First Two Weeks Tapering Off Antidepressants

I officially began my lower dose of Effexor XR July 23, from 150 mg to 112.5 mg (37.5 mg is the smallest capsule size). Overall withdrawal has been non-severe, which is good. First few days I did have severe tension headaches, but ibuprofen took care of that. However, I did have a couple of weird episodes this past week that left me a bit shaken. I’m usually extremely organized and highly alert, but this past week I ran two red lights and pulled out in front of someone in the parking lot at work. These may not sound like much, but for me, I normally don’t do these things. Ever. The first run through the red light was at work, and almost doesn’t count as the red was turning red as I went through it (but still, I don’t normally even do this). The second red light I ran was just outside of work around 5:30 a.m. I was sitting at the red light, first one at the light. There were cars beside me and in back of me. All I remember is I started fooling with the radio, I looked up, actually saw the red light, but then proceeded to take off. O_O It’s almost as if I blacked out for a split second. And as I was driving off my brain came back online: “HOLY FUCK! YOU JUST RAN THAT RED LIGHT!!! WTF ARE YOU DOING???!!!” I freaked out. I can’t even tell you if there were cars trying to turn (from the other side, which would be a right-hand turn for them). The parking lot situation was nearly identical: I was pulling out of my row (this was the end of the work day), and I’m here to tell you that I would have bet my house that I was completely clear to do so. But, as I was coming out of the row, I then heard someone laying on a car horn. It took me a second to figure out that it was coming from behind me, a car that very narrowly missed running into me. Jeez, I felt like a total ass. But again, I felt like I missed a nanosecond of time.

Has anything like this ever happened to you? Given my antidepressant tapering, my first thought was that my brain isn’t functioning at full capacity. But, it’s also been a very stressful two weeks: on top of beginning to taper, we had to put down our beloved 15-year old Chow Kiara (and now there are no dogs in the house – it’s so weird); we experienced THREE water leaks in the basement (finished basement, I need to add) in the matter of THREE days (seriously Universe, WTH?); and we are still experiencing a lovely mouse infestation (which kills me because we have no choice but to set traps and kill these poor things). Plus, sleep has been hit or miss (part of the tapering? Not sure). So perhaps it’s all just stress. It’s impossible to really pinpoint it unless I get a brain scan to make sure everything is firing the way it should. But, I refuse to get crazy over it. Part of the recovery (of both the tapering and dealing with losing Kiara and having an empty house) is recognizing the issues. The latest red light incident was a real wake-up for me to get my shit together. The Universe is getting pretty tired of covering my ass so nothing truly serious happens.

In terms of art, it’s been very slow, mainly because of dealing with Kiara and all the house issues. I’ve accepted that sometimes life interjects itself into your well-laid plans and it’s better to roll with it than to fight it (and get all upset and weepy that life sucks – I may have a day or two of this these past two weeks). I have progressed on a palm tree colored pencil drawing I’m doing (see below):

but if you look at the top you will see where I starting losing patience with the process. Palm fronds are a tad more difficult to draw than to paint, at least to get them to look half-way decent. At the end of lunch Thursday I was annoyed at myself for doing this, for losing my patience. However, I recognized it. By recognizing it, I can overcome it. And I will.

I wrote in my journal a few times last week that I am stronger than the Effexor and that I will overcome it. I do believe this. I believe I can handle life’s ups and downs without the need for medication (even losing Kiara).  I want to really feel life now (but not by running red lights!) instead of using antidepressants as a crutch. Overall, I do feel stronger mentally despite the few hiccups noted earlier. One step at a time, that’s all we can every really do. Onward and upward…

Peace, love, happiness and harmony always.



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