venlafaxine withdrawal

A new day dawns

dawn 12-03-2016

Early morning sunrise from my balcony

There came a desperate point last night where I gave myself a choice – die, or live. Anyhoooo, I have decided to give living another whirl. I am not happy about it, but as I mentioned in a previous post, I was not born to go down quietly. And besides, the statistics of a successful suicide do not fall in our favour. So for now, I will die trying to live.

i didn't come this far

A quick wrap up of what has brought me to this point:
The past 6 months have been tough, beginning with the diagnosis of early psychosis in October 2015, and followed by the experimentation with various anti-psychotics, none of which I could tolerate. November brought a horrible hospitalisation, lock up ward and suicide watch. December, the dreaded dreadful withdrawal from venlafaxine. In amongst all this, I met Lover, the conman, the alcoholic, the thief, who exploited me at my most vulnerable. And to add insult to injury, my doc believes I’m still in the process of withdrawal, and postponed the trial and error of anti-convulsants until April. So I remain inadequately medicated, lithium my only stablilizer.

But I’m tired of crying over spilled milk. It’s time to turn this shit around. Fall down, get back up, dust myself off.  See the doc on Monday, and hopefully get some nice, new drugs to make me smile again.

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Pretender playing charades

I have consistently been wearing full make-up for the first time in my life. Its a drag and I hate it but it hides the black rings under my eyes. It obscures the shadows and imperfections. Adds colour to my cheeks and makes my eyes bright. So they pop. I am an imposter with a flawless mask.

Oh yes I’m the great pretender
Adrift in a world of my own
too real is this feeling of make believe

People tell me how good I’m looking. How great I’m looking. So fine, so well, so marvelous, so healthy. I never knew depression looked so good on me. Now off venlafaxine, the feedback is I look lucid, present, in the moment. And I’ve slimmed down. As opposed to bloated, blank, slow, drugged and slurring my words. Oh wait, whats that’s I hear? Nothing. Just the demise of my dignity.

Currently undermedicated, I will soon be reinstated to slow, slurring zombie status. And, too tired to explain, I reinforce the deception with my own lies:

I’m fine thanks…. well thanks…. good…. great… fabulous… fucking aaaaaaaaaawesome!!!

 

Off balance, distracted and disturbed

Forgive me bloggers, for you are about to be confused. Welcome to my world.

Just throw a helmet on my head and call me Special. I’m off balance in mind and body, bumping into things and tripping over my own feet. They say Pride comes before a fall…. nooooooooooo, LOVER DOES – he caught me before I did the horizontal with the pavement. I also hit my forehead a nasty one on a window latch. Well, it is early for Easter, but I’m sporting a shiny egg-head on my noggin.

Cantankerous and angry mostly. Chit-chatty and talkative the next. Brooding and unresponsive. Tired but can’t sit still, won’t sleep there’s too much to do, rocking back and forth in the chair as we eat dinner. I just can’t stop the movement. Poor Lover has whiplash. I try to explain what and why, but even I don’t understand myself. He’s kind and tells me it’s okay. I hope it is.

Right now, I’m not the brightest light in the harbour. A few peas short of a casserole, I have turned distraction into an artform and deprived a village of its idiot.

I’m going to do the dishes”….. sits down at computer and fiddles, that reminds me, gets up, puts a DVD on, starts watching, but floor is dirty, starts mopping floor, stops mopping floor, there is a sudden urgency to have a vase of flowers in just that particular corner, the thought of flowers will not be extinguished, scissors in hand, skips off down the road in search of flowers, can’t find any and remembers doesn’t have a vase anyway, back home starts smoking a cigarette, curtains are blowing in the wind and need fixing, fiddles with curtains and tie backs, cigarette burns down, gets a thought, quick jot it down before it disappears, sits down at computer and fiddles.

Two hours later and the washing machine is spinning away. Confused Lover asks “Where’ve you been? I thought you were just going to do the dishes?”

Yes, I know, I’m sorry, I was….. but then……I got sidetracked because there was ……”

I never finish the sentence because my thoughts distract me and I forget what I was saying. Lover is kind, and tells me it’s okay. I hope it is. Because right now, I am the poster child for birth control.

All I got for christmas

Santa – And what did you get for christmas, Pieces?

Pieces – RAGING DIARRHEA, SANTA !!!!!!!!

Santa – Oh dear me tickle m’ whiskers, who on earth gave you such a shitty gift?

Pieces – VENLAFAXINE WITHDRAWAL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I thought it would be a fun weight-loss program. But its all just a load of crap.

To console Pieces, Santa offers her a gift he knows she’ll appreciate.

Pieces – Gee Santa, bogroll. I hope it’s at least 2 ply.

Santa – My job here is dung……

A gift that keeps on giving

So here I am, day 22 into venlafaxine withdrawal and much to my surprise, I’m still alive!

To be honest, the first two weeks were a blur. I don’t recall much except vertigo, bone-crushing headaches, lots of bodily functions and a strong conviction I was going to die.

But a new will scribbled down, and life carries on regardless. One week into withdrawal and I was scheduled to move into a new flat. Well, Lover saved the day and moved all our belongings. And then he just moved me from the bed in the old flat to the bed in the new flat. Since he packed and unpacked everything, trying to find a can opener or my favourite pyjamas is like going on an easter egg hunt – only he knows where anything is.

Venlafaxine withdrawal is certainly a process of one step forward, two steps back. Vertigo gets replaced by car sickness. You know the kind – just look at a car and you get sick. A drive to the shops is arduous. Two hours later, you’re not even in the car anymore but your head is still stuck down the loo. Such a delight…

It’s a gift that keeps on giving. Flu symptoms! Aches, pains, hot then cold, sweaty, cantankerous and miserable. Then, bouts of itchiness had me utterly convinced the new flat was infested with… with…. I dunno, something terrible! But Lover is itch-free and talked me down from burning the bedding and fumigating the flat.

The withdrawal is truly back-breaking. A lower back pain that laughs in the face of muscle relaxants, pain killers, anti-inflammatories, hot baths, cold compress, back rub, heating pad. There is no relief but time and patience. And while nausea is gently unlocking its grip on my stomach, and I am craving all things salty, the toilet is still my best friend. I shit you not. Everytime I race to answer nature’s call, my twisted mind can’t help but shout …

“Run Forrest, runnnnnnnnnn!”

S’true, it’s another symptom

I was recently hypomanic but thought it was just me being, well….. bipolar. But after some advice from a friend and some more research, I’ve discovered that hypomania is indeed a symptom of venlaflaxine withdrawal.

 

I know I’m heading into hypomania when I’m easily distracted, doing 5 things at once, not completely finishing anything, with a voice in my head going “lemme just do this, lemme just do that, lemme just do this before I do that, oh shit I forgot I was doing that, lemme just finish it, but not before I just do that other thing over there”.

roadrunner

This morning, all morning, in the scorching heat of summer, I was running around doing heaps but accomplishing very little. I finally bottomed out after lunchtime and made myself have a snooze. When I woke up, my IBS was shouting at me, berating me for overdoing things today. I have a most miserable stomach ache.

So here I lie, in the afternoon heat of summer, with my heating pad draped over my sore tummy. Eina! I need to stop forgetting I’m in the midst of a withdrawal so severe it’s been documented as being worse than opiate/heroin withdrawal.

Take a chill pill and let myself heal!

A whimper of a war cry

A new discovery about venlafaxine withdrawal – it’s an activity best enjoyed with company. Nothing like distraction to keep those fears and demons at bay. At least for a little while anyway.

Lover went to work today. Knowing I would be home alone I woke up this morning with The Fear perched on my chest. So heavy it had expelled all the air from my lungs, it’s face so close to mine it was only a blur. The Fear leaned forward and whispered these words in my ear:

choose

How do I live if I can’t breath? Without breathe, life is not sustainable. When I close my eyes The Fear is there. When I open my eyes The Fear is there. When I do laundry, make coffee, have a cigarette, The Fear is always there. It stalks me by day and invades my dreams at night. It keeps me frozen in place because I know it lies in wait for me.

I try a new mantra – this will pass, this will pass, this will pass, this will pass….. But the mantra fails as it morphs into – will this pass? Will this ever pass, I hope this passes, please let this pass, why is it not passing? Uh oh, I think I’m going to pass out.

I have no peace. When I try to rest The Fear accelerates my heartbeat and I feel sick and sweaty. A dread, a foreboding my constant affliction. My heart pounding inside my head and I chew anxiously on my thumb’s fingernail. A professional thief he is, The Fear. Stealing my peace, my patience and composure, my self-confidence, self-esteem and sorely testing my courage.

What was is Braveheart roared?

“They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom”

So, to The Fear, if I dare say….. You may take my body, but you’ll never take my mind….

This will pass, this will pass, this will pass, this will pass, this will pass, this will pass, this will pass, this will pass, this will pass, this will pass, this will pass, this will pass, this will pass, this will pass, this will pass……. I fucking hope this will pass…….