Goodbye antidepressants, hello new old me!

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Happy new year everyone! Hope 2016 has been treating you well so far! I am back at school and as always, thoroughly enjoying my courses.

I just finished and wrote my exam for the Mental Illness course, which was just as fascinating as the rest of them. Before I continue this post, I want to warn you that it will be ALL over the place, as my brain is NOT in its best state right now.

Something from my most recent class spurred me and got me thinking, and I ended up going off my antidepressants (Cipralex 20mg) cold turkey last Friday. After learning that there is a LOT that can be done naturally for anxiety and depression (and other mental illnesses), I decided enough was enough, and after about 3 years on the medication, I had decided it wasn’t for me anymore.

I had been thinking about this for a few months before now, while Bart and I discussed our future, especially getting pregnant and having kids. There have been studies done on mothers who are pregnant while on Cipralex, and the effects on the baby are anything far from good, so I knew I would have to be off of the medication when we decided to have kids (after we get married next year).

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Now that I know that there are hormonal imbalances, lifestyle, stress, diet, nutritional deficiencies, etc. that can have an affect on your brain, and cause mental illness, I decided I was going to go the natural route, just like how I’m currently treating my fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and chronic fatigue. I have some MAJOR hormonal imbalances, specially, I am estrogen dominant, which causes very severe PMS symptoms 7-10 days before my period, and with that, I get VERY irritable, depressed, anxious, angry, and the list goes on – Bart can tell you he wants to be nowhere near me during that time, and I honestly don’t blame him. Before this point, the symptoms were being managed by taking the birth control pill, but after learning all of the horrible things that pill was doing to my body after over 10 years of use, I cut that out! Being estrogen dominant means that at a certain point during my menstrual cycle, my body has too much estrogen, and not enough progesterone. Luckily I’m working on fixing that with my naturopath by using natural progesterone cream and a change to my diet, as well as some detoxing. I am also extremely deficient in the B vitamins, and probably don’t get enough essential fatty acids (good fat) in my diet, to help the brain. I have also been through quite a few traumas over the last few years, which have probably caused a bit of structure change in my brain. Anyways, the main thing is, I am working on healing my body and brain NATURALLY, and know that the brain and body are NOT two separate parts, they function together as ONE.

I am now on just one medication, which feels like a god send for me! I am still taking flexeril 10 mg every night in order to relax my body enough to sleep, but because this medication causes EXTREME fatigue in the morning, not to mention severe brain fog, I want to be off that medication soon as well. The natural supplements I’m taking as per my naturopath’s recommendation seem to relax me enough to sleep, but I won’t be experimenting with that until my body has recovered from the withdrawal symptoms of the cipralex. The first few days were ok, but after that I started suffering from SEVERE nausea and dizziness, had major concentration issues, my memory went out the window (and it was already bad before this), and I have been having trouble forming proper sentences. I wrote my final exam on Tuesday for my course, and I won’t be surprised if I didn’t do that well – I couldn’t concentrate to study, and when I wrote the exam my brain felt like it was COMPLETELY fried. I’m not disappointed though because I read the textbook, took great notes in class, and know my stuff on mental illness, so am not worried about this section of the final exam in August, or helping clients who suffer from a mental illness.

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Last year I came off of the VERY high dose of narcotics I was on for my chronic pain, weaning down slowly but surely with the care of my pain management doctor, and I have to say the withdrawal symptoms from that medication were nowhere near as bad as these ones have been. It has been a nightmare. I am now taking gravol for the nausea and dizziness every 6-8 hours, and drinking ginger tea when I can. The drug is now completely out of my body, but it’s the leftover ramifications of what it did to my brain that I’m experiencing.

This is not a post to warn others not to take these medications, since it obviously did me some good during a time that I really desperately needed them. But now that I feel more stable, and know there are natural ways to help myself, I would rather go that route in treating all of my illnesses (which by the way, are all interconnected, because nothing in the body functions separately). You will find that most individuals diagnosed with fibromyalgia suffer from some sort of mental illness, and it’s most likely because their chemistry is completely off due to all of the imbalances happening in the body.

The good news is, the side effects I was experiencing while on cipralex have gone away – I am no longer constipated and am finally very regular again. This is huge for me, because as I learn about how important proper digestion is for healing chronic illness, I know this will help my body in the long run to feel better. And secondly, my sex drive has come back. While I was on the medication I had absolutely NO sex drive, which is not good for you, your partner, or your relationship. Thank god for a supportive fiance like Bart, he puts up with SO much. And for me, the most important side effect that is gone is the fact that I have my personality back. While on the medication, I wasn’t depressed, but I also wasn’t happy. I couldn’t really feel any feelings. If I wanted to cry, I really couldn’t. Nothing would set off my emotions. I also felt like quite the angry, mean, hurtful individual. I look back at my relationship with Bart (and others) and wonder how he never left me after some of the ways I spoke to him, as well as some friends and family. I am very grateful that he, my family, and friends have stood by me. The real, caring, loving, Lex is finally back, and she’s here to stay. I am a VERY sensitive person (I think it was passed on from my dad hehe) and I can now cry at the drop of a hat – good and bad lol! It feels good to feel feelings again, and not feel like a cold blur walking around. Today when I was talking to my mom about this, she was very supportive, and did mention that I didn’t seem happy or sad on the medication, just there. How is that a way to live?!

I’m so excited about what the future holds for me health wise, as well as professionally. I can’t wait to eventually be on NO pharmaceutical drugs, and let my body heal itself through exercise, proper diet, stress management, love, and supplements. What better way to live? 🙂 I have faith that I will eventually heal myself from the fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses I suffer from, and I will then help others get there as well. I am beyond excited to eventually feel healthy, and to then practice in holistic nutrition, and help others like myself.

Bart and my mom are going to look out for signs of my depression and just keep tabs on me to make sure I’m okay while I go through this process. I know my anxiety is pretty bad, and was on the medication (it didn’t do much to help it), so I’m hoping to use some exercises I learned from my psychologist a few years ago to try and get my constant worrying, and anxious feelings under some sort of control. 90% of what we worry about will never happen, so why worry? And I also need to stop focusing on the past, and thinking about the future, I need to live in the now.

So that’s my update on life 🙂 The future looks good!

I begin a new class called “Preventive Nutrition” tomorrow with the most amazing naturopathic doctor / teacher, and the book we’re reading is fascinating. I’m about to continue my reading with a nice cup of tea, my cozy blanket, and the pup snuggled on the floor next to me (I won’t let him on the couch, I know, I’m the mean one).

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

xoxo Lex

 

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2 thoughts on “Goodbye antidepressants, hello new old me!

  1. Hi, I love your blog. I came across it when I googled “antidepressant roller coaster”. I…AM…DONE with the side effects of so many antidepressants for the last 20 years. I grew up on panick attacks and have had different levels of depression and anxiety/ADD over the years. My doctor is part naturalpath and part conservative. She has been wonderfully supportive (being a “user” herself lol) and resourceful. However she insists that a mix of supplements and a prescription med is right for me because the supplements aren’t strong enough. I’m in the middle of another med change with the zaps, tiredness, insomnia, crazy thoughts…However, I am so tired of explaining “where I was”, meaning to a boss when I missed a meeting due to a long bathroom break to calm myself down. Or to my daughter when I couldn’t focus on the conversation or was too down to bake cookies with her. Or to a friend who I had to cancel on because of depression or med changes. Or to my husband who has to fold the four loads of laundry that I felt good starting but an attack set in so he had to finish. You’ve inspired me to look further into a full natural path route. I believe in the Power of Now, bonding with nature, eating “feel good” foods and exercise so I’m hoping this combo will bring me to where you are. Thank you so much, your work has directly touched a person.

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    • Oh wow – thank you for your kind words, I’m so glad my writing has reached you, that’s my goal. I want others to feel like they’re not alone. Unfortunately, although I will be a nutritionist in a month, and I believe in the natural route, I do now also believe that sometimes we do need the chemical drugs too. I had to go back on my antidepressant and my sleep medication. I’m hoping to eventually be off both of them, but because it takes cells in our bodies 7 years to turn over, I don’t think t will be anytime before then. I applaud you for doing your own research. You know what’s best for you, but just remember if you have to take drugs, don’t feel ashamed or mad at yourself, it’s out of your control.
      Xoxo

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