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…

 

 

7 days

Before you start singing Craig David or Sting songs – depending on your age I thought now would be a good time to update you on the Cold Moose Experiment.

A week medication free for the first time in almost 2 years, yes it was risky to do this and while I am aware that it is still early days I can truly say that I have not felt so strong mentally in at least 5 years!

The best thing personally is that I have spent some awesome time with Brandon. He has been away at his mums due to being ill but when we have been around each other we have laughed so much – it has been great.

I have laughed and smiled so much lately – forget that strange looking yellow thing in the sky everyone is asking about, the new phenomenon is the lesser known smiling moose currently doing the rounds of Woodford/East London.

I have been out and about the past few days, visiting relatives even going to the cinema. My stomach woes are currently gone! I feel like a normal person in terms of the IBS issues. The early morning spells of being locked in the bathroom being scared to leave the flat again appear to have disappeared. Now its worth mentioning that the IBS issues were a problem BEFORE the medication entered my life, but I am convinced the stress was as a result of the meds, the anxiety and panic attacks were as a result.

There has been a few problems since I stopped taking the meds – it is not all plain sailing

I have been having dizziness problems, especially when I am out walking. Not enough to make me lose my balance or worry – but every now and again I have to stop in my tracks for a few seconds. Hopefully this will ease as my body readjusts to “normality” in terms of a lack of chemicals.

Secondly is the return of the sex drive! this is not good when you have tennis elbow :D

On the plus side I may have to seriously consider moving to Canada – click here to find out why!

_73510716_moosesexbuttons

Anyone else out there willing to support moose sex? if so please wear one of these badges so I can identify you!

Any Canadian readers please find me one these badges! I must have one!!!!

I feel alive, I want to get out again – hit the gym again and keep this fighting spirit going.

It may have cost me some friendships but I feel like this has been the right decision – so far.

Long may it last…. if not then please let the sex drive stay! priorities are in the right order..

Operation Get My Arse In Gear Is All Systems Go

Despite the year starting as the last one finished I have now started the process of getting my shit together again and trying to move forwards, making up for lost time spent under a black cloud the past few weeks.

Today I went back to the Dr and finally told them how things REALLY are and what a struggle it has been, and still is to an extent. The great thing about doing this blog is that I can go back over the posts and spot the signs of when things are heading downhill so I am fully aware when the cycle changes from average to shit again. Okay maybe sometimes they are good too…

This week has been really positive in terms of shaping the future, short term at least because that is what needs concentrating on.

It is amazing how much the mood can turn when someone goes out of their way for you, my confidence has gone through the roof since miss cougar stayed. It was lovely to realise that I AM attractive and do have something to offer and that feeling of the shackles being snapped off in terms of the past few months was as much as a relief as knowing I do not have blue balls anymore…..

I have wallowed in low self esteem for too long, but in many ways I tend to force myself to rock bottom from time to time and I can be my own worst enemy when it comes to my depression. If I ever get of the fucking waiting list for therapy I will make sure this is explored further.

Speaking of therapy, surely almost 2 years of waiting is long enough? In that time I have had 2 “initial assessments” but the wait goes on.. something that I mentioned to my GP today.

I have a few ambitions for this year, money allowing and want to visit some places in the UK at some point. Once I get these poxy loans paid off I intend to start booking train tickets. I especially want to visit Newcastle as I have a HUGE thing for the geordie accent so would be in heaven up there. Bournemouth, Ireland and Liverpool (Irish and scouse accents are 2 and 3 on my list!) are also must see places this year for me. So any readers with a spare room and a love for jack daniels and cleaning up moose sick please get in touch!

As far as the loans go it is amazing how people with such bad credit get accepted in the first place but I have managed to clear 2 so far with 2 to go, I am touched at the people who sent me donations via this blog which were used to clear some of the payments off.  I am working my butt off to clear the others asap. Another example of being my own worst enemy. I am pleased that there is only one arsehole who tries to put me down via this blog, Asylum Heaven kindly fuck off with the comments they are trashed before approval anyway. Most people are not judgmental and understand  the issues I have are linked to my cycles of depression but for those who want to try and make me feel worse with your comments..I wouldnt waste your time because your comments wont be approved so you are wasting your time.

Things are improving day by day, I am in contact with more people and have had a few visitors to Moose Mansion already this year with a big one next weekend when a great friend from Ireland is coming to stay! It is important to have something to look forward to and I know she cannot wait to spend time with me :D

Being famoose does have it perks! I will be strolling into Macdonalds with her using the old “dont you know who I am?” line to get a free bigmac or 2, failing that I will be walking out with more straws than I will ever need, who doesn’t love a freebie!

While I remember I have a facebook page that you should like if you are on there – for no other reason than I am a numbers whore click here to find it and share with the world! I am also still looking for guest posts for this blog, on any subject about depression, how you deal with it, if you look after someone with depression, how you cope with a partner etc etc

I love being able to give people a voice and cannot recommend enough trying to write to release some shit from your chest, it has worked wonders for me time and time again so dont be shy get in touch and send me your words of magic!

As we leave January behind and enter February remember that the year has still only just begun, things can get better if we give ourselves a little time and not expect overnight change – hard as that can be at time.

Here is hoping that I can create plenty of memories this year to share with you, even involving some of you as well – what would be better than a mooseketeers get together in London at some point!  Imagine that we can all wear something moose related and take the big smoke by storm!

And if miss cougar is reading this….maybe you can work some magic on the antlers this weekend!

flaccid-moose

 

My Return…

You may have noticed a huge lack of blogging from me these last few months, even hiding this blog from you for a while.

That is because I have been busy doing a huge amount of thinking about what 2014 holds for me both personally and blogging wise. The last 18 months of this blog has been a huge part in my recovery but what I started to notice was that people were coming to me more and more for help with issues, then once I had offered an ear/advice etc I would not hear from them again and it was starting to drain me mentally and emotionally, so I took some time out.

Now I am ready to return to doing something that I enjoy albeit with a slight twist..

I want to step back slightly from the whole depressed moose thing, although keeping the moose alive and well in the process. Moose is a nickname I have had for over 5 years so it’s a part of me that I enjoy but I want to show there is more to me than depression.

I want you to see more of Garry and the person I used to be, the fun loving guy who enjoys a good drink, some karaoke and the company of people.

some call it bad singing - I call it entertaining.

some call it bad singing – I call it entertaining.

I have made some resolutions since the turn of the year and have stuck to them, all about increasing my positive thinking and focusing on the things I do have, the people in my life and not looking at who is not around anymore, who has let me down etc and thus far it is really working!

I feel positive and excited about what this year may bring and have plenty of plans to put into action. To the point that if plan A, B or C do not come through I have X,Y and Z to move forward with.

So while the domain name stays the same I hope that as well as posts on depression there will be a lot more to interest you, more humour, more positive posts and more experiences to be shared with you all.

Garry is all about the here and now and not dwelling on the past and it is really working well for me…

 

 

Couldnt Stay Away Moose

Ok so I really tried to stay away but in the words of Michael Corleone “everytime I think I am out they pull me back in”.

So an update for you as to what has been going on since last we saw each other.

Marriage wise it is all over, and my heart is broken. I don’t blame her for walking away from me as my depression obviously took a huge toll on her. The poor thing must be completely worn out physically, emotionally and mentally and whilst I wish things were different and that I could wave a magic wand and make things better I know life doesn’t work that way. I will always leave the door open in the hope that we can talk one day but at the moment it’s not an option and I have to accept that. It is not what I wanted and I worded things wrongly in the heat of the moment, wasn’t the first time and probably wont be the last time I fuck up when my intentions are good.

So bad news out the way back to the depression….

what depression!

For the past 4 weeks at least I have had no depressive thoughts or fears. My phq9 score has sat on zero for the whole time. I have been going to the gym 5x a week and have lost 20 lbs since February and currently weigh the lowest I have in years!

I have seen my GP about coming off my medication too. He was amazed at the change in my persona when I walked into his office let alone the weight change, and this was before I told him what had been going on in my private life! He nearly fell off the chair at how well I was doing and we are now in the process of gradually decreasing my medication in preparation for coming off completely.

It works like this

2 days normal dosage, 1 day half dosage the gradually increase the number of days I have the half dosage. 1 day a week, then 2 days a week, then 3 and so on. It will take a few months to come off the medication and I expect that some days/weeks will be worse than others but now is the time for me as I haven’t felt this good for years!

One thing you all know about me is that I am a fighter and the depression has been knocked from pillar to post the past few weeks and we are now entering the last few rounds and the strongest will survive, that will be me! I’m not going for a quick knockout I want this to be a battle to the last bell when depression will have so much knocked out of it that it wont want to face me again in a rematch!

To paraphrase Charlie Sheen

I have moose blood in me and I am winning!

 

Finding Me(mo)

I cant explain why but something  just clicked within the last 24 hours within myself.

The old Garry has come out of hiding and kicked the other one into touch. I feel so good today yet seeing as I was told my marriage is over yesterday it makes absolutely no sense why suddenly now he has returned.

Not that I am complaining…

Was it the shock of being told that the love of my life and best friend didn’t want me anymore? I really couldn’t tell you.

Don’t get me wrong I am heartbroken and hurting over what has happened, but I understand her reasons for needing to make a break,if only I had worded things better and explained things better if may be different but hindsight is a wonderful tool and I am a firm believer in things happening for a reason.

The depression took a hold of me to the point where I didn’t even know which Garry would wake up in the mornings so how could someone else? Fighting to keep going can only drain you over time and I bare no ill will or malice towards Sheryl, a beautiful woman with a wonderful heart who has had lots to deal with over the years and not complained once!

We were friends long before we became involved and long may our friendship continue….. of course the door will never close should she want to talk once the hurting phase is over.

And so back to the old me!

I have felt a renewed confidence in myself, can feel the self esteem rising and best of all I am starting to like the person looking back at me in the mirror!

The lip ring that I was hiding behind has been removed, this of course makes me more kissable – but more importantly it means I can smile properly again!

going going

taken the lip ring out

gone!

eyes twinkle and smile returns!

watch out world because if the old me is back then there will be trouble! you thought I was a pain in the arse before? ha ha you aint seen nothing yet!

confidence, sparkling eyes and the gift of the gab!

The person you fell out of love with is back the one you enjoyed being around and no fucking way am I letting him hide anymore!

The future may start looking brighter once again because I am in control of my destiny!

Juliana told me about a wonderful song today and as you all know (or if you are new to my blog will learn soon enough) I am a sucker for lyrics which feel like they were written with me in mind!

Moose listening to country music! next thing you know I will be wearing a stetson and spitting tobacco…

here are the lyrics which spoke to me, and I feel like the perfect way to describe the way I am feeling today

I ain’t no angel
I still got a few more dances with the devil
I’m cleanin up my act, little by little
I’m getting there
I can finally stand the man in the mirror I see
I ain’t as good as I’m gonna get
But I’m better than I used to be

I can finally stand the man in the mirror I see
I ain’t as good as I’m gonna get
But I’m better than I used to be

its taken me years to reach this point… if only it was a few months ago…..

I have loved, been loved and lost love but I am still here ready for whatever life will throw at me next!

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Losing Weight and Feeling Great

Okay I admit it I was wrong about this whole exercise thing!

I am starting to notice the rewards for my effort in the gym and I’m enjoying my time there. I am getting known by the staff there and starting to interact with more people.

My IBS had been playing up last week so much so that I only went on Monday so when I walked through the doors again yesterday it was nice to be asked by the staff where I had been and how was my training going.

I pushed really hard during my workout yesterday and it was a nice feeling to have the sweat pouring off me knowing I was working the hardest I could physically without causing any damage! I am painfully aware of my limitations but have felt the need to up my game slightly so that I can get maximum reward for effort and I have felt the difference in my mental health as a result of exercising regularly.

It’s more about the fact that I am out of the flat more often than any endorphin’s released through exercise. The level of support I receive from people online also contributes massively to my mental health as it is great to know people are willing you to succeed.

I finally managed to wake up early enough to attend a yoga class at gym today.

Early enough, in fact, to spend 30 minutes on the treadmill BEFORE the class!

I am hoping having a good ole stretch of muscles will ease the pain in my knees and am proud to report that I did not fart and did not follow through despite being in some father “interesting” positions.

The downwards facing dog has been rechristened “the dead moose” but I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the class and will be attending on a regular basis all being well! I am so proud of myself for trying something like this which is completely out of my comfort zone – but one complaint I have is about the amount of mirrors! I look like a beached whale, so much so in the suggestions box I posted the following

“can we get the mirrors from the funfair that change your body shape!”

not sure its gonna happen LOL but one can try.

I am also pleased to report that I was actually told today “your losing weight!”

The fact is I have now lost 1 stone (14 lbs) but to have someone else acknowledge it felt great! It certainly inspires me and gives me added encouragement to know that people are noticing the changes in my body.

 

Besides this I am feeling confident enough to pose for some photos and we all know I love a semi naked moose photo or 4!

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I get bored easily and that is never good when there is a camera around :D

Moose Kicking Ass

Has anyone seen my depression? It seems to have taken a bit of an ass kicking the past week and has (temporarily) done a runner!

My PHQ9 score has gone under 10 for the first time ever since I started doing the form to monitor my depression.

It has been as high as high twenties and today when I did the questionnaire I was at 9!!

This week started out on Sunday with my day out to meet friends in London and I have even been out visiting relatives yesterday and today, and despite a few near misses with the IBS it has been a bloody good week!

There is something to be said for actually forcing yourself out and about and looking at a different environment instead of the same four walls everyday.

I am recommending it to you all as of now! get out of the house and have a day out!

Some Good News at Last

Finally after two weeks the black cloud has moved on and my spirits are lifted!

I even had a brainwave for a new book idea that I need to get started on in time for the Christmoose market.

It is a great relief to feel better though and have something positive to say for a change seriously at times I even piss myself off with the negativity and judging by stats on the blog my readers too :D

So where now?

Hopefully I can throw myself into the awesome book idea and get crackalacking with it, starting is always the hard part but I have lots of ideas about it that mean it is going to be the 3rd best book ever written by a depressed moose – behind the other which by now all of you have bought – right?

Some lovely people have really surprised me over the last 2 weeks with their generosity, kindness and support whereas others shocked me by staying away but that is human nature I suppose and luckily I only hold grudges for a few weeks :D

One thing I would like to ask you is if you have any suggestions for posts you would like me to do, as long as its something I have experience off I will write about it so please drop me a line via the contact page and I will get my backside into gear!

Happy Thursday folks

On the Happy Trail

Today is the first day in 10 that I have felt slightly optimistic, that the black cloud has moved on just enough to give me some breathing space to try and reflect on where I am at currently and where I need to be.

I HATE feeling low and unable to help other people but it was nice that a few people reached out to me and helped me, always great when help is returned and I am thankful to those of you who dropped me a line.

Unfortunately for me I am obsessed with numbers and stats so I always feel bad when the blog numbers drop, even more so when comments stop being made because it causes you to doubt yourself and as we all know self doubt is a major issue for me, I wont even mention the book sales or I will be crying (sniff sniff woe me woe me) but been a while since any copies have been sold.

Training for the 10k run is still waiting to take off due the down period I have been in but since I still have 7 months I am not worried about that too much, remember to donate though :D

I need a night out though, more than anything I wish for my birthday that I could take Sheryl out for a nice romantic meal followed by a night dancing, drinking and being along together my oh my I would give anything for it. We have a restaurant in Gants Hill we go to on the rare occasions we go out called Don Pietros and the food there is wonderful! If you are in the essex area near Gants Hill I highly recommend it especially the Veal!

And as a massive Godfather fan you gotta love the quote “try the veal!”

Anyhoo back to the real point in hand.

Today I feel better and I hope it lasts a while, I am sick and tired of being tired. Although not as much as Sheryl is perhaps. She truly is a blessing to me poor woman puts up with a lot from me and she is still here for me looking beautiful.

Tomorrow I am hoping that I can actually get back to annoying celebrities on twitter and promoting my books, shop and just giving page lord knows I need to become a better promoter and a writer again. I miss the creativity and release that writing gave me back in the heady days of August and September when I was writing full time!

So for now welcome back Moose lets get back on track together and if you need support – come and find me!