June 1, 2023

In this mental health commentary video, I talk about my experience being prescribed Cymbalta (Duloxetine) for my anxiety and depression while also sharing some digital art. I suffered from anxiety and depression from a young age. Then, I suffered even further during my dermatomyositis diagnosis, and into grad school. I also discuss how being prescribed antidepressants improved my overall quality of life. 🙂 As far as the art, these are emotes that I designed for my partner Poly, whose twitch channel is twitch.tv/Polyfaux. I used procreate on my new iPad Pro to digitally paint these cuties.

Hi friends if you’re new to the channel my name’s jamie i’m a college english teacher and a phd candidate by day and i’m an artist by night because we’re in the middle of holiday season and rocketing towards christmas i wanted to talk about mental health specifically this is a story time about how counseling and antidepressants drastically improved my quality of

Life as an adult first i want to give a little caveat though not everyone benefits from counseling and not everyone benefits from medication for depression or anxiety but this is the story of how finding the right resources improved my quality of life in terms of my own anxiety and depression also as you listen you can see my process of designing emotes for

My partner’s twitch channel i drew a template to help me design clean emotes of his two cats named peach and daisy if you have any questions about the design procreate or my process i’d love to answer questions and talk to you in the comments section and also if you’d like me to create a simple tutorial video about designing emotes for twitch or other sites

Please let me know so most of us struggle with maintaining mental well-being i’ve grappled with anxiety since i was a small child beginning at the age of four or five i’d chew up my nails and pick at my skin my mom would make me wear gloves but this was a compulsive act and any time i was stressed my chewing and picking would be worse i’d accidentally make my

Hands bleed in times of distress and i was distressed pretty often in the second grade i panicked and cried that i’d never passed the math end of grade test spoiler i passed college algebra with an a 15 years later but i still struggle with math so mental health can seem unwieldy to define there are signs of poor mental health that professionals can look for

And most people will have signs of depression without needing clinical intervention sadness is a perfectly appropriate reaction to many life experiences and stress is natural in the animal kingdom stress keeps you alive adrenaline makes sure that you outrun your predator but if your symptoms of anxiety and depression limit your education social life or job you

May seek clinical intervention like a therapist counselor psychologist or psychiatrist so as i got older my anxiety and skin picking only worsened in middle school i was plagued with hormonal acne when i struggled the most with my anxiety and mood swings i’d sit in front of the mirror and tear up my face i’d zone out for minutes and hours my face pulsing i try

To stop holding a hot compress or ice to my face as i surfed on neopets or played zoo tycoon just trying to distract myself from my feelings concealer became part of my daily routine as i attempted to cover my wounds as my doctors diagnosed me i was subjected to all sorts of painful tests i received an electromyogram which is a test where needles are inserted

Into major muscle groups each time a needle is inserted you receive an electric shock that measures muscle response for this test atrophy muscles respond less my muscles were damaged because my disease made them freeze up as far as day to day living i could no longer put my shoes on by myself i didn’t see the bottom of my feet for an entire year as part of

The diagnostic process i also received a muscle biopsy in my left leg during all this i struggled to maintain my grades as i looked toward higher education i was in marching band but my body was failing me my teachers did all they could to support my success but many folks tore me down my peers didn’t understand what i was going through at 15 years old my body

Was falling apart before my eyes i had rashes on most of my joints on my nose and over my eyelids i itched relentlessly and walking was a struggle i stuck out like a sore thumb strangers would ask me about my rashes wondering if i’d and i quote punched a wall these questions would continue for the next decade but i went to physical therapy a few days a week

My physical therapist sympathized with me saying it’s weird every time we work with you it’s like your body just undoes all the work instantly there’s not much else we can do and that’s just one point i want to emphasize with certain illnesses sometimes exercise isn’t going to fix the issue it will help sure but sometimes you need medicinal intervention for the

Folks that think that all pills are evil pills have saved my life and once i received my diagnosis at the end of my sophomore year i was prescribed prednisone a steroid that in small doses can treat allergic reactions in high doses it can stop an overactive immune system in its tracks it’s like rebooting a computer i was shutting off my overactive immune system

And restarting i received 80 milligrams of prednisone a day to start with for the next two years i would wean off the drug this was a torturous process unfortunately prednisone has many side effects it can cause cataracts it eats away at bones and it can cause steroid psychosis some people hallucinate but for me i felt like a live wire all the time i was either

Furious or sobbing most of the time many people report being more emotional even while on low dose prednisone i’d have hot flashes where my whole body would sweat and i would feel this indescribable anger like a raging bull i’d see red ready to take down anyone in my path i’d say things that felt like they came from a demon trapped inside my body and if it was

After 7 pm i was uncontrollably sobbing about everything and nothing my brain was seizing but the muscle pain stopped even though the rashes remained the same i’d compulsively clean my room unable to sleep until 3 am because that’s another side effect of prednisone you can’t sleep i also regained my flexibility almost instantly it was like i took a magic pill

To fix my body but destroy my brain however my brain eventually took its toll on my body you see i was first prescribed prednisone by a rheumatologist in chapel hill north carolina as he wrote the prescription and prepared me for taking the medicine he warned me about potential weight gain he then said stop eating it was like gaining weight was worse than my

Autoimmune disease that’s a horrible way to view weight and health for some people prednisone can increase appetite and even cause ravenous hunger this sentiment from my doctor broke something in my mind i became obsessed with losing weight i counted my calories and became afraid of food i’d never been so self-conscious the prednisone gave me enough energy to

Over exercise and it also gave me heartburn every time i ate so i really had no motivation to eat further i never got the ravenous hunger from the prednisone i became an expert in losing weight in the most unhealthy manner i soon became underweight with my mental health hitting rock bottom not eating enough also has awful consequences for your mind i would cry

Over the thought of drinking a milkshake i’d inspect my body every time i went to the bathroom i couldn’t stop ruminating over how many calories i’d eaten that day or that week i was referred to a social worker for my mental health but my rheumatologist didn’t seem to care about my weight loss my anxiety or my depression he just grumbled and lackadaisically told

Me to see someone so i did and the social worker decided that due to the prednisone use i was mentally ill however she decided that i didn’t need help since it was quote just the prednisone this is my unprofessional opinion but if you’re suffering you deserve help whether it’s due to your medicine or not you need help the social worker just felt like talking

To someone wasn’t the answer by my sophomore year in college my friends supported me in recovering from my compulsive under eating but i still struggled with anxiety and depression i woke up at 6 00 am most days scared for the day ahead and i stayed awake until 2am working to get an a i laid in bed mulling over worst-case scenarios i graduated undergrad with

A 4.0 even though my professors told me i needed to learn how to get a b i obsessed over my grades and hurt many people along the way my depression and anxiety made me into someone i wasn’t proud of i was an emotional whirlwind unable to organize my priorities beyond my grades but when i started my master’s degree i did something that changed my life i went

To the campus counseling center and i talked to someone i worked with a counselor for two years before we decided to add medication to my mental wellness plan and luckily for me when i started taking cymbalta to manage my swings between anxiety and depression i didn’t experience any side effects aside from my head feeling them for the first week my thoughts

Felt like they traveled through a thick layer of molasses but that eventually dissipated and i could relax for what felt like the first time in my life i could sift through thoughts that no longer served me and i could be intentional with my choices taking medication for my mental health made me manage my chronic illness more effectively you see in times of

High stress or depression i just stopped taking medication for my disease but with my cymbalta i took better care of myself overall sure i could no longer work myself to the bone or wake up at six am but it was worth some peace of mind medication easily has saved my life over the years as i’ve progressed through my master’s degree and my doctoral program now

I’m defending my dissertation in february and i can manage my stress so much better yes i still pick up my skin but i’ve gotten so much better at managing my emotions and breaking myself out of skin picking trances and my self-esteem is much higher now i’m much more forgiving of my body and its quirks and medication helped me gain the patience to work with

Pfizer on acquiring an experimental drug to help with my autoimmune disease today instead of prednisone i take zeldans daily to manage my autoimmune disease it’s helped drastically with my rashes and my skin health overall also it’s helping my muscles and disease activity generally so life is tough and many institutions do not serve us academia and many other

Fields are rife with workplace bullying and negative reinforcement and those institutions need to change but we still deserve to help ourselves while we’re trying to dismantle toxic institutions in our society the friends i’ve made and the person i’ve become with the help of medical intervention the friends i’ve made and the person i’ve become with the help of

Antidepressants leave me so much more prepared to tackle these obstacles i’ve been so lucky in my experience with medication for anxiety and depression and i hope that this video helps anyone who is afraid of taking medication for mental health the combination of counseling and medication was right for me and if you have any questions about any of the experiences

I’ve discussed in this video i’m happy to chat about it in the comments if you liked this video and want to support the channel consider liking the video and subscribing i post every friday but if you’d like notifications for when i post click the bell icon thank you for watching and take care of yourself during the holiday season it’s getting cold and dark out

There but even in this winter weather you’re here and you deserve joy i hope you find places and people who bring out your best bye friends you

Transcribed from video
Cymbalta (Duloxetine) for Anxiety & Depression: My Experience By Jamie Herself