SRS First time on meds

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by surrender, Dec 11, 2009.

  1. surrender

    surrender [ON MEDS]

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    This isn't quite yet a success story - I'm just getting started, and I'd appreciate advice from others who have been here. I posted an earlier thread about my situation, which I'd rather not dig up because I was at rock bottom when I wrote it, but feel free to search if you want some background.

    About 5 years ago, I started seeing a psychologist for social anxiety - I was at the point where I couldn't leave my dorm without having a panic attack, since I felt I was being watched judged constantly. I was also diagnosed with dysthymia, but I chose not to medicate for either condition, and therapy was enough to fix the social anxiety.

    Now, this past August, I started at my first-choice grad school. Because of the aforementioned anxiety and depression, I had a poor undergrad experience, so I was determined to make the most of my new situation and changed my lifestyle radically. I became extremely social, involved myself in student organizations, participated in intramurals, started lifting and running, and ate more healthy food. By all accounts, I should have been the happiest I have ever been - I love my classes, have met some great friends, ended up with an awesome roommate - but I still felt down, although I knew it was irrational.

    I should probably mention that I'm 24, and have never been in a relationship, let alone had sex. All of my experiences came in the two years between undergrad and grad school - drunkenly made out with two girls, and went on dates with two (other) girls that didn't go anywhere. I'm in fairly decent (albeit thin) shape, and I've been told that I'm good looking and a sharp dresser. When I came to grad school, I expected my situation to improve substantially - everything is going so well in my life, and I'm doing things that I love, both in class and outside. Yet I still couldn't meet girls, and my internal monologue didn't help matters. I've always told myself that I'm unattractive, scrawny, and un-personable, so I've never had any sort of self-confidence. Yet I've somehow been able to cope with it until now.

    The breakdown came about a month ago, and it was in the middle of a perfect storm. My class was in the middle of our most intensive group project of the semester, at which point I stopped exercising and eating properly, and started drinking much more heavily. There was one girl who was showing interest in me, but she had just ended a very messy relationship (literally three days before), so I backed off a bit. We exchanged constant communication for a while, but then it tailed off, and I started agonizing that I had done something wrong. It wasn't about this girl in particular - just general despair that I'm terrible with women. I eventually started feeling full-blown depression, lost my appetite and had trouble sleeping, to the point where I would lay in bed for hours (with anxieties racing through my head) before finally falling asleep. The worst moment was when I was driving home from class, after calling multiple psychiatrists and being informed that none were taking patients. I started crying in my car, feeling despair that I wouldn't be able to get help and that I would die alone and unloved.

    However, that moment pushed me to call my old therapist, and he set me up with one of his acquaintances in my new town. I've been seeing her for the last 3 weeks and things have been going better, although I still have some anxieties. I finally met with a psychiatrist this past Monday and started on 50mg of Zoloft, and I'm hoping that it will take effect over winter break. I've also returned to exercising regularly and my diet is back to normal. The one upside to the whole ordeal is that I realized that I have many true friends here, and their support has been invaluable throughout the process. The funniest thing is that none of them suspected that I've been depressed, so apparently I can keep up a good facade.

    Anyways, I'm now on day three of Zoloft. I still have my anxieties, but I've been sleeping much better. How long does it usually take before I start seeing effects?
     
  2. Genghis.Tron

    Genghis.Tron New Member

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    Usually antidepressants take 6-8 weeks to take full effect.
    Please talk a bit more about your entry in grad school.
    This part
     
  3. surrender

    surrender [ON MEDS]

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    Pretty much: in the two years before I started grad school, I was doing fuck all with my life. I had a crappy, stressful cubicle job with a long commute, which drained most of my energy every day. I lifted weights sporadically, and didn't do any other exercise. Aside from that, I had no real hobbies or activities, but my social life was decent enough - I would go out at least three times a week.

    I was fortunate enough to get into my top choice grad program, and when I got here, I was determined to do things right. For the first time, I was living alone, which was a nice (albeit temporary) boost to my self-confidence. I started a lifting regimen and stuck to it, until the particularly stressful project, and I've resumed it since. I've started running regularly (2-3x a week), mostly to build up endurance for sports. I've participated in multiple intramural sports, and I also play in a weekly pick-up rugby game. For the most part, I've cut out fast food - usually once every other week. My soda consumption has gone down, and during the bad depressive episode, I stopped drinking it altogether.

    In class, I've sat near the front and regularly participated in discussions. I spend a lot of time in the study lounges, interacting with classmates and getting work done. I was elected to a student government position, and I've been active within the social committee, having organized a few events. I'm also in the public service organization, and have done some volunteering these past few weeks. I'm in a biweekly French study group, which I'm doing for personal enrichment.

    Compared to my undergrad experience, where I would just commute to school and back, I've made huge changes.
     
  4. Genghis.Tron

    Genghis.Tron New Member

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    Did you talk about this to your psychiatrist? I think it might be something worth telling.

    Could you post the first thread you're talking about? I think there might be some long term explanation...
     
  5. surrender

    surrender [ON MEDS]

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    First thread: http://forums.offtopic.com/showthread.php?t=4313354

    The therapist is well aware of everything that has happened, and she's spoken with my previous therapist about the prior treatment. I haven't withheld any information, because I really want to be helped.
     
  6. Genghis.Tron

    Genghis.Tron New Member

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    Sorry if you thought I was thinking you were withholding information (that's a long phrase :p). I was just thinking it might not have seemed so important to you or the doctor but it could have been.
     
  7. surrender

    surrender [ON MEDS]

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    Dude, sorry for misinterpreting you!

    I went to the psychologist again yesterday, and came to another conclusion - my internal monologue isn't negative for everything. For example, I never doubt my intelligence or sense of humor, but always call my looks and personality into question.

    My homework for the next couple of weeks is to get more comfortable with approaching people in social situations, although I have some reservations because the internal monologue is still on overdrive (particularly this morning). Here's hoping that the Zoloft kicks in soon...
     
  8. surrender

    surrender [ON MEDS]

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    Quick update: last night, I went to the movies with a group of classmates. Afterward, I asked one of the girls out, and she said yes. That's great news, of course, but I was more excited by the fact that my anxieties were nonexistent before I asked. At the very least, I can shut them up for a bit.
     
  9. iwishyouwerebeer

    iwishyouwerebeer you shut your cunt Moderator

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    Saw a huge difference at the start of week 3 :)
     
  10. surrender

    surrender [ON MEDS]

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    surrender.livejournal.com

    Earlier this week, I had a couple of moments that let me know the obvious: thers perceive me much differently than I perceive myself.

    Moment 1: At a post-finals party, I make an offhand comment about flirting with one of my professors to get a better grade, and one of my friends says "I'm not surprised, you're the biggest flirt in our program." I don't believe it, because I don't really consciously flirt with people , but a bunch of other people agree. I consider myself to be a joker, and apparently that comes off as flirtatious.

    Moment 2 - At another post-finals party, I'm hanging out with some classmates from another year that I haven't seen in a while. Of course, the subject of girls comes up, and they're asking me about girls in my year, since there's not much interaction between the different classes. Apparently, the consensus among that group is that I've hooked up with 4 different girls already (reality: 0), and a few others are interested in me.

    So basically, other people see me as a girl magnet, while I continue to put myself down in my mind. This is progress, isn't it? At least I'm able to identify that there's a huge disconnect in perceptions of me.
     

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