Goodbye Happy Pills

I should probably say firstly that my opinions are my own and are based on my own experience.  You should always seek medical opinion before deciding on stopping any medication, and I don’t recommend doing what I have done.  I’m also a huge fan of happy pills(anti-depressants) and am not dissing them in any way, shape, or form.

I have been taking anti-depressants for seven years.  Some have been good; some have been bad.  I can never say they are a bad thing as they have really helped me out of some bad depressive black holes.

But ongoing, are they just making me feel worse?  Let me explain.

In December 2016 I had been on Sertraline for two years and it wasn’t working for me anymore.  I was in a bad place and so anxious I could barely leave the house.

I had also plucked up the courage to speak to my GP about my issues with binge eating and it was decided that it may be wise to try Fluoxetine(Prozac), as it may alleviate my eating problems and help with the depression and anxiety.

I’ve been on it for four months and I can honestly say I feel worse.

I stopped Zoladex in December, which was keeping me in a chemical menopause and aside from anti-depressants the only medication I take is Levothyroxine for my underactive thyroid.

But ever since I started taking the Fluoxetine I’ve been exhausted and in so much pain every day; whatever my mystery illness is, it’s been on one long three month flare-up and I can’t seem to ease it.

And I’m gaining so much weight – even when my thyroid went overactive I was still gaining weight and unable to control my eating.

I spoke to my GP a couple of weeks ago, who said I need to remain on the anti-depressants until I complete counselling – that could be months or years away, I’m on a long waiting list and I’m nowhere near starting therapy.

They also said it could be triggering my chronic pain but they didn’t really know.

Every time I speak to a doctor, they tell me my depression is causing my chronic pain.  But I don’t believe it anymore – my most recent amazing GP has challenged that theory and believes my chronic pain is causing my depression.

I love food.  I love eating.  And I eat junk shit, not all the time, but I indulge in bad food and wine.  But I also love exercising when I feel well.  I love running – I can manage a slow and steady 5k.  I can walk miles every day, and not even break into a sweat.  I love exercise classes such as Dancercise and Step, it makes me so happy.

But when I have the killer exhaustion and pain I can’t do anything, and it makes me so upset and depressed.  I just want to feel well and be able to walk 1k without crying.

I had discussed stopping Fluoxetine with the hubbo; he wasn’t keen, but agreed.  We decided he would keep a close eye on me and if I seemed to go downhill or start feeling bad he would insist on packing me off to my GP straight away.  We also agreed that I would be honest with him about how I was feeling and vice-versa.

I have weaned myself off them by the book over a two-week period.  I reduced them gradually and I have now been off them for a week.  I have done a bit of research and am keen to try St John’s Wort, once I have had two weeks off Fluoxetine.

I feel better, I won’t lie.  My bad dreams are subsiding, and I feel less like a zombie.  My eyes were twitching quite a lot and I felt restless a lot; that seems to be easing.  I’m hoping I start sleeping again properly as that was another nasty side effect for me.

I’m not really hungry at all.  But that could be nothing, I won’t hold my breath on that.

I have a little bit of energy this morning.  I’m keen not to push my luck; so we are going on a gentle 1-2k mooch to the post office this afternoon.

I know I shouldn’t have stopped them myself; I know it’s not recommended.  But I’m becoming desperate to feel normal again and I have to try.

I have also found a local charity called Crossline that offers therapy and counselling and the price is really reasonable.  I am arranging an assessment appointment at present and I’m hoping even if I have to go every week for the next year, it may be what I need to help me sort things out in my head.

As always, I’d love to hear your experiences, please feel free to comment, or send me a message.

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