Thursday, August 19, 2010

Uh Oh, Withdrawals

Just over two weeks ago I started coming off my antidepressants. My doctor wanted to take it slow getting me off them, so we had a plan to half the dose every two weeks over the next six weeks. I didn't realize until yesterday that even halving the dose was too much too fast.

The last week or so I have had a really hard time being at work. I didn't know why. I like my job. I like what I do. I like the people I work with. But I just plain didn't want to be there so bad it was downright depressing. On top of that, I was unbelievably exhausted. I couldn't focus. I couldn't remember what day of the week it was (still can't). All I wanted to do was sleep. I was so blue, and for no good reason. When I went out to lunch with my two best friends, I had nothing to say. I just sat there, and for once, couldn't hold up my end of the conversation. It was very out of character for me.

Yesterday at work, I was tired of being so down and not knowing why. Then I had an epiphany. I IMed my best friend J, who is also on anti-deps, and asked her if she thought my blues were a side effect of coming off the meds. Her instant reply was, "Yes." So I turned to Dr. Google. As I read up, I realized I had been having major withdrawals from the meds and didn't even know it. It sure explained a LOT about my behavior the last two weeks.

I blew up at my husband twice over the weekend with little to no provocation on his part, and I was so angry I was seething inside. I don't remember the last time I was that mad, let alone over nothing. On Monday I was full on screaming at other drivers on my way into work. I got there and thought how very unlike me that was. But during none of those outbreaks did I piece together it had anything to do with withdrawals. I've never been on meds this long before, and certainly never long enough to have withdrawals from them. I honestly thought I would half my dose every other week for six weeks and wouldn't notice. HA!

After I googled to find out what the symptoms were, I IMed my husband and told him what I had found. Like me, he said it explained a lot about my recent behavior. I was seriously depressed that going off my antidepressants was making me depressed. I had no idea this was going to happen. I also read that my doctor is smarter than most doctors about getting me off the meds, but that he was still doing it too quickly. I'll spare you the details, but after some thought on my part, a discussion with my friends and family who have been on SSRI's, and a quick phone call to my doctor, I have decided to make getting off the meds take longer than anticipated. I simply cannot handle the withdrawal symptoms, or rather, choose not to.

My mother thinks because I am having withdrawals it means I should never go off of them. Thanks mom, but you're wrong. ANYONE who has been on them and especially for more than 6 months is going to have withdrawals even with tapering off very slowly, simply because the brain now has to figure out how to do on its own what the meds have been doing for it. It takes time for that to work. That's just like saying people who smoke should always smoke because the withdrawal symptoms mean they need the nicotine to survive. Guess again.

The good thing is, my withdrawal symptoms make me terribly apathetic about pretty much everything right now, so I don't care if it takes me longer to get off of them. Whatever. One side effect I am loving though is loss of appetite. I eat too much normally, so it is nice to not have food sound good for a while, especially because I would like to drop a few before I get knocked up in a couple weeks. ;)

So tonight I bumped my dose up to 1.5 times what I have been on for the last two weeks in an attempt to regain my happiness equilibrium, and I will taper off even more slowly than originally planned. Its worth my sanity and that of the loved ones around me. Bummer, but oh well. We do what we have to do, right gals?


Heather said...

So coming off slower wont change the date you try for baby? In that case...take it as slow as you can!

S.I.F. said...

I came off my meds a few years ago and it is definitely a battle, but I'll tell you what; I've been fine off them for years now. You just have to get past that hurdle (and do it as slowly as necessary) and then you'll be fine... pulling for you lady!

Saige said...

Heather, slowing down won't change when we can start trying for another baby. All that really matters is that I would be off them by the 3rd trimester, but I would rather be off them now and not have to worry about it. So no worries about taking my time. :)

Life Happens said...

I'm glad you decided to go back on and wean yourself at your pace. I quit my antidepressants cold turkey, then when I needed something again, I started on That proved successful for me and once we started IVF, I quit cold turkey again. I know everyone has different reactions to getting off meds so it all varies greatly.

I hope and pray that you will start to feel better and over time, you will know what your body needs to be healthy to carry a baby!

Potters said...

Good luck with all this. I wish I had some amazing comment or advice to give you.

Jill said...

Sorry to hear it didn't work out like you originally planned. You'll get there and if it is with less pain/distress it will be worth the extra time. Take care and good luck with the new plan!

Suzanne said...

I'm so sorry that you're going through withdrawal symptoms. I think trying to go off of your meds slowly is a very good idea. When I first started ttc, my stupid doctor had me go off of them cold turkey. I was a complete and total mess! He's no longer my doctor by the way. You'll be fine, just take it one day at a time and decrease your dosage slowly.

Kakunaa said...

When prepping for IVF I was told to go off mine -- and I went cold turkey. Oh, my goodness, what a mess!!!! BAD idea. It took quite a while to be "better", and it's still hard 2+ months later...good luck hon!

ICLW #77

Kristin said...

I'm glad you figured out what was going on and causing all the issues. Slower is definitely better in this case.

#28 ICLW