HunterThinks.com

Trying to recover from depression, anxiety, PTSD, and panic disorder

Posted: 13 January 2018
Updated: 13 January 2018

I must plan everything around medicine

Complicated and complex factors

A major reason I want to heal is because my medicines dominate my life. My medicines, vitamins, and supplements depend on many things, including:

  1. The time of day
  2. How long I’ve been awake
  3. How long until I go to sleep
  4. Stress
  5. Potential stressors
  6. What other medicine I have taken
  7. What other medicine I might take
  8. Whether I have eaten and how much I have eaten
  9. What I can eat
  10. My symptoms
  11. What I am doing
  12. What I will do in the next few hours
  13. Poverty: do I have enough money to buy more medicine?

Managing a large variety of medicines

I use all the following for their medicinal properties. Valid science supports all these medicines, including unusual things such as chocolate. Furthermore, I have discussed the medical efficacy of each of these with multiple doctors over multiple years and the unanimous response is that I am right about the pharmaceutical properties.

(One exception: I have only had the opportunity to discuss vitamin B with one doctor. However, the scientific literature about vitamin B, depression, and anxiety is unequivocally positive. It’s impossible to overdose B2 or B12. Overdosing B1 would require consuming hundreds of pills. Overdosing B6 would require consuming dozens of pills every day for multiple weeks. At worst, vitamin B isn’t helping me. But I know it does help because, a few times, I’ve accidentally not taken it for three to five days and my symptoms worsened. I resumed the vitamin and my symptoms immediately improved. By the way, the fact that I accidentally didn’t take the vitamin is important because it strongly discounts the placebo effect.)

I’m sure you can imagine that it is difficult to manage so many different medicines that have overlapping effects.

NameDepressionAnxietyPTSDPanic disorderGastrointestinalOtherTypical doses
Alprazolam (Xanax)DepressionAnxietyPTSDAcid reflux/IBS2 per day
Antacid/antigasAnxietyPanic disorderHeartburn/gasEvery other day
CaffeineDepressionPTSD2 per day
ChocolateDepressionPTSDPanic disorderEvery other day
DEET (E.g., Off!)Tropical diseasesSeasonal
Diazepam (Valium)AnxietyPTSDPanic disorderAcid reflux/IBS3 per day
IbuprofenPain2 per week
L-TyrosineDepressionPanic disorder2 per day
Local honeyDepressionAllergies1 per day
Loratadine (Claritin)Acid reflux/IBSAllergies1 per week
Modafinil (Provigil)DepressionAnxietyPTSDSleep apnea2 per day
Naproxen gelPain1 per week
Omeprazole (Prilosec)AnxietyPanic disorderAcid reflux/IBS1 per day
PecatinAnxietyDiarrhea2 per week
Ranitidine (Zantac)Panic disorderAcid reflux/IBS1 per week
Venlafaxine (Effexor)DepressionAnxietyPTSDPanic disorderAcid reflux/IBS2 per day
Vitamin B (1, 2, 6 & 12)DepressionAnxietyAcid reflux/IBS2 per day
Vive 100% (Energy drink)DepressionAnxiety1 per day

Examples of how medicine dominates my life

Here is a small selection of specific examples. Remember that in most cases, I must consider more than one issue when making decisions.

  1. When I wake up for the day, if I don’t immediately take vitamin B, my depression symptoms will usually prevent me from doing anything for many hours. Therefore, each night, I must make sure my vitamin and some water are so close to where I sleep that I can take the vitamin without getting up.
  2. Modafinil is even better than vitamin B for helping me overcome depression symptoms, but it erases my appetite. If I take it before I eat, then I almost certainly won’t eat, which creates other problems.
  3. If I don’t take omeprazole, then my stomach will hurt too much to eat. The medicine needs 30-60 minutes to work, so if I don’t take it immediately after waking up, I will usually have problems related to a bad eating schedule—or not eating.
  4. Caffeine, usually as coffee or Vive 100%, dramatically helps my symptoms, but it aggravates my gastrointestinal problems and reduces my appetite. Especially in the morning, I must carefully balance and plan caffeine, other medicines, and eating. I often need the extra motivation from caffeine so I can eat, but if I drink too much caffeine or wait too long after drinking caffeine, then I won’t eat.
  5. For many years, I have either not had all of my medicines (because of poverty) or have been unsure if I will be able to buy more medicine if I run out.
    1. My most important medicines (core medicines) are, roughly in descending order of necessity:
      1. Modafinil
      2. Modafinil
      3. Modafinil (It’s that important)
      4. Venlafaxine
      5. Alprazolam
      6. Vitamin B
      7. L-Tyrosine
      8. Diazepam
      9. Vive 100%
    2. Most of those medicines are expensive: modafinil, alprazolam, diazepam, and Vive 100%.
    3. For reasons unknown to me, absolutely no store in Mexico sells L-Tyrosine. In the US, it’s possible to buy 60 pills for $5, which is cheap especially compared to how much that amino acid helps me. But it’s essentially unavailable to me.
    4. Farmacias Similares, however, sells venlafaxine for only MXN$127 for a 10 day supply. Every other store sells it for $258-800! I’m extremely lucky and grateful that I can buy that medicine for a good price.
  6. No grapefruit or grapefruit juice or cacao or St. John’s Wort because it interferes with some medicines.
  7. If I don’t eat any food when I take the venlafaxine, then the stomach pain is so bad that I am in the fetal position for hours. If I eat enough food, then no problems. But, there’s a sliding scale: if I don’t eat enough or too much time has passed since I ate, then I will have pain.
  8. Alprazolam and diazepam are fantastic for reducing my symptoms from an anxiety attack, PTSD episode, or panic attack. (Yes, those three are similar, but they are surprisingly distinct.)
    1. Unlike my other primary medicines, I don’t take these two on a schedule: I only take them as needed. And that requires different considerations.
    2. A single dose (for me) is 0.5mg of alprazolam or 2.5mg of diazepam. But, if my symptoms are strong, I must double the dose.
    3. If I don’t take enough, then I still have bad symptoms.
    4. If I take too much diazepam, then I am drowsy. If I take too much alprazolam, then I will always fall asleep after only 15 minutes. Always: after years of this side effect, I know that nothing will prevent it: caffeine, stress, fear, intense desire to stay awake, nothing.
    5. Furthermore, I dislike some of the side effects. If I’m writing, then I inexplicably have many typos, so I must edit everything a second time after the medicine wears off. My cognition is not damaged, but the speed at which I can think is reduced by 5-15%. Because of the potential drowsiness and the side effects, I often choose not to take the medicine when I should take the medicine. I’m too conservative. (This is compounded by the fact that I am unsure if I can afford to buy more medicine.)

The constant need to think about medicine and the obstacles of symptoms

These examples are literally a small amount of the factors I must consider. Approximately every 30 minutes while I am awake and every time I wake up, I must evaluate whether or not I need medicine, and if I need medicine, I must take action. If I am experiencing symptoms, however, it’s more difficult for me to make myself evaluate and more difficult to make myself get the medicine. Therefore, the more likely I would benefit from medicine, the more difficult it is for me to take the medicine.

The benefits of habituation and experience

Above, I mentioned some techniques I use to overcome the obstacles of symptoms. Habituation is powerful for some situations: when I eat, for example, I assume I will take venlafaxine. If I accidentally take three doses instead of two during a day, there is no harm.

Sadly, I have struggled with the full combination of 1) extreme depression, 2) generalized anxiety disorder, 3) complex PTSD, 4) panic disorder, 5) lack of proper healthcare, and 6) destitute poverty since June 2014. (Three years and six months as of this writing.) My earliest symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment was for depression, which began by January 2009. (Nine years as of this writing.) For almost the first two years, I was not impoverished, I had adequate treatment, and the symptoms of my depression and generalized anxiety disorder (the only disorders I had at that time) were so well managed that my brother literally didn’t believe that I had depression or anxiety.

My many years of experience, my psychology degree, my science literacy, my constant reading of the science literature, and consultations with at least 20 doctors in five countries have equipped me with dozens of coping mechanisms.

I desperately want to escape the prison of pills

Despite my knowledge, and even if I were to have a secure supply of all of my medicine, I desperately want to live my life without constantly needing to think about whether I should take a pill. Or needing to spend MXN$110 a day (US$5.78 per day) on medicine. That’s MXN$3,347 (US$175.85) a month. For comparison, for MXN$3,500 a month, I could rent a furnished studio, including utilities, cable TV, and internet, in beautiful Cancun, Mexico.

I can heal. I’m currently making the medicine that will help me recover. As soon as I can reduce my symptoms, I can earn money. To get there, I need medicine, shelter, and food. Please help me to escape the prison of pills. PayPal account

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