This month has been groundbreaking for me from many perspectives and let me share my little but monumental steps with you.
For my chronic depression I was taking 450 mgs of Effexor XR (antidepressant/anti-anxiety), this was the amount initially prescribed to me to get me out of the deepest, darkest and most suicidal times; this was over a few years back. My brain has been on Effexor XR for about ten years approximately, on and off as I went through the process of trial and error of most medications out there, but this one was most constant.
Being on a medication for so long and might I add, one that has not been fully and completely researched through generation and generation with solid results as this is a fairly newer product is unsettling to say the least! My scientific self touts it not rational. But my life was on the line when I was in deep despair back then.
Last year beginning of 2009 I decided to move out of the condo I was living in as I thought a larger space to do my art would be a positive progressive step. I did not though expect this transition to become SHIT TRULY HIT THE FAN experience which ensued. HORRIFIC was 2009. I had lost all of what I had gained from militaristic effort and sheer determination, positive thinking, healthy and well being focused life created for myself from the year or so of owning my life, my space, my self.
Yesterday I heard myself say to my therapist; "I seriously did not think I could and would ever be as healthy as I was at College Park (the condo I was living in downtown, Bay and College)". This year has stripped me of all sense of self, comfort, safety, security, trust, believing, owning, progress, stability, and of all of my senses. My life was put on hold. I stopped listening to music, I stopped watching my beloved classical ballet and most recent creative dance world DVDs, my paint dried out, my journals; written and drawn ceased, dancing around for fun pirouetted out the window, smiles and laughs too few, many tears, numerous times I questioned hope, belief, strength within, myself and life. I did not realize how significantly affected I was until now. I was walking on very thin and dangerous grounds; either of having to go back into hospital or begin having suicidal thoughts, urge to hurt myself, or going further into the abyss of depression, losing relations, losing myself.
On top of the flood that opened 2009, the landlords who turned into green eyed greedy monsters who I am still struggling to solve a legal dispute, living on the floor of my parent's condo, finding a new place which was not ideal at all, my body started failing on me. I thought as always it must be a symptom of the depression but this time I had a different gut feeling and sensations that were definitely without doubt physical; heart arrhythmia, extreme temperature fluctuations, lack of energy, constant fatigue, muscle spasms, dizziness, fainting spells, light headedness, foggy mind, loss of short term memory, sluggishness, and the list goes on... in the end the doctors and we all concluded it was the Effexor XR and its ridiculously high dosage I was on. By the way this dosage is usually given to physically healthy mid age grow men; I am not grown man, neither was I physically healthy (from all the damage from my eating disorder, overdoses, years and years of abuse from classical ballet training, etc), and I'm like this little pixie thing of a creature. SO no wonder I was having physical symptoms!
I need to warn anyone thinking of taking Effexor or Effexor XR to really think again as there are many other medications out there and this one is not necessarily the best one; Effexor has huge side effects, ridiculously awful and deadly withdrawal effects, it is one powerful sucker... AND if you are planning on going on a cocktail with already existing meds or with other medications, I highly highly recommend you getting a second opinion or another mode of treatment (as from experience the effects will only worsen and make brain functioning very complicated). The physical effects of taking and coming off Effexor XR is just not worth it in my opinion.
I have been lowering my dosage 37.5 mgs every month now for the last how many months and right now I am down to 300 mgs from 475 mgs and physically I am starting to feel a bit better but in terms of depression, there is just an 'unknown' so at the moment I am keeping it steady at 300 mgs as I feel most safe.
It is a FINE BALANCE.
The medication is only one of the many things that have been significant this month, and although I started out saying I would list them all, well, another time will do as life is too full an adventure and words too few as are minutes, and my eyes and fingers are tired of the computer.