I’ve done that thing… 

That they tell you absolutely not to do. That thing that if any of you did it I would be writing furiously in the comments encouraging you to reconsider and do it the right way. 

I’ve quit my depression meds cold turkey. 

BEFORE you all start yelling at me in the comments and telling me that this is the worst idea ever and #pdplzreconsider here is how it happened.

First, Friday was my last dose, and I was like “I’ll just go to the clinic on Saturday.” Well, thanks to the holiday weekend – clinic is closed until tomorrow. So this was not a deliberate throwing out of the pills. I ran out. Normally in this case I would go to the pharmacy and ask them for a weeks supply until I could get to the clinic to see the doctor. Pharmacy is also closed for three days. 

So really, I ended up in a situation where unless I wanted to wait for a million hours at the hospital, I had to wait anyways.

Second, I have been on the lowest dose of this medication for over 2 years. Weaning would look like 1/2 a pill each day for a few weeks and then I’d be off anyways. When you’re already on less than 20mg of something, it’s pretty hard to go much smaller. So I’m not going from 60 or 80 or 100 to zero.

Finally, I feel fantastic. I have not felt this good in a long time. Maybe some of it is mental, maybe it’s the long weekend, maybe it’s my diet change or the skills I have in place – but I’m getting no brain zaps, I’m not lethargic, I’m hungry, I have a sex drive – it feels like my body is waking up. Additionally with the reframed diagnosis of C-PTSD, it’s likely that my depression was a side effect of the PTSD and not necessarily caused by a chemical imbalance in the first place.

Regardless, I am on the lookout for signs that I need to go back on, and I promise that I’m on my way to the hospital or clinic as SOON as one appears.

But in the meantime I’m feeling pretty decent and I’m kind of really happy about that (and yes, I know it’s only been 3 days).

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22 thoughts on “I’ve done that thing… 

  1. I’m going to say pretty much what everyone else has been saying: it’s quite possible that the drugs aren’t doing much, using them in the setting of CPTSD, but effectiveness is not correlated at all with severity of withdrawal.

    Ideally if you’re going to withdraw you should pick your moment and have an actual plan in place. There’s never a “good” time, but if there are any major stressors in your life at present (hmmm, PD?) then it is *really* not a good time. You might have no problems at all, or you may find that symptoms take a while to kick in. Everyone is different, you might be lucky. My own withdrawal was horrible, despite only being on a low dose (20mg citalopram) and doing it really slowly. Strongly recommend not going cold turkey, but restarting then tapering with someone *other* than yourself monitoring how you’re going – aside from the physical symptoms which are obvious, the psychological effects of withdrawal can be indistinguishable from a depressive relapse and can sneak up on you.

    Whatever you decide, if you do end up going back onto them either to taper or stay on, remember that this does not reflect in any way on you as a person. Look after yourself first and foremost.
    #pdplzreconsider

    Liked by 2 people

    • I mean this is arguably the least stressful time I’ve had in my life (which probably says something). Can I ask when your withdrawal symptoms started and when you noticed them?

      I did tell my husband after reading your comment, so I do thank you for that. And I promise I will look after myself. ❤️

      Like

      • The first time around on the drugs was only for 6 months and I just stopped when my prescription ran out because no had told me otherwise. I never really noticed much in the way of withdrawal effects at all.

        Second time around I was super sensitive to any changes in dose while I was on them, either through accidentally missing tablets or through food and drug interactions such as grapefruit juice. I would get a consistent pattern with dose increases that included sleepiness, nausea, headache, yawning and mild constipation. Similarly consistent pattern with dose reduction that started with irritability and crying and mild diarrhoea within a couple of days of decreasing the dose or missing pills, and progressed to visual lag and weird feelings that I could hear my eyes move and worsening mood including suicidal thoughts over the next few days (although I never ever had brain zaps).

        When I tapered too fast (over 3 weeks, using 1/2 then 1/4 tablet) these symptoms escalated rapidly until I was very suicidal. Tapering more slowly (over months) these symptoms would settle within a week and recur exactly the same with the next dose reduction. After about 6 weeks my mood dropped and I had difficulty concentrating, enough so that it was noticeable at work. I gave up and went back to full dose after these two tries which were at around the 6 year mark, but was determined to persist when I did it again at 12 years. That time I switched to escitalopram which is available as a liquid so I could divide the dose more easily, and tapered even more slowly. Same initial withdrawal effects as the slower of the two previous tapers, but the depression was slower onset – first noticed lack of energy and motivation at about 2 month mark, but it progressed over the next 2-3 months to fairly severe and very suicidal again, and took about 2 months from that point to feel moderately ok again. The other problem I had during and after withdrawal was severe anxiety and emotional hyperreactivity which I did NOT have before I started the drugs in the first pace.

        Not sure if I’m just really unlucky or whether the overdose I took of these tablets might have sensitised me in some way.

        Short answer: the earliest symptoms came on over days to weeks, but the more subtle mood changes took 1-2 months to become noticeable.

        Liked by 1 person

      • So last night I was trying to sleep, and I usually fall asleep really easily these days, and it felt like my brain was WIDE awake. I didn’t have a late coffee or anything. It was racing and I felt like my body was ‘humming’. At this point I went “DV is likely super right” and took my backup pill. I’m planning on getting to the clinic in the morning.

        Liked by 1 person

      • yeah, that seems like withdrawal. It’s quite difficult to describe the sensations to other people, it makes you sound kind of crazy.
        Best to get advice from a professional and work out a plan for tapering if you decide you really do want to go off them. Hope things go ok.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am wishing you an easy withdrawal, whatever it is that you stopped taking. If you do start to have any difficulties in the coming days, please don’t wait to reach out to your doctor. (Just speaking from my own experience of very dreadful withdrawal.) Hopefully you won’t need any help though! I’m cheering for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t have much experience with meds at all. And I HATE that people are put on meds before properly diganosing. Every medical profession should be asking themselves ” is this possibly PTDS/CPTSD as the first question. Okay, off my soap box. Anyway, I also went cold turkey on my anti-depressants and was neither up nor down. I know it’s not recommended but whatevs. Probably because I too did not have a chemical imbalance in my friggen brain, I had trauma. If you’re not on anything else then you might be okay. Guess time will tell 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • The conversation with my doctor went like this.
      Me (at 21, my mom in the room – I wanted her there): “I’m sad and can’t stop crying”
      Dr: are you thinking of self harm or suicide?
      Me: honestly, yes
      Dr: yup, you’re depressed. Here are the meds.

      I’ve been on them ever since.

      I am not on anything else, and I just found a backup pill which would buy me some time if need be. Plus my husband knows (and Lu too, since she is the only IRL person who reads this).

      Also, I hate that doctors just hand out anti depressants like candy… some people really need it, and some people don’t, and some people don’t ever know – and some people are on the wrong meds which is more dangerous.

      Sigh. Thanks for your comment 🙂 we share a soapbox.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Definitely still in your system. Those half lives are long. Also — calling you on the closed for three day things. We’re in the same city (Pretty sure.) Some small pharmacies might be closed but urgent cares are open and will send the prescription wherever – big pharmacies like cvs etc are open – you don’t have to go to the hospital. Not telling you what to do with yourself, just that you have options should you begin to not feel well or change your mind — you’re not locked into anything.

    Liked by 1 person

      • oh! not sure why I thought that. I remember thinking that from a much earlier post. So sorry to have assumed, and sorry you ended up having a rough withdrawal. I’ll agree with everyone else – whether or not the meds are warranted doesn’t necessarily correlate with the difficulty of withdrawal. Hang in there. sorry again for the assumption!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thats okay 🙂 don’t worry about it! And you were right about me avoiding the refill – I think the truth of it hit a bit of a nerve 😉 but thank you for pointing it out. I’m grateful!

        Like

  5. I laughed at the hashtag!!! 🙂
    I don’t know what meds you were on, but I agree with Ellen that it’s possible that they’re still in your system. Prozac lasts especially long – 4-6 days for half of it to be gone, which means 8-12 days for 3/4 of it to be gone, etc – you get the idea.
    Other meds, like Abilify, are stored in your fat deposits and released, albeit in small doses, for months after discontinuation. This is what I found out, too late, after my Abilify disaster experience.
    On the other hand, Lexapro has a short half life of about a day. I went off of it cold turkey by complete accident (the bottle and the pills looked just like my allergy meds, so instead of taking one of each I was taking two allergy pills each day. It was multiple days of me being extremely ill before I realized the mixup. From now on I will ALWAYS check bottles!).
    Not meaning to step in with scientific jargon and preach to you – I just get really interested in the way meds work and stuff. I’ve experienced placebo “I feel better” right after going on and right after going off meds for a few days (and I’ve been on 10 different meds – not many compared to some of us on here – but yikes) so there’s that, but then again, I’ve noticed a noticeable (positive) difference after being off of Prozac long-term.
    Either way, I guess it doesn’t really matter – if you’re feeling good, then enjoy it!! 🙂 Maybe re-fill the prescription in case you start feeling worse, so you’ll have it on hand. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually looked it up and the half life is 35 hours, the full life is 70 hours. So by this time tomorrow in all likelihood it will be out of my system. My problem now comes down to having the time to do it. My husband knows what I’m up to so I’m not worried. I also just remembered where my backups are !

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I get that you don’t want advice. I do have experience with depression meds and going on and off them. I believe they’re still in your system, after three days. Side effects are the first to arrive and the first to leave – the side effects are gone, so you feel fine. You actually don’t know yet how you’ll feel without the meds in your system.

    That said, I didn’t find meds worked for me. Just wanted to point this out, and very gently suggest, when the pharmacy opens tomorrow, to fill the prescription and to taper. I think it would be too bad to see saw on and off, off until a crash, then on again to stop the withdrawal, without having given a chance to trying med free….It stands to reason that the body will object to sudden changes…..

    My two cents. Feel free to ignore entirely obviously. Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

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