Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dreams and Drugs

I'm feeling much better today. I've been holding off on describing what's going on because I don't think it's relevant, but to describe what's been going on in my life right now I have to.

Several years ago, before they found out I had a thyroid issue, I went in to see the doctor for a deep depression that I could FEEL was coming not from external influences, but from internal body chemistry changes. They said I was "just depressed" (even though I made clear something wasn't working with my body and this was a symptom and not a cause). They wanted to throw antidepressants at me, so I told them if I got to be depressed on my own somehow, I'd get back on my own - I'd work it out. Basically to screw off - I hate doctor's who just throw medicine at you before ensuring that they're treating the right issue. So I went to a therapist for a year. She wasn't very great, but helped in some areas. Over the course of that year I degenerated significantly and rapidly. I was completely impaired - at the end of that year I couldn't function on a daily basis - I was in a very deep depression, when I wasn't at work I was sleeping, I couldn't think or function. Period. It was effecting all relationships and jeopardizing my job. At this time the therapist said it was definitely a physical cause and not a mental cause, so I went back to the doctor. At this time I wanted relief so I could function (and not lose my job/relationships/etc...) I was told by a friend of mine (my boss at the time) that antidepressants would help and recommended "the mildest antidepressant out there". So I asked my doctor about it while they were discovering my thyroid condition, which took quite a while, I went on anti-depressants, which helped out tremendously. And I've been on anti-depressants in one strength or another for about 2 years now.

Over the past year I've tried going off of them a couple of times because I don't accept that this is just something "I'm going to have to take for the rest of my life." (quote from a doctor) They don't know how SSRI's REALLY work, and they change the brain's chemistry. To treat depression like a disease is to undermine the plasticity of the brain, strength of will, and beauty of being human. But every time I went off it before, it's been - well - horrible.

The withdrawal symptoms are more debilitating than the depression I originally was afflicted with. Bottom line is the withdrawal symptoms for me for Lexapro include dizziness that's really bad - just stepped out of the twirly carnival rides dizzy, emotional sensitivity, nausea, hot flashes, insomnia/needing to sleep for 11-12 hours a day, joint pain, poor motor skills/coordination issues - I become a total and utter clutz, and I cannot think, headaches, etc... etc.... When I've gone off them in the past I've been on higher doses and have had SEVERE issues. This time I was smart and for about 6 months I've been preparing to get off them once and for all, because I'm really at a great time in my life. I don't want to be on them forever, and they take the 64 count box of crayons that life is and pare it down to 24 or 16 colors. Life is all pastels with no neon colors. It deadens you. I don't care to be deadened.

So I originally went from 20 mg to 10 mg and stayed that way for 3 months. Then I went to 5 mg and stayed that way for 2 1/2 months. I went off of them about 2 weeks ago. It's been 10 times less intense than going cold turkey off of 20 mg and I've definitely been experiencing withdrawal symptoms, which cumulated yesterday into a pretty messy conglomeration of nastiness. All in all, though, the symptoms are a lot more mild and my ability to bear them out has been much better. I'm going to check in with my doctor in a week and if the symptoms don't taper off, I'll work with her on getting 2.5 mg doses to take every other day to taper off some more before trying again.

On the up side while all this is going on - I get my 64 colors back, things are more vibrant and poetry abounds. Life is more. I'm thinking in poetry again. When I'm on it, poetry is something that flits through my brain, whereas before I would just live it and think it and be it. So I'm getting my poetry back - :) Another thing I'm getting back is my ability to remember my dreams...which is a double edge sword as my dreams are very intense and not always happy rainbow dreams. I've had very intense dreams about my family (mother, cousin, father, brother, grandmother, etc...) and evil houses that have malevolent intentions repeatedly for the last couple of nights. I'm also dreaming about how we change as people. It's been really amazing and I'm truly stoked about finally getting off of them. All I need to do is bear out a few more days of these withdrawal symptoms (hopefully) and it'll be to a point where it won't interfere with my life so much.

1 comment:

  1. Withdrawal symptoms are usually markedly severe when it's cold turkey rather than a gradual decrease. If you've never seen it, the animation in the docu-movie "What the Bleep" does a great job showing what happens when things start happening with the neurotransmitters or "molecules of emotions." Unfortunately, we have to try to fool our bodies when we try to change them (physically, emotionally, behaviorally, etc.) into thinking that it's really NOT changing - or the changes are so miniscule that it won't throw a tantrum. I'm glad you're feeling better and have the big box of crayons at your disposal again. (BTW, Crayola also had a 96 count box!)