Warning please seek medical support prior to going off any mental health medication. Withdrawal from medication/s is a very individual experience and my experience is mine alone. I do not encourage anyone from stopping any mental health medication without support of your GP, Psychiatrist and Psychologist. I worked as a mental health qualifed Registered NurseRPN and RN I did not mean to do my cessation like this this it was very much situational.
I have been on my current antidepressant for four plus years. I am so incredibly happy to be on them even with the weeks it took for them to ‘stabilise’ in my body. The lethargy overwhelming inability to function or think. Often during this period which seemed at times to be a living hell, my whole desire was to stop taking the medication. In those moments my supportive GP and wonderful Psychologist would encourage me and remind me how bad and unwell I have been, seriously unwell.
Eventually after about a month I began to feel a big improvement in my mood, and attitude mental well being. It kept improving and I was so happy to be feeling and thinking and being far more active and functional than I had in quite a few years. I always would say I would be OK if I had to stay on them for the rest of my life as the difference they had made (along with ongoing work with my psychologist let me add who I continued and continue to see the same one for years now).
For the last four months, maybe a bit longer I have been questioning myself as to if my medication was now becoming a problem, I was not able to complete anything, I was not wanting to be in my garden(one of my pleasures) and quite a few other things that are really hard to put into words.
I was finding it harder and harder to begin let alone finish things. It was not as a GP I have now stopped seeing said I was lacking motivation. How can I be lacking motivation when I can make an appointment drive a 140km round trip to her office, to discuss my concerns with her. I requested a referral to the psychiatrists and she was not supportive of this. I wanted to scream at her. Instead I left her office and never returned. I found that a GP practice in the town near me was taking new patients so relieved I joined this practice.
It is bloody hard to begin again and to have to attempt to explain everything in a 15-20minute phone appointment. (it was frustrating as the new GP was still practicing in Queesland winding up as the family were moving here permanently). Sadly I had four to five phone meetings and had not actually physically met this GP until two weeks ago. It is really hard when you just do not feel a connection to the person. Last week I went in to my second face to face appointment and some blood tests were to be done, and a psychiatrist referral.
I was perplexed when I noticed that all my notes were just on small pieces of paper, rather than a folder or on the computer. (this is all the phone appointments). I made an appointment to have my blood test done in four days. When I went in (one test was a fasting blood so no food until it was taken), there was No pathology form. Fortunately the practice has a pathology RN, and she kindly took the bloods and I was happy to sign the form and have the GP fill it in. I was also happy to return if this was not OK and do the bloods again.
That same day about five days ago I had to pick up my next months script of my antidepressant. This done I continued on to have food take my dogs for a walk and catch up with some friends and then do my grocery shop.
On arrival at home I could not find the tablets, I turned my handbag inside out, it was too late to phone any of the places I had been to see if they were there. I thought I could take the one smaller dose tablet the next morning(I had one tablet left of that half dose). OF course this was happening on a weekend. My thoughts as I panicked and looked everywhere in the house I had been. I went through my bag the whole car. No package of tablets! I contacted a few places open that Saturday morning to see if they had found them. No sorry. Sigh oh well I will miss one full day and only have a half dose in my system, that will be OK.
I would ring the Chemist on Monday and see if they would give me the script again. I discover it is a long weekend public holiday Monday! Chemist not open. Doctors not open arrrgh..
Tuesday morning I phone the Chemist but they will NOT give me the script again. they can not apparently I had feared this as previously I had attempted to get my script filled one day earlier than it was due, and they would not let me get the script filled. I called the doctors practice my GP is not in until Thursday, and I have an appointment to see her then. I got off the phone and was flummoxed. I kind feel I was already having withdrawal symptoms it was now three full days without any of my antidepressant.
What to do. I had slept really badly the night before, I was feeling horrendously nauseous, and burping. Light headed and achy. I was labile and very easy to snap. It was very frightening. I laid in bed and cried.
Wednesday another really bad night i am not sure if I slept much or if I was having erratic dreams, I tossed and turned. The dizzyness when I got up from bed to go to the bathroom was so bad I almost fell. My nausea was so bad I really thought I was going to be sick. I ached so much and my head hurt. It was so so hard. I was now running on very few hours sleep.
Feelings and anger of the past were in the forefront of my thinking. My dreams/nightmares were are so real and bizzare. I have these sharp nerve stabs feelings in my arm and legs, just one here and there strong enough they wake me up.
I have never withdrawn from anything in my life before. I was talking with my neighbour this morning after he asked me if I was OK as I looked bad. He said sounds pretty part of the process of withdrawal. Of course of course I am withdrawing from my antidepressant. My decision was taken out of my control.
I had a call from my GPs practice. My face to face appointment was going to be a phone call. I had enough I am surprised how gentle and pleasant apologetic I was to the lovely women on the other end of the phone when I went on to explain how I was not very happy with this GP. That I felt I was not connecting with her. I went on to explain why. I was so shocked when the woman on the phone said that I could have an appointment tomorrow face to face with another GP who was interested in Mental Health and only been at the practice a couple of months. I said oh yes please and thankyou . I kept apologising and I was reassured that she understood how important it is for anyone to feel connected to their GP especially when dealing with mental health. I think I cried.
So it is almost a week since I had a half dose of my antidepressant. I guess the decision to go off them has occurred. Kismet is at work, I have an appointment with my psychologist tomorrow and a new GP..again. I am grateful for that. I hope my nausea and light headedness stops soon. Interestingly enough my head feels clearer, which is bizarre as lack of sleep usually makes me feel as if my head is full of marshmallows. I feel a bit as if my mind is on a fast speed, but not in a rumination sort of way. It is really difficult to explain. For me it is a bit like the nerves of a final examination situation where you have to write an essay in response to a question. My head is full of things but I am struggling to decipher what it means and where it fits in the exam question and my answer to this. The sort of rough draft that you scribble rapidly and then edit and re-edit to reach the final answer in essay form to the question. Only I am not really able to get to the final answer. Each new re-edit brings in new ideas which take me down tangents and into different ways to respond to the original question.
This is very tiring not at all overwhelming strangely. I become exhausted and have to work at stopping the search for what ever answer I think there is to be discovered. Yet once rested whether I actually nap or just switch off and lay down, my mind is quite and I feel OK recharged almost be it with a short battery life.
The jabs in my body like very sharp needles pricks deep down in the areas of my legs and arms, no head zaps for me. Are infrequent but a daily occurrence.
I have now cold turkey been off my medication 100mg dose for 8 days. I am sleeping heavily once asleep but waking after only 6 hours or so. Interesting I am feeling awake and not dopey as I have been in recent months whilst on my medication. On the medication my sleep eventually was regular and generally 8-10 hours depending on factors. I would have periods (usually weirdly around the full moon) where I would stay up late and then sleep for ages. I was finding in the months before ceasing abruptly my medication I was very erratic in my sleep late nights /early mornings and waking feeling blah, actually most mornings I woke feeling very heavy. I was not depressed I was just not able to function as I wanted to do want I wanted and at times needed to do.
I was watching a lot of TV and playing games online. Yes addiction of games was becoming part of the problem even when I knew what was happening it was all I seemed to be capable and interested in. I discussed with my psychologist how I really was wanting to change some things and I would try, start and just not be able to get far. I really had enough of this situation and feeling like this sloth. ( I do love sloths mind you). So the beginning down the rabbit hole at least as a rural (remote rural) Australian to a psychiatrist began. I was fortunate to have access to Psych 2 U which is a private company that sees rural folk and rural regional folk via zoom and health care card holders are able to see the person for free. My experience with this organisation has not well been favourable in the majority of it. You have no choice which psychiatrist sees you and when like my first one totally had his own agenda of research and insinuated I was lying about wanting to take the ADHD medication he had given me as I could not get it filled in my council area at any of the chemists! He ended our appointments implying to my GP I had..that is a whole other ball game. I have discussed in the past here.
How is my withdrawal going on day 8? This morning I woke up after a great night sleep more like my ‘pre breakdown ‘ sleep. I sat out on my deck enjoying the bird song having a coffee. I fed my chooks, (eight chicks at present two roosters and five hens) one hen is missing I see her spasmodically; so she is about. I fear I will have more chicks suddenly appear. Fed them and returned to my deck and a second coffee reading a book I had been wanting too. I have not read a book in several months.
I took my dogs for a walk, picked some blackberries chatted with my neighbour and his daughter. Then came back to my deck and had my breakfast/brunch. Came inside as the biting flies and March flies(horse flies sort of beasts) were out and loving me!. I was reading my book and my dogs took off and barked in the paddock, my other neighbours were outside. So we chatted for quite a while in the sunshine. On coming back inside, I put on my roast I was having later, with enough veggies for salad and omelette or soup later in the week or even just in a toastie.
It was after 2pm before I opened my computer and I have no interest in the games I normally would have opened up. Instead I am here writing. (which is interesting as I find writing here is helpful for me, I share as if anyone gets anything that may help he or she know they are not alone, and that living with CPTSD PTSD any mental health illness is shit at times and others out there get it. You are not alone and people care. Is why I enjoy writing my true honest life and not some fantasy.
Today day 8 my head is clearer, I am a bit manic and have spent a little money (get behind me Amazon/Wish/Auction places.) I notice when I am talking to friends neighbours people who know me not just anyone right now I am sharing that I am withdrawing off my medication, that I am speaking fast and struggling to find right words at times, or finish what I was actually saying.. yep manic is apt descriptive. I let them know please say bye if you want as this is withdrawal symptom. I am totally aware of this particular issue, and how it impacts others so am very direct, so they have can go. LOL.
I continue to be light headed at the weirdest times (not when bending down or going from a sitting to standing position) I can be walking the dogs and just have to sit down. I am not walking much or any distance at present. I am not hungry but am enjoying cooking and when I smell the food cooking enjoy it. I am wanting to eat better and am making delicious meals for myself. Healthy(ish) only eating for many would be a small amount. I may pick at food over the day rather than eat a big meal, and when I do eat a meal, it is not alot.
I am incredibly teary at times (Labile) for no apparent reason. I am less angry now, but in saying that I am so angry at my abusers and those who neglected me in my childhood, I have never been previously able to say this before. I grew up with it being seen as a very negative emotion and you should never feel angry towards anyone. But hell I feel so angry. It is for me a positive emotion and now I am expressing it what a feeling a very good feeling. Anger is an emotion and just important as love, sadness happiness. Being older now and seeing where and by whom I was told about anger being a bad thing, the very people who were hurting me, abusing me, neglecting me are those who did not want me to be angry. Well people I am fucking angry at your betrayal, your abuse neglect and never will it be held within my spirit to make me unwell again! There is a strength in anger. Time to stop saying we do not have a right to feel anger. Be angry, what I need to do is not take my anger out on anyone or any thing else. I found myself angry at procedure of my internet provider, I was getting furious with my dog licking, anger directed inappropriately. Now I am not angry at them today, as I have been in the last week and often over the years. I am appropriately angry and aim it towards those who made me into something/someone I was never meant to be. Now at a mature age, I am letting the anger out and becoming who I am with no feelings hidden or labelled good or bad.
The nausea is improving, I do get it very occasionally now and generally it is a lot of burps with it. I can concentrate for longer periods but get tired very. (I am weary now ) I am attempting to finish this to post it today. I come over at times as if I am going to faint..like just now and I was sitting down and now the nausea is present. I just want to close my eyes and rest. To be continued…
blessings to You, Tazzie