Once upon a time…
There was this happily miserable girl. She was everything and it felt like nothing. She just wanted to be something. Something that wasn’t everything all the time. She couldn’t love herself.
She smiled a lot. No one was the wiser.
She had some babies. She loved them. They made her feel like someone else. It felt beautiful. It saved her, it made her understand, it gave her a reason to want to be something. She got stronger, but still felt like everything inside was broken. A lot of broken nothing.
She smiled a lot. Everyone smiled back.
She met a boy. She loved him. He made her feel wanted and under control. She got scared. How could he want someone who was nothing? He assured her constantly that she was broken, but that he loved her despite it. She was willing to accept whatever love she could get. He knew that she was something but he didn’t understand her, only how to keep her wings clipped enough to have her. She felt as though she was too broken not to be thrown away. They loved and hated one another passionately.
She smiled a lot. No one was the wiser.
Someone called her on the phone. Years of madness spilled over. Splinters pushed through.
She finally cried. They took her to the Doctor.
She took the blue pill. She took the red pill. They strangled her. Dust settled on blank canvasses. They made her nothing. They took away the joy of her children. They took away her love for the boy. They took away her love and her hate. She could not live without either. She threw the pills away and that made her anything but something. Something worse. Much worse.
She hid a lot. Everyone pretended to worry.
Her children loved her in her sadness. They loved her in her darkness. They did not give up on her. The nothingness drifted slowly to the bottom. Silt and ashes. Forgiveness.
She wrote a lot because she hurt. She wrote because she had to.
Once upon a time there was a girl who tried to fix herself because she felt like nothing.
Then she realized that she was exactly where she was meant to be. She realized that all she had to do was trust God’s plan for her. She realized that she had only needed to accept.
Even if though she was broken, she was loved.
She was happier than she’d ever been in her life, because herself had dissolved in the fray. She was happier than she’d ever been because she’d quieted the storm. She was content for there was nothing left of her to whittle.
Meanwhile little broken spirits were the penance being paid to the sweetest smile she was sure she had ever seen. As it turned out, it was her everything that was nothing. I’m sorry, babies.
I do not know what to say. So much. In fact I am afraid to begin. I suppose today I shall approach things in an “update” sort of way. Just to get it out so that I can start smearing brain garbage all over the place.
I honestly have to look and see what my last post was… I have no idea where I’ve even been.
I was sick. Like really sick. For ever. EVER. It’s all a blur and I yet I still feel deeply within my still-recovering innerds that I am a seriously huge dick for even calling myself “sick” at all. People have cancer. Since my last post, more people. Just now… more people. I found out a few weeks ago that my Paw Paw has it. Extensive Multiple Myeloma. Yeah… google it. I don’t even know.
Beep Beep Beep.
Finished my taper off of Seroquel for the SECOND horrible time in October-ish. The WD during that three month dwindle were horrendeous.
When you taper you think that the taper is it. You believe, because you have to, that the taper is the withdrawal. That your last day, your last half of a half of a pill is it. It feels like victory. I had never tapered back into myself entirely at any point over the past few years. I’d gone from one thing to another, mostly all related poisons, and never just been… well… naked. When I quit the Seroquel I also quit Abilify cold turkey. I went from “withdrawals” back to the pits of hell that are the Discontinuation Syndrome that I preach and preach about. CRACkK-FUkKiNG-HEAD. Twitching, itching, awake for weeks. Miserable. I ticked, I chewed my face to pieces, I paced, hyperventilated, cried in the dark. The whole nine yards. During this, my body, which was already caught in a downward spiral, gave up. I was depressed, sick, and totally over it.
Things I thought I knew how to manage: Bipolar, Schizo, ADHD… yada yada, Diabetic, Fibromyalgia, G.E.R.D., RLS, and just basically feeling like shit all day every day.
Chronic, seemingly incurable, Sinusitis and Bronchitis. Now going through withdrawal and not sleeping.
Needless to say, all of these things, and the attempt to tackle all of these things individually, were killing me. I gave up on my brain. Trying to fix my brain was killing my body. I’d like to think that my body keeps my soul within its fleshly confines and therefore might be important. It just might be. I figured we should forfeit the sanity and save the body, maybe at least it could be sent for groceries and asked to do a dance or two for someone’s entertainment and serve a purpose before it got struck by lightening. IDK. If nothing else, I like to think that I would make a mighty sexy chalk outline on a sidewalk someday and I may never survive long enough to get somewhere with sidewalks if I didn’t at least try to make it.
Funny how someone who so often ponders her own demise could even care about making it, but I have some pretty rad kids to chase around and it takes a pulse to do that. Nobody can chase my kids like me. Fact.
That all said, I fired my Doctor, middle finger in the air, when he offered me yet another round of antibiotics to “fix my wagon.” Really? “Chronic Sinusitis” is what he insisted. This was, of course, because my sinuses APPEARED to be draining, which was really just a result of my desperately weeping in his office begging him to figure out why I’d spent the past two years coughing until my ribs would break and in what I felt to be hell. Despite my asking him over and over to stop seeing me as a runny nose and a cough and acknowledge that my BODY is sick, that I, AMBER, am sick, that it is not JUST sinuses and to please, for the love of God, TRY to figure it out, the man sent me away with another “gorilla-cillin” shot in the ass, some prednisone, and another round of amoxicillin to throw on top of the six previous rounds of oral antibiotics, three rounds of steroids, and three other shots of penicillin. I could not take it anymore. I’d been in bed for two months. I was sick of being sick of being sick.
I called a new doctor, an internal medicine doctor. Before I could make that appointment on Jan 9th, I officially, completely finished throwing my back out on New Years Eve by walking across a 20 foot lawn and got to make a few trips to a few ER’s and ride in an ambulance… by the way, ER will ignore the SHIT out of you until you are healed by Jesus in the waiting room. They will also completely ignore the fact that you are in more pain than natural childbirth and send you home with a prescription for Alieve and discharge papers stating “arthritis pain” in a 31 year old who was paralyzed from the waist down for seven hours and screaming in agony alone in the waiting room while the girl with the recurring UTI who knows all the security guards gets hooked up with free Dr. Pepper. By the time I made it to my previously scheduled appointment with the Internal Med. Dr. I was homicidal.
SO. The new Dr. is wonderful. He immediately referred me to a Sinus Specialist but said that he felt it was definitely not “only” a sinus/respiratory issue. He totally acknowledged that I have Fibromyalgia and that it was being aggravated by all of the infection that was showing up in my blood-work. The Sinus Specialist figured out by looking at my vocal chords that I was not being diagnosed with the type of Reflux that I really had and that it was the culprit for my sinus issues and the bronchitis that kept turning into pneumonia because of my not being properly treated for infection. A trip to a wonderful Gastroenterologist and an endoscopic surgery later and we find out I have both G.E.R.D. and L.P.R.D. as well as several ulcers. So… once those things are under control, guess what, it’s a miracle. Chiropractor three times a week, tons of omeprezole, lots of other fun stuff… anyway I freaking survived. I. AM. ALIVE.
Now… back to the other junk. The Discontinuation Whatever-it-is lasted until the first week of March. I have been off of Adderall for about a month as well, which was another fun time. I was taking 90mg a day. I am now officially only taking birth control (which may also be jacking with my little body) and Requip to help with my RLS. Back to not sleeping for days, hearing invisible wind-chimes, watching little gremlins dart around the house… but feeling better on the outside for a change.
Moral of the story is, the day I started trying to “fix” me is the day I started to kill myself. I have NO idea what advice to give in this matter other than to trust yourself. If you start taking medication and are hearing your doctor say “you have to weigh the benefits of the medication over the side effects and decide whether or not it’s worth it” and you feel like you are dying… don’t overlook it. Don’t be so desperate to “fix” yourself and let yourself fall apart because you are ignoring the obvious. If your body is sick, your mind will follow suit and all the Seroquel in the world will never fix the fact that you are simply killing yourself by accident and not on purpose. I don’t blame Seroquel… although when I began taking it the drug warnings about blood-sugar were not listed and I have to say that I would have rather lived an insomniac’s life than a diabetic insomniac’s life… in fact, I do blame it, but that’s a story for another day. More than anything, I don’t blame, I am just pissed in general. Don’t be pissed in general, kids. Don’t let someone that has spent 45 minutes watching a clock and barely listening to you give you something that can/will possibly change your life entirely and just put it in your mouth like a fucking sheep. I feel like psychiatry in general feeds off of desperation. Nobody goes to a psychiatrist because they aren’t feeling out of options. No one calls and makes an appointment and utters the words “something is wrong with me” that is not desperate. I can only beg of anyone who has a shred of hope in life, be so careful with yourself. Be so so careful.
I just wanted to say, I feel a little better today. Not so tired and run down feeling. Slept more last night than I have in weeks. This is the direction I was hoping to go. I know it’s only one day, too early to get excited, but just MAYBE I’m on the upswing? Please? Ha ha ha. Feeling better about life in general today. Maybe I’ll make it after all.
No Seroquel. No Abilify.
The crackheadedness is slowly fading. My “happy feet” are less and less as the days go by, but my feet and ankles are so horribly sprained and sore from the constant twisting, tapping, and grinding my feet into the ground. They just ache. My bones hurt. I feel like someone’s hit me with a bat every morning, and my hands are so stiff when I wake up I can’t make a fist. The teeth-grinding has died down and the twisting in my neck and back are reserved for later in the day when my exhaustion takes the wheel. Sea-sickness when I stop moving has pretty much gone away and I’ve gotten a little of my appetite back since I stopped dryheaving every 20 minutes. Still not sleeping. I get an hour or two in most nights, wake up all night sweating and freezing, needing to get up and walk around. The itching is still incredible. Especially my torso, legs and feet. I feel like I have poison ivy beneath my skin, like I need to scratch until I bleed. It’s not helping me to sleep either. Nothing helps with it. I am guessing it’ll fade eventually but in the meantime, sweet Lord it’s lame.
I knew this would be the case, but I have to say I wasn’t emotionally prepared for it. In fact, despite my long drawn out taper, and the deliberate choice that was quitting these medications, I didn’t really brace myself. It kind of snuck up on me. It was like one day I’d gotten down to my last pill, put it in my mouth, and thought “oh good, I’m done.” I had been going through all kinds of aches, pains, and bouts of anxiety already. The taper was eternal, exhausting, and not without its own torment. I felt like I’d had the flu for months, aches & pains, insomnia, sweats and chills, and just general misery. I really had it in my head that once I was free from the drugs, I was free. Now here I am at my desk, having heart palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, and shooting pain in the right side of my head and I’m wondering, how much longer? How much longer do I have to feel this way? WHY do I have to feel this way? You’d think the choice to quit alone, knowing that in a few months, once my brain is unsaturated, completely chemically imbalanced, and I am physically exhausted from all of this, that I am going to be walking on the edge of a true breakdown, would be scary in itself. Knowing how unstable I will likely be when this all comes crashing down on me, how it will affect my friends and family, how it will affect my marriage, it’s pretty devastating. That alone is plenty of reason not to do this, but to be in physical pain, feeling like a freak, on TOP of the psychological aspects of this decision, is just making it feel more and more like punishment. I can’t breathe, my body hurts, and I’m scared. I know it’ll get better. I know time will take this off of me and I have to be brave, but I’m totally afraid of how long this is going to last. I don’t want to freak out. I’m trying to be the strong one, who did this, and who wasn’t afraid to take her health and her ability to enjoy life back. I’m trying not to act like I feel. I’m trying not to let everyone around me see what an exhausted wreck I’ve become. It’s just getting harder and harder not to throw my hands in the air and shut down entirely. I would rather be locked in my house, in my pajamas, completely shut off from the world. I’d rather turn my phone off and hide. I just want to be somewhere cold and dark and quiet. Where no one can see me. Instead, I’ll get up every morning, get my kids to school, go to work and come home, cook and clean, take care of my family, and go on about my business as though it were any other day. What choice do I have? What choice does ANYONE have? I can’t feel sorry for myself at all, but I am a little pissed off. Pissed off and ready for this to end. I guess we’ll see.
Before anyone spouts off about my discouraging people from taking medications that they may need, let me say this. If you are reading this right now, I’m guessing that you have the ability to make choices, like how you chose to read this blog. Since that’s the case, you are fully capable of deciding whether or not to take the little pills for yourself. I’m not your Mom, I’m not a Dr., and I don’t really care if you agree. If you want to know factual information about the side effects that you may not be aware of, please feel free to check this out. If you are going to leave some shitty comment about not influencing people to disregard medical advice, it’s probably best you go and google puppies or recipes or something because I’m pretty pissed off about being pressured to take medication right now and I don’t really have anything nice to say. I’m an asshole… but it’s ok, it’s a side effect.
*ANYTHING IN RED (AND THEN SOME) IS ON MY LIST OF “STUFF I HAVE BEEN LUCKY ENOUGH TO EXPERIENCE.”
ANTIDEPRESSANTS: (TRAZODONE, WHILE DOWN-PLAYED AS A SLEEP AID, IS AN ANTIDEPRESSANT)
Antidepressants can make some people feel immediately worse—more depressed than before. Or they can suffer from sudden anxiety, aggressiveness, or become suicidal. In some cases antidepressants can induce a complete swing from depression to wild mania.
Antidepressant drugs are, in their own way, as dangerous as cocaine, heroin and other street drugs:
- Antidepressants can lead to dependence
- Antidepressants can be difficult and even dangerous to stop taking
- Antidepressants can cause side effects that ruin lives, or even kill you
- Antidepressants can lead to suicide, especially in the young
- Antidepressants have been linked to extreme mania, including violent acts against others.
- Pyromania: A compulsion to start fires
- Kleptomania: A compulsion to embezzle, shoplift, commit robberies
- Dipsomania: An uncontrollable urge to drink alcohol
- Nymphomania and erotomania: Sexual compulsions—a pathologic preoccupation with sexual fantasies or activities.
*THE GREAT NEWS? IF YOU TRY AND STOP TAKING THEM, EVEN IF YOU TAPER, YOU RUN THE RISK OF GOING THROUGH DISCONTINUATION SYNDROME LIKE ME! https://donotshakethebaby.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/lets-talk-about-trazodone/
ANTIPSYCHOTICS: (ABILIFY, SEROQUEL)
(This is straight off of www.drugdetox.org, by the way) Antipsychotics deaden a person’s perceptions of pleasure, severely reducing feelings of desire, thoughtfulness, motivation, and the ability to be surprised or amazed. At one time, some of the earlier antipsychotics were described as causing a ‘chemical lobotomy’ or were used as ‘chemical straightjackets’. Seriously, I feel like a functioning human body, shit to do, places to go, bills to pay, but not an ounce of emotion. Nothing makes me happy, sad, I have no rhythm, no desire to paint anymore. Just breathe and buy groceries. The word ‘zombie’ is often used to describe this side effect of many antipsychotics.
Because of the seriousness of these and many other side effects, many people stop taking them — two-thirds of people in controlled drug trials — due at least in part to the adverse effects. Some side effects have even been seen to appear long after a person has stopped taking the drug, effects that last for years, or for life. This suggests that some antipsychotics cause permanent, irreversible brain damage. DID YOU FREAKING HEAR THAT?
- Tachycardia — accelerated heart rates
(My resting heartrate is around 155bpm)
- Hypotension — dangerously low blood pressure
- Dysphoria—sadness and depression
- Tooth decay—primarily from the ‘dry mouth’ effect of antipsychotics
- Intense dreams or nightmares
- Sudden dangerous rise in body temperature
(Risking heat stroke with nearly any activity, would go into early phases of heat stroke from pushing a grocery cart.)
- Sudden death in Alzheimer’s patients
- Central nervous system damage— associated with irreversible tardive akathisia and/or tardive dysphrenia (Oh boy, I can’t wait to see what’s permanent!)
The following information is taken from the Abilify label:
The following information is taken from the Seroquel label:
The bottom line is this: it is completely between you and your Dr. what you decide is worth putting into your body. I am someone who digs around, reads the pamphlets, and does my homework as a general rule. Even so, I placed a considerable amount of blind faith in that “2%” I kept hearing when it came to side effects. Also, the pamphlets that come with your meds don’t list everything you are putting yourself at risk for, only the side effects with a higher frequency of occurence. What this means, or at least in my case, is that I very eagerly put something into my body with the impression that my best interest was at heart and not considering the possibility of there being financial motivation behind keeping me in search of stability. My plight through the dark dwellings of psychiatric drugs was embarked on with sleep in mind. I ended up taking the above mentioned and several more prescriptions looking for “normal” because it was the achievement of “normal” and “level” that would then beget the sleep, or so I was told. Here I am, years later, bitter and exhausted, still not sleeping, and having experienced or am still experiencing (possibly permanently) so many side effects that I am afraid to count. I highlighted everything that I am aware of, there are certainly many things that I can’t even know. On top of the discomforts, the pain, the emotional roller-coaster ride, and the toll it has taken on my relationships, I also developed Diabetes as a result of these medications and will spend the rest of my life managing it. I am but one bitter little soul, sick of the bullshit, the “handling” to make a quick buck, being treated like a number, and mostly mad at myself for being naive and hopeful that there was some easy solution to my problems. I might not be the best messenger for mental health, but I am honest, and I honestly suggest, before you fill that script, that you consider all of the things that you may be putting your body through and decide if it is worth it to you. Do not let someone convince you that you need medication when they do not even know you. If you visit a psychiatrist, and in one session they are already whipping out the triplicate, I beg you, be patient, ask them to come back a few times, forge a relationship, make sure you feel that they understand you more than they could possibly have assumed in the 45 minutes that they spent with you. It is a cycle that is not easily broken, I am going through hell getting off of these medications and doing so at the risk of my sanity, but for the sake of my health. It’s a tough call, but I’m betting I’m not nearly as crazy as I paid them to tell me I am.
For the past three months I’ve committed myself slowly, cautiously, and with great determination, to weaning myself off of antipsychotics. Many reasons compiled to inspire this decision. Yes, I’ve “gone off meds” before, but never ever all of them. I’ve always maintained some level of medication, even in a small dose, to keep from completely going off the deep end, as my Dr. would warn. This has been a rough few years. Searching for the answers to questions that don’t have any. I’ve been at the mercy of my Psychiatrist, my pharmacy, my insurance company, and the deep-seated fear that I am doomed to spend the rest of my life choosing between medication and sleep.
That’s how this all started. Sleep. I have never slept. My entire life, I can never remember being able to quiet my mind and just sleep. I would lay awake all night, even as a child, and think or wait until the wee hours of the morning. A lot of this stemmed from childhood abuse, late night callings from my lonesome step-father, the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that followed the suicide of my Dad and watching my Mom be electrocuted at my feet at age nine, and a complete inability to feel safe enough to close my eyes. Needless to say, my childhood bred the insomnia that would plague my entire life. I was in my late twenties when an incident with my step-father, an unexpected phone call intended to clear his own conscience and explain away his choices as acts of love, would trigger a complete breakdown. Years of insomnia, paired with the stresses of managing my own large family, a job, and my second rocky marriage, all while silently boxing away my issues and successfully hiding my schizophrenia from the world, would eventually catch up to me. I went to therapy for the first time. I just needed to unload. I needed to hear that I wasn’t insane, simply dealing with my cards and looking for the same happiness that we all are. I set my mind on honesty. I would just tell this stranger about it all. I would tell her how I am afraid that I am not a good enough mother, a good enough wife, not really capable of doing all of the things that I pretend to be able to do. I wouldn’t mention the dark things, the noises, the darkness I saw around me, only the daily stresses of being a wife and mother of five who couldn’t sleep. I’d do this, and maybe they’d give me some Ambien and life would get better. That was my plan.
Needless to say, the hour spent sitting on a couch, spilling my guts haphazardly to someone I’d only just met, would quickly turn from “I feel inadequate as a parent” and describing my anxiety and how I rarely got more than two hours of sleep a night, sometimes none at all, into a tear-filled rant about my step-father and a childhood full of death, torment, and sexuality. None of these things had I meant to reveal. I attempted to justify most of it and keep moving, tried to focus on the bigger issue, that whatever’s happened had happened, but that all I wanted was to sleep. I still kept tucked away the parts that would likely land me in an institution, the things I’d never reveal in fear of being found out, to be called crazy. A few dirty words were mentioned. Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, OCD… things of this nature. None of them came as a shock, but weren’t the point in my eyes. I didn’t want to hear what it was called; I just wanted to fix it. I just wanted to sleep.
Within days I found myself on another couch, before another stranger. This time was spent quickly asking questions, writing things down, nodding and making assumptions. Not asking IF certain things were happening, but for how long. Not asking if I had mood swings, or if I was suicidal, but for how long could I remember feeling that way. I stuck to the phrase “walking on sunshine with a broken heart” and did not deviate from that being my self-diagnosis. I insisted that I never “get” depressed, that I am just always sad, and happy, all at once. Which is true. There are times when I break, but they are brief, momentary, and usually immediately followed with elation that I’ve got tears to cry at all. I’ve never been submerged in any one state, just thousands of them all at once. A frothy sea of constant emotion, never touching shore. I’d never give up on myself. Why was that so hard to believe? Therapy was so different from psychiatry. I kept hearing “what do you want to do?” and “what should we try?” Looking back that feels like putting a lot of responsibility on someone’s shoulders to make a call in terms of prescriptions that she doesn’t understand. My focus, above all things, was sleep. Just help the noise to die down, help the anxiety to wane long enough that I can just dream once in awhile and defragment. It’s all I wanted. I never thought, not for a second, that I would put my health, my body, and my “self” on the backburner, it never occurred to me that anyone would put something in my hand, after knowing me for 45 minutes, that would destroy 2 1/2 years of my life and leave me permanently damaged.
I’ve pretty much concluded, pill after pill, that there is an underlying motive in keeping me convinced that I need fixing. All I asked for was sleep, what I got was treated for Mixed Bipolar Disorder, OCD, & Schizophrenia before it was all said and done. Apparently if you are manic and psychotic, Ambien and Lunesta can not save you. You must first get yourself under control before mere sleep aids will be of any assistance. Rather than mess around with that sissy stuff at all, let’s kill two birds with twelve stones, let’s get you SO saturated with antipsychotics, antidepressants, and sleeping pills that not only does your brain slow down enough to sleep, you’ll feel lobotomized and completely devoid of emotion! That should fix everything. Oh yeah, and since you can’t STOP taking these medications without severe consequences, we’ll only fill you one month’s worth at a time so that you have no choice but to come back every four weeks or you’ll run out and you are caught up in a good old fashioned hostage situation. Sound good? Oh wait, they don’t say it like that. “Let’s get you evened out.” “Let’s get this depression (wait I said I WASN’T depressed, remember?) under control.” and my favorite “Let’s help you to be a little more normal.”
I blogged away about all of my meds. It’s all there; feel free to take a tour back down memory lane. I thought they helped, I hated them, I quit them, I started them again, but never at any point did I completely detox from these types of medications. I’ve been on everything under the sun, allegedly in the name of sleep, but at the expense of what? My sanity. Yep. I am not only convinced that I’m bananas, incapable of sleeping on my own at all, and trapped perpetually in “the middle,” but I CAN’T REMEMBER ME.
I suffered through discontinuation syndrome when I cut out Trazodone. In doing so, I started back on Seroquel and Abilify. These two are the culprits for my developing Diabetes. Did anyone warn me of this? What do you think? My Endocrinologist immediately made the connection and told me to get off of Seroquel. He said Abilify was ok, but I am not taking any more chances. I’m done. If I was meant to be bat-shit-crazy, then so be it. I am not going to be miserable anymore so that I can be “normal.” I am not sacrificing the quality of my life, my health, and possibly the amount of time I get to stick around before the crows get me, in the name of pharmaceutical commissions and psychiatric propaganda. Soft Science, they call it. I’m putting my life in the hands of SOFT Science? I did what I was told, I tapered, I took four months total to get off of Seroquel. I’ve felt like I’ve had the flu, been an emotional wreck, and haven’t slept in three weeks. Five days at a time without sleeping, cool shit like that. It’s been ugly, but I thought, four days ago, when I took my last 50 mg and put the bottle away for good, that it was over. I was relieved. Boy was I wrong.
DETOX. This all started two days ago and gets worse by the second. I feel like clawing my skin off of my body.
ABILIFY WITHDRAWEL SYMPTOMS:
SEROQUEL WITHDRAWEL SYMPTOMS:
I can not stop moving. I feel like I need to be twisted up somehow constantly, can’t sit up straight, keep my head straight, and stop moving my hands or feet or face. I itch as though my skin were going to fall off. Palms, soles of feet, legs, and face are itching UNDER my skin, nothing eases this, and it comes in waves. I am stuttering, twitching, and my muscles are constantly cramping and contorting. I am overcome with intense fatigue randomly, suddenly can’t lift my arms or take another step. My mind is racing; I can’t focus, to the point that when people speak to me I find myself squinting and grimacing trying to process what is being said. Dry heaving, constantly thirsty, and can’t eat. I’ve lost 10lbs in the past week. (Hey, at least something good is happening, ha ha ha.) I feel like a freaking CRACKHEAD. Upon investigation, detox/withdrawel from Seroquel will take AT LEAST 4 weeks. Fuck.Me.Running.
So… as I tap my feet, chew my lips off of my face, sweat, squirm, claw at my palms and the bottoms of my shoeless feet, twist around in my chair, and periodically hyperventilate for no apparent reason, I would like to say that I am proud of myself. I’ve danced around this decision before. I’ve justified my little journey as trying to make myself a better parent, friend, and spouse and be a more stable person for my kids, and I’ve done everything I was told to do with a trusting spirit in the pursuit of “normal.” I read the books, I took the pills, and I told the truth. I did it all with only slight consideration that I am exactly what God made me to be, and with little regard to His plan for me, although looking back I really felt as though I were keeping that in mind. It’s not my intention to be a bad influence. If someone’s struggling with things of this nature, and medications help them function, and make them happy, then who in the hell am I to criticize ANYONE for seeking a better life. All I know is that mine was far from improved. Yes, we rearranged my brain, yes it changed things, which felt like relief but was really just change. Sometimes that’s what we need. Change. Something to stand on and see a little better. That’s why I’ve done this, that’s why I did it for the World (and by “the World” I mean “the Googlers of craziness”) to see and judge and decide on their own if they hated who I was becoming more than who I used to be. I blogged my way through this so that anyone who cared enough to look would at least understand that this isn’t some self-absorbed crusade but rather an ongoing battle with self-acceptance. It’s not over yet, I’ve got plenty of shit left to sift through, withdrawals, detox, and then most likely a few months of meltdowns ahead. Your brain doesn’t go back to normal after you’ve done this to yourself. In fact, it may never EVER go back. The odds of being who you were before are slim, and I wish more people knew that before they washed “the answers” down with water and waited to fit in. This may be news to you, but you never will. You will never be normal. Ever. If you aren’t hurting anyone else, and you can keep your hands off of yourself, then you are doing a better job than most of us anyway. How secretly fragile we all are, how intricately composed and easily broken. Take good care of your mind; look for ways to heal the spirit first. Don’t put into another’s hands a creation so exclusive and intentional with expectations to be molded into “normal” with some mass-produced generic assumption and not expect consequences. You might be surprised who’ll miss the “you” that you felt needed fixing.
Things have been, well, I don’t really know what they’ve been. Things are suddenly better, things are good at home, everyone seems much happier and all fighting, bickering, tormenting has ceased. I’ve been sleeping better, still trying to kick Seroquel per Dr.’s orders, and down to 200 mg so I feel confident that if I can just get another script for ambien or lunesta I’ll be able to drop that last little bit and sleep without it. My Dr. is pretty certain that the trazodone and the seroquel were the culprits in kick starting my otherwise unlikely diabetes. If I don’t get off of it, it’ll only continue to sabotage me and keep me overweight which will definitely hinder my shaking this disease nice and early like we are hoping. All of my blood work from my last visit was great, major improvement, and I’d lost 5 more lbs. All’s well I suppose but I can’t help but feel uneasy. I don’t know if it’s my inability to trust “good” or what. Yesterday I made a stop on my way to run errands after work. The convenient store that I drive past every day, usually it is packed with cars. Not today. Only a few scattered the lot and I should have known something bad was going to happen when I pulled in. I had this feeling, but in I went and who did I nearly walk right into the back of? Daddy. Yeah. I spun on my heels and walked right back out. I don’t know if he saw me. The last time he did he followed me for 13 miles tailgating me down the highway. I was sick to my stomach. Not only had my complete and total fear of my step-father and confrontation sent me reeling into a gut-wrenching anxiety attack, driving as quickly as I could down the highway envisioning him in my rearview, but I also didn’t get my damned energy drink. Double suck. I guess I can’t run from the man forever, but I don’t see why not. I have nothing to say to him, the last thing I want is to come face to face with him in public so that there can be a scene. Quite frankly he scares the shit out of me. I wish it weren’t true but it is. I have nightmares about the man. It’s inevitable that I’ll run into him, he works where my husband works, he lives in the same area that I work, and that store is like the apex of likelihood to come across the man. The sickest part, he looked skinny and I worried about him. What in the hell is wrong with me?
Not to be dramatic, don’t panic, but I got my blood work back yesterday. Everything is good in terms of Cholesterol, my Thyroid was great, B-12 levels were good. My Vitamin D levels were super-low. Guess that isn’t a surprise since I spend my days at a desk or in the house cleaning. Need to go soak up some sunshine. I need to do a lot of things, who am I kidding? Most importantly, though, was the “why have I gained 50lbs when I don’t eat garbage and try to stay as active as someone with a desk job can stay?” The answer? Side-effects. Anyone privy to my world is well aware that Me + ANYTHING IN THE UNIVERSE = Side Effects. That’s just all there is to it. If it’s a side effect? It’s something I’m dealing with. Well those of you familiar with SSRI’s and Antidepressants on a personal level are aware that High Blood Sugar and the onset of Diabetes when predisposed are not so uncommon side effects to taking these kinds of medications. They make you want to eat. A lot. Having overcome that aspect of the medication, and having dropped the “hungrier” meds, I was shocked to keep gaining weight. To date, I’ve gotten up to 164 from 114lbs. I am currently taking Seroquel and Abilify, both of which are notorious for weight gain and claim high blood sugar as a side-effect. Basically, I haven’t escaped the cycle, but luckily Abilify curbs my appetite.
So I go to my Personal Care Physician and I tell him I am gaining immense amounts of weight and it may or may not be a side effect to my medication but my Psychiatrist is convinced it’s my eating habits but I exercise good eating habits and can’t seem to convince her of it. Well, to my surprise, he listened. While I was convinced it may be Thyroid related, we ran blood work for everything under the sun and it came back that my Thyroid was “happy.” I know, scientific, right? I’ve been having HELLACIOUS hot flashes on top of my other issues and so exercise has been an uphill, or should I say UPPER hill battle. I get overheated constantly as another fun side effect to the Seroquel.
*Now as I rattle on about these meds making me miserable, you must understand, any good psychiatrist makes the statement, “We have to decide if the benefit of this drug outweighs the side effects you will experience because of it.” In my case, it does. I sleep. Not great, but I sleep at all and that, my friends, is priceless.
So, my Cholesterol looked good, all kinds, and everything besides the Vitamin D deficiency (oh, so many jokes) everything looked great. EXCEPT, my glucose and my insulin levels. The glucose was just above average @ 108. The good level for that is 65-100. My Insulin was at 26, when it should be around 4. Needless to say, not good. However, a relief. Nothing has beeen rougher than the beating up of myself over being a hog and not knowing why. You can say all you want about negative self-talk. Save it for the birds. No really, I know this bird? He’s really an asshole. Save that for him.
In the meantime, I am making peace with an actual medical condition. I was told I was borderline Type 2 Diabetic. Yep, the fat one. That’s fine, because I didn’t GET that way by not taking care of myself. That’s something I can honestly say. It feels good to say it. I’m hard enough on myself, my self-esteem has really taken a hit on this one. I know beauty is only skin deep but so are stretch marks. Tell that to the girl on the inside. I’m not superficial, but I am miserable. I sweat. I SWEAT! I’ve never been the gal to sweat. Even in the heat, I glistened. Not so much carrying around an extra 50#. So many other things, just being exhausted, not being able to work out, my ankles and knees are killing me. I’m just not built for this! Now that I can stop blaming myself and get to the bottom of it, I’m on this. I’ve got this.
They put me on Metaformin HCL. 1000mg twice a day. It makes me sick as hell. I was told it would do that for about a week and then I’ll be ok. Let’s hope the week flies by. Among all of the other fun drugs I’m on, maybe it will do the trick. I am told not to touch carbs. That eating something bad is like eating 10X whatever it is that I am really putting in my mouth. Good to know. I’m going to have to be even more hardcore than I already have been, but I can handle this, like everything else on my plate. I have got this. I’m going to make insulin my bitch.
Before I forget, since I am such a forgiving soul…
I want to put this out there, for those of you who have had the pleasure of being prescribed Trazodone as either a sleep aid or to treat other bipolar or depression related symptoms. It was a part of my daily diet for the past year. 15omg each evening before bed, to aid in my plight for just a little tiny bit of sleep. It never so much as made me drowsy but I took it religiously thinking certainly, if even for only five extra minutes of sleep, it had to be worth it. As the year passed and I went from Seroquel to Abilify to Lunesta to Ambien to Lithium to… well you get the picture, the constant through all of it was that I took my Trazodone without fail each and every night. I have, whilst on this journey, gained 40lbs and lost about 1/3 or more of my hair. I’ve become irritable and my sleeplessness has not been harnessed until very recently when my regimen did not, in fact, include Trazodone. There is little mention of the extreme weight gain, or the hair loss, or the just downright crappy feeling I have had all of this time when one investigates this particular medication. That being the case, I blamed everything else and I switched and switched over and over again every other med I have been on in search of the side-effect-less answer to my woes. It wasn’t until I was ONLY taking Trazodone that I realized it was the culprit. I am not saying everyone suffers the same extreme side effects to this medication. In fact I have a friend that swears by it and only takes it when she’s having trouble sleeping and has no complaints. Whenever I put 2 and 40 together I realized that this was my problem. So, like any normal person, I decided to stop taking it. Not all at once, I tapered off, and I thought I had it all figured out. WRONG. Lucky me. Anyone ever heard of Discontinuation Syndrome?
By all means, check it out.
Discontinuation Syndrome, didn’t even see it coming. Mostly because I wasn’t entirely acknowledging this particular medication as being an antidepressant. I was told it was to aid in my insomnia, I just never looked it up. Please be educated about what you put into your body. Your psychiatrist will tell you time and time again that the decision must be yours as to whether you value the benefits of the medication over the side effects that it could cause. It is your call to make. Read up on consumer reviews. Don’t let them terrify you as they very easily can cause anxiety over the “what if’s” that we have to look forward to, but do not completely ignore what people have to say. They are telling their stories and you might be surprised to find yourself in one of their shoes. It was not until I read the reviews on WebMD of the med that I was able to put my finger on what was causing my misery. I have been off of it for a few months now and not been able to lose a pound of the weight. My hair is growing back and I feel a lot less irritable but stopping the med was pure unadulterated hell. I mean just hell. I tapered. It was still hell. I went through every withdrawal symptom known to freaking man. Like a junkie kicking. It was horrible.
Discontinuation Syndrome Symptoms include:
|“Electric shock” sensations|
…. Guess who got EVERY FRIGGIN ONE of these symptoms. Like every one. (hint, she’s bitching about Trazodone right now)
I mean it was like nothing I can even describe. If I did not stay upright, I would start having a panic attack. Lay down on the couch? Panic attack. Lay in bed? Panic attack. If I were able to doze off at all, the second I did, I would wake up screaming and hyperventilating. I would sweat and be on fire, my RLS was happening in my entire body, I itched all over and felt like ants were biting me and all the while I was on fire, I had goosebumps and chattering teeth. I was awake for six days straight. I threw up every time I tried to take any other medication. I would walk and start leaning to one side with no control over my gate and eventually fall over, I had to use walls to support myself to get to a restroom. I would black out completely, pass out, in mid sentence. I could not drive. I could not work. I could not take care of my children. The first week was by far the worst but the brain zaps (yeah, lightening bolt through your freaking BRAIN) and jacked up thermostat went on for over a month. During this I made the call to go back on Seroquel so that I could fall asleep and rest. It was a good call. I have continued to take it and I have been sleeping like a baby and able to get up in the morning and care for the kids and get to work with no issues. However if I so much as take it an hour or so later than normal? The Discontinuation starts all over again.
Please know what you are deciding to do when you go off of any antidepressant, psychotropic medications. Speak with your doctor BEFORE you stop and have them give you a game plan as to how you will taper correctly from the med. It might be that you need to get onto another medication during the taper so that these symptoms do not become an issue. I thought I was tough and did it the hard way. It was pure hell. Trazodone may not be a bad drug for you as it was for me, but if you decide at any point that ANY of your meds are not your cup of tea, be responsible and take care of yourself and do not put yourself through what I just did. I am so pissed at myself for putting my body and mind through such hell when it didn’t have to be that way.
Ok enough seriousness. I’m off of it. I feel better. It’s over. Good luck to the rest of you.