my best thinking (example two)

I’m somewhat remiss to write about my experience with psychotropic medication for fear that someone will misconstrue my experience for sound advice. It’s not intended that way. It’s just my experience, and admittedly things may have gone better had I had health insurance, and not been dependent on the indigent mental health care system, such as it is.

Over the course of three or four years, starting in the summer of 2001, my doctors began increasing my dosage of psych meds to combat an intensifying depression. When it started, I was taking 100 mg of Zoloft. When it ended (the drug regimen, not the depression), nearly five years later, I was taking the following:

  • 300 mg Welbutrin
  • 225 mg Effexor
  • 45 mg Buspar
  • 100 mg Trazadone

At one point, probably a year earlier I was also taking 1 mg Risperdal, and 200 mg Zoloft in place of the Welbutrin.

To make a long story short, I had a lot of shit going on in my life. The medication didn’t cure my problems.  What they did do was give some minimal amount of comfort, enough so that I didn’t lose my mind. That’s not what I wanted. I wanted them to give me the strength to deal with my problems. They didn’t. In fact, they made me less able to exist in the real, work-a-day world.

For at least a couple of years I’d broached the subject of getting off some or all of my meds with the doctors. Invariably they blew me off, and often increased my dosage. I could see that I wasn’t getting any better, at least not in the way that I’d hoped. And I could see that they (the docs) weren’t going to get me off of them, at least not anytime soon.

I tried to quit them a couple of times, cold turkey. I can tell you, without question, that quitting antidepressants, cold turkey, in the quantity I was taking them is a terrible idea. It’s so much worse than trying to get off street drugs that it doesn’t even compare. I literally felt like I was losing my mind. I may have been.

Eventually, and this is the best thinking part, I decided to detox myself. So I ordered Valium, Lortab, and some speed off the Internet. Six weeks, seven thousand dollars (crack binge), and a visit to the dark side of the moon later (that was another five grand plus), I was at home, going cold turkey, with absolutely no help.

It was horrible. The going crazy phase passed quickly, but I just felt so bad, so depressed, so everything, that I can’t describe it. (I don’t really remember much of it either.) My sleep was messed up. I wet the bed two or three times a week for two months. (Prior to this I’d probably pissed my bed less than 10 times since I was six years old.) I was fucked up. Then, after about three months, I was relatively okay. For awhile.

I guess I’d advise anyone thinking about going on antidepressants to think long and hard about what they may be getting into. And I’d definitely advise against anyone quitting them without serious medical supervision.


2 Responses to “my best thinking (example two)”

  1. 1 FreeFromItAll February 18, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    Amen. They’ll fuckya up!

  2. 2 cori1047 March 5, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Been there, done that. Trying to detox off Effexor was one of the worst things I ever went through. If I went 2 or 3 days without taking my usual dose, I lost my brain completely, had microsecond “absence seizures” dozens of times per day, and went fucking homicidal (figuratively) at the slightest provocation. Finally I switched to Zoloft, which has a longer metabolic life, and thus a natural “taper” effect, and gradually backed myself off both of them.

    I’m currently taking a very small dose of Lexapro, mainly for PTSD issues, and keep Clonopin on hand for emergencies. Wish I’d had this stuff around when I was in my 20’s – But if I had, then I’d never have learned a lot of what I had to figure out about myself to stay relatively sane in this whacked out world.

    Medication is a stopgap, and often a necessary one. It gets you to where you can do the inner work that your counselor is there to help you get on to.

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