Psycho-Babble Medication | about biological treatments | Framed
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Sleeping my life away

Posted by Phoebe Hayes on April 6, 2002, at 3:46:02

I am writing this post in the hope that somebody out there can relate.

At the age of 32, I find it almost impossible to hold down a job because I can't get out of bed in the mornings. I have been taking 75mg a day of Efexor XR for over 3 years now. When I first began taking Efexor I noticed a dramatic improvement in mood after only 3-4 days and believe that the drug still curbs a lot of the social anxiety/excess sensitivity that paralysed me in the past.

I have had enough psychotherapy to understand both my past and the cognitive distortions that creep in to my life from time to time. I also try to fight the depression with seretonin-boosting exercise, diet, and music. Unfortunately I have a nightly craving for wine (which picks up my mood) but Im working on kicking this addiction and now drink less than half of what I did a year ago.

Now that winter is approaching here in Australia, my energy levels are plummeting again. I have started my annual `hibernation routine', which consists of sleeping at least 13 hours a day whenever I get the chance. Sometimes, on weekends, I can sleep as much as 16 hours a day.

I always eat too much in the winter and am already around 6kg (13lbs) overweight. My general feelings of apathy and sluggishness, combined with my guilt about eating too much, will ensure that my exercise will grind to an eventual halt, around May. From that point, I will be a true bear (sleepy, lazy, antisocial) until the days start to get longer again in Sept/October.

Friends and family tell me that I'm just lazy. I wish that this were true - because mere laziness (once a person is conscious of it) is easier to overcome than is the insidious biological process affecting me.

I am no longer in therapy and am satisfied with my capacity to handle my life on a purely psychological level. My old psychotherapist suspected that I either suffered from SAD or from a milder form of bipolar disorder - but no diagnosis was ever made. Since then, I have seen the occasional doctor about my mood swings but have been dismissed as a normal person with the `winter blahs' every time. The usual advice is to get more exercise and do some meditation.

The thing is that I'm not even entirely sure that depression is the problem. I am nothing like the crying, anxious mess that I was when I first presented myself for treatment a few years ago. On most days, I experience periods of normal (even excited) moods on most days; I'm not usually so sad that I can't snap out of it.

The main problem is just a general lack of energy and motivation. It seems that facing any kind of stress at work sends me into a kind of overdrive that is too stressful for my mind/body to cope with.. To compensate, I seem to shut down or hibernate. My moods can swing dramatically from hour to hour. I also experience a severe loss of confidence and subjective (not delusional) paranoia, which is related to the weight gain. This too, affects my ability to present for work and seems much worse in winter.

I don't know whether I should increase my dose of Efexor, change my medication, or just have a general physical checkup. I only know that something isn't quite right and wish that someone would believe me!

Does anyone relate to this? What did you do?? Surely sleeping 16 hours a day isn't normal!





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