Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Off the St. John's Wort For Now

Why is it so hard to keep this blog up? The question is rhetorical; not because I think that it’s going to cause any reader to lapse into deep thought. It’s because I already know the answer.

1) I’m lazy. That isn’t to say that I’m too lazy to update the blog. Blogging is no big deal. I do it all day. Half of my income comes from blogging. No, I’m lazy about my depression. I whine and moan and appear to yearn for relief but it will take work and, dammit, I’m too depressed to want to work at it. That’s a bit of a joke but then it isn’t, really.
2) I’m comfortable with my depression. Weird, right? I’m not comfortable with the deep, deep lows and it is during those that I promise myself and anyone listening that I’m going to do anything to make it go away. But the normal constant hum of self doubt and self loathing is a comfortable thing. It’s been there for as long as I can remember and, quite frankly, I find it hard to function without it.

That last point is something that I learned recently. I’m back off of the SJW. Here’s why: As usual, I’m behind on my work. I started it a few weeks ago with a promise to take the herb until my bottle was empty. For the first few days I didn’t feel much of a difference. I’m not sure if that’s how it’s supposed to work but that’s what happened to me. Then one morning I felt happy; giddy, in fact. I couldn’t account for it - I just felt happy. But I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t work because I couldn’t sit still. At first I followed my wife around just chattering at her about nothing. When she left for work I tried again to work and nothing came. I couldn’t write! If I can’t write I can’t pay my bills.

I hoped I would get over it. I kept taking the stuff for a couple more days. The silly feeling subsided but I remained distracted. After three days I had to give it up because I was getting behind. Then a few days later I got a nasty summer cold. I’m just now getting over it and I am now WAY behind. So, I need to stay off of it until I get caught up. Once I do, I’m going to try again. If it happens again I don’t know what to do.

This is one of the reasons that I’ve never wanted to take medication. I have other concerns such as the fact that this society is overmedicated and it just rubs me wrong to put more money in the deep pockets of the pharmaceutical companies. But being just too damn happy to function has always been a big fear. I need me and this thing, as bad as it can be sometimes, is part of me. I’ve always felt socially isolated. I’ve always been bluer than my peers. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t think about suicide. And I can’t imagine me without these things. I hoped that SJW would gently ease me away from depression so I could learn to be me without it. I still hope that it does.

Anyway, that’s where I am. Thanks for posting your thoughts. It means a lot to me that people are regularly reading this blog.


Trishwah said...

I hear you, brother.

I am currently going back on Wellbutrin after six months off. It's making me a bit manic at the moment. I went off because I didn't want to have to take drugs. I was feeling better and thought I could do without (ha!).

A couple things to keep in mind. 1. When you start a drug, herbal or pharmaceutical, you body will go through an adjustment period. The crazymeds guy some great things to say about this I especially like the paragraph that begins, "These are powerful, alien substances..." While he's referring to prescription drugs, this may apply to SJW. Given that your body and mind need time to adjust, you may need choose a better time to start taking SJW. Sometimes it takes longer than a few days. Maybe getting better will require a good week where you can afford to just be deliriously happy. Or just be. Does your work have an annual slow period or can you create one by working ahead for a while?

2. Maybe next time, start with a lower dose and work your way up to the recommended amount. Maybe half is all you need to get the affect you want.

3. You sound ambivalent about happiness. That might warrant some further reflection. Did it feel good? Maybe too good? Why shouldn't you feel really good? Growing up, did you get the message that good stuff must be experienced in small, stingy amounts? If not, what other beliefs do you hold about good things? That they are limited, rare, untrustworthy, fleeting, bait for the seven deadly sins?

One of the ideas I've been playing with is that everything we do, think and feel is just a habit. It's not always easy, but all habits can be changed. You work best depressed because you are in the habit of working best depressed. is an online book with a good chapter on habits (#9). It's all a bit new agey, but there are some good nuggets in there.

Above all, don't look at this as failure. This experience has given you valuable information that you can use in other attempts to feel better.

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Trey said...

I was on St. Johns Wort for several years, and it was a great help! I've read that most anti- depressants take 2-6 weeks to become effective. It took exactly five and a half weeks for the ST. Johns Wort to kick in, but once it did, it was 'night and day'! It was WONDERFUL to stop crying and feel 'normal' again! (The dose that worked for me was 450 mgs.) But about a year later its effectivness started to diminish. I've also heard that its not good to take any 'herbal remedy' w/o taking breaks from it from time to time, so....I m now weaning myself off of SJW.
Simultaneously I started taking 2 tsp of raw apple cider vinegar in water (1x daily) 4 weeks ago, and to my surprise my spirits have MUCH improved!! (So has my sleep, no more mood swings, skin looking better and more energy!)
Just wanted to share my story in case it helps anyone else?

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Probably the next time, begin with a reduced dose and also come as much as the particular suggested volume. Possibly 50 percent 's all you ought to get the particular influence you desire.
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