I was prescribed Sertraline (Zoloft) in 1998 when I had postnatal depression. I was told to take it for a year to 18 months. I went from deep depression/anxiety to euphoria in the space of about two weeks, I felt pretty damned fantastic, there was nothing I couldn’t handle. As time went on I continued to feel well but my emotions were dampened down, so I was functioning well, no depression, but no “joy” either. After a few months of feeling well I decided I didn’t want to be on Sertraline anymore, didn’t read the patient information leaflet or talk to a doctor, not that that would have helped anyway. I just stopped taking them. My head felt terrible, it began to feel water logged, if I turned my head there was a time lag between my eye balls catching up with the fact that my head had turned, so dizzy, gradually intense sadness would kick in, really really intense sadness and anxiety, oh the anxiety, pumping adrenaline and nerves shot to bits. I went back on the Sertraline.
The doctor told me to do the alternate day thing, alternate days for a fortnight,then every third day for a fortnight, then one tablet a week, I did this various times over the next few years to no avail. I tried a pill cutter and halving the tablet, it wouldn’t break down easily without crumbling so that was unsuccessful. Every time I tried something, I ended up in worse shape than the time before, it was all getting steadily worse. I tried meditation, healing, exercise, cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling, fish oil capsules, NOTHING touched it. I pressured my surgery to refer me to a psychiatrist for advice,but the psychiatrist had no clue and could only recommend switching to another drug. I did switch to Citalopram for a while, and Mirtzapine, I felt constant fatigue on Mirtzapine, and then back to Sertraline. Yet another psychiatrist recommended halving my dose of Sertraline and taking diazepam to mitigate the withdrawals, so replace one powerful drug with an even more powerful addictive drug.
This is my description of how withdrawal felt from my blog, I only recently found out that what was happening had a name,akathisia:

“5am and for about the 3rd night in a row I’ve barely slept, I can’t stop the adrenaline pumping round my body, my stomach is tightly knotted, I’ve barely been able to eat properly it makes me feel sick. I’m clammy, sweating and crying and P is trying to reassure me, but he has to go to work. I get up and drag myself through all the motions of the day and making sure boys get to school, I feel like the living dead, I make sure they get fed and make sure they and no one else is aware of what’s going on, I don’t hang around at the school gates. Oh I do kind of tell a few people I’m not really feeling right but I play it down.
The constant adrenaline is tormenting me on the inside and I can’t stop it.It’s been building up over a period of months and I’ve been fighting and fighting the feelings but it seems to have reached a peak of exquisite torture.It’s like being at the top of a roller coaster that never stops. Someone else mentioned birdsong, and it was a funny thing, the torture was worse in the mornings and over the summer months while it was slowly building, birdsong in the morning outside the window had become a kind of torture as well. I had to go to work only 2 days a week and God only knows how I managed it. I had taken
my last Sertraline tablet months ago, and come off it as per the doctors instructions, and now my depression/anxiety was back tenfold to punish me for daring to presume I could stop taking it. I must be wired up wrong, no one else feels like this do they? What is wrong with me? Maybe I really am insane, maybe I just can’t cope with life without my tablets, how come everyone else can cope with life, and I can’t? There must be something fundamentally wrong with me. By now the Orwell Bridge was beginning to look a bit attractive and I just wanted to escape the adrenaline surges torturing me, my nerves were in shreds”.
This was 2003,at the end of 2003 I gave in and went back on the sertraline.

In 2006 I attempted another withdrawal, but at the same time we found ourselves going through a stressful life event, I tried to tough it out but ended up back on the Sertraline again.
So here I was, several years later and no further forward, and not for wont of trying! Everytime I went in a book shop or library I would try and find anything I could about antidepressants and depression, but nothing really enlightened me. I rummaged around on the internet but couldn’t find the answers. Until one day, I was browsing around Waterstones, and “Coming off Antidepressants” by Joseph Glenmullen jumped out at me, I read it avidly, and discovered TAPERING!!! But, all the examples in the book referred to liquid Seroxat or Prozac, I was really upset to find Sertraline was not available in liquid form. Armed with my new information about the simple concept of tapering, further digging led me to Dr Healy’s protocol of switching to the equivalent dose of liquid Prozac. These two pieces of information became my secret hope, I latched onto them. I decided to take a leap of faith and switch to liquid Prozac. At the beginning of 2007 I marked up my calendar with a schedule, I was going to go down from 5ml to 4.90ml the first week, 4.80ml the next week and so on, as my sons would say “epic fail”. By about mid February the nightmare was unfolding again and I had to give in and go back to the top of my Prozac dose, I was devastated.
Still I hadn’t given up hope, P was sympathetic but he couldn’t understand why I didn’t just give it up and accept I “needed” the drugs like a diabetic needs insulin. After lots more research, and P having interesting and enlightening conversations with a client who was a pharmacist about my problem, I started my taper again in May 2008, this time much much slower and here I am four years later down to 1ml liquid Prozac and still sucessfully tapering. It has needed a lot of self-discipline. I kept this blog/diary of my progress; I’ve been amazed to meet a few others who have been tapering longer than me. Nowadays my withdrawals are fairly benign, but I still feel a bit scarred from the experience,the akathisia has left me still feeling like my nerves are quite raw and very close to the surface but I can live with that now.
There is a huge assumption that these drugs are benign and harmless, they are not; they can cause extreme agitation and internal torture. They are dished out like smarties and people left to deal with the results. Starting them is like playing a game of Russian Roulette, you might be a lucky one who can take them and come off them with ease, or you might not. My understanding was that they were meant to be taken for only a year or so after you feel “well” but many many people are stuck on them for years or forever, I know many people who’ve given up hope of coming off SSRI’s and I hear many people say “oh I’ll be on these the rest of my life”. There is NO support or advice in place through doctors or psychiatrists on how to taper safely off the drugs.....if anyone does find any help in the UK, please let me know, although it’s a bit too late for me now as I’ve almost done it myself, but I know a lot of other people who might like to know!

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

I hate January

I feel really flat now, I always feel flat after Christmas, even though it's my birthday tomorrow and I should be looking forward to that. I hate January, after all the excitement and build up to the Christmas holiday everything seems so dreary. Roll on summer!!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

1.90ml Now breaking the 2.0ml barrier!!

Yes today I am going to 1.90ml, waited quite a long time for this new reduction because the last one was quite a biggish one and you should never drop more than 10% of your current dose.
I have been feeling very well on the whole but there are subtle shifts of feelings in that I am aware that in certain situations I feel more anxious which is probably the "real me" without the prozac crutch and it's probably no worse than many people deal with anyway on a day to day basis.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Who is reading my blog?

Can't help but wonder, I have my little gadget (to the right) which shows the location of people who visit but I would love it if someone made themselves known, maybe left a comment even if to tell me my blog is dull as ditch water LOL

I've been feeling so so tired today, and woke up with a splitting headache, felt like a prozacy type head today.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Dizzy


Yes this picture is how I feel today, low blood pressure? or something to do with the prozac going down? felt like it before so I expect I will just wait for it to pass.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Nearly breaking through the 2.0ml barrier

This week end I am going to drop from 2.20ml to 2.0ml, I should probably go to 2.10 ml first but actually it's such a fiddle to measure out the 0.10ml on that skinny little syringe I decided it would be easier to take a chance and go straight to 2.0ml. I've read that you shouldn't reduce by more than 10% of your current level and this is still within 10%.  Will be interesting to see if I have a withdrawal reaction in a couple of weeks or so.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

2.20ml and redundancy

Down to 2.20ml today, I did wonder wether to take it down to 2.10ml but there is quite a lot going on in my life at the moment, both my jobs are under threat of redundancy now in about a years time with all the cuts this government are making so me and Peter are having to plan for this eventuallity, after all my money, child benefit and tax credits pay the mortgage and all the direct debits/ utility bills :(     ....and jobs are very hard to come by at the moment.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Losing a job

I have two part time jobs and we had a staff meeting at one of my jobs this week, and it seems definate that we are closing down with all the cuts going round, and this job will be going, at least I have plenty of notice to start looking around but it is very sad for all of us. I haven't been there long enough to qualify for any decent redundancy so I may as well start looking.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Weight loss

I'm not complaining but I'm wondering if my metabolism has speeded up a little as the prozac has gone down, I'm always fairly careful about my eating anyway as I have a big appetite and can eat like a horse so I do have to "reign" it in and exercise or I can find myself piling it on, however what with working pretty much full time and family commitments I do find it hard to fit in the exercise, but my weight seems to have dropped somewhat without me trying. Wonder if prozac does cause weight gain and coming off it speeds up metabolism?

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Feeling blah and interview

OK so it's just hit me this morning that I am in fact feeling very "blah" this week. I had a job interview on Monday, it was only a little 7 hour a week job in a school with the promise of other hours in the school office, when I got to the interview it was so not what I expected, the job described at the interview differed greatly from the job description and what I had applied for, in fact it wasn't a little 7 hour a week job, it was a huge challenge he wanted someone to fulfill on a totally inadequate pay scale and hours and he was desperately trying to convince me what a great idea it was and how I could achieve it, and I felt I'd been led up the garden path somewhat, so needless to say I totally lost interest and wasn't offered it. I was a bit gutted because in my head I'd run away with the idea of this nice little term time only job and having more time at home in the school holidays and maybe during the week as well, that'll learn me!!
I since learned the didn't manage to appoint anyone and no one who went was prepared to take on what he was proposing, suspect it was the misleading job description and the fact he's not paying enough for what he wants to achieve.
Since then I've been feeling quite rough in my head, just really flat, confidence knocked,  is this a withdrawal? is it a normal emotion? is it withdrawal triggered by an event? who knows, all I know it that "this too will pass". The sooner the better.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

2.40ml

Down to 2.40ml today and over half way now. I've decided from now on to make only 0.10ml drops and no more 0.20 ml because now I'm lower each drop is steeper and I'm getting more withdrawal effects like the cotton wool fuzzy head and wiered dreams!
Slow and steady wins the race.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

My morning regimen...

.. one Boots own brand multi vitamin, four multi vegepa Omega capsules and 2.50ml prozac!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb

This song is so incredibly beautiful and I always thought "comfortably numb" was a really good description for the effect prozac has. It certainly does make you comfortably numb.


Saturday, 12 June 2010

Dream again

I had that recurring dream again last night, packing away I was, no one else was worried about having to get the packing done, and I was getting really annoyed because it was the end of the holiday and no one else was worried about missing the flight or whatever. Still puzzling over this, same dream, I'm sure there is a higher power trying to tell me something.

Monday, 7 June 2010

So dizzy today!

Today I was just feeling so dizzy, like I might fall over, it wore off as the day went on, but I almost thought I was going to have to come home from work, I just felt so fuzzy :(

Saturday, 5 June 2010

officially half way - 2.50mls (10mg)

Yup, I am officially half way, it's only taken me a little over 2 years LOL.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Vivid dreams and emotions

I've been having such vivid and bizarre dreams and the other morning I woke up in tears but couldn't remember why!
I've also been feeling much more emotion coming back now and in a really good way because I think I have been emotionally a bit numb for so long. I'm finding myself easily moved by different things now and it's soooo good to have that feeling back!!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

I feel SO much better now!

Phew! How nice to feel "normal" again instead of profoundly depressed and sad, at least I know yet again it is a withdrawal and I can "ride it out".

Friday, 14 May 2010

That dream again

Yup I've had it again, in fact I think I've had it a few times lately, this time we were back at old two up two down first home, and it was a right mess.

Some reassurance was needed

 My question

I'll try not to ramble, I have been very sucessfully withdrawing from prozac (after 10 years of failed attempts). It's taken me two years to reduce from 5ml to where I am now at 2.60mls (that's how slow I've been taking it! All has gone well up to now, the past week I've been getting feelings of profound sadness a little anxiety, the waves come and go and feel like my old depression/failed withdrawal attempts in the past.


 Is this a withdrawal that will pass in time? or is this the real me? feeling a bit confused but rationally I think this is a withdrawal reaction but it's something I've not felt for a long time. Anyone relate?



The answer

**, this is normal in withdrawal/recovery . Your chemistry will be changing regularly and will do so even for years after you have totally discontinued the drug.



The difference now is it comes and goes, right?



I've never seen anyone go into a depressed state after stopping a drug unless it is stopped too quickly. This is a reaction of the biochemistry.



People have been sold a lie when they are told depression is genetic. It's not. Someone might say their mother was depressed and so is their sister. This is genetic only in as much as behavior is learned (children learn to mimic parents' reactions without knowing it so if mom is depressed children learn to be depressed). The other cause is poor diet. This makes all the difference in the world.



It is perfectly normal for people to experience a couple of periods of depression in a lifetime. An argument can be made for the use of this but that's a huge topic. Any doctor who has not been brainwashed by the drug companies who want you to believe the genetic lie so they can sell you drugs for life will tell you that depression is self-limiting. What prevents it from resolving in most people is nutritional and/or the unwillingness to meet life on life's terms (people who do this are usually people who believe that life is sometimes "unfair").



As I said, you'll feel many things at various times on this journey. Just ride it out. If it stays more than a couple weeks at most, check your diet and supplements. If this isn't it, increase the drug by one dose. This is sometimes necessary as you get into the lower doses. Don't stay long at the increased dose. A week or 10 days will be enough to get you unstuck. Then reduce again and you should be okay.



--C
 
and sure enough I do feel a lot better today, phew!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Blah...

OK well for the past week I have been feeling really quite "blah", like a low level depression, no not really depression, well maybe but very mild and just kind of flat. Hope this passes soon, can't help wondering if it's here to stay but that's negative thinking we all know what happens when you get into negative thinking spirals.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Wow I had that dream again!

Had a lovley day, beautiful weather, reconnected with a school friend, we met for lunch at an Italian restaurant and had a lovley time.
Then last night I had that dream again, it was the end of a two week holiday, and we'd had a great time, but there was a mind boggling amount of packing to do like moving house, not just a couple of suitcases, and a real feeling of sadness, what the heck does it mean?

Saturday, 10 April 2010

2.60ml

2.60ml today, small drop this time or I think my head will go into cotton wool mode again.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Out of sorts

I have been feeling so out of sorts the past couple of days, I nearly came home from work early (sick) today, woke up with a splitting headache, my head is very fuzzy and cotton wool like and feel like I can't get a handle on things, I just know it's my head adjusting to a drop in prozac and I've got to ride it out, but I just feel so tired and drained :(

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Cotton wool head and a bad dream

I've had a bit of a fuzzy cotton wool head this week, a bit like when I used to withdraw the old fashioned way. I can only assume it's because I'm getting lower down on the dose now so each drop is a bigger drop if that makes sense.
Had a bad dream last night, I was crying and crying and grieving, but not sure who or what for and I woke up in tears but then I was rapidly relieved that it was only a dream.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Following on from Jury Service



A friend at work found this article of the Guardian web site 10th January 2010

Call to lift ban on jury service for people with mental illnessBarristers join forces with mental health charity to urge rethink




Denis Campbell, health correspondent The Observer, Sunday 10 January 2010 Article historyMinisters are facing demands to scrap an "unfair and discriminatory" law that bans thousands from being jurors because they have suffered from mental ill-health.



Campaigners claim that many law-abiding citizens are wrongly excluded from jury service after being treated for conditions such as depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.



One in four Britons suffers mental illness at some point in their lives, and one in 10 is prescribed antidepressants, which would be enough to debar them.



Rethink, a mental health charity supported by barristers in England and Wales, will this week launch a campaign to have the rule rescinded. It agrees that some people's mental state makes them unfit to be jurors, but argues that many others are victims of an "archaic" ban.



More than 9,000 people a year in England are refused permission to serve on juries. The government promised in 2004 – and again in early 2008 – to review the situation, but has not done so.



The ban arises from the Juries Act 1974. A section on "mentally disordered persons" bars from jury service anyone "who suffers or has suffered from mental illness, psychopathic disorder, mental handicap or severe mental handicap, and on account of that condition either is resident in a hospital or other similar institution, or regularly attends for treatment by a medical practitioner". Rethink wants that replaced with a new definition of "capacity", based on the 2005 Mental Capacity Act, which would allow many of those currently banned to serve, while excluding those who are genuinely unfit.



Stephen Fry, the actor and comedian, who has suffered from bipolar disorder since childhood, is backing the campaign. "There are thousands of people with mental health problems who are willing and perfectly capable of serving on a jury, but who find themselves rejected solely because they see a doctor from time to time for support or medication," he said. "Exclusion purely on the grounds of treatment for a mental health problem is unfair and discriminatory."



Rethink cites Winston Churchill as someone who, owing to his depression, would be banned. Paul Corry, Rethink's director of public affairs, said that about 50,000 people with mental health problems had been excluded since the government's first pledge in 2004 to consult on the issue.



"People should be judged on their capacity, rather than being arbitrarily written off. It is high time the government carried out a consultation and considered outlawing this archaic and discriminatory practice, which prevents capable citizens from carrying out a basic civic duty."



The Criminal Bar Association, which represents barristers in England and Wales, also argues that the ban is wrong. "Trial by jury is a vital component of our criminal justice system and, in order to work at its best, juries should represent a cross-section of society," said Paul Mendelle, its chairman. "Figures suggest that one in four people will be affected by mental health problems, so it is inappropriate to impose a blanket ban that prevents anyone with a history of mental illness from sitting on a jury without assessment of their capacity."



But the Ministry of Justice ruled out any revision of the rule, and refused to say why the government had reneged on its pledges to consult. While ministers were committed to tackling the stigma and discrimination around mental ill-health, "any change would need to strengthen our jury system. There can be no question of changing the law to allow people to serve as jurors where their ability to do so is in doubt", said a spokesman.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

2.90mls

Yup I have now broken the 3ml barrier and still going strong!

Jury Service


I had a letter several days ago asking me to do Jury Service, I was really excited, it's something I always wanted to do, so I filled in the form and sent it back, not really thinking much about it, the form asked some questions about health and the last question was about mental health, and weather you'd ever been sectioned under the mental health act, which I havn't, but I answered honestly about the past post natal depression and prozac use, almost by return of post I was rejected, and I know it was down to my answer about depression, it felt like a kick in the teeth and I was quite insulted, because I'm the most stable unstable person I know and I know one person far more unstable than me who has done jury service, still that's only my opinion and I suppose they have to have some guidelines/rules to follow.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Three followers!

I just noticed my blog has 3 followers, welcome to you whoever you are! LOL

Femail article on antidepressants

Long term effects of antidepressants

Femail web site was running an article on antidepressants today, it's good when the media report on things like this, sad though that so many people have such negative attitudes to mental illness though.