If you have been reading my blogs recently, you understand that I have chosen to discontinue my use of antidepressants. I began taking them 15 years ago after the death of my dad. I had been experiencing some mild anxiety and depression for several years before that but his death sent me over the edge. Since then, I have taken 6 or 7 different antidepressants…who can keep track. The reason for so many switches was because some would work for a time and then seem to fizzle out sending me into daily crying and a lot of other feelings I won’t go into now. Also I gained over 90 pounds. medications and lifestyle? I believe that the meds kept me from spending my days crying but they also numbed me and I already had an unfortunate relationship with food.
Finally I found celexa….I thought I had finally found the cure. We both retired, moved to Missouri and I felt I was getting it together, I dropped 60 pounds wanted to get out and walk and wanted to be healthy. But then, damnit, late last summer I felt I was losing ground…gained some weight, was having crying jags and anxiety was my middle name. dr doubled my dosage. Crying stopped but so did everything else. I could not get off the couch to do anything. No interest in traveling or being sociable and I could not think. Sometimes I could barely finish a sentence because I couldn’t think of words. Another trip to the doctor and a new prescription, Cymbalta. The worst one ever! High anxiety, insomnia and felt I was spinning out of control. After nearly 4 weeks, I decided I was wasting my life drugged and I was going to get off of this ridiculous roller coaster. so, I decided to detox. Well holy shit, Nina, hang on you haven’t seen anything yet.
I’m sharing my story because I’ve talked to a few people who have their own story to tell about their pharmaceutical nightmare and are desperately seeking relief. I started reading, how-to, other blogs of folks who have bitten the bullet, how to withdraw with the least amount of agony etc. if you don’t know and/or want to know, read back a few blogs. It’s been HELL. Before I tell you how I did it, I want to tell you that you can do it. I really can’t think of one pleasant piece of advise other than buckle up!
I started weening myself on a Friday night, Feb 10 because I was back in Des Moines to enjoy a girls weekend. I knew that I would not be able to keep a schedule and have a good time if I took the cymbalta. So didn’t take the pill on Friday night. did pretty well until evening on Saturday night approximately 44 hours since the last dosage. Took away some of the weird head experiences I was having and I was able to drive back to KC on Sunday. Sunday night I felt I had to take one… lots of I’m going to lose my mind if I don’t. Really got serious Monday night and decided to ride it out and made it exactly 48 hours between doses…I kept a semi log of what I was feeling….constant movement in my brain accompanied with brain zaps. These are like electric shocks in the brain that would occasionally fire. I knew to expect this from what I had read…but I was back and forth between I can’t do this and yes I can. Got 3 hours longer between doses the next time and lost track …. took them every other night trying to make it a little longer each time. Until Saturday. Ended up in the ER Saturday for a whole host of reasons…dehydration. Low potassium etc etc. Saturday night I was on the warpath and committed to NOT ANOTHER PILL. so here I sit tonight 6 days after going cold turkey. the brain zaps are gone, I think I only experienced the weird brain movement a few times today. I have clarity like I haven’t experienced in years, I’ve been active…actually wanting to get out of the house and participate in my own life. I expect each day from here, to get more of me back…I have hope.
Ending. I have two things to say…if you need to be on anti depressants, don’t hesitate…they probably saved my life back in 2001. If you know that you must get off of them, try to taper dosages down over weeks…cold turkey is not the way to go…it is a very bad experience…but most important YOU CAN DO IT. Don’t let the Internet scare you and I’m more than willing to talk you down and talk you through it. All you have to do is ask!
Until next time…..
hats off ninasusan – for sharing your story and courage
You are one brave chica! Who no matter what, you are very in touch with what you’re feeling. I’d say that puts you ahead of the game.
So, I want to share this with you. because it’s something i’ve thought about a lot. It’s gonna be long…
My family is riddled with anxiety issues. Mostly un dx’d and untreated. It’s gotta be in the genes, When I think about some of the older relatives it’s been there a long time. So, I have it too, better than some, worse than others. I’m also very used to it, I never really considered it anything other than my personality. Not a disorder, just me. And because i have only ever lived in my own brain, I figured it was just normal and everyone was like that and maybe some ppl were just better at hiding it, or ignoring it. I would (and still do) sometimes envy ppl their outgoing sunny personalities. Even the news ppl in the morning annoy me…like settle down, stop being so damn sunny animated.
Trying to make a long story less long…a relative with that sunny personality went through some emotional trauma and she realized she needed help. She did. She got some meds. She still had to go though all the stuff, but they really made her able to. She’s come out on the other side much healthier. And she now is a huge proponent of those meds.
She’s recently had me seriously considering trying them. When i get really worried about things, she is my go to person, so she knows when I am in a dark place. I have always thought I just have to work through that dark place. She’s all like , you’ll still worry, but then you’ll be like, ‘oh well what can I do’ and be able t let it go. Well to my thinking, wouldn’t that be nice, I can kind of obsess. Guess because i’ve been like this my whole life, I can’t quite even understand the concept of your emotional stuff won’t bug you, or other ppl’s emotional stuff won’t bug you. I almost feel like it’s my heart, not my brain. I’m way too empathetic. So much so that I can come off as cold because it’s just another way of walling myself at times when needed from ppl or situations that are gonna cause me pain. Self preservation when it’s not something I need to take on. Some things you can’t help but take on, others are just not necessary.
I thought it was a coping skill. She made me wonder.
So, winter blues is deff a thing for me. And i have heard umpteen times the last few months. “I’m telling you, TRY the drugs” I laugh and say I can’t, it’ll mess up my thyroid drugs. (pfft) But I found myself really thinking, seriously considering it. Maybe she’s onto something. And God knows doctors hand them out pretty easily. How bad can it really be?
And just then, you wrote some blogs. And I was like hoooolllly shit! THIS is exactly why I never considered them before. I know my personality, I was born this way. I am really a huge optimist for all my worry and crap. I don’t go into that dark place and live there. I feel the feels, but I sleep well at night. So i’m human but I have coping skills when I need them. Don’t we ALL have something… I have to say if i went into that dark place and couldn’t find my way out i wouldn’t hesitate. I have seen ppl seriously helped by meds. But I don’t think my personality needs changing, messing up brain chemicals so I won’t worry when my kid is having problems. It’s who I am and envious as I might be of ppl who can just let their kids problems not affect them, it’s not me and rotten as it might sound, I also think they maybe are just a little cold and self absorbed. I know that sounds judgey but it’s really not. I just look at it as their personality and they can’t change that anymore than i can change mine.
ok, I’m really sorry about writing this book. But I wanted you to know that you opened my eyes exactly when I was needing it.
Which is not to say I’m glad you went through it for me. lol I’m so sorry all of this has happened to you. But I think you’re going to end up much healthier for it all and you’re so brave to do it for yourself. Good for you.
And nothing is forever. It might all change tomorrow for both of us, but that’s ok because we’re allowed to change our minds.
But thank you Nina, for being so honest and putting it out there!! ❤
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I’m telling you…I seriously think we are sisters from different misters…..and mothers hahahahahaha. You have just described some of the mental thoughts I have and had. I totally get it! The depression was one thing…I know where it came from and why I was depressed but I could do nothing to stop it. I had bits of depression but after dad died, I seriously saw no reason to continue…logically I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to,take my life but it was always in the back of my mind. It was very dark. But like you, the anxiety, I’ve been working through anxiety since I was a kid. Over the years I’ve learned some coping skills. I’m blessed to have a very new age daughter and son in law who aren’t afraid to call me out when they see my crazy leaking out…and then they help me with some coping skills. I’m blessed beyond measure. But the funny part of your comment that really hit me was this:
It’s going to be cooler in KC for 3 days with a little precipitation. You know, natural weather for February…when I watched the weather last night, I thought the weatherman was a little too freeking happy about delivering this news that irritated me so much. My first thought when I rolled out of bed this morning and saw the gray outside was….”first thing we do is kill the happy weathermen”!
“Kill the happy weatherman” I love it!! Good to know I’m not the only one! When you’ve been working through anxiety all your life, it’s so kind of normal, isn’t it weird to think that there are ppl out there who don’t have it. I just can’t really imagine it. And yay for kids who call you on stuff. I have well all 3 of them do really. Not always intentionally, but they do give you things to think about. Kids are great, even when sometimes they cause the anxiety in the first place. haha
I sent you a long response which I think I lost but what needed to be said is I woke up this morning, rolled out of bed and saw it was gray which I knew it would be but my first thought was
The first thing we do is kill the weathermen. Their happy, animated personalities drive me crazy! GOodness, he can’t possibly be that freeking happy!
Nope, the first response was still there. Love that line “my crazy leaking out” I’m gonna remember that one lol
I’m sure you speak for many people regarding drugs. They can be life-saving…and horrible. And everything in between.
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