I have struggled with depression way down deep for a long time, my whole life? As have many people, so if you are reading this you might have been in the hell that I have been in for 2 WEEKS!! Like any other withdrawal, but it wont stop. Even heroin lifts its murderous hug after a few days (at least the physical part).
I have been on a certain anti-depressant for about ten years, for several years now at the maximum dose. For many years and off and on throughout I have wondered if I had to be on it or if If i should have taken it temporarily to begin with. I am a recovering alcoholic who was extremely self destructive in my teens/early 20's. Since about the age of 17 or so I have either been drinking (not in 8 years now) or medicated with pretty powerful anti-depressants/mood stabilizers. I do think medication helps lots of people have better lives, but I also think our society is over medicated and that we look for answers to everything in some sort of pill, to at least repress the "demons".
I have been afraid for years to go off of the medicines, afraid of the immediate withdrawal/depression period, but more terrified that the extremely depressed, uninterested, sleeping,terrified to wake up me was the only me there was.
So after wondering for years what would happen without it I am without it. It was kind of an accident. I went to the nurse practitioner, (state run health center- I have no insurance-welcome to being a rock star) and explained that though I don't feel depressed, I have spent years in a kind of "dampened" state. Not really interested in much (not in the depressed way though), going along filling in the blanks and doing okay but lack luster, outside of rare excitements, romantic or otherwise....I told her about all of this and I said I wanted to try something else cause I am at the maximum dose and I feel like it is just a kind of useless brain chemical so i move along like a computer, rather than the real thing.
She decided to try me on something else, and said I could just switch the medicines. I had thoughts in the back of my head that this is not the medicine to fuck with, but she was saying what I wanted to hear, just stop, easy...done. Come to find out the other medicine does not increase the serotonin like the first one. It does nothing at all with serotonin (brain chemical helping us all not jump off of cliffs). So here I go.
That was almost two weeks ago. I have been in a living hell, worse than (many say) withdrawal from heroin or alcohol because it will not stop. Will not stop. Will not stop. I am going to put a link that has the list of withdrawal symptoms (http://mentalhealthdaily.com/2014/03/12/effexor-xr-withdrawal-symptoms-how-long-will-they-last/)
. Insane. Pure hell. Did i say that?? Major Highlights being BRAIN ZAPS, inability to stop crying, no sleeping, mimics the flu (i actually went to walk in clinic after a few days because I had developed an upper respiratory infection on top of the withdrawal and thought I had the flu. That was after day 3, I thought any withdrawal from meds would be over by then), constant extreme nausea, vertigo, electrical zaps throughout body, and the list goes on. Out of body experiences....
Slow climb out. Still nauseated and teary but the brain zaps have gone away! Really it is better. I was on effexor and I now know that it is among the worst to withdraw from.
I can even sit in my apartment and do something, like right now!, without curling up in a ball and crying, and hating the deafening silence. The only ongoing effect at the moment that is really hard to deal with at the moment is that I feel like someone has gutted me, all the time. Constantly. and they gutted me with a dull spoon and I am using a ice pick to try and climb out of a mine-shaft.
What to say....OMG??
I am not dismissing medication as a great help for millions. But it is not the only answer and you really have to know that you really need it. I need to find out.
The only part that I am afraid of now is that the clawed out feeling in my gut wont leave. Or that I will sink into a major depression. We shall see. There are things you can do to help yourself. (before the major depression, almost impossible once in it), like health and EXERCISE (major), HELPING PEOPLE/ANIMALS, in my case I need to go to AA, and what you love....In my case that is music of course.
SPEAKING OF WHICH!
I have missed about 2 weeks of work booking shows for spring, but come hell or high water the cd is coming out and lots of touring to be done! I am excited without the meds in the song writing/performing area (as long as swamp of major depression doesn't hit), it seems like an "edge" is surfacing somewhere, though I was never really short on it to begin with. But a certain clarity I guess...
Thank you for reading this. Even writing it all out helps, and if you read this and you battle these things also I hope it helps. I really do.