Antidepressant Withdrawal

I knew it was coming, that it wouldn’t be plain sailing. Despite people thinking, and treating me like I am an idiot I went into cold turkey with my eyes wide open expecting the worse but hoping that it wouldn’t be that bad.

And in all honesty it has gone a lot better than I expected…but the last few days have given me a big reminder that the battle is a long way from over.

As everyone knows – because I have had so much expert opinion sent my way… it is not advisable to just give up antidepressants and I am not advocating it for anyone, but it was something that I needed to do and in the main I am feeling a lot better mentally as a result.

There are some symptoms of Antidepressant Withdrawal that I am dealing with, so thought it would be a good chance to share with you how things are.

The following comes from webmd.com the full article can be found here

Symptoms of Antidepressant Withdrawal

Symptoms of antidepressant withdrawal depend on the specific medication you have been taking. Studies have not revealed factors that predict the chances of developing antidepressant discontinuation symptoms – including how long someone has been taking an antidepressant – although some research has found that discontinuation symptoms may be more likely in people who have had a more complete initial response to their antidepressant.

Symptoms most often occur within three days of stopping the antidepressant. They are usually mild and go away within about two weeks. Symptoms can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Light-headedness
  • Dizziness and balance problems
  • Electric shock sensations
  • Fatigue
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Headache
  • Loss of coordination
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea
  • Nightmares
  • Tremors
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Vomiting

Currently the biggest issue for me is the Electric shock sensations which is irritating to say the least, as someone who has had a fucked up sleep pattern for years the trouble sleeping is a pain in the arse but one that I am used to but 2 out of 16 symptoms is pretty good and I will take it!

According to the article these should last for a few weeks from stopping the medication so as we approach week 2 of “cold moose” I am hoping they will soon disappear.

I have not had a single “dark” thought since coming off the medication..

The mood swings are not an issue, but what I am finding is that I am getting pretty frustrated with people lately, the cause for this seems to be that my bullshit detector has returned! I am thinking so much more clearly in regards to the attitude of people towards me and this is leading me to frustration. A crossroad if you will between giving people the benefit of the doubt or simply walking away from them, however I have spent the past few years accepting shit because I felt that was what I was entitled to…

Wouldn’t it be lovely if people were honest all the time instead of this game playing, bullshitting, say what I think you want to hear, selfish, need you when it suits me, talk to you when it suits me attitude so many people seem to be afflicted with…and breath

I can tell I am on the right track when people get offended, rightly or wrongly, by what I say and I couldn’t care less. I am actually sick of apologising all the time just for a quiet life. Do I ever get an apology when they are in the wrong? Of course not..

I want to surround myself with more positive people, people who want to bring the best out of me again. I would rather have 2 friends who pick up the phone, or knock on my door than have 100s of people who are passengers on the moose train. I have been very lucky this year to have already seen around 20 people in real life, not just connecting via social media.

Sadly some of them have moved on without me and as much as I miss a certain person I will not be reaching out to them, dropping me was their choice and I respect them for that, even though I don’t agree and if you are reading this (and 100% they know who they are) I hope you are well.

So with that in over…. I do have some good news

Operation Fat Bastard is a go..

I have rejoined the gym and cannot wait to get my winter coat off! Getting out the flat and back into the swing of the treadmill and yoga was one of the things I wanted to achieve for 2014 – so that’s one tick on the “to do” list

All in all I can’t complain too much, I am ready for the fight and feel like coming of the meds has thus far been a success. I am not naive enough to think the storm has passed and the black clouds will not try returning but I am confident that the future is looking positive because I am back in control.

Like it or not the Garry that I used to be is becoming more and more vocal and breaking though the barriers that depression had put in front of him…

 

 

sdrawkcaB gnioG

My recovery has gone backwards over the last 10 days or so to the point where I could actually spot all the warning signs and have moved quickly to work towards stopping the slide.

Friday I went back to the Dr and spoke to my new GP for the first time. I didn’t want to give her too much information as she is new to me and doesn’t know my background – losing Dr Dhanji is a huge blow for me because he could tell within seconds how I was actually doing before I even told him.

I had been two weeks medication free and thought I was doing well, I WAS doing well if I am honest, BUT I could see little things happening again that were giving me reason to be concerned that the spiral was starting again.

It started with an innocent question from someone “how are you REALLY doing?” and 10 minutes later I was still opening up to her, someone who doesn’t really know me outside of her professional capacity yet I opened up the dam and couldn’t plug it. She asked if I was okay because suddenly I was shaking and emotional, almost like a panic attack…

Mentally I had been feeling much better and improved, but emotionally everything that has gone on over the past 3 months have taken a toll on me and obviously in hindsight coming off the meds was not the best idea at this time – please no told you so’s!

Losing Mrs Moose has been like a death to me, trying to accept her decision and move on, let her go, has sent me back into a state of grieving that I did not fully prepare myself for. Let alone not seeing Elizabeth everyday, when I do see her it breaks my heart because I have to let her go again. We play a game where I light a candle for her and she has to blow it out and make a wish, every time she does this her wish is the same “I wish mummy would talk to daddy and come home!” – hearing that coming out of her mouth hurts plan and simple!

I’m losing friends at the moment as well, some because I have pushed them away, others because they have backed away and it all adds up to more rejection, which then feds the self esteem demon that plagued me for years.

My sleeping is causing a problem as insomnia has returned which in turn means I am sleeping during the day again – something that I worked bloody hard to eradicate as I know this was an issue for Sheryl in the past.

IBS has also returned which shows that i am stressed, I had managed to control this for a month or so and could actually go out in the mornings without fear of accidents – that is not the case anymore.

So welcome back sleep issues, IBS, stress and anxiety…. bad enough I have had to cancel my gym membership as money is so tight again, so add hermit back to the list……

BUT SOME GOOD NEWS….

I caught it all happening BEFORE it escalated and prevention is much easier than the cure. The fact that I have asked to, and been put back on anti-depressants does not make me a failure. It means I was aware of my symptoms to the point that I could ask for help before I ended up back in the clutches of depression and can start again with my recovery.

As I have said before, asking for help shows strength not weakness and at the moment I am happy to admit I need more help than I thought, and now I have it!

The thing with recovery is that you need to be able to go at a reasonable pace and unfortunately for me I went straight into the fast lane before I was fully ready.

I need to make changes, want to make changes but I need to make sure that I can walk properly before sprinting off into the distance and that is a lesson I have learned the hard way…

So back to the start of my recovery with more experience and a better idea of what to expect. The important thing is to be proud that I spotted the signs before they got too bad.

 

Exercise On Referral Scheme (EORS)

Having had my initial appointment with a member of the exercise on referral scheme I can now provide you with further information, although remember that the prices I show may not be the same in your area so please do not quote me on them.

The scheme is a national service which relies on referrals from your GP to gain access to it, it is not something that has been advertised massively but has been running for around 5 years. All GP’s are aware of the scheme and can be signed up to it if they have not already done so.

The idea behind it is to help people gain the benefits of exercising but it is a lot more than that. As I spoke to Steve yesterday he emphasised that it is just as important to them to help people get back into the outside world again, and finding a new routine. This is ideal for someone like me who, besides shopping and the nursery run, rarely leaves home unless essential.

Having been weighed, blood pressure taken and hips and waist being measure we spoke about what goals and plans I have for the length of the course. The EORS scheme for me is 6 weeks long with 2 sessions in the gym a week. This means that I HAVE to go out at least twice a week, out of my normal comfort zone but it also gives me something to look forward to and we all know how much I love having something to focus on!

For the 12 sessions I have to pay £12, £1 a session, which is very very reasonable for attending a gym twice a week if you ask me!

Once the 6 weeks are up I get the option of discounted gym membership for 12 months, the fee is reduced to £17 a month, which gives me unlimited access to the use of the gym. This will be perfect for me especially with the 10k run only being 2 months away and I still have not been able to train! and £17 a month for gym membership is bloody cheap especially around these parts of Essex/London where some places ask for £70+!

So besides the benefits of exercising regularly, leaving the house more often and the feelings of increased self worth gained from my exertions what is the downside of this scheme?

If you can find one let me know because I cannot think of any. The instructor will not push me to levels outside my capabilities and is more worried about making me enjoy the sessions – what more can you ask for? no pain no gain is not something i believe in, pain = moose stops :D

Do you think this is something that may help you? Speak to your GP about the scheme and find out if it will benefit you, its not just for helping fat gits like me but people with depression/stress/anxiety as well!

And if it does not work for you then at least 6 weeks down the line you can at least say you tried.

As for me I can’t wait till my first session next week! The gym wont know what hit it!

 

 

 

Guest Post – Petula

As a blogger I often go back and read my old posts. The ones that catch my attention the most are about how I feel regarding my physical and mental issues. I’m often surprised by the depth and truth of my emotions and thoughts. Some of that surprise comes from realizing I’ve revealed more to the world (uh, you know, wherever my blog reaches) than I remember and the other part is pure amazement: I can be deep.

In a world where fibromyalgia and Sjogren’s syndrome are in the forefront and multiple myeloma simmers in the background, I have to have some type of sense of humor. Sometimes I think it’s an invisible illness deflection; laugh so no one knows how crushed you feel on the inside. I fight depression and anxiety every day… Although I like to think depression isn’t a part of my life anymore it tends to show up just when I would rather be left alone. It has been awhile since I’ve talked about it without covering it up with pretty, vague words, which is why I answered the inquiry about writing a guest post here at The Depressed Moose. So many people shy away from the topic of depression, but it’s something that needs to be recognized and discussed regularly.

Not only is it cathartic for the sufferer, but it can be revelatory for those on the outside looking in. Sharing how I feel or think or revealing the true essence of the problem doesn’t come without pain and insecurities. There are normally two reactions I get when (if!) people find out about my depression and anxiety treatment: encouraging and ignorant. That is a bit harsh and generalizing, but it’s fairly accurate.

There are those who are supportive, encouraging and pleased that I have shared – some of them finding permission in my words to reveal their own secrets. Then there are the others who give pat responses and feedback: Just choose to be happy, all you have to do is XYZ and so on.

For instance, an old friend of mine said they don’t read my blog very often because – something to the affect of – it’s not up or happy all the time. On one hand I was hurt by those words and on the other I was angered. My blog is called “It’s a woman’s world” and I write about everything that goes on in my world. I pride myself on being down to earth, honest and completely open. My hope is that my words will speak to someone and ultimately help them in their lives and it’s also very liberating for me. (If they were my friend they’d respect and understand that, right? Not try to make my blog/writing into something that is not “me.”) And, friend, if you’d read my blog on a regular basis you’d know there is way more to me than that and I even right about.

Any-who.

My most recent adventure into the deep, dark world of depression and sadness comes and goes on a regular basis right now. Meaning there seems to be a lot of small things that make me sad. There is, however, a good side to this. Uh, that is if “good” is the correct word in this instance. I’m aware of it and I keep trying to figure out exactly what is making me sad. Wait, I know what it is, but I just don’t know the why. And anyone who suffers with depression knows that it’s the why that’s important because that one reason is making everything else horrible. Yup, I’m now sad about everything and if I can’t be left alone then I’m annoyed and angry.

What a combination.

When I come back later to read this post, I hope I am as pleased with it as I am while I write it. I want to feel pleasure in knowing that I was open and honest as well as pleasure in the hope this post touched or helped someone.

I hope you’re that someone.

 

 

Petula is the writer behind the “It’s a woman’s world” (PetulaW.com) blog where she describes herself as “blogger, writer, mom and… uh… woman.” She’s mom to four and granny to one, somewhere in Georgia.

Posts where she talks about depression: http://www.petulaw.com/search?q=depression 

A Shitty Weekend

Quite literally!

So far this weekend I am pretty sure I have broken the world record for number of toilet visits!

More a case of going for a number 222 than a number 2!

This is means that my stress and anxiety levels are going through the roof and I have no idea why.

Just when I get my depression back under some form of control and things start looking up for me my IBS returns and life becomes unbearable again.

You have no idea what it is like to be spending the day in fear of shitting yourself, and if you do then you have my sympathy!

Depression is one thing but it doesn’t mean you spend any time outside the home looking for toilets that are 1) clean and 2) actually have paper in them!

Now if only I could work out what is causing this life would be better again!

Thankfully I am able to laugh at my own misfortune as you can see from the photo below! but it really gets me down at times!

mooseshit

photo credit: Google

photo credit: Google

 

Guest Post – Elizabeth

7 Surprising Signs You Are Stressed to the Max!

We already know that an upset tummy and symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome are sure signs of being stressed to the Max…yet, there are many other surprising signs that our bodies give us letting us know that we are in a full blown Stress-A-Thon!

Stress is a Killer! I’m not kidding…stress not only leads to digestive distress but also to high blood pressure, stroke, depression just to name a few problems I’m sure you don’t want to experience.

While there are many ways to reduce stress…some of my favorites are: meditation CDs and deep breathing exercises. However, watching out for sneaky stressors is still as important as taking that first deep relaxing breath…Ahhh!

Surprising Sign #1-Weird or Recurring Dreams
You know you are burning the candle at both ends when your stress takes you into SlumberLand. If you routinely dream of missing the bus or your house is burning down, two of the most common stress dreams, then you know it is time to learn how to let go of your stressors.

Surprising Sign #2-Tight Muscles
Turns out that stress causes our muscles to tighten up…leaving us in a more vulnerable spot for injury. It’s time to take a Deep Abdominal Breath in…ahhhh!

Surprising Sign #3-Twitching
While we are on the topic of spasms, have you ever experienced an eye twitch or your calf twitching…then you know yet another sign that you are stressing.

Surprising Sign #4-Tooth Trouble
Grinding your teeth as you sleep or even clenching your jaw while you are awake without realizing it are both ways of “chewing over your problems”, however, these behaviors do not unstress you. Quite the opposite, they cause lots of pain and discomfort.

Surprising Sign #5- Changes in Your Menstrual Cycle
Women commonly complain of unusually bad cramps or even a missed period when stressful times are paramount. When your stress subsides, your menstrual cycle will most likely return to normal.

Surprising Sign #6- Losing Hair or Going Grey
We have heard people say that a stressful or traumatic situation turns you grey…but it is also true that people commonly lose hair, literally the hair follicle becomes lose when we are stressed. Amazing that stress wreaks havoc over EVERY part of our body.

Surprising Sign #7- Super Sniffles
Stress plays an impact on our Immune System lowering our defenses and making us twice as likely to catch a cold over other times we are not as stressed. It all has to do with cortisol, the stress hormone. When cortisol is elevated, the inflammatory response is suppressed  Therefore, when we are exposed to a virus, our body cannot fight it like other less stressful times.

Boy! That is quite the list! I am sure all of you have experienced one of these symptoms before in your life. I am hoping that has subsided for you…and if it hasn’t ..this list may be enough to trigger another stress attack! That’ ok…start breathing deeply…it will pass in no time!

 

Elizabeth has her own website http://www.letgoofibs.com/ and can be found on twitter here

Guest Post – Bethan

I think I’m a swan …

So The Depressed Moose is looking for guest blogs, I need a distraction, so let’s do this!  

Currently I’m riding out a few tricky days, my Anxiety has been sky high, Depression up a notch and irrational thought processes of Borderline Personality Disorder means my poor old brain could do with a holiday.  But, I’m sort of like a swan, above water, graceful (ish!) but underneath, I’m kicking like there’s no tomorrow and it’s draining me. 

Is that a good thing or bad?  I’m undecided.  I was doing much better, really really better.  My psychiatrist impressed with progress, Mental Health Social Worker reduced contact and everyone commenting on my progress.  But as we know, boom it comes from nowhere and feel I’m a bit back to square one. 

I find my head is a stuck record, asking myself the same questions, fixated on the same things.  I can see where I am now and see where I want to be but can’t visualise that path of recovery anymore like I once did.  Everything is stressing me. 

I’m doing a course part time, I’ll try anything to fill this huge empty “blah” feeling in me.  But when I was on my course Thursday I had a totally irrational fear and reacted by losing sense of my surroundings, my breathing was everywhere, cried non stop for about an hour and thought I was going to actually vomit all over my lecturer.  I don’t have to go back now till April but I feel so embarrassed. I reacted to a small anxiety in the way other people might to a huge natural disaster like a tsunami!  Because I usually present “normal”, people aren’t sure how to react to things like Thursday.  Luckily it was a 1:1 session and the lecturer handled it well, I’ve messaged her to thank her.  


I suppose I’m struggling and not sure how to ask for help, because when I’ve tried asking for it people simply insist that I’m OK and state how far I’ve come, on the surface, I seem to be gliding along, underneath paddling like hell. 

Bethan can be found on twitter here

IBS 1 Moose 0

Today I was meant to be seeing the psychiatrist but having had NO sleep last night, and my IBS playing up something chronic I was forced to leave them a message on their answering machine informing them that I couldn’t attend my 4pm appointment. I had to leave a message as they never seem to be able to pick up the phone in fact it once took me over a week of calling daily before I could speak to someone!

So imagine how pissed off I was when I get a phone call at 3.20 asking why I haven’t arrived for my 3pm appointment!

The appointment was for 4pm I know this because I wrote it down while I was on the phone to them arranging an appointment for that specific time!

Then when I told them about the message I left all I get is “oh, they haven’t picked it up then”

And you wonder why we have little faith in our mental health services!

Besides these issues my IBS has been terrible today, I have lost count of the number of visits to the toilet I have had to make today but as an example I had a sandwich earlier and had to go toilet 5 times in the space of an hour after eating it!

So depression is getting its ass kicked but anxiety and IBS are returning – this is just my luck!

 

 

IBS Woes

Gotta love having IBS up top of all my other problems! so here is a shitty ditty for you all

 

Just once let me wake up in the morning

and not have to run for a shit

my life is hard enough lately

and this is getting me down quite a bit

 

I’ve only been up 20 minutes

and already on my 3rd visit

this is no way for a young man to live

please say it will get better, but will it?

 

It affecting all aspects of my life,

and its caused changes I dont like

I once would have been sponsored by durex

now I’m writing to Andrex

 

Wish I knew what was causing this problem

the stress and anxiety thats causing it

but for now one thing is for certain,

in more ways than one my life is shit!

 

The Case For Social Media

Social Media Depression – yep you read that right ever heard of it?

It is not something I made up honestly. Apparently it is now something that is being caused by spending too much time on sites like Facebook and Twitter and there are studies being done into it.

According to some of the sites I have seen we get depressed when our friends post “sunny status updates and photos of perfect children”

Bullshit!

What a lot of people do not understand is that social media is, for many people, the only form of contact we have with people because of our illnesses.

Here is one post about social media where it outlines what we should do to prevent us adding social media depression to our growing list of problems – what is social media depression

The following is taken from that article

Like most things in life, it’s a good idea to approach social media in moderation. The effects of obsessively checking social media accounts aren’t well studied, but research shows that the more time a person spends doing this, the more likely he will experience anxiety and emotional loneliness . So far, it’s believed that people’s addiction to social media sites is influenced by their personality traits — a fact suggesting that psychology may play a larger role than social media Web sites on their own.

To avoid what some refer to as social media depression, experts suggest resisting the urge to compare your life with those of other people in your social networks. Also, remember that online communication is very different from face-to-face interactions; online, body language and face-time can’t be used to prevent miscommunication. There’s nothing wrong with using social media to stay in touch, but consider talking over the phone or meeting in person if you’re not satisfied with your online relationships with others.

If social media is taking a toll on your mental health, don’t be afraid to talk to someone about it or contact a trained professional for advice.

All well and good but what if you cannot manage face-to-face interaction because you have problems leaving your home, what if there is no one in your life that you can have face-to-face interactions with?

From my point of view it is well documented by me that I have no friends in real life so am I supposed to just ignore social media and the opportunity to speak to people. What twitter and Facebook has done is introduce me to people I would never have met in the real world. I have friends from all over the world which means that anytime of day there is usually someone around for me to interact with.

I can’t rely on my family for any contact – by family I mean my parents and siblings, I speak to my nans and great aunt 2-3 times a week. I have not spoke to my father in 18 months and my mother a couple of times since May. My brothers and sister could not care less about me or my kids. So I HAVE to use social media to talk to people.

Not only is it a case of needing social media to have any contact with people it also helps me meet those with the same mental health illnesses as me which is vital because it is a great comfort to know your not alone in suffering.

Mark Brown, who writes for One in four a mental health magazine has written a great blog post about the virtues of social media which can be found here

I agree with his sentiments especially the last paragraph

If we want to stop the internet doom mongers judging us, we need to stand up and say: “Yes, I have a mental health difficulty.  Yes, I use social media.  And, you know what? It’s something that adds something great to my life not takes away from it.  And it’s not something that’s going to go away.” 

 

Sure I spend at least 12 hours a day on twitter and facebook but that time is spent learning more about depression from others point of view, socialising and helping others.

Would I be able to walk into a pub for example and announce “I have depression” and receive the same reception that I get from people on twitter. Of course that would not happen so before judging someone for the amount of time they spend using social media think about the reasons behind it.

For many people it is quite simply a lifeline and I know of people, myself included, who would not be here were it not for the kindness of stranger on these sites that send a positive message or words of advice or just a simple virtual hug.

So say it loud, say it proud I LOVE SOCIAL MEDIA and the friends I make on there keep me going through the bad days, unlike the real world people who wouldn’t know I was having bad times because they simply don’t care.

Social media depression? Don’t make me laugh! soon I suspect I will be suffering from depressed depression

Social media does not make me depressed it gives me a way of meeting new people from different walks of life and connect with fellow sufferers. Things like silly studies into mental health give me more cause for concern!

For those who don’t follow me on twitter find me here you can find me on Facebook here