After much thought, and nearly two weeks of unbearable pain, nausea, and exhaustion, I have decided to wean myself off of my anti-depressant medication. I was trying to hold off until I next saw my psychiatrist in September, but it was too debilitating.
While the reduction in my anxiety can only be attributed to my new lifestyle – being at home, rarely having the phone ring, rarely going out, and exercise (which I haven’t been able to keep up the past few days due to the pain in my joints) – I can already feel the side effects tapering off as I reduced from 15mg of Cipralex to 10mg.
I did phone my psychiatrist and left her a message regarding my plans. It is likely she will want to try again with a different medication, but I would really like to work on lifestyle options, and only go back on anti-depressants as a last resort. I hope that I am able to find the words, when the time comes, to explain that to her.
I have always had bad reactions to this type of medication. I am trying to be responsible about this, and not quit outright, but looking towards increasing again to 20mg on Thursday when I already felt so horrible all of the time was too much for me.
My guess is that my sensitivity to medication (which I have had my whole life) comes along the same lines as my sensory issues and food issues which are common for people with Autism. My psychiatrist doesn’t know much about Autism (my counselor does, however) and so is trying to treat the severe anxiety and depression because that is what she knows how to do.
I think there are better ways to help me, however, than with medication. If they could help me find a lifestyle that would help in reducing my anxiety (which would also help with the depression, as it is when I become overwhelmed that I am most likely to fall into depression), help me with my sensory issues (and help my husband to understand these as well), and provide therapy for the traumas in my life I would have a much more positive response to their interventions.
There will likely always be the anxiety and some depressive episodes in my life. I have had a lot of life experiences that bring it about, and have sensory issues that are so severe at times that they also cause anxiety. It doesn’t seem quite right to me to think that my mental health issues are caused by chemical imbalances, when I have so many very real issues that have caused them. If we can deal with those issues, perhaps the mood disorders can be brought down to a more manageable level.