Woo Woo Wednesday: Acupuncture, and Mental Health Update

So, last Wednesday (that would be the 21st), I FINALLY went back to acupuncture. I hadn’t been since 2012. And boy howdy, did I need it. My psych nurse and I had been trying various med combos, trying to find my “ideal” one, for a couple months, and I was just…tired of it, and feeling like a guinea pig. Sometimes you have to try a bunch of meds before you hit on the right one, or the right combo, and I get that. But I just mentally needed a break. And physically, too – the side effects were killing me (I’m stupid sensitive to side effects, especially when titrating on or off a drug), and making me miss work. And I felt like my anxiety and depression weren’t actually that bad, so taking a break from looking for the “ideal” combo wouldn’t be a terrible thing. Also, I wasn’t sure I was a completely reliable self-reporter, when it came to how I was doing, how I was sleeping, etc. So I figured I’d stick to what was currently working *well enough*, and do a better job of paying attention and tracking stuff like my daily mood, how much sleep I was getting, etc. And take a break from trying different meds.

Here we go: Started with a switch from Celexa and Doxepin, which I’d been on for a while, to Lexapro; then added in Wellbutrin, which did well for a while then didn’t help so much; lowered the Wellbutrin dose and added in Effexor; upped the Effexor dose, stopped the Wellbutrin – that triggered a hypomanic phase where I couldn’t sleep at all, but felt like a nervous wreck, none of the elated mania stuff, pretty miserable; lowered the Effexor dose – still on the Lexapro – and added in Geodon to help me sleep; Geodon did too good a job and had some gnarly side effects, stopped the Geodon. Was supposed to discuss what else to try, but….naw, man, I’m good enough for now, and I want to pay attention and see if shit even needs tweaking in the first place. Also, I’m not convinced the lower dose of Effexor is ideal – what seemed to be the best combo was the Lexapro, lower dose of Wellbutrin, and lower dose of Effexor. But that’s also three meds I’d have to get on the regular, and take on the regular, and I’m already taking quite a few. (Regular low doses of klonopin have been a constant throughout this; also: multi-vitamins, prilosec daily, zantac daily, allegra daily, and my blood pressure medicine. Lots of pills to pop.)

I’m also on a budget, so while I was seeing my psych nurse regularly and trying to sort out my meds, I couldn’t afford to see my therapist. Or anyone else, really. So I decided, while I take my break (I’m thinking about a month, to see how things even out), I’d get back into acupuncture at least, and maybe see my therapist since it’s been a minute. Anyway, so acupuncture was last Wednesday and HOLY SHIT IT’S MAGIC.

Right when I first started meeting with my therapist, I’d mentioned feeling “untethered,” and she looked confused. And I just meant, you know, ungrounded, a little off-balance. I don’t know if I did a very good job of getting that across to her. But when I sat down with my acupuncturist, and caught her up on all the life changes since our last appointment, and *particularly* all the meds tweaking, and said that I was feeling “slightly untethered” as a result of it – she knew immediately what I meant. And then worked on my back, mainly, and I immediately felt more grounded, and more embodied – IN my body, connected to it. And less stressed – I hadn’t even noticed how much stress I was carrying around with me. I’m trying to get better about that, but I’m still pretty good at being stressed and clueless about it. She also did some in-and-out points to help calm my IBS down (riled up from all the stress and meds changing), and to help relieve the mucous in the back of my throat when I wake up in the mornings (damn NC pollen and seasonal allergies!). And the very next day, both were improved – and have continued to be improved. I feel pretty amazing. SO happy I went back to acupuncture. I knew it was good self-care for me, but I think I’d forgotten how very good it is, as part of my self-care routine. So I’ve got another appointment in two weeks, and I’m very much looking forward to it. I just feel so *together*, and grounded, and aware, and also just blissed out, after a session. It’s good stuff.

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