Hi! I usually post on the Crohn's forum, but I thought I'd give this a go. Probably one of the reasons I never posted here before today is that I've been doing so well. I started having terrible, life-altering OCD and depression when I was 8. I started having panic attacks also in my late teens. In the beginning, there wasn't much in the way of drugs and they were really just "discovering" OCD, especially in such a young kid. Anyway, I was finally hospitalized for three months when I was 11, and the behavior modification therapy was cruel, but it worked, along with Prozac, which was a brand-new drug at the time. In the intervening years, I think I have been on every drug on the market except Cymbalta and Zoloft.
Anyhow, I know my OCD and panic attacks never totally went away, because I have had bad bouts of them since, most recently while I was living in Philly in 2002-2004. My depression was also terrible at the time, and my psychiatrist was horrible, and did nothing about it. And of course when your depression is that bad, not only is your panic disorder more likely to get completely out of control, but you are less likely to realize what is happening to you or to get help even if you do.
Anyway, in 2004 I moved, and my new psychiatrist took one look at me and one look at my med list, and said, "Eliminate this, up this, and add this." Within three weeks I felt better than I have at any other point in the previous 18 years. My psychiatrist does a lot of things that annoy me, but she is a freakin' genius with the meds, and sometimes with a chemical imbalance as bad as mine, that's all that really counts. I am now on Wellbutrin XL, Lexapro, and Abilify (which is technically an anti-psychotic, but it helps with the OCD.) But what I'm on doesn't really matter, because everyone needs something different. The point is to find a great doctor, which is easier said than done. You can do what I did, which is to try, try again (or move) until you find the right one, or you can try ratemds.com, which I think is a great resource. It's a site where regular folks like us can rate their doctors on punctuality, knowledge, and helpfulness with a number system, and add comments. It's fairly new, so not everyone is ranked, or they don't have many rankings if they are, but it is growing daily and I have found at least one great doctor because of the recommendations she got.
My doctor is also an addiction psychiatrist, which I thought was stupid for me when I first saw her, because I don't have any addictions, but now I think maybe a good addiction psychiatrist may know more about meds and how they work in the brain. Just a theory.
Finally, do something good for yourself on a regular basis. If you can afford it, get a massage. Read a funny book. (I highly recommend anything by Dave Barry.) Buy yourself a treat, even if it's literally a treat, like a smoothie. Spend some time (15 minutes a week, if need be) and pick up a hobby. Those things do help if you practice them religiously. And find the right med combo!
29 yo female with two fuzzy children: a Pom named Snuggles and a Pom mix named PomPom.
Health History: Type I diabetes (19 years), allergies/asthma, hypothyroidism, osteopenia & multiple fractures, iron-deficiency anemia, Crohn's (of course), and depression (go figure.)
Crohn's History: May have had it since I was 11 (1988-89), definitely have had it since I was 15, was diagnosed when I was 25 (2003), was un-diagnosed in 2005 and re-diagnosed June 2007.