Even though I’ve been feeling really great the last few days, I still had a psychiatry appointment to go to today. When was my last psychiatric appointment? Like only a week ago! So why did I go back so soon? Usually, with my old psychiatrist, my appointments would be once every 4 to 6 weeks. But these are special circumstances. My appointments were every two weeks for a couple appointments because I was in the process of adjusting and coming off of medication. When I left my appointment last week, my next appointment was scheduled for 4 weeks out. But when on psychiatric medications, and especially when going through changes with those medications, it is important to be aware and to be flexible.
At my last appointment I was put on Klonopin to helpful aid in my REM sleep. I mentioned in a previous post, however, that the Klonopin was not working out too well. It triggered a more depressed mood in me and so I came off of it after two days. That, along with some withdrawal symptoms I was experiencing, prompted my psychiatrist to ask me to come in today. So I did. I believe it is of the utmost importance to keep in touch with your psychiatrist and to stay aware and open to new ideas and suggestions from your psychiatrist.
So when I went into my appointment today I was in a great mood. Part of me was like, “I don’t even need to be here right now!” I put myself in check though, and reminded myself that, had my symptoms been from coming off my medications and not just the Klonopin, I might have been in much worse shape. So it was very smart of my psychiatrist to set up that appointment for today and it was very good that I went to it. Since I’m doing so well, we were able to solidify our plans for the next four weeks – we are going to keep everything pretty much the same, medication-wise. I am going to stay on the same dosage of Abilify for four weeks and let my body fully adjust to where I’m at right now. Hopefully, if all goes well after the four weeks, we will cut my Abilify in half and start coming off that, too. To helpfully improve my quality of life we are also adding some over the counter Melatonin to help me sleep, because I have been barely sleeping. The last two nights my sleep has been slightly improved – I only woke up 4-5 times each night as opposed to one to two times every hour I was sleeping. Craziness! (Is it okay that I just used that word, lol?) I just need some quality sleep! Hopefully that is what the Melatonin will provide me with.
My psychiatrist and I went over a little bit of sleep hygiene before I left my appointment today. It’s important to not do anything other than sleep in your bed – that means no reading, watching tv or computer, etc. No bright lights – if lights are needed in the bedroom, my psychiatrist told me that the light (like a nightlight or something) should be red, blue, or green, but definitely not a white light that resembles daylight. She told me to not have caffeine after 2pm, because at around 3pm your body starts making natural sleeping hormones (or she said something to that effect – I might be completely wrong about this though, bahahaha). We also discussed deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation (which is awesome, by the way). In my DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) workbook by Marsha Linehan that I use in my individual therapy, there is a whole page or two dedicated solely to sleep hygiene. I’m definitely going to reread that/those page/s.
I think it is incredibly important to remember to keep up with psychiatry appointments, even if it seems like everything is going well. You’re not supposed to only go to appointments when you’re feeling bad – it’s important to go when you’re feeling well, too! Your doctor needs to know how you are reacting, good or bad.