Posted on 22 October 2016 by Michael Dahl

five days into much better mental health (part 1)

This past Monday my mental health med doctor tweaked my meds a bit once more. It was a game changer for the better — much better.

I went from being a guy who was almost constantly at least a bit anxious (and quite regularly much so) to someone who has difficult mornings but the rest of the day feels, for the most part, okay.

I wake up nearly every day calm and well-rested … at 4 am! The meds I took the night before are still working their magic as my mood is usually quite good.

As quietly as I can, I head downstairs to have a cup or two of coffee as I surf the web, work on blog posts, and read the newspaper. Sometimes I do these things until 6 am. Other days I head for the gym at about 5 am.

By around 6 am my mood turns south; the anti-Anxiety meds from the night before have run their course. My Anxiety level rises, my muscles tense up (if I haven’t worked out), and negative thoughts about the day ahead seep into my mind.

I eat breakfast at 7 am, allowing me to take all of my morning meds, as some must be taken with food.

The anxious mood sticks around for about another hour until the meds with short half-lives get a chance to kick in. (Amongst these meds are the use-only-as-needed “chill pills” that have been approved as a medication I can take regularly three times a day, if needed, plus a regular mental health medication that I now take four times daily.)

Calm returns, as does a bit of acceptable tiredness resulting from the two short half-life meds I take multiple times per day.

My day continues as I assume it would for a person who does not suffer from a mood disorder … except for a weird physical sensation I sometimes have (read part 2).

By late afternoon — because of the meds — I feel a wave of tiredness that borders on annoying. But annoying is better than Anxiety.

On a normal day I return from work, and I go for a longish walk with my pup. I then do some house or yard work,  pick up my wife from her yoga workout, we have dinner, and watch some TV together.

By 8 pm, induced by my short half-life drugs, I am ready to go to bed. Once I get into bed, I am only minutes away from a heavy sleep.

So, there is one obvious side effect of taking the meds I do. Current dosages make me a bit tired early in the day and progressively more so as the day continues. If the tiredness made it too difficult to exercise, I’d find this unacceptable. But at least until mid-afternoon that level of tiredness is not what I feel. Now, being asleep by 8:30 pm and awake by 4 am is definitely annoying. But it is an annoying I will accept, if there is no other choice.

That said, there are some things I can tinker with that might adjust my bedtime somewhat. And there are some things I could do to possibly reduce my 2 hours of morning Anxiety.

It is possible I can cut back on the “use only as needed” chill pills to reduce my tiredness, seeing if the other medication fully addresses my Anxiety. I have, in fact, for the past few nights stopped taking the nighttime pill, but the annoying sleep pattern is still in effect.

Another thing I could do is cut the chill pills in half and take the reduced dosage morning, noon, and (if needed) night.

These options are doctor-approved. And she’s said that if the Anxiety returns, just go back to taking everything as first prescribed.

Now, as for the morning Anxiety, neither of the short half-life pills require they be taken with food. So, I could take one or both very early in the morning (like at 4 am) to see if it staves off the 6 am attack.

I’ve got options. This is good.

(Part 2 describes a weird physical sensation I sometimes have related to my Anxiety.)