To date, my tapering experience has consisted of two months of withdrawal symptoms – dizziness, nightmares, queasiness, compulsive rocking at night, headaches, sore eyes, constipation, dry mouth, wriggly feet, insomnia, trouble concentrating, hot ears, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, sensitivity to noise, tingly skin, exhaustion, fear to go far from home, intense sadness and lots of crying, dissociation…
Then one month of feeling a lot better, with only minimal symptoms.
After that – last week – I made a one percent reduction of my anti-depressants. The first five days were fine (it’s common for symptoms not to appear until after four days). Then came two gradually worsening days, then four days of intense symptoms (see first paragraph). Today is the first day of starting to feel a bit better.
It has been, frankly, quite gutting to realise how slow I’ll need to go. I’m looking at many years of withdrawal, and of finding the grit to keep making reductions even though they bring about difficult days.
I had been hoping to make one percent cuts every week, but I clearly won’t be able too. Maybe every three or four weeks? The settled days are vital for my brain and body to heal before further reductions.
The things that allow me to keep going are what I’ve learned about neuroplasticity (here’s a succinct clip), and reading experiences on Surviving Antidepressants by those who are further down the healing/withdrawal track than I am.
And some things I’m doing daily to nurture and strengthen my healing:
Yoga – gentle and supported poses for countering anxiety and soothing challenged nervous systems, and especially yoga nidra for deep relaxing and healing.
Keeping totally hydrated (for once in my life).
Napping as soon as I feel tired, and going to bed early.
Eating oats (soaked overnight) because they are soothing for nervous systems. Eating some raw food with each meal (never been particularly good at that one either…). Taking cod-liver-oil and vitamin E to support my brain as it heals. Yes, cod-liver oil. That’s how bad withdrawal can be. Daily dose of apple cider vinegar to help digestion, which gets quite messed up by anti-depressants. Eating natural yoghurt to restore gut bacteria, and I’m considering taking probiotics to help it along. Halved the strength of my daily coffee due to bad shaking. Fricking anti-depressants.
Gentle exercise like walking so as not to trigger my nervous system.
Although, if I get through all of this I’ll be one healthy mama to boot:-)