Don’t Forget to Ask Questions

I have been feeling like a failure. I find myself anxious, tearful, jittery and angry.

I now believe I must find a new pill pusher to go over my drug options. My current one told me how to taper off Abilify but he never warned me about side effects coming off such a medication. He told me that if I feel symptoms of depression come back after 3 days, go back on it. I didn’t ask any questions and off I went with instructions to follow.

Well, according to Dr. Google, there are feelings of anxiety and depression when coming off such a powerful drug. Ability is an antipsychotic drug and the half life (the time it takes for it to leave your system) is 3 days. Apparently, after 3 days, I could have some sort of tapering off side effects.

Antipsychotic. Sounds scary. I never considered myself as psychotic, just a hater of myself. The one thing I am thankful for is that I was on a beginning dose to start with. After only taking it less than 6 months, I ended on that very small dose, therefore I’m hoping it doesn’t take long for my brain to readjust itself.

Now that I know that I’m feeling side effects from coming off medication and not slipping back into the world of depression, I took a good long nap. Yes, I took care of myself in order to quit crying about my failure to taper off a drug.

I know one thing, it will be a while until I’m ready to tackle tapering off another one of the drugs my brain has become dependent on. I’ve taken SSRIs for so long my brain may never be able to create its own serotonin without a chemical—which makes me mad.

The main thing I’m mad about at this point is that I blindly took pills prescribed by my primary doctor and never sought therapy to work through anxiety and possibly give me the tools to avoid hitting the bottom. I had to search for the right therapy and I finally found it, and for that, I’m thankful. When I found the psychiatrist, aka the pill pusher, I was desperate. I was at the point of giving in. I would have taken anything to escape the pain.

***please note, this is my individual experience. I’m not under the assumption that what I’m doing is right for everyone, nor do I expect anyone to follow my lead. This is just my way of working my way back to some sort of life beyond depression controlled by drugs. I found drugs to be lifesaving, but I feel strong now. I’m no longer scared to death if I should not have the drugs, and I feel ready for any sort of life’s occurrences…good or bad.

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About April

I'll come back to this when I find out who I really am. I've been through some extremely rough patches but they have made me a better person. I blog if my brain is functioning first thing in the morning.
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35 Responses to Don’t Forget to Ask Questions

  1. joey says:

    That bit about SSRI and how your brain may never make its own serotonin made me scoff like whoa. That’s a shame. I wonder if they knew that when the drugs were given to nine kajillion people. It would seem to me, as society is trending toward food as medicine and other natural treatments, there must surely be books or research of some kind to help overcome this… I’m hopeful for you. Wishing you calmer days, April.

  2. For all we know there is so much more we don’t. Each person spends a lifetime learning what works and what doesn’t and sadly what works for one won’t work for another and we’re all just going along on trial and errors, best guesses and whatever resources we can utilize to get through another day. The misconception we have is that everyone else is good, they know more, they have their shit together and so we put our trust in someone else’s confidence because to not would be to admit on a global scale that we’re all lost and uncertain and imperfect. We want security and will reject the idea it isn’t real and can’t be guaranteed. Humanity, a walking contradiction of insecurity and faith, hope and despair, hate and love. You might have taken several detours on your road to better understanding/accepting yourself and your health but each step still taught you something. You’re still walking your path and you’re inspiring others to keep walking theirs.

    • April says:

      Yep, it was those expectations that everything or everyone else was perfect. I felt like I couldn’t handle the tough stuff when actually I did the best I knew at the time but continually beat myself up until I believed I wasn’t worthy of anything. By the time I was blasted with one thing after another, I became weaker and weaker until I had to follow the “people who knew better”, and now I feel over-medicated. But maybe, personally, that’s what I needed to get better. At least I will keep trying.

  3. meANXIETYme says:

    I have no experience with the medications you are taking, but I wanted you to know that I’m thinking of you and hoping for continued healing from the medication taper after-effects.
    I also wish you so much luck in finding a new pill person to assist you. I’ve heard many a story of people saying they wish the pill-pusher they worked with had given them more information up front (which we don’t know enough to ask about–because THEY are supposed to be the “experts” not us). We should be given all the information they have, not just bits and pieces of it.

    • April says:

      In the beginning, I couldn’t even tell you if I paid attention. I was desperate to feel better and thought this was the answer…which it was, but I think I’m strong enough now.

  4. mewhoami says:

    It’s got to be scary dealing with the side effects, but I’m glad that you’re sticking with it. You’re doing great.

    • April says:

      Actually knowing what to expect has helped so much. I know what to deal with and how to take care of myself while having a rough time.

  5. aviets says:

    I love that you’re strong enough to analyze exactly what’s going on with you, and to take steps to keep yourself in good shape through this difficult time. I think the piece that’s almost always missing in psychiatrist/patient relationships is the doc giving true consideration to what the patient knows about him/herself (or what a trusted loved one knows, if the patient isn’t able to speak up adequately). What I’ve seen in my husband’s case is a universal arrogance among pill pushers. It’s an obstacle to healing.

    • April says:

      I think I’ve said this, but red flags started flying when I asked if it was normal for a patient to be on so many medications and he didn’t really answer me. I have more confidence now and just like that lung nodule, I will search until I find what is right for me.

      • aviets says:

        OMG, April, I finally had a moment just now to try and figure out what’s happening with your comments. I found them all marked as spam! So I went through and clicked “not spam” on all of them, but still have to figure out how to make your comments stop going to that spam folder. So I’m really mad at WordPress, but I now have some lovely reading ahead of me to see what you’ve said over the last week or so!

        • April says:

          Maybe it’s because I was catching up and made too many comments on you blog at one time. Maybe I need to find out why WP thinks I’m a spammer.

          • aviets says:

            Well, I may have discovered the problem. I just noticed that when I send a reply from my iPad, there’s an option in the little box for “send to spam.” I bet I hit that by accident one time. Yet another learning curve.

  6. ecteedoff says:

    I once had a pill-pusher. She gave me drugs for each symptom rather than actually looking at the larger problem and analyzing the impact of each drug. Like a good therapist, I think it takes time and trials to find a psychiatrist that’s a good fit. One that understands your overall intentions, your needs (i.e. you don’t want to be on meds forever and if so, little as possible.) I was really lucky to find one after dealing with the horrible lady who put me through so much hell.
    I also went through an internal struggle with the idea of taking an anti-psychotic but really it’s just a mood stabilizer. They are so insensitive to our community when they label us and the tools we use. I’m not saying those meds aren’t used as anti-psychotics, and then I feel guilty for being like “i’m not that” as if there’s something wrong, so really i’m just bonkers.
    I tried Abilify and while so many people thought it was the second coming because they had a great ad campaign, it was awful. I think it’s awesome of you to try and not use pills and just take care of yourself, but I also think it’s good to know they are there if you need them and it’s important to maybe shop around and find a psychiatrist to have on hand before things get too bad (which I hope they won’t). Maybe your therapist if you like them can recommend someone, especially if you give your parameters? You are doing such an amazing job. We all see it, I hope you can too.

    • April says:

      The psychiatrist I’m seeing is one of the doctors she recommended. He was on our insurance “list”. Anyway, I’m on a mood stabilizer–Lamictal and it works great, and an old drug Buspar works great for my anxiety. However, every time I went back to him saying that I just didn’t feel right, he added more drugs. Anyway, he won’t do that to me anymore. I feel much stronger and if he won’t listen, I will find another doctor on the list.

  7. April I have no experience with these medications. I just want your journey to take you where you want to be. I don’t have any knowledge that can help. But I have support and hope and encouragement.

    • April says:

      I wish I didn’t have any experience or knowledge of these drugs. I don’t know, maybe I lost myself trying to be a good mom and was always doubting myself until I worked myself into a blob of worry and worthlessness. Then I got smacked with one too many things at once, my brain didn’t know what to do with all the emotions. Thank you for being you, your posts give me such inspiration to keep going on days I feel weak.

      • Thank you April. ๐Ÿ™‚ That made ME feel wonderful.

        I think that is a great explanation April “Then I got smacked with one too many things at once, my brain didnโ€™t know what to do with all the emotions”. How often does that happen to us, and none of us knows what to do.

        I like that we have such a wonderful group here. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Glynis Jolly says:

    I can’t believe your doc didn’t tell you about the side effects. Is s/he getting kickbacks from the pharmaceutical company? Suggestion: Talk to your primary doc about it and get a better referral for a psychiatrist or psychologist.

    Hang in there. Get outside in nature as much as you can.

  9. Sending you my well wishes April.. I have experience with drug withdrawal all be it controlled via a GP with those whose mental health I helped support.. the downward crashes are in some cases huge dips in depression, and also within my experience caused outbreaks of self harm.. I do not know this Drug you speak of. Different drugs across the ocean have various names.. But I know not enough is done to know the damage caused by continual use..
    Just take care of You dear April.. and like Glynis above my comment said.. Hang in there and yet into nature… Remember also to ask your Angels/Guides for help and strength as you go through these changes..
    Love Sue xxx

  10. suzjones says:

    Like you, I am astounded at the side effects of some drugs. I saw what my son went through coming off a particular drug last year and it was horrendous. Yet I have a friend taking the same drug who swears by it as the best thing that ever happened to her.
    Yet here I am now, taking a drug that I have taken in the past with no side effects whatsoever (going onto it or coming off) and I am now in week 3 of side effects as my body gets used to it being put into my system once again. On the upside, I no longer wish to kill my boss or sundry other people. So I guess it has some benefit right?

    • April says:

      Yes, there is one drug, Prozac, that I have been taking for so long in order to keep myself from smacking someone who irritates me. I want to come off of it so bad because of side effects I’m tired of. I’m not sure my brain would know what to do if I tapered off that one.

  11. reocochran says:

    Oh dear, I missed this serious post. Decisions which do require medical or professional assistance. I will send you hugs and caring, April. โค

  12. ashleyomelia says:

    I wish you the absolute best of luck with all of this! My sister has tried several medications for anxiety, and she got very sick when she stopped taking Cymbalta. I have plenty of anxiety issues myself, but so far I’ve refused to take pills for them. I’ve always been a bit sensitive to medications, and I worry about what they would do to me.

  13. Elouise says:

    April, you’re doing so well–in the middle of so much stuff you didn’t ask for. Thanks for sharing it all–not just in your post, but in your responses to these comments. Congratulations for coming this far, and for listening to your body. Praying all the best for you in this courageous journey!
    Elouise

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