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…..