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should i go back to gp?

(953 Posts)
DudeInaTutu Sat 01-Dec-12 00:37:30

back in the summer i went to the gp and blubbed all over her, i was very very down, there was an awful lot going on in my life and i was really struggling to cope, DS (who has SEN) had failed his course and uni looked in the balance, i was massively struggling with my workload and qualification, i was ill, DD was just diagnosed with dyslexia, i was having counselling for childhood abuse...too much really, and the gp prescribed sertraline. She wanted to sign me off work but i said no. i knew if she did, i would never ever go back. it took a huge amount of courage to go to the gp as it was my old place of work....i felt a failure. i had left my job as doctors receptionist for a shiny new career in the police, a career not a job, and at my age that felt like a life line, and truth was i was struggling with it all.

i took a couple of doses of the sertaline and it made me feel really really ill. like drunk ill, sick, whoozy, spaced out and i knew i could not function like that.

i stopped taking it. i stopped talking. i shut down, i went into autopilot and carried on. i managed to get my qualification and passed my probation. yay. i should feel proud and happy. but i didnt. ive no real idea how i managed it. i got through my entire 2 year probation with not a single issue, and i still dont know how.

so we are 6 months later and i am flagging, and yet i have no idea if i really need ADs or if its just me....

i feel constantly tired. i cant get up on a morning - if im not at work i see DD off to school and go back to bed, i can easily sleep until 11am or later, and then, if ive no reason to get up, i can lay in bed, or just stay in pjs all day. i dont wash my face or brush my hair, i dont go out. i dont see anyone, and this is the thing, - i dont want to. im happy like that. i dont suppose shift work helps much with that though.

im probably drinking too much. at least 2 glasses of wine a day. (if im not on nights)

i dont go to bed. i stay up until the small hours, but actually, because i work shifts, thats not so bad - it means i can work myself around to nights without too much problem really comes when im on day shifts and i need to get up at 5am. on those nights i take zopiclone to knock me out. all above board and prescribed, i was finding i was not sleeping at all on those nights and was making stupid mistakes at work, when driving etc. and on blue lights thats not a good idea, so another gp gave me zopiclone to take only on my day shifts (thats fine - i just take one every 10 days,)

i am currently having some health issues, and have been signed off work, im supposed to be off until a week on monday but i am going to have to go back earlier, the longer i wait to go back, the worse things will be and i have work piling up that i need to deal with.

im awaiting an endoscopy for some problems with my stomach. im on lots of meds for reflux at present (max dose of everything now, on 4 different meds) and am hoping to get the operation to sort it....

i know i am stressed. stressed beyond stressed. my workload is unmanageable and i am on my own with it - no consistant line manager to help me with it and i am told now that i am on my own - i should be able to manage it. its a learning curve and ive got to find a way to manage my workload....

ive got to make this job work for me. and im trying really hard to find outside interests, ive started horse riding which makes me forget the stress, and it doesnt matter what i look like - i can roll out of bed and go. DH says i can get my own horse if im sure i can afford it. that gives me something to go to work working toward that.

i have few friends really in RL but those i do have have all actually said they think im depressed.
i know im not happy.
but is that depression? or am i just not happy? a bit down? is that going to be fixed with medication or should i just work my way through it? ive never had medication before and i actually hated how the sertaline made me feel.

im not sure what to do.

Badvocsanta Sat 08-Dec-12 17:00:19

So sorry things are no better for you dude sad
I know that for me my depression was something I fought for a long time.
Depressed? Me? I don't think so!
But I was.
Mine was actually late inset pnd and I vividly recall not being able to sleep when my body was crying out for rest.
Not being able to eat due to reflux and nausea and losing weight.
It looking forward to anything, feeling so low and unhappy all the time.
Stressed, unable to laugh as I used to.
Sound familiar?
It took 3 different meds til I got an AD that suited me so please don't give up.
You have been so brave, you have seen the gp, go back and explain those ADs aren't right for you. Ask for another and take them.
It doesn't have to be like this, honeslty.
You are not alone x

VicarInaTutuDrankSantasSherry Sat 08-Dec-12 17:20:05

blimey badvoc yes - all horribly familiar.
reflux (causing repeated chest infections) - Tick (waiting for endoscopy)
insomnia - Tick (on zopiclone)
nausea and weight loss - Tick
low, unhappy, unable to look forward to anything - i cannot get remotely excited about xmas and am happily leaving it all to DH. Tick.
Stressed. Tick Tick Tick
unable to laugh - Tick. i am a misery.

add to that spending a lot of time in pyjamas unable to go out, or being in bed sleeping when i shouldnt be.

up until last week i really did not accept that this was depression. I ve only been on the Sertraline for 5 days, 6th today, so im going to try it for a bit longer - though i am seeing no improvement in mood yet.

thank you for posting. I do feel horribly lonely in this. i have come through some horrors in my time and never needed ADs, (DS having meningitis,then him being dx with autism, the fights with school, losing my sister in an accident, then my nan and grandad mere weeks later, the shit with my mother and deciding not to see her, the stuff with my half brother last year, which culminated in my cutting contact and going into counselling.....)

i prided myself in being strong and getting through all those things.

and now im floored with no particular reason. I and have the supposed dream job which is a huge source of my stress. Im quite a disappointment to myself right now.

Badvocsanta Sat 08-Dec-12 17:51:48

Oh vicar sad so much of your post resonates with me sad I have had to be "the strong one" for so long - since I was 11 tbh and dealing with my mothers mental health issues - that I didn't know how to tell anyone how bad I was.
I literally could not verbalise my feelings at all.
The great thing for me was being determined not to end up like my mum and that spurred me on to see the gp who was so kind to me I cried in front of another person for the first time in decades.
I remember telling the gp that I couldn't be depressed as I had a great dh, ds1s health issues were not so serious as we thought and I felt such a fraud!
In my case, Its not until you are driving along a country road, crying and think "if I drove into that tree it would all stop" that you realise that you need help.
Please go back to the gp and ask for different meds. It does take time for any meds to work though.
Have you ben referred for the endo yet?
I think hjealth anxiety can also be a big cause of depression and you certainly have that.
Thinking of you x

VicarInaTutuDrankSantasSherry Sat 08-Dec-12 18:23:18

thanks badvoc

yes i have been referred - consultation this month. My experience is scarily similar to yours. Im going to give the sertraline a bit longer to see if the side effects subside and see if it makes any difference - im conscious that ive not given it long. If i get no joy soon i will go back. im back in a week anyway.

thank you.

Badvocsanta Sat 08-Dec-12 18:31:45

Oh that good news.
Any move forward is good.
Scary smile but good.
Let me know how you get on x

NanaNina Sat 08-Dec-12 18:51:12

Hello Vicar I too know the torment of depression and anxiety - they are evil twins! I had a major episode 2 years ago and was in hospital for 3 months, but now have intermittent depression. This is very unusual by the way and 80% of people recover from depression between 4 and 6 months which was the case with me after my first major episode over 20 years ago. I am now 68 and this is the reason I haven't made a complete recovery.

I think all the responses you have had are bang on the money. WHY or why does depression make us feel like a "flakey failure" (that's a good way of describing it) I also feel ashamed and as loads of others have said feel that I should be able to get over this. I think they are symptoms of the illness, especially as so many of us feel like this. It's a deceitful illness and makes us feel things about ourselves that aren't true.

I do think however you need to stop worrying over work - no one is indespensible. The police force isn't going to dissolve overnight because you are ill! I know it's hard to tell people you are mentally ill because there is still so much stigma attached to it, and tbh I wouldn't have thought the police would be very empathetic but I could be wrong. You actually said in one of your posts something about "admitting" you had depression! YOU must know it is not a crime!!

I too want to hide under the duvet on the bad days and can't laugh or even smile and hate to see other people being "normal" and going about their lives, laughing and chatting the way I used to - still do for much of the time, but then the bad days come and WHAM all the old feelings come back. I am pre-occupied with suicidal feelings. I jump if the phone goes or the doorbell rings (have supportive DP) so can go and hide away and lucky to have a few close women friends who I can contact. I have prolonged bouts of crying and sometime stuff a towel in my mouth when I'm in bed in case the neighbours hear, as I cry really loudly.

The thing that struck me about your post at the top of this page is that you list all the traumas that you have been through and then say "and now I'm dperessed for no particular reason - you not realise that very often depression is caused by the cumulative effect of life stresses. I think you have to give yourself permission to have a depressive illnesses - it strikes all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons, yes even the police I wouldn't wonder!

If you keep on pushing yourself into denying you are ill, you will get worse, that's a fact - I know from experience. I was in a very responsible jobwhen I had my first episode. PLEASE STOP! Please be assured that you are depressed, no question, you are having the awful symptoms of depression and anxiety, but you made the mistake of stopping the meds after a very short time. SO it was like going down the snake on the Board, and you have to start over again. Did your GP not tell you that ADs take 2/3 weeks to kick in and you very often feel worse when you first start taking them. I don't think they like telling you this in case you then expect it to happen. GPs never talk about side effects, but ADs have them,like all drugs do. You MUST keep taking them - it isn't like taking paracetomol for headache.

The other trick this damn illness plays on us is that what AD suits one person doesn't suit another, so sometimes you have to try a couple of different ones, but that might not be the case with you.

There is a book called "Depression - the Curse of the Strong" (forgot who wrote it but it's on Amazon for about 7 quid)

Sorry if I sound too directive but sometimes when we are depressed that's what we need.

VicarInaTutuDrankSantasSherry Sat 08-Dec-12 22:41:37

thanks nanaNina

im not sure if i feel worse because i have finally given in and accepted it or side effects from the meds, or both. But i have accepted that i would like to feel better. I realise that i need to get through this first few weeks on the meds if ive any hope of doing that, so im pressing on no matter how rubbish im feeling.

im letting myself off with all sorts just now. DH is being great and doing everything and im doing sod all, i think in the past week ive managed to get dressed once. blush it just feels like since i have given myself permission to accept it, ive slumped....i dont really know why....

SirBoobAlot Sun 09-Dec-12 00:30:19

I think sometimes you have to slump to realise how much you are struggling, before you can actually start to feel better. That's always been my experience, anyway. Someone said to me once when I was horrifically low - "Well, Boobs, you're at rock bottom." I looked at her like she was mad. Then she smiled; "If it honestly cannot get any worse than this, then really, it can only get better, can't it?"

She's a daft old thing, but she had a point there.

Much love to you, Vicar. Sounds like DH is being brilliant, and that is exactly what you need right now.

TheSilverPussycat Sun 09-Dec-12 13:23:27

'Slumping' can be part of recovery - battling against it makes it worse ime. And the duvet can be a friend, at least in the short term.

VicarInaTutuDrankSantasSherry Sun 09-Dec-12 13:50:52

im just so incredibly fatigued, and flat. This doesnt feel like recovery, it feels like a bubble that i dont want to break out of. The thought of going back to work is panicking me.

i decided to have a look on the job boards just to see whats out there, and got my answer pretty quickly. nothing. i know its probably not the time to think about it and maybe if i were to feel better in myself the job would look different but im scared that the job has pushed me over the edge

NanaNina Sun 09-Dec-12 14:03:17

Good for you Vicar - you have done good! I think you have "slumped" because you have stopped fighting, which takes some energy. And that's the one thing we don't have when we are depressed, either emotional or physical energy, and you do very often feel worse when you first start the meds. Can you make any link between all the traumas you have been through over recent years and your current state of depression. Sometimes we can't see the "wood for the trees" when we are depressed because it fogs up our brain.

Ha SPC I coulnd't agree more!!!

My CPN was always saying I should isolate myself but on my worst days my duvet was my best friend because I could withdraw from the world, which is actually what we want to do when we are depressed.

Keep us posted Vicar and sooooooooo pleased you have a great DH.

VicarInaTutuDrankSantasSherry Sun 09-Dec-12 19:32:28

i managed to take dd out for horse riding, and i got stuck in too which did me good, just being outdoors and around the horses is wonderful. i have my lesson next week.

but since i got back i seem worse than i did earlier. friend rang and i had to say i would phone back.

when i did manage to call back she said she could hear how low i was and didnt stay on.

i hate feeling like this. its just not me. sad

im going to ask the doctor to sign me off until i feel some difference, because i feel like im in danger of walking out of the job if i go back while i feel this way.

NanaNina Sun 09-Dec-12 20:34:26

Oh thank goodness you are starting to see sense Vicar and you definitely are not fit for work. The other damn trick that Dep & Anx play on us is that there can be changes through the day about how we feel, as you have discovered today. I know how much you hate feeling like this, cus I do too. I'm OK at the minute but that could change any day. Mornings are my worse time when I can't function and just hide under the duvet and cry. Sometimes though I can wake up feeling OK and once i'm up and about the damn thing comes upon me (I call it my HeadMonster) just to confuse me even more. I won't answer the phone on bad days, and DH knows to tell people I'm "not good."

I think you will feel quite a difference once the meds kick in.

Think our posts crossed. I really think you have to put work on the back burner for the time being, and as for looking for new jobs - No this is not the time. You are setting yourself up to fail. You must accept that you are ill and need time to get well. Of course you won't be feeling anything like recovery yet - it is going to take time and patience - it's a very slow recovery.

VicarInaTutuDrankSantasSherry Mon 10-Dec-12 00:25:31

well i will talk to gp tomorrow and see if she will sign me off.

im conflicted - i posted on a policing forum and the last reply states i should ''keep the hatches battened down and the skeletons at the back of the cupboard".....i fear that they may be right and that this will reflect badly on me.

id better get to bed.

Eurostar Mon 10-Dec-12 00:51:03

I wonder why your GP is so wedded to Sertraline Vicar rather than trying another SSRI?

Along with all the emotional trauma that can of course cause symptoms, your reflux could mean that you are not absorbing vital vitamins and minerals well. Your NHS blood tests may have been in range but the safe range is still too low for many, who feel much better with higher levels. It is one of my bugbears that doctors generally do now empower patients, they just say, oh yes, your levels are fine but don't give you a print out of results. You could find that your B12 for instance has dropped significantly while still being in range.

Your immune system sounds weakened if you are getting these recurring viruses. I am taking a sublingual B12, a B complex, folic acid and a liquid vitamin D in an oil base, vitamin C with zinc and magnesium. I am in and out of health settings continually as I work as an interpreter and I have been able to fight off infections and viruses (such as cold sore) much better. Those who think of vitamins and minerals as some sort of "woo" can find research studies on their efficacy available via the net. Those who say, we can get it from our diet, need to read studies showing the depletion of these nutrients from mass produced food.

Having said all this, all the trauma and caring for others that you are faced with, while still processing your own traumas, will be playing too their part in reducing your immune system through probable raised cortisol levels, so it is probably important to take time out if you want to be well.

NanaNina Mon 10-Dec-12 13:34:46

I don't want to discount what you are saying Eurostar but I think depression is depression and whilst the things you mention may be good for you, they aren't going to cure depression. My GP does actually show me blood test results - she doesn't print them out but she swings the screen of the computer round so I can see, and if there is anything out of sync there is a red marker by it, and she explains what this could be and the reasons for it and gets me to have another blood test. ADs take 2/3 (sometimes up to 4 weeks) to kick in so a GP is not likely to change them until that time has elapsed. They are willing to change them if they do not seem to be in any way beneficial, but then of course you go back to step 1. The trouble is that they work differently on different people.

Hi Vicar - hope you get signed off work today. I would keep off the police forums were I you. I know you are anxious about your job, but you have to resign yourself to the fact that you are unfit for work at the moment. You have a responsible job and in fairness to you and the cases with which you deal, you need to recover before returning to work.

And try to get to bed earlier - though this is the pot calling the kettle black!

VicarInaTutuDrankSantasSherry Mon 10-Dec-12 14:28:44

well i had a bit of a panic this morning - i called to speak to my gp and found she was on holiday.

that meant i had to speak to someone else who used to be my boss, which i found incredibly difficult.

however, i just said i was still in the throes of the side effects, and he has signed me off for a bit longer.

i got up earlier this morning but found myself sat on the sofa in total silence for a couple of hours, feeling very anxious waiting for the call back from the gp.

i need to go and collect the sick note - i dont know how long he signed me off for.

ive booked to see the doctor who put me on the meds next week, it will be the 2 week mark by then.

i need to let work know, but right now, i could easily never go back, im scared to go back. I dont know if the depression is colouring my view of the job or if the job has caused my depression. i guess its best not to do anything until i feel better but i dont know how long the gp will be willing to sign me off for. I hate this constant worrying about it.

NanaNina Mon 10-Dec-12 16:58:26

Hi Vicar - that must have been awful having to speak to a GP who was your boss - were you a nurse or receptionist or practice manager maybe? I hope he has signed you off for at least 2 weeks, but if you are going to see your own GP next week, you can negotiate with him/her about the signing off. You might be feeling some benefit from the meds by the time of your next appt, but 2 weeks isn't long enough for a GP to change them, at least I don't think so.

I've just re-read your OP and see you have a lot of physical health things going on - could these be related to the depression and anxiety. It is anxiety that usually shows itself first and the last feeling to subside in recovery. I am just wondering if some of the gastric stuff can be symptoms of anxiety. It causes all sorts of physical stuff - I was constantly dizzy, feeling sick, shakey legs and god knows what else before my first major episode of dep/anx.

I know exactly how it feels to be scared with this illness - anxiety means fear - fear of the present and fear of the future, and fear of fear if you see what I mean. Medics ask us what we are scared of like we are going to say spiders or something. Feeling like someone has taken over your personality and brain is bloody scarey - can't think of anything more scarey.

I also understand this "chasing around" that is going on in your head - is it the depression colouring your view of work, or has the job caused your depression. The job could have been a contributory factor in the cause of your depression, but you have also been through a whole load of very traumatic stuff, which could also be part of the cause. It is seldom one thing that tips us over the edge, but there will almost certainly be loss somewhere in the mix. And YES your depression is making your scared of doing your job, and it is probably making you feel scared of a whole load of other normal things. I get scared when the phone rings or the door bell rings on bad days, and when I think what a responsible and stressful job I held down, I can barely believe it - but there it is - that's what depression does to us - tips us up and empties us and we are left like a shell. Sorry that may not be true for you but that's how I feel on bad days.

Your OP suggests there was some childhood trauma (?) and a difficult relationship with your mother. Have you ever thought of getting therapy to let some of these issues see the light of day. It's not the time now because you can't access the therapy while you are so low, but maybe something to think of for the future.

NanaNina Mon 10-Dec-12 17:07:28

Sorry Vicar *I have just re-read your post (properly not just skimming) and see that you were having therapy for childhood abuse. Have you been diagnosed as having PTSD I wonder. Oh yes and cut down on the alcohol and get more early nights!!

VicarInaTutuDrankSantasSherry Mon 10-Dec-12 17:22:19

thanks nananina

im going to really try to get some early nights and get up earlier.

the gp has signed me off for 7 days but has put its due to continued physical health issues (chest infection)

im back to see the gp who put me on the sertraline next monday, but am also due back to work that afternoon. i really want to be able to concentrate on getting and feeling better, and stop worrying about work.

i wasnt diagnosed with PTSD. I had about 8 counselling sessions which incorporated "rewind" therapy, (takes the emotional response out of the traumatic memories) some relaxation techniques and one session on how to do CBT, which never really became clear to me.

im just not me at all right now.

NanaNina Mon 10-Dec-12 19:21:00

Well there's no way you are going to be fit for work next Monday afternoon are you. I think when you see your GP Vicar you must be really certain that you tell him/her how bad you are feeling, and how you cannot face the thought of work, and that given the work you do, it would not be fair on the people with whom you are involved professionally.

I just have a feeling that you maybe don't tell the GP just had bad you are feeling. I might be wrong but it's really important to tell him/her all your symptoms. I think it likely that the GP will want you to continue with the sertraline.

You may not have been diagnosed with PTSD but you had the right therapy (EMDR) and according to a lot of MNs it is a very successful therapy, and much better than pyscho-dynamic therapy. Did you get it on the NHS and did it have any effect? Re: CBT - my CPN used to talk to me about this theory. She wasn't an expert but had been on courses so just told me what she knew. It's a very simple theory really (as I understand it) it's about trying to stop the negative automatic thoughts (ANTs) that pop up in our mind when we are dep/anx., replaced with more balanced thoughts, to stop the ANTs spiralling out of control and making us worse. Sometimes I used to write the ANTs down e.g. "omg I will never get better, it's just getting worse and what will happen if I can't do this that or the other etc etc" (think you're having some of those spiralling ANTs now!) and then I'd write a more balanced account e,g. "I am ill at the moment, but I will get better and nothing dreadful is going to happen if I can't do this or that" and then decide which was more helpful. Mind I wasn't having to worry about work in the way that you are.

There are lots of books on CBT you can get off Amazon if you feel the need. When I'm ok I can see the sense in it, but when I'm crap I can't usually be bothered with it!

BF How are you doing today?

Eurostar Mon 10-Dec-12 20:39:28

Nana - I was not saying that these things cure depression, although in fact there have been studies for various vits and minerals, for instance recently translated one that found that B12 and folic acid can be as effective as SSRIs for some people. We cannot forget the huge money that is put behind SSRI marketing - have a read of Ben Goldacre Bad Pharma.

Also, no "red flags" on your blood results does not mean that you might not feel a difference when levels change. Dropping for instance from an iron level that is towards the high end of in range to the lowest end of in range will often mean that people will experience physical differences such as tiredness and cold.

I was suggesting these for the recurrent viral infections that Vicar reported. Anyone like me who gets recurring viral infections knows that they appear when the immune system is compromised and also it is known that stress raises cortisol and cortisol dampens the immune system - as anyone who has had to take steroids knows. Vicar's life and job sound stressful, which could raise cortisol, which could dampen immune system. Hence I said rest was vital too. I would add to that a therapeutic space to process how the stress of today could be interacting with wounds of the past.

The mind and body are one and we need to take care of both.

NanaNina Tue 11-Dec-12 12:28:15

Yes I agree the mind and body are one Eurostar and I accept that you weren't talking about a cure for depression. I know there is no real concensus with the "experts" about depression. There seems to be 2 schools of thought, the psychological model and the medical model, and it can be a case of "n'er the twain shall meet" though I think sensible people see a benefit in both models.

I have read a great deal about depression from differing viewpoints. There are those (usually psychologists but some psychiatrists too) who point out that there is no evidence that there is any change in brain chemistry in depression and therefore rule out chemical imbalance and ADs as there is nothing for them to "correct" - yet others who come from the opposite end of the continuum and it leaves someone like me and other sufferers in the middle. Some point to studies in trials where there is no difference in recovery rates between those taking ADs and those taking placebos. All I know is that for me ADs do work.

Sorry if the tone of my post annoyed you - it wasn't meant to and I am not discounting what you say. You clearly know more about blood results than I do.

TheSilverPussycat Wed 12-Dec-12 22:38:19

Just wondering how you are, Vicar.

I had to teach myself that when in a depressed state I should Not Repeat Not make decisions. If it was about undoing a decision, I would think 'when I made that decision in the first place, was I in a better state of mind?' The answer is usually 'yes', so I could let it go and focus on getting better.

VicarInaTutuDrankSantasSherry Wed 12-Dec-12 22:48:23

thanks for asking sliver

im still not great if im honest - still in the throes of side effect hell while not feeling the benefit of the sertraline.

due back to work on monday but have a gp appt in the morning - i would like to feel some difference before i go back and be over the side effects.

im trying to take vitamins and iron tablets at the same time.....just to cover all bases.

also decided not to make any potentially life altering decisions just yet. im so worried that if i carry on like this they will be made for are going to get so pissed off with me.

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