Good morning guys and gals and general humans that read my blog. I hope you’re all doing well and have had a nice weekend. It’s appears I’m back with a bang on this blog – or back with less of a bang and more of a slump due to insane tiredness, but more on that later.
It’s been honestly a pretty hard month for me mentally and also a pretty difficult however many months to even begin to start writing on here again. For a long time this space helped me discover so much about myself through words and stories, and I’ve been finding it increasingly hard to get back into. I’m hoping to maybe start writing once a month if not more and go from there. I often feel like I have writer’s block and not a clue what I should write seeing as I’m not travelling, and this was a travel and mental health blog. I guess we’ll see.
For now I want to chat about changing my antidepressants and the journey I’ve had with that because it’s been a hell of a ride so far.
I started quite a few years ago on Escitalopram, an SSRI that was prescribed to me when I hit the depths of Depression and was having daily (and nightly) panic attacks, shortly after my Grandad passed. Slowly, it eased the fog and I found the will to do things I found too much (yay for showering). I didn’t find the Depression disappeared, but I felt the ability to live my life even if it was lingering in my mind’s background, whereas before I struggled to get out of bed. It also near to completely stopped my panic attacks which were interrupting my normal daily life and making me too scared to sleep. I was on these antidepressants when I went travelling and have fond memories of being stuck in Colombian cities whilst anxiously waiting for a delivery of them from the U.K. God bless Colombia and its of lack of antidepressants in pharmacies.
The last few months I’ve realised that I’m not feeling the way I should be feeling. My mind feels plagued with obsessive thoughts, core anxieties I’ve had about certain situations seem to be raising their head and it seems to be a daily battle to combat the fog that slowly tries to infiltrate my head. I know that many mental health professionals and self-help gurus encourage you to sit with that feeling, and my therapist has told me to sit with it whilst trying to work out what the core emotion is, but the black cloud is making it pretty hard to keep with the feeling or the thought – and so off to the doctor I went, finding myself in a similar position to six years ago, where I could barely admit that I wasn’t feeling great to a kindly face.
The doctor recommended I speak to a psychiatrist for more advice and after a few sessions, and a lot of crying later, I came out with a diagnosis for my Depression and some new medication to start. The psychiatrist was incredibly kind and helped me to understand that labels mean nothing, as long as I was focusing on getting better. He told me to start weaning myself off the SSRI in order to start a new SNRI which he believes will help me deal with the obsessive thoughts and the crippling depressive fog.
The side effects of weaning myself off the Escitalopram has not been fun. I’ve spent a couple of weeks having to really force myself up, crying profusely, feeling EXHAUSTED and burying angry feelings towards the people I love. Their faults and inabilities to apologise for their mistakes which I might have been able to brush off as their problem and not really such a big deal, have become things I’ve started to despise. Staying in bed has become an emotionally draining sanctuary. Running away to another country lies dormant in my thoughts daily. But escape wouldn’t help here. Nor would blowing up at people. The focus rests on me and taking it step by step.
This week, my Dad went into hospital twice. That, combined with lowering antidepressants before starting my news ones was not the cherry on the cake. And I don’t even like cherries, so it never would have worked out. I continue to battle the fog but I’ve just started my SNRI today and hope in weeks to come I will start to feel lighter. The one thing I’ve been trying to do is continue my weekly exercise classes at the local gym because a) I could deal with some natural bursts of Serotonin and b) I find keeping to a schedule makes me feel more in control. I’ve also been letting thoughts about my weight creep up and so I’m trying to let those go whilst enjoying snacks here and there to cheer me up.
Next week, I’ll be flying to the Netherlands to see my good friend Hiske and I’m counting down the days until we can chat, LAUGH, karaoke and eat lots of yummy Dutch food. Onwards and upwards!
Have you ever swapped antidepressants? Let me know how you dealt with it in the comments below.