Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Withdrawal's A Pain

I've been feeling withdrawal lately, in more ways than one. Withdrawal from blogging, withdrawal from employment, withdrawal from writing, and honest-to-gosh withdrawal from my antidepressant medication.

For those of you who don't know, here is my dark secret. I've been fighting a mild but persistant form of depression for half of my life. I won't go into any great detalil about that here; suffice it to say, I've been dealing with it as best I can.

I made the controversial decision last Friday to stop taking my regular dose of Effexor (probably spelled wrong), the drug I've been on now for the last four years. The effect it was having on me wasn't bad, just not really doing anything for me at all. I've felt this way about Effexor for several months now, but have been afraid to go off it because of what the withdrawal would be like. I'd had a day here and there where I'd forget to take it, and I would feel dizzy and funny in the head the next day. The thought of going off it completely was not tempting.

However, a few things came together and suggested that now was probably the best time. For starters, I don't have a regular doctor any more. My last doctor was a terrific guy, and not just because he bought my books and has a love for Monty Python. Lately, however, he'd been cutting back on his availability, and last week I found out he isn't seeing patients by appointment any more - only on a walk-in basis, between 11-3 on Thursdays. That just wouldn't work with my schedule, and I really need an available doctor if I'm going to keep taking medication. For one thing, I need a doctor just to get prescriptions for the stuff!

Not entirely true - I was told by my pharmacist that they could call my doctor and arrange for a refill. Nevertheless, I decided to go for a fresh start, medication wise. Now was the perfect time to go through withdrawal, for one very simple reason - I'm out of work. After having my hours cut, I gave my notice at Manulife and ended there last Friday. It was sad, but I'll blog about that later. My employment agency had nothing for me for this week, but rather than panic over the lack of income I decided to put the free time to good use.

I am now in day six of my withdrawal from the stuff, and I'm through the worst of it. I'm still a little dizzy, but over the worst of it. What was the worst of it? Drastic mood swings. Really horrible thoughts. Super-intense dreams. I was scared to go to sleep, scared to be alone with my thoughts, and scared to have my wife around in case I gave in to my darker nature (which I never did).

Violet, by the way, has been great through this. She doesn't exactly think I'm doing the smartest thing going cold turkey, but she's there for me and she understands. On Thursday, Violet will take me to a meditation class. We both believe that will help.

And, as Optimus Prime would say, fate has yielded its reward. My writing is back. I really want to work on my projects now, rather than just feeling I should if I could only find the energy and motivation. I predict I will have a finished first draft of The 25 Demons You Meet In Hell by year's end, and Cupidity shortly after that.

Life, once again, is good. I feel good.


Wendy said...

I hope you enjoy the meditation sessions. Best of luck as you deal with these life changes!

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Timothy: I've gone off antidepressants, and it took me 8 months to do it gently without drastic side effects (and yeah, I did have access to my doctor, though not as readily as I would have liked). I don't want to tell you what to do--I'm just asking you to do it carefully, please. Intrusive thoughts are rough.

Timothy Carter said...

Thank you both for your helpful and supportive comments. My thanks.