The result of the test is that I do have ADHD. But… just a little. Like, I barely scored on the scale for positive. More than the ADHD, I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and probably PTSD, and those have been causing the panic attacks. After talking with my doctor for a long time about a lot of things, she suspects that I’ve had both my entire life – the Anxiety more than the ADHD, but because I’m also pretty smart and have such self-learned survival skills, I’ve been able to mask and compensate for the ADHD for most of my life… until the last couple of years, where the anxiety has gotten so overwhelming, with so much stress and trauma (see the note above on PTSD), that I’m using all of my mental energy to just get through the day. I barely have enough to get through the day, let alone get through the day and compensate for all my little idiosyncrasies.
We both agreed that rather than trying to fight/deal with/cure (whatever) both at once, to pick the one that’s got the most “hold” on me, and work with it, first. I feel like the Anxiety is … how to say this… heavier, than the ADHD (especially when I scored so low in ADHD and so high in Anxiety). That when I am less anxious, I am able to remember what works and follow through with my coping mechanisms for the ADHD. When I am less anxious, I panic less. When I am less anxious, less can throw me into an absolute spiral. I mean, I’ve been like this my whole life, but it’s only the last few years that I’ve been sort of falling apart and not being able to best function. Working with the Anxiety will help with the ADHD (and panic, and PTSD), whereas working with the ADHD doesn’t seem like it will do much with the overpowering Anxiety. Plus, my scoring on ADHD wasn’t high enough to really justify (to either of us) putting me on ADHD meds when there is a country-wide shortage right now and so many other people out there need it more than I do.
So we’re going to give it six to eight weeks. She’s going to help me find a new therapist, one that is more interactive than the one I’ve been seeing [once every three months for half an hour]. She wants me to change medications, to one that will take about six weeks to start feeling the full effects of. I’m to start slow the first week, call her and talk to her about how I feel and she’ll give me the ok (or not) to up to the “regular” dose over the next few weeks. Take about five more weeks with the new therapist and the new meds. Then we’ll reassess.
Want to come on that journey with me?
(Side note: these weeks run Tuesday – Monday, which I know is confusing as fuck, but my meeting with my doctor was on a Tuesday so I’m calling that Day One.)
Week #1 (08/08-08/14)
This week is about simultaneously getting me off Prozac and getting me on Zoloft. Zoloft every day, Prozac every other day, report back to my doctor in a week to let her know how I feel on days when I’m not taking the Prozac. If I’m good, I can quit the Prozac entirely.
From Doctor Google: When comparing Prozac versus Zoloft, they’re likely equally effective for generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. But Zoloft may be more effective for social anxiety disorder and PTSD. Prozac and Zoloft have similar side effects, but Prozac is known to have more interactions.
Prozac and Zoloft are SSRIs commonly prescribed for anxiety and depression. Both work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, providing feel-good effects to combat symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Both medications provide the same effectiveness in preventing depressive episodes. However, Prozac is generally more effective in treating general anxiety disorder, whereas Zoloft is more effective in treating PTSD and social anxiety.
The one great doctor I had up until about three years ago put me on Prozac instead of a blood pressure medication, because there were less kidney-related side effects. Added bonus? I was supposed to be a little less anxious. Looking back, now, though, I wonder how much it really helped with that, if at all – if that we me with help being less anxious, god DAMN. Because I was still pretty anxious. A lot. Especially this last couple of years, but also, these last couple of years have been pretty extraordinary. Covid, Heath dying, Vol dying, Tim dying, Barbara dying, constantly worrying about my BiPOC, AAPI, and Queer friends as I see their rights being stripped away and people who look like my loved ones being gunned down for just existing. Is it any wonder I’m anxious all the time?
At the beginning of the week, I’d say on a scale of one to ten, my anxiety level was at, like, a twelve. This week would have seen my 20th wedding anniversary, if Tim hadn’t died last year. I thought the anniversary would be easy, since I’d already had the first one last year. But last year I was on a cruise to Alaska, in the most not normal place I could possibly be for my anniversary. In a place Tim would never have gone because of his motion sickness. This year, I was home. Last year, it just felt a little unfinished, like I’d been served the wrong meal at a restaurant. Like I ordered a medium rare burger and got a well done one instead. This year it was like ordering a medium rare burger and the chef walks out of the kitchen and rage flips my table and throws a drink in my face.
The only thing I noticed really, this week, was that on days I took both the Prozac and the Zoloft, I definitely needed a nap, twice a day. On the days I didn’t take the Prozac, I was really kind of fine. So I called my doctor at the end of the week, and she said to go ahead and go off the Prozac, up the Zoloft to the next level, and also, she’d found me a couple of different therapists and gave me their contact info so I could check them out.
Oh, and I had what I’m pretty sure will be my last visit with the therapist I’m seeing in person in Gainesville, who is a nice enough woman but not really helping me in the way I want to be helped.
Week #2 (08/15-08/21)
I will say that I’m still crying a lot this week. But! Jeff gave me a huuuuuuuuuuuuuge gift. He saw that I was really struggling with The Feral Shitten Family; I can’t even describe the things they’re doing to the bathroom in my studio and to my sanity.
I don’t feel like I can just boot them outside because they’re not fixed yet and they’ll make more kittens. I don’t feel like I can handle another month or two of them being in my studio because they’re making me crazy and the time it takes me to clean the bathroom twice a day is time I could be spending working. I don’t feel like I can bring the dogs into the studio with so many cats that don’t know them. I don’t feel like I can keep going over to the house from the studio every two hours to let the dogs out and hang out in the back yard with them for 15 minutes because that’s time I could be working. I see people get really harsh on Facebook when people keep outdoor pets and I don’t want to get piled on by being reminded about what murder machines cats are. But I can’t keep them in my studio forever, I just can’t. And I can’t move them to the house for a lot of the same reasons. And then some people jump on me like “why are you even trying to help these cats?!” …. Well, because if I don’t, they’re still going to stick around, but they’ll just keep having more and more fucking kittens. So I have to do this. And I have to do it my way. But I’m so overwhelmed.
Anyway. Sorry, kind of went off on a tangent, there. It took Jeff three days; one day for the posts, one day for the roof, and one day to extend the roof a little bit and do some finishing touches. I thought “oh, I’ll think about how to fit all the crates and I’ll get everyone moved out by maybe the end of the week and I really have a lot of work to do that I’m already behind on” and then I kind of had a “fuck it,” moment… how much more work can I get done if I move all the little shits out today?!
Work felt so great the next day, being able to bring the dogs in and not having to spend a couple of hours cleaning up poop! It actually turned into a pretty busy animal week, as I got Little Mama spayed on Wednesday, and Honey Butter spayed on Thursday.
I also had a phone call with the new therapist I’m looking into, early in the week. Forgot to mention that first (I was too excited about getting the cats out of the studio). I really, really like her, and think she’s going to work out much better. We’re talking about a 6-8 week intense program with weekly meetings, homework assignments, and a notebook. I don’t want to talk about who she is, just because I’m not sure what the privacy issues might be, but trust me when I say that she really does seem like she’s going to be great for me.
This is already at a little over 1800 words, and I know people stop reading at roughly 1500, so I’m going to put the next four weeks in the next post so that this doesn’t turn into a small novel. Stay tuned… (and remember that all of this has already happened, this was weeks ago, I’ve been through it all and have my answers. I’m not writing about all of this to get advice or ask what I should do; I’m writing about this for the same reason I wrote about everything with Tim in the hospital, and struggling with grief after he died. So that anyone else out there floundering can hopefully find it and feel seen. Also so all y’all know why I never write, I never call, I’m always busy!)…!
Part 5 of ….? Stay tuned for Part 6.