to admit I was depressed. I expect myself to be strong-but we all have limits. That is what your body is telling you.

Remember, this is a disease, not a character flaw. If you had surgery you would not try to do all this stuff, you would rest. Remember too, depression can be a terminal illness-it nearly killed me once. That is why you must get medical help-tell the dr. office how bad it is and they will get you in immediately or the next day most likely. Then take stock of your life.

You have a little girl, play with her and have fun, enjoy your family and teaching for awhile. Not many people could handle such a load-I sure couldn't.

I am having to make tough decisions-really tough, but my health and happiness come first. So do yours. So, I am here if you need to talk.


03-05-07, 10:17 PM
Well, today was much better. I took the day off work :D and slept til 11. I really, really hate sleeping in, but I couldn't help it. My husband and I went to lunch... a nice treat since teachesr don't get lunches. I made an appt. with the doctor for the afternoon so I could take it easy.

The dr took 2 hours bc I got my appt on such short notice... I kept falling asleep (since I stopped taking the adderall). She prescribed Wellbutrin for everything. I told her I just wanted to keep it simple if we could. My mom is on Wellbutrin and it works well for her... so here's hoping. I'm a bit wary of some of the side effects that I've heard about, but it can't be worse than adderall was for me.

I would love to take off work... I just can't right now while my husband is finished grad school as well. I can't quit grad school right now either bc my teaching certificate is contingent upon my enrollment in school (since I don't have an undergrad dgree in education... it's in English). You're right. I should find a way to get rid of some of my stressors, but right now, I don't know how to cut any of it out... I'm only taking one class this summer... so if I can just hang on til then...

For now, I just have to try to be satisfied with adequacy (my therapist says my definition of adequacy is "perfection"...) in school and at work. I feel refreshed and encouraged today... like myself. I didn't accomplish much (unless you count the organic white mocha that I picked up on my way to the dr), but I feel rested. I am really dreading waking up at 4:30 again tomorrow, but maybe if I don't think about it, it won't be so bad. I hate dreading work, bc I've always enjoyed it. Right now, I'm so far behind that it's been harder to want to go to work.

Thank you for your words of encouragement and support. I am so thankful for this forum...

03-05-07, 11:01 PM
Alternative certification-did that too! Understand completely. Do you have a really understanding professor in one class that will let you take an incomplete if needed to give you some extra time-one of mine did. Explain what is going on. Do you have counseling on campus that is cheap?

Take care-need to sleep now. Worn out.