Mental illness is the only type of illness that makes it virtually impossible for the patient to be their own advocate. Because the very nature of the illness makes us feel weak, lazy, crazy and life not worth living.
I was 19, went back to college full-time and got a job working in a real estate management firm. Less than a year later I was promoted to office manager and had just made the Dean’s list. I had a boyfriend and life was good. Then I started spiraling down again just like before.
This would happen again and again for the next 7 years. I would find a combo of drugs that worked, re-enroll in school, get better and then bam eventually the meds would stop working.
My parents, family and doctor were amazing. They never let me give up, even though there were so many times hope just seemed like a cruel joke.
Eventually my family doctor said I needed to see a specialist because I had treatment resistant depression and I needed an expert. So at that time in the early 1990s, no one had heard of a psychopharmacologist or neuropharmacologist. The internet was nothing like it is today but I love research. It’s like a puzzle that needs to be solved.
My Mom was a very intelligent woman. She told me to call the hospital that had found my cancer and ask for a referral. If you notice, even though I was sick and depressed, they never did everything for me. They helped me without keeping me dependant on them. And I am so grateful they did.
I called and got a referral to a psychopharmacologist. That doctor was so overloaded he wasn’t even taking any new patients. So I asked them for a referral and that’s how I found Dr. B.
The research I had done showed that there had been great success using low doses of Adderall (an amphetamine previously used to treat ADD/ADHD) with a combination of antidepressants. For some reason it keeps the meds working for people with treatment resistant depression.
On all the antidepressants, I woke up every day feeling extremely groggy, drugged n sleepy. This side effect was horribly debilitating. The Adderall not only kept my meds working but it helped with the severe fatigue.
After years on a never-ending rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, I finally had my life back. I went back to school, worked as a paralegal to pay the bills and met a wonderful man that treated me like a queen. We got married and then things really got interesting 🙂