I have been taking Fluoxetine (SSRI) (click here for info) on and off since 2012. This is my second day without it after a long period of taking a 20mg dose daily.
I had been prescribed Fluoxetine for depression and anxiety, following a major breakdown after I discovered my husband had become HIV positive (a fact he neglected to tell me). The first time I used it it just made me numb – unable to cry or feel anything. I hated that and stopped taking them, preferring the self-medication of red wine and friend-therapy. It’s no surprise that my method was flawed and once more I had a major breakdown which saw me signed off work (I’m a primary school teacher) for 3 months and then again for a month after only half a term back on new part time hours.
So here I am – broken again by the onslaught of life’s relentless obstacles and slaps in the face. My guard is down and I have somehow found that I need to hurt – to feel something. The Fluoxetine has left me cold inside and I began cutting myself a short while ago. This behaviour scared the bejesus out of me! I didn’t want to be alone with the suicidal thoughts I began having throughout each and every day. Weird dreams and disturbed sleep. Anxiety. Panic. Sadness. I was filled with a darkness I could not – cannot – seem to shift.
My doctors suggestion was to change my medication to Venlaflaxine which I should start to take in lower doses at first – until the Fluoxetine leaves my system – then increase the dosage after three days. I researched the drug and found that it has a higher rate of causing suicidal thoughts/behaviours that Fluoxetine. Call me crazy but I think that’s just a little risky in my current state.
So, for the first time in nearly four years I am taking charge of my life and my recovery. I have been two days free of Fluoxetine and my sleep is already disturbed. Last night I kept waking. However I feel there must be a better way to beat the darkness. One that doesn’t rely on drugs. My friend J sent me an interesting article on the gut and its connection to depression and it got me thinking – HOW can I beat this without using pharmaceuticals?
Well yesterday – Day 1 – I went to the Citizens Advice Bureau to get some guidance on practical issues that are part of the cause for my depression. It turns out that there’s no surprise help, knight in shining armour or even organisation to support me. Ugh… It didn’t send me plummeting into a dark space. It did cause me to drink half a bottle of red wine – but I kept it together.
Today – Day 2 – I went to the gym. Spent an hour and half working out and 20 mins in the steam room. Then came home to start this blog. I need a positive outlet and I want to keep a record of this journey I am about to embark upon. I am determined to beat this depression.
Mood level today – 4 (1=Suicidal/10=Elated)
Anxiety level today – 5 (1=Panic attack/10=calm&confident)