Lexapro Depression and the Fog.
There is a lot of talk about depression and Psychiatric medicine and one of the many complaints that you here from the patients, especially from those who tend to refuse to take it is “it makes them feel fuzzy” or “They can’t think right” or “it feels wrong”.
Fuzzy, Feels Wrong, Can’t think… are very genetic terms. How is someone supposed to tell another person who has never experienced it, in a clear and understanding way, when it takes a clear and directed understanding and thought on how ones mental process worked, pre and post medication to evaluate those changes.
Alcohol is easy, I feel fuzzy, I can’t speak right, my balance is off, my vision is blurry. How are the same terms for processing so different in understanding? Well almost everyone has had alcohol, or been to a dentist and had anesthesia. This forms a common understanding of drunkenness.
I have depression. One of my family members tells me they just can’t understand it, a close friend says you fix depression by just doing things, it’s a state of mind and you choose to continue to be depressed. To a point you do choose to stay where you are, but to another point you can’t stop a heart attack by saying “I am not willing to have one because I am better then that.” The Brain is a physical structure and my friend tends to think that just thinking in a specific way will change the structure by magic.
This brings me to the subject and what I pondered as of late. I am almost always depressed to a point and it has impacted my ability to interact and how secure I felt. This was partially Social anxiety, feelings of being broken when I was younger, and all that can be combated by a mental change and confrontation. Even in becoming healthier I was not able to escape the sinkhole of depression.
Depression causes you to sleep more, to sleep though alarms, to fail… not because you do not want to work, but because your own body gets in the way. This interference is different but similar to Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s causes your body to slow and to start to resist movement, depression often attacks sleep and the ability to function.
A lot of people state, “they are always depressed and always have been”, there have been a few bright moments of clear joy, of feelings of wellness, but they are far and few between. I am on the other hand not as bad as others, and I have for quite a while functioned normally and worked, though lateness due to waking has always been an issue. My Depression causes resistance to move, resistance to change. It can get worse and worse to the point of almost inaction, and at this point I need Medication for a short while to get me out and operational again, out of that quicksand.
The last time I took Generic Lexipro. Its quick working but takes up to two weeks for your body to adjust. I can feel the change using Lexipro within 3 to 6 hours. Normally I wake up groggy and tired no matter how long I sleep, I can just stare at a wall for 30 minutes before I get moving, including the fog in my head. This haze is not unlike exiting anesthesia. After introduction of Lexipro I wake up and I am instantly awake, I am up, like a light switch. Instead of 9 hours asleep, 3 hours awake and 2 asleep for upwards of 15 hours sleeping a day, I am instantly turned to 15 hours up and maybe 7 hours asleep with 2 hours of trying to get to sleep.
This may sound good, though I am awake I feel foggy in my head, and that wide awake and foggy seem to be a contradiction, but after careful thought and attention to my processes in my own brain, a self audit, I discovered for me, what that fogginess was and how to express it, and on further introspection, have come up with theories out of that.
Everyone’s brains multi-tasks, sometimes we do not even know it. Part of this is unconscious thought and some directed. The example for directed thought is fixing something, writing a story. Unconscious is driving and going somewhere and not remembering the trip, it’s like walking to the kitchen for a drink of water… you are thinking of what you want to do, but the act has become so standardized you can perform it without full directed attention. General awareness vs direct focus.
The Brain already is known to dual process as seen with brain injures, with the left and right hemisphere separated. The left side of the brain will act and interfere with the actions the right side, both parts of the brain are thinking how to perform the same task and do so in a different way.
The Last Example I known as an ear worm. When you are doing something and a song invades your conscious brain and embeds in your unconscious brain. Its in the background repeating and doing what it wants and your directed consciousness is aware of it, but like automatic driving it is on a loop for hours or days.
I suspect depression and the known connection to addiction are caused by a particular brain processing ability. Lets talk about normal processing. I assume most peoples brains operate on an 8 lane highway
4 lane in one direction with a split between 2 slow local roads and 2 for higher non exit thru roads, all 4 in a single direction.
Driving down that road you have the 2 high speed lanes. Lets call those Unconscious thought. Lets call the 2 outer slow lanes directed thought. Between the lanes at intervals there may be crossover lanes.
(The slow lane has more stop and go, lights and exits and entry onto the road requiring attention)
Unconscious thought driving, you get a warning that you need to snap into attention/directed, and it switches at the crossover, once cleared after a small time, you revert back to unconscious lane and the driving moves back over to memory and pattern.
Drunk driving removes the center divider and causes the car, still going in a single direction to shift randomly between all 4 lanes.
Now we get into my particular depressive mind. My Mental highway is not 4 but 6 lanes with no divider. I am still aware of the slow lanes and the fast but I can freely switch between them at any time.
Add to this cloverleaf exits on both the left and right part of the highway and instead of running a single car I am running multiple cars simultaneously.
Lets move this into a computer as the brain is a computer. My brain often considers multiple actions often referred to as outside the box thinking. On a regular day I can have one thought stream in my head having a conversation or argument with another, and a third process evaluating results of this internal debate and direction, feeding that back to the two arguing.
I may have part looking at past events or possible future or fantasy story paths and have them running in the same evaluation feedback loop.
I then have driving, TV, cooking and normal activities.
So how does this all tie together? When a computer that has multiple processors on a CPU, it can split many tasks up. These are divided and merged, the chip may have multiple processors but they each have a limit. As the load increases the heat on the CPU (brain) increases and over time can degrade. That is Physical but the neurons are the equal of RAM, (random access memory) they hold, and move data on a temporary basis and on shutdown clear out. (neurons fire and then must rest)
Where am I going? A person who is running at full mental capacity on multiple roads and exits, on a constant basis has brain overload. The data still runs along but the constant high activity over time is exhausting and depressing, causing the need for increased sleep and down time to clear the congestion. But unlike a computer the subconscious mind runs even while asleep, and the flow of traffic is not cleared, it is only paused.
This is shown by a “slow boot up time” or the staring at the wall syndrome in the morning.
Lexapro tends to shut down the multi processing, You wake you almost instantly, you don’t sleep as much, but we then come to that undefined foggy feeling.
Foggy is when you are use to use to tracking and having multiple conversations in a room with people, but now your locked on only listening and hearing one conversation and must actively choose to switch conversations. This switch also takes time as you have to process a new conversation, it’s intent and context, before starting action/engagement. This hyper focus is so out of normal it seems like you lost 90% of your brain and the 10% is struggling to switch and keep up with conversations.
The advantage is your less mentally taxed so your less burned out, but the contrast is foggy feeling, a void of inner dialogue and ability to swap out everything at once.
This somewhat lessens as you continue to use Lexapro, but it’s like riding the brakes. You adjust and start to get some of the function back, but the brakes are still preventing you from going full throttle.
How does this tie in with addiction and depression and this multi processing brain?
My theory is an addiction… to running, porn, drugs, gambling, religion, drinking or whatever the choice, is a non antidepressant way to force focused thought. Those who bury themselves in work, focus on a specific task or detail, removes a lot of the internal chatter. This break, especially if it’s new, hard or exacting, serves as a non medical process to perform the same functional limits.
Drinking or drugs alter perceptions and the mental ability. Drink slows the process and muddles it, some drugs do the same or amplify focus (even hallucinogenics) Porn and Gambling both draw a focused thought and produce endorphin rewards.
After the endorphin or in the case of the bad gambler is the crash, the sleep. Like with Lexapro, the focus allows the brain to shut down all but a few lines of thought, allowing the brain to cool down and even if depressed, a better waking rested brain feeling if not emotional one.
I am not sure if this is experience is a global one, if the experience of running multiple thoughts and the slowdown effect is what everyone experiences, I just wanted, though muddled try to explain what I thought “feeling off or Fuzzy” was, because I have never heard a explanation that did nt use the same words to define the feeling. I will have to revisit this again.