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

 

Things I have learnt recently

As I have been reflecting and taking time out I have also been learning some things about me that I thought I would share with you.

1) when the cats wont smell your feet it is time to change your socks – fairly self explanatory I think…

2) loud farts are funny – unless you are wearing your ipod and think its silent until you see the look of horror on the faces of the other people in the lift.

3) the washing up will not do itself no matter how many times you wiggle your nose, blink your eyes or sing to it.

4) same goes for the hoovering, laundry and general housework.

5) talking to an attractive lady on the bus AFTER you have just come out the dentist with half a numb mouth is more likely to get you arrested than a date..in my defence I did not realise I had a wonky smile and was dribbling…

6) if people are easily offended by the real you, then you are doing just fine..

7) masturbating with tennis elbow will not cure the condition but make it worse..(erm so a friend told me)

8) hiding all the mess from your front room in the bedroom does not make it go away, it just makes it harder to find your bed!

9) I am not a centipede and do not need 7 pairs of trainers and 3 pairs of shoes.

10) opening the door to a very good looking woman, in your boxers shorts with your cock pointing between the buttons only has success  in 1970′s porn and not 2014…

11) laughter can make you feel so much better about things

12) I dont need 100s of friends when I have a few amazing ones

13) hiding things in the back of your mind only means when someone brings up the subject it all comes flooding back :-(

14) my cats like to run around like lunatics when I am most tired…

15) my cats seem to think I need a bodyguard whenever I am sitting on the toilet as they have to surround me…

16) the dentist is not as scary as I thought!

17) online dating is not for me!

18) I can be by myself and survive, not crash, not do anything silly and be happy

20) I missed 19 and you didnt notice….

so what have you learnt recently?

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

Pearls of Wisdom from DWP

I had an early night last night. Went to bed at 10 to watch The Godfather part 2 and fell asleep not long after and before I knew it I was awake at the crack of a sparrows fart!

Sometimes I enjoy waking up and watching the night turn into day, especially if there is a nice sunrise – I find it kind of symbolic in a “it’s a new dawn” kind of way.

The past few days since my last post have been pretty great. I seem to have a new found confidence and feeling of optimism that has been missing for a long time and I wake up each morning looking forward to the day as opposed to waking up tired and miserable. I must admit I like the way I am feeling at the moment and just up it lasts!

Yesterday I received a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) with an update on the housing benefit changes that will soon come into force. Not only did they bring me the good news that they estimate I will have to find £50 a week to cover the rent but they also came up with some rather helpful suggestions for dealing with the decrease in housing benefit.

  1. Ask your landlord for a reduction in the cost of your rent!
  2. move into cheaper accommodation
  3. get a job and claim working tax credit

speechless? yes I was too when I read this. I can just imagine the laughter from landlords up and down the country as millions of people now ring them up and ask for cheaper rent! naturally they are all going to say yes and make the rent cheaper for us.

Here is an example of what will happen:

me: Hi Home group the DWP suggested I should ring you and request you decrease my rent as my housing benefit is no longer covering the full amount.

home: HA HA HA HA tell the DWP to go fuck themselves with that suggestion!

or words to that affect.

me: Hi Redbridge council, the DWP suggest I should move into cheaper accommodation

Redbridge: what? your already over occupied in your tiny flat as it is so there is no way we can move you into anything smaller and therefor cheaper. Besides your on the waiting list for a BIGGER property. Tell the DWP to go fuck themselves with that suggestion.

you get the drift.

It must be nice to live in the same world as government officials and agencies where no doubt unicorns fart rainbows and Iain Dickhead Smith is considered as a thoroughly nice man!

Add to this the new council tax bill that has been received and it all seems like the government is working hard to piss me off at the moment, but they won’t bring me down.

Yesterday I even went and joined the gym across the road from my flat. The exercise on referral scheme has inspired me to get back on track with losing weight. I was measure across my stomach and it was a staggering 46 inches! I need to do something about this. When I was asked what my goals were for the exercise scheme my reply was “to see my penis when I look down!” somewhat tongue in cheek but would be nice to actually feel confident about how I look for a change.

Now I just need to get my ass into the gym especially as my 10k run is 2 months away!

Speaking of my 10k run on 27th May who is coming to meet me at the finish line? Would be great to have some people cheering me on (or carrying the stretcher) especially if you all bring a big mac each cos I will need to eat something :D

Exercise Referral Scheme and Moose

I have a good feeling about today, I woke up at a reasonable hour today for a change! In fact the last time I saw 9 am was probably when I had stayed awake all night due to not being able to sleep.

But today I woke up at 8.45 and for the first time, in what seems like forever, I woke up and actually felt refreshed and not knackered! This will have a huge impact on my day as nothing is worse than waking up still tired and drained and it is a nice feeling to wake up feeling good.

Today I am heading out into the world to attend my induction for the exercise referral scheme that my GP has referred me to. I did not know this existed until I received a phone call about it last week offering me a place and it seems like it could be a good thing for me.

A quick search for “Redbridge exercise referral scheme” on Google gave me the following information..

Exercise on Referral is where doctors or other health professionals can refer individuals who they feel would benefit from physical activity and help them fight their medical conditions.

Who is the Exercise on Referral Scheme for?

The Exercise on Referral Scheme is for residents who are 16+, not active and would like to increase their physical activity levels. The scheme is designed so qualified instructors can help people with medical conditions achieve their targets.

Common conditions for referral:

    • Diabetes
    • Obesity
    • Asthma
    • Hypertension
    • Depression/Stress/Anxiety
    • Bone/Joint/Muscular Conditions
    • CHD Risk Factors

What are the benefits of the scheme?

Regular physical activity will help:

    • Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
    • Assist with weight loss.
    • Reduce stress and anxiety.
    • Control blood sugar levels.
    • Improve mobility and posture.
    • Strengthen muscles.
    • Socialise and have fun.
    • Improve quality of life and overall health.

What activities are available?

At the moment individuals will be able to participate in:

Gym Sessions: Customers will be given individual exercise programmes which they will be able to follow under guidance of our qualified instructors.

Gym Circuit Classes: Our instructors will deliver circuit classes in the gym that will work all areas of the body and give you that little bit of variety.

Studio Classes:
 These classes will be a mixture of aerobic and circuit based sessions and will give individuals the chance to exercise outside of the gym. All of the classes will be taught by one of our qualified instructors who are there to assess and monitor your progress, help you exercise safely and with confidence, motivate and encourage you and answer all of your questions.

 

But this is a national scheme not just local to me and I wonder how many people are actually aware of this, I think it could be a great thing for a lot of people. This offers me a lot of benefits not just my depression but also my weight and knees/muscle problems and I am actually looking forward to seeing what is available.

Lord knows I need some help and motivation to exercise as looking at me presently makes people wonder when the baby is about to arrive and question whether its twins or triplets! here is proof taken about in July, although I have been hitting the weights recently so would hope I look better now.

If this is something that might appeal to you it could be worth mentioning this to your GP and finding out if it is available in your area, chances are that it will be and as we are constantly being told that exercise is good for our mental health then maybe jump on board, we can have a race to a six pack competition! Actually I did have a 6 pack once, but I drunk it :D

I will update later with more information if I can get some from the people I am seeing later. In the mean time how about a little celebration to start the day…

My little blog just got its 300th follower! 300!! crazy huh but makes me feel very proud of myself so thank you for the bottom of my heart!