Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Second Antidepressant Taper Day 8

Had to come by and leave a quick note.  What a difference a day makes!  Day 8 was great!  I actually found that I felt good.  It's hard to explain, but I haven't felt happy and just good for a long time.  Yes, my kids still fought with each other and I yelled at them, but it didn't spoil my whole day or even bring me down.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

I made sure to take my vitamins today and I also had a chiropractic adjustment.  Not sure if either or both of these made a difference, but I don't really care.  I'm feeling good!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Second Antidepressant Taper Days 5-7

So, almost done my first full week at the second adjustment to my medications.  It's been funny how different this taper is.  First taper, symptoms came, got worse, then lessened and disappeared over 14 days.  This time, they've been coming and going and they range in intensity.

I experienced my first "brain zap" on day 5 along with a lot of dizziness.  Day 6 was a lot better with just a little dizziness.  I even felt well enough to visit with some family.  Day 7 not so great.  Headache for most of the day and just generally feeling run down.  Now that I think of it, I skipped my vitamin B and C supplements today.  I did take the vitamin D.  It's much easier to take D because it's just a few drops rather than taking a huge pill for the other two.  Why do vitamins have to be so big and so stinky?

So, I guess I'll take my vitamins now and see if it helps how I feel in the morning.  I wish I could rush this and get off the medication quicker, but I know that I would feel a lot worse.  Perhaps I rushed the second taper, but I was following my doctor's intstructions.  I think I'll go in and see him before the next taper.  He left it pretty much as "come in if you want to".  Funny, to put me on the meds in the first place, I had to go in after the first week, then every 2 weeks after that to make sure everything was going well.  To taper the medication, they don't seem as concerned.

Tomorrow is my day at the chiropractor.  I'm looking forward to having my adjustment to see if it helps me with the symptoms a bit.  I usally feel much better afterwards.

They say that to make a change in your life, you need to have a big "Why".  It's taken some time to figure out what my why is.  My why is that I want to live my life and be involved in my life and stop watching from the sidelines.  I want to feel again and be a part of something.  I want to be more involved with my family and not go through the motions.  I want to be healthy.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Second Antidepressant Taper Days 1-4

So, I survived 2 weeks at my first taper and decided to go with my doctor's advice to do the second taper 2 weeks after the first.  I'm now taking 1/3 of the medication I was taking before.  It seems a little steep to cut by so much, but the medication comes in wacky doses, so to go down, you go down by a lot.

Anyway, day 2 was the worst I've experienced so far.  I don't know how I managed to work with a raging headache, but after work, I pretty much went to bed and tried to sleep it off.  I was very tempted to go back up to my previous dose because it was so bad.  When you can't participate in your own life because the medication messes you up so bad, it can be hard to take.  What got me through that night besides a lot of acetaminophen was my husband.  He reminded me that tomorrow would be better and I'd be another step closer to getting off of my medication all together.  I also though a lot about my girls.  I'm looking forward to being able to participate more in their lives.  I think I'm going to have a party when I finally detox from this horrible medication.  I'm going to celebrate the fact that I've survived and that I'll finally be free of this crap.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely needed to be on antidepressants when I had postpartum depression, but I don't think I've needed to be on them this long.  I think that these pharmaceutical companies make it difficult to get off these medications by lying to us and telling us that they are not habit forming and you can't get addicted to them.  Bullshit.  But that is a story for another day.

My husband commented tonight that I was smiling.  You know why?  Because smiling is something that I don't do a lot of because of this nasty drug.  The drug takes the lows that you feel and flattens them, but it also flattens every other emotion and leaves you feeling basically numb.  I'm looking forward to actually feeling things again.

So, I'm up to day four at 1/3 of my original dose.  I'm feeling pretty good.  A little bit of dizziness today, but no headache and no mood swings.  Things are looking up
. Looking up CN Tower

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Reducing Antidepressants, First reduction, days 7-9

Grumpy Bear vs. Grumpy (261/365)So, here's what I'm figuring out.  It can be hard to tell if the withdrawal symptom you're experiencing is an actual symptom of the withdrawal from the medication or just a regular part of life.  Mood swings are a normal thing for me at certain times of the month in particular.  How am I supposed to know if I'm angry because I have PMS or because the dose of my medication has changed?  I guess the obvious thing is to check the calendar, right?   But what about those times when I'm just irritated because someone is annoying?  I mean, come on, you can't blame everything on the meds.  Sometimes, irritability just happens.
Mood swing
A Mood Swing!  I need one of these!

I was reading down the list of possible symptoms today as I was looking to mark "Irritability" on my chart.  I wasn't too surprised to see suicidal thoughts on the list, but then I saw homicidal thoughts and urges right below that.  Well, what do you know?  I guess that means that I need to be more aware of when people annoy me so that I don't get those urges or try to act on them.

The other day, while I was working, I had a really bad mood come on.  Since I work from home and my husband is self employed, we spend a lot of time in close quarters.  I felt it was only fair to warn him that I was having a mood, so I sent him  a text.  He wrote back something that made me laugh, and I let him know that the mood swing had passed, but the next one was scheduled for 20 minutes from now.  He commented that it was a good thing I could laugh about it.  My next remark?  That I could laugh now, but in 20 minutes, I wouldn't be laughing.

I think it's true though, you do need to be able to laugh about things like mood swings and other withdrawal symptoms as they happen.  Laughter goes a long way toward keeping you from getting to serious about things. You know what, being in a bad mood is not the worst thing that can happen to me in the grand scheme of things.  So what if my mood comes and goes?  Being able to laugh about it makes it easier to bear.  Laughing with someone else makes the laughter even sweeter.

My husband has been my partner in this from the start.  He was the one who encouraged me to look into getting off the medication.  I think he was able to have a clearer picture of how the drug was affecting me.  Being on the medication, sometimes it's hard to see how it has been negatively affecting me.  I saw the negative effects, but didn't necessarily attribute them to the long term use of the medication.

Overall, it's been an OK week.  It hasn't all been sunshine and roses, but I really believe that getting off these drugs will make a huge difference.  It's not easy, but it hasn't been torturous either.  One more week at this level according to the plan my doctor set out.  We shall see how it goes.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Getting Healthy: Antidepressant Taper Days 1-5

Ruth St. Denis at Yosemite Valley. It's a kind of new day for me. After doing some serious research, I decided that I was ready to start tapering off of my antidepressant medication. I talked with my doctor and he agreed that I was in a good place to make the change.

I began my taper on Wednesday. I'm glad that I did the research, because my doctor really didn't give me a lot of information. His plan is for me to taper by reducing my medication by 1/3 every 2 weeks and finishing up with taking the lowest dose every other day. I'm not saying it won't work, but he didn't talk at all about what "antidepressant discontinuation" effects (aka withdrawal symptoms) I might expect.

Back in December, I mentioned the book that I was reading, The Antidepressant Solution: A Step-by-Step Guide to Safely Overcoming Antidepressant Withdrawal, Dependence, and "Addiction" This book has been a huge help to me. Dr Glenmullen really knows what he is talking about and he makes it very easy to understand what to expect when tapering off of antidepressants. I've been using the symptoms log from his website. Scroll to the bottom of the page under the Anti-Depressant Solution and you can print the pdf there.

So, I've been on a decreased dose for 5 days. Last time my medication was this low was when I was pregnant with my youngest. The first couple of days were rough. I felt like I had a cold, stuffy head, couldn't concentrate, couldn't sleep, that kind of thing. Day 4 was actually the best I've felt for awhile, aside from a little dizziness. Day 5 I had a headache, but since I regularly get headaches, it's hard to know whether it was caused by the change in dose or not. The dizziness was there as well. I'll try to share what I'm going through, but it's taking a lot of my energy to deal with the symptoms as they happen.

My husband has been very supportive, and encourages me to sleep when I can as I've found I've been up at all hours lately. I've upped my vitamin D3 intake and I'm trying to keep eating healthy through the transition. Lots of water to help flush the medication from my system too. I'm basically trying to take it one day at a time. I'm taking my life back.