Thanks–And Wish Me Luck

First of all, I want to thank everyone who read “I Hate Writing About Myself….” and provided their stories, helpful advice, and kind words. This sort of thing is what I like about Docudharma. If you were all here, I’d give you all big hugs!

As a follow-up, yesterday was something of a rough day–because I knew after having read many of the comments I needed to see a doctor and get started on meds in spite of my reluctance due to the cost….

But I felt overwhelmed. Because I live in a city of about 115,000, which means I’d have had to time-consumingly search through the Yellow Pages for a doctor and keep calling until I could find one where I’d be able to get an appointment–which seemed a daunting task….

Then I was visiting one of my other favorite sites, depressiontribe, and found out that one of my friends on the site, one with whom I’d felt “in the same boat” because she’d been like me–having depression and bipolar but not receiving treatment due to lack of insurance–had gone to a free clinic and been able to get Cymbalta. She said she was experiencing side effects like drowsiness and nausea, but that the pain in her back was gone and she otherwise felt much better.

I should have felt ecstatic for her, but instead her happy news made me cry–because I just didn’t know where to turn. I envied her access to a free clinic and being able to get Cymbalta.

But then I had an idea. Because I’d already been planning on stopping at Kroger on the way home, I wondered about the medical clinic that’s next door to the store. So I first stopped at the clinic on the way home–but I don’t know what got into me then even with what I was going through(cold feet, maybe?) because I didn’t make an appointment right then and there. At the end of the day (literally–not the annoying cliche’–they were about to close) all I’d found out was that they charge based on income. But when I was at home I had the fact that I hadn’t made the appointment on my mind all night, which made it hard to sleep.

So first thing this morning, I took the bus back to that clinic. Now I’ve an appointment for 1:00 PM on Friday, Feb. 29. I was told that it would cost $20–which, while not as good as free, isn’t too painful. So wish me luck! I’m already feeling a bit better (as in hopeful.)

There’s something else I’ve been wondering about. I’m worried about the off-chance that I may not be able to get the meds I need for my depression/bipolar from the clinic–or because of the way I’ve been feeling decide that I need to start taking something before my appointment because I’ve a two-week wait.

I’ve heard about people taking St. John’s Wort–which is available over the counter–for depression. How well does it work, and does it have any side-effects? I figure that once I’m prescribed something, I’ll have to quit the St. John’s Wort–but how long does it stay in your system? And most importantly, how does it affect bipolar?


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  1. doing something….sometimes anything…for yourself and positive is a great start toward “better”…(whatever THAT means 😉

    i dont know much about st.johns wort…but i want your word that even if you find an interim solution and you start feeling a little better that you WILL keep your appointment!!  please…

    even if you just go in and say, ‘hey, here are my issues, and here’s where i want to get to…where do i start…?’ and get an objective assessment and help locating any resources you might need…a lot of rx companies even have programs that provide their meds to people without paying or at a reduced cost.  counselors often know what programs are available and which you would qualify for.

    there’s no harm in seeing what’s out there for you, and it will make ALL of us feel better 😉 when you feel better!!

  2. but this site seems like a place to start doing research of St John’s Wort (hypericum) and depression.

    Another thing to research is diet.  I found this and think it might be a place to start.  Diet, it seems, has an awful lot to do with how people feel.  Changing what you eat/drink may help.

    Also, it’s a really good idea to increase the amount of water you are drinking (up to 3-4 quarts/day) because you need to be able to eliminate toxins (retaining toxins seems to contribute to depression).  And it’s a good idea also to eliminate things that are documented to increase depression (alcohol, sugar, caffeine).

    These are just a few quick, easy suggestions that may help you while you wait for the appointment you have in 2 weeks.  I don’t know if these will help or not.  But I think it’s really important that you get the tests done at the appointment no matter whether or not you are feeling better: the tests might reveal what’s actually going on.  And it might be a lot less complicated than you think.

  3.      Here’s a page from Dr. Andrew Weil’s website ( with some information that might help, especially the exercise recommendation — very important!

        You might also want to look into vitamin B complex (which is water soluble and not stored in the body), and especially B12 if you are a vegan or vegetarian or have trouble absorbing nutrients. Low levels of B12 can cause all sorts of emotional problems, including depression. Here’s a page with more information:

        Vitamin D, too, is linked to depression, and during winter months many people have very low levels because they’re not going outside (it’s manufactured in the body when bare skin — no sunblock — is exposed to sunlight for about 10 to 20 minutes or you can get supplements — very inexpensive). Go to for more on the science, dosage, etc.

        Good luck and let us know how things go for you!    

  4. I would agree even if you feel better and decide to take the St.John’s Wort don’t skip your appointment.

    And if you need on line hugs or a listening ear between now and that date you know where to find us!

    • RiaD on February 16, 2008 at 14:38


    please keep your appointment no matter what!!

    it’s too easy to find some herb or vitamin that makes you feel a bit better & think you’ve got it licked… Not So!

    i was on that merry-go-round for far too long…

    a good caring doctor who really understands your situation & staying on the meds until you regain control is what helps most.(or did me anyway)

    the diet & excercise others have mentioned Are very important steps you can take to change your lifestyle which oftentimes can alleviate much of the depression… and the b-complex will help too

    (all of the above is from my experience)

    i have no exp w/ st. johns wort.

    i’m hoping for the next 2 wks you will get outside and walk or bike or garden each day~ just for 10-15 minutes…. make it a part of your daily routine; limit caffeine (herbal or green teas are lovely & de-caf is not too bad after that first cup of Real coffee!)…

    also, something that has helped me~ a journal.

    i do mine on the computer ‘Ria’s Shit Page’

    the first page was Sooo hard to start… such a large expanse of white & thoughts tumbling in my head…

    so i just keep adding onto the bottom of it! Somehow writing it down correlates to getting it out for me. maybe it will for you too. much less expensive (& stressful) than finding a shrink i feel comfortable with.

    please feel free to e me if you’d like. sometimes just having a shoulder to cry on helps.  a Lot.

  5. good ideas and advice. I decided not to try St. John’s wort for now (though, if I go to my appointment and the dortor won’t prescribe anything for me, this could change. I just posted a new essay on my experiences at the Human Service here in town–to make a long story short, what I had to tell them wasn’t taken seriously and I was rejected.

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