A Story On Antidepressant Withdrawal

Let's Talk WithdrawalMy good friend, Megan, has been such a blessing to our family during this newborn stage. She brought us several meals, is always eager to hold the baby even when she’s crying, change her diaper and rock her to sleep. When they say “it takes a village,” she is the kind of community and generousity you want in your life. 

Anyway, I have been wanting to share more personal stories of health on this blog. As anyone who has been through chronic pain or unexplained illness or battled continuously against health issues knows, it’s crucial to hear that you are not alone. It is so encouraging to know others in a similar spot and be able to work through it together, even virtually. 

Megan recently shared her health story on a podcast interview.  Once I heard it, I knew I had to share it with you.  While this story is specifically focused on her experience taking antidepressants, I related to it in so many ways- being so desperate to feel better and believing the doctors knew best, trusting that the pills they were giving me would be safe and healing, only to end up worse.
Megan’s story is full of the range of emotions that any of us go through when dealing with chronic pain or an unexplained illness: one day hopeful and the next filled with hopelessness.  If you are in that place and looking for some encouragement today, or if you are on or considering taking antidepressants, you must listen to Megan’s story.  Here’s a summary of what they discuss (from James Moore at Let’s Talk Withdrawal):

  • How Megan had sleep difficulties and how her doctor prescribed an antidepressant for insomnia
  • That Megan didn’t even know what she was taking was an antidepressant
  • After 2 years, Megan started to think about coming off her medication. Her doctor at the time advised her to withdraw over 2 weeks after Megan had been taking the antidepressant for 2 years
  • How Megan found the increase in suicidal thinking the most frightening effect of withdrawal but that she did not realise at the time that this was caused by stopping the drug
  • How no one understood that what Megan was experiencing was caused by antidepressant withdrawal
  • How doctors prescribed more medication to try and counter the symptoms of withdrawal
  • How Megan had to go back on her antidepressant and double the dose to remove the withdrawal effects
  • That the prospect of starting a family led Megan to consider stopping again and she then found an entire community of others who were struggling with the drugs themselves
  • How, having realised that her initial attempt to stop was too fast, Megan then decided to change to a different anti anxiety medication
  • How Megan planned to take four months to withdraw but still found this too fast and she experienced a wide range withdrawal effects
  • How a doctor prescribed an additional three medications on top of the antidepressant and anti anxiety medication
  • How those withdrawal effects forced Megan to go back up to 20mg of her antidepressant, meaning that Megan felt trapped
  • How the website survivingantidepressants.org was a major resource that Megan used to help her maker her tapering plan
  • That Megan used a compounding pharmacy to help her taper but it was expensive
  • How sometimes withdrawal effects can recur years after someone has stopped an antidepressant
  • How people should be very careful to recognize that suicidal thinking can arise from starting, changing dose or stopping an antidepressant

Listen to it at Let’s Talk Withdrawal or on iTunes.

I’m so proud of Megan for being so vulnerable in sharing her story and for her persistence to trust God in finding healing someday.  I hope you will also be encouraged by her outlook and reminded of how important it is to always do your own research before taking pharmaceuticals- they all have side effects.

A Year in Review & Looking Forward

New Years Eve2015 is upon us… does anyone else find that as insane as I do?  I really feel like 2014 just flew by.  It was a a pretty crazy year for me, with an amazing  trip to Europe and fun moments with friends & family, but also lots of work (aka stress) the rest of the year that took over my life and effected my health. As I look back, I am so thankful for all that I’ve learned and I’m ready to tackle 2015 with some big resolutions.  They aren’t much different than what I was inspired by in Europe, I am only more determined by not accomplishing them in 2014:

  • Nourish my body – I’ve really taken a step back in what I eat due to convenience and it’s certainly not making me feel great.  My goals for this year are to meal-plan weekly to ensure I am getting adequate protein and veggies, to shop local & organic at the Farmer’s Market at least twice per month, and to cook from scratch at a minimum of 5 times per week. This used to be routine for me, so I know it’s realistic to achieve. I am not really a calorie counter or weight watcher, but I am committed to consistently tracking what I eat on an app and making goals to lose weight & inches where needed in order to keep myself accountable.
  • Get moving – I need to exercise more, plain and simple.  I got a Jawbone UP 24 for Christmas (loving it so far, by the way!) and it is astounding how little I move throughout the day.  I’ll never reach my step goal if I don’t do some intentional fitness daily.  I want to explore more resistance training to build muscle and get back on my spin bike that’s just sitting upstairs.  And, again, I want to take more walks with my sweet puppy who so loves them. Belle Walk
  • Learn to relax – I am still trying to figure out what this means and how to accomplish it.  I am hoping the two above goals aid in reducing stress, but I truly want to learn how to leave work at the office.  I want to come home and be able to focus on my family and my health. Reading & writing are both so relaxing for me, and I want to read more health books, do a bit more research and share about it here on this blog.  One main area I want to explore more this year is essential oils.  I have been using them for a couple of years now and seeing great results, so I recently became a distributor with Young Living in hopes to share my experience with more people.  There is so much to learn about these natural oils from plants that God provided to heal us.  Plus, I have recently discovered how effective they are at helping me relax – I have the “Joy” and “Stress Away” blends in my diffuser right now bringing loveliness to my home.

I’ve said it before, but I am always astounded by how many people this blog has reached.  I started it on New Year’s Day only 2 years ago thinking it would just be a way to keep myself accountable and share with friends and family.  This year, I reached over 10,000 views!  To close out 2014, I wanted to do a recap of the most popular posts of this year:

2nd Year Running Most Read Overall – Kombucha Home-Brew

Most Pinned on Pinterest – Health Foodie Series

Most Reader-Shared – Healthy Hygiene Routine & Part 2: Deodorant

Most Read Book Review – Coconut Oil

Most Read Post in 2014 – Emphasis on Hopeful

If you want to make sure you don’t miss any future posts, be sure to hit the “Follow” button at the top right corner of my site to get an email whenever I publish a new blog.  If you have any suggestions for topics you would like to see more of, please leave a comment and let me know.  It’s certainly motivating if I know it’s something people want to hear about; most often it’s just a surprise after I write it!

Wishing you a healthy & hopeful 2015!