Saturday, August 24, 2013

The drugs don't work

I'm eight days out of hospital and I feel like shit. Four days ago I was feel bloody fabulous. I went on the longest walk I think I've ever done. The energy, clarity and freedom I felt was amazing. Now, I can't seem to get that feeling back. My brain is playing tricks with me as usual.

The dizzy spells started around three days ago I think. The ground has been moving from under my feet - sideways and up and down. My head feels foggy and I can't really see clearly. I'm anxious and depressed at the same time yet I'm able to have spontaneous fits of giggles and bursts of happiness. I imagine my psyche sitting at an old one armed bandit poker machine. With each yank of the arm, the reels turn and I score a different emotion to contend with. I wish it would stop at happy and walk away from the machine. Enough is enough.

My tear ducts are ready to give forth salty streams of water down my face at the push of a button. Any one of my current sensitivity buttons will do: crowds, blogging, Noo not doing as I ask, Noo being noisy, Noo being messy, Noo being gorgeous, politics, thinking about my parents and wishing they were back home. Yep, anyone of them can start me off.

Combine the wrong spin of the pokie with the more dramatic button being pushed and bam! It's a recipe for the proverbial disaster.

But this too shall pass.

This too shall pass.

Yesterday started like the rest. Woke up....

Ah, fuck it. Was going to tell you about this huge public breakdown I had in the middle of Pitt Street Mall, no less, but I'm going to spare you the details. It started with the dizziness. Poor Noo had to endure the whole thing. It really was terrible.

I'm suppose to be getting better! That's why I'm home from hospital. I can't go back. I just can't leave Noo again. Not until my parents get back at least. He needs the familiarity of his own home rather than being shunted around.

This morning I broke down crying but I decided that rather than hide from Noo I sat with him. I tried to explain my tears and how I was feeling. We were getting ready to go out and he just had his undies and singlet on as he crawled up onto my lap. He's so small with no clothes on. My baby again.

He kissed my hands as I cried and told him how much I love him. That the tears were not his fault. They are no one's fault. Mummy's brain chemistry is just a little weird right now. 

"You need to go back into hospital and get better Mummy", Noo told me.
"No way! I'm not leaving you again. I'll be ok."
"Don't worry about me, Mummy. You have to get better."

My four and a half year old is so brave! Braver than I am that is for sure.

The brave and the bold

I can still feel the dizziness come in waves. It makes me feel out of control physically as much as I've felt out of control emotionally for months now. I think the problem is that I'm having serious withdrawal symptoms from discontinuing one of the medications I was on. Well, I'm pretty much 100% sure.

I was only on fluoxetine (also known as Prozac, Lovan) for about two months and it has been about ten days since my last dose. Prior to that I was on a different SSRI antidepressant called citalopram for about four years. Citalopram is supposed to be quite hard to come off. The dose has to be tapered down so withdrawal symptoms are minimised. In the switch from one to the other, my doctor had me on both citalopram and fluoxetine at the same time for weeks to help avoid any withdrawal symptoms from the citalopram. I haven't had any citalopram now for about six weeks so it should be completely out of my system. Even though I stopped taking fluoxetine abruptly 10 days ago (as directed by my psychiatrist) it is not supposed to have the same withdrawal problems as the other because it has a longer half life which means it stays in the body for longer therefore naturally tapers off slowly.

Phew! Did you get that?

Basically, if none of that makes any sense, my bloodstream should be completely free of SSRI antidepressants and I should be feeling a lot better than I do.

So why am I feeling all the textbook symptoms of SSRI discontinuation syndrome? Brain zaps, dizziness, nausea, vertigo, tremor, confusion, anxiety.

I guess I'll have to wait until my next doctor's appointment to find out.

Dr Google can't tell me everything.

It sure can't tell me when this shall pass.


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Jeanie said...

Aargh - can't backspace in comments, it appears, it lost the lot.

It would appear that the lack of drugs or the balance is what isn't working for you darl.

Is there someone you can call from the hospital (pharmacist, psych or social worker) who can give you some advice on the course of action?

Can Ned go back to your sibling and niece's place? Even if you don't need to use it, have Plan B ready.

Getting the balance of drugs right is so hard, yet so important - but who am I preaching to - you know this, you live it sweetie - cut yourself slack and know that getting through it - that minute, that hour, that episode - is totally defined as success.

You don't need to set the bar higher to find your breaking point. If the day ends up being baked beans on toast and drawing monsters in the living room that is okay - no-one needs Pitt Street to find their strengths and weaknesses.

TeganMC said...

I wonder if it's a mixture of huge things all happening at once that could be contributing to how you are feeling rather than withdrawal from the meds. You have just come out of hospital, you are parenting on your own, your parents are away and you have started new meds. That's overwhelming for anyone.

Cut yourself some slack, you are doing so much better than you are leading yourself to believe. Celebrate the small victories and remember that tomorrow is a new day.

Sending you love xx said...

Hey Tegan.

I'm sure it is a mixture of things. Wow, it has been an overwhelming experience. I've come off so many different antidepressants that I know the dizziness has to be contributed to coming off the Lovan. Chuck in the general feeling of rawness one feels when they get out of the cocoon of hospital and fear of not doing the right thing by Ned and it is no wonder I was all over the place.

I'm feeling better every day though. Ned has matured incredibly over these last few months and so he is making my recovery all the more manageable.

Thanks for your support as always.

V. said...

Thanks Jeanie. I think the withdrawals are levelling out now. No outbursts since Saturday morning which must be a good sign. I'm lucky I don't have to go to work so I'm taking it really easy on the days Ned is in daycare so that when he's home I have the energy to be there for him. V.

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