Monday, December 05, 2005

Dizzy Monday

Well, today is my second day off of drugs. Yes, you read that right. I was on drugs until last Saturday; the drug of note was of the prescription variety, but it was a drug nonetheless.

As of this weekend, I am no longer on Paxil for depression and anxiety. I've been taking it for about a year and a half, and honestly, I don't think it has done much for me.

It might have helped take the edge off when I was going through one of my Superwoman crises or depression jags, but I'll never really know.

My Superwoman moments go like this: something gets backed up, usually housecleaning, or this time last year, school work. I start to get anxious and other things begin to pile up on me. Suddenly, I'm noticing every speck of dust and dirty dish and pile of laundry and unfinished craft project. There's too much to do. I don't have time to do it all. My husband does nothing. My dogs do nothing. I'm never going to graduate. I'm not appreciated. I can't do anything. Nothing ever goes right. Everything comes crashing down and I FLIP the HELL OUT. I usually have a tension headache for 3 to 4 days afterwards.

My depression usually comes out of similar circumstances, but with a general malaise and tons of sleeping to try to avoid the anxiety. Both are fueled by a desire to do all, be all, and be perfect, with a subsequent realization of the impossibility of that.

As a side note, I would recommend that anyone wanting off of their antidepressant gets clean with their doctor's help. I ran out of my Paxil for 3 days once, not meaning to but too busy to go to the pharmacy. By day two, I had serious stomach issues (my husband calls it the BGs- bubble guts) and dizziness. This was a dizziness like none I had ever experienced. The best way to describe it is that I felt like my body was vibrating inside my skin. I feel some of that same dizziness today, this being my second day without the meds. I'm sure my tummy will have some rebellion also. Also, my sleep quality for the last several weeks has been crap.

My doc had me first go from 30mg to 20mg. After 15 days of 20mg tablets, I broke the pills in half for the remainder of the bottle.

DH and I are trying to get pregnant. That was my main impetus for weaning off of the Paxil, with doctor supervision of course. My other reason was that I didn't want to be a pill hound for the rest of my days. With a family history of depression and other various and sundry mental health issues, I knew I'd have to live with it the rest of my life, so I wanted to find better ways to deal.

The best solution for me thus far has been behavioral modification. To keep from having Superwoman crises and subsequent bouts of depression, I do myself the favor of keeping up with dishes, laundry, etc., even when I don't feel like it. Since I love to cook and bake, this means doing dishes every day (ugh). My least favorite thing to do is dust, but if I vacuum more often, I don't have to dust quite so much, and I don't mind vacuuming. (My new Dyson vacuum helps even more. I love it!) It's a series of small compromises with myself: Get this yucky thing over with, then enjoy this relaxing/fun thing (like practicing making babies- my libido's returning as well, thankfully!).

I'll probably have nagging "not good enough" feelings in my head for the rest of my life, but they don't have to rule me.


At 3:57 AM, December 06, 2005, Blogger catlover926 said...

You've already gained so much understanding about your condition, that you have it more than half whipped. I didn't even know what was wrong with me (anxiety and minor panic disorder) for many years because I was self-medicating with cigarettes and weekend alcohol. When I quit, anxiety and panic became dominant and I was forced to deal with it. Like you, though, I'm not willing to drug it up the rest of my life, so I adopted different habits. Age and maturity have allowed me to not be quite so much a perfectionist - don't get me wrong, I still want perfection, I just know now that it's not attainable nor realistic. So, I try to be more choosy about the areas where I strive for perfection and the areas I just let go because ultimately they are not worth the headache. You know my living situation. It depresses me, makes me crazy, and causes anxiety like you wouldn't believe. Compound it with the fact that my roommates are largely slobs and don't seem to mind clutter and disorganization, and you can imagine why I fantasize about leaving and getting my own apartment where I can control my surroundings. But, because I love and want my family, I accept that this is my life and I find respite in daydreams and fantasies that I have a decent home. (Hiring a housekeeper helps, since I work six-seven days a week, but it's hard to find or keep a good one.) I also have found that little things help me, like eating right, exercising, sleeping enough (hard for me, though) making sure I have time for ME, to read, surf the internet, enjoy the arts, shopping, or lunch with my friends. One of the best things that helped me with the panic attacks, however, was to pray when I felt them coming on. I just would stop, try to breathe normally, close my eyes, and just repeat things like "Jesus is my strength." I would just focus and sort of meditate, and the panic would pass. Eventually, I didn't have to take a Xanax to get me through it, and now I haven't even had a prescription, or a panic attack, for a couple years. The dizziness and vibration sounds very familiar, by the way.
You can do this. But if it gets too much for you, I strongly encourage you to find a very good counselor to help you learn even more coping strategies. Talk to me anytime you need to.


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