Not Quite Free

not quite free

not quite free

Not Quite Free.   So here I am.  I am on day 2 at zero.  I don’t know why I had this absolutely unrealistic idea that the moment I was no longer ingesting this heinous substance that the Universe would unfurl in pure holy delight and I would hear the angels weeping and singing heavenly choruses for their delight of it.

Ya, so that didn’t happen.  I woke up dizzy and exhausted after a broken nightmare filled sleep.  The vertigo has kept me planted securely to my computer chair most of the morning…it keeps the room from rapidly hoisting up and rotating around me in the most unpleasant of ways.   I am cranky…(and by cranky I mean psychotically wanting to effing claw peoples eyes out.) My body hurts and I am waging war with the nausea again.  I feel like hammered shit.  And that’s ok. Life goes on…and now it goes on without Effexor.

If I can pass on ANYTHING of value to the folks going through this its this – LIFE GOES ON! One of the most insidious effects of going through this process is that, because we feel so miserable physically, we isolate.  We hole up in our little detox cocoon and determine that w will stick our little heads out when the process is done.  DON’T DO THAT. That is a one way ticket to depressionville…lets not go there.

I know its hard – trust me, I do…but you cannot let Effexor steal your life. I know you feel like shit – many days I do too. Here’s the thing…you can feel like shit isolated and alone and ensure a rousing bout of depression…or you can feel like shit and be surrounded by people you love.  You can feel like shit and go to a movie…you can feel like shit and spend the day on a sailboat! (TAKE DRAMAMINE)

The point is this…if you allow this process to consume you, it will.  If you live your life, fill your emotional and spiritual cup, then this process stays in perspective.  It is a physical process with global effects.  I refuse to allow it to be a global process.

Effexor is a medication. It doesn’t define who I am…though at times in this process I have felt as though it does.  Even when I feel defeated, i know I am not.  I’m still here.  I’m still in the fight, and that is something I have eternal gratitude for…even if I’m not quite free.

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The Home Stretch

Well, here we are.  Almost two months have passed since I began my journey to get off of Effexor.  I am in the homestretch.

When I started my regimen to get off of Effexor I was taking my 75mg dose. That consisted of approximately 80 grains of medication per capsule.  I reduced initially 25%, then continued to reduce an additional 10% every seven days.  When my body would tolerate it, I would reduce a little faster.  Some weeks that worked…some weeks I held onto every day, every grain, waiting for the side effects to let go of me.

For the last few weeks, as the amount in the capsules gets less I have reduced about every 3 days. Currently I am at 11 grains of medication per capsule – almost 1/8 of where I started.  I cannot express the gratitude I have to be seeing the light at the end of this tunnel.

I would like to tell you that I feel fantastic and invigorated every day and that the side effects have long since gone by the wayside.  I would like to, but I cant.  That isn’t honest.  What I CAN tell you is that, yes I still have side effects, but they are manageable. I still battle overwhelming fatigue and bouts of vertigo and nausea.  I still have nights where there is little respite from the joint pain…AND it is SO worth it.  I’ve found some amazing things recently.

I’ve found my laughter…that belly aching, couldn’t stop it if I tried laughter.  I’ve  found healthy tears; the kind you cry when you see something amazingly beautiful like your granddaughters first dance recital; the kind you cry when you feel hurt and your spirit needs release. I’ve found peace, and I will take peace over numb any day.

I guess ultimately what I have found is me.  I forgot how much I liked me.  And THAT my friends is worth every moment of what I’ve gone through!

The journey continues…

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I haven’t posted in a while, but my process still continues. 

i am down to 1/3 of my starting dosage, and every day i find pieces of my self that were missing; many of which i didnt even realize were missing.  i have found the tenderhearted side of myself again, as well as the ‘take no prisoners’ strength i have so often needed to rely on.   

i cry a lot easier.  Sometimes thats frustrating, but it is who i am – i’ve just blcoed it a lot because i was so numb.  My sleep is REALLY jacked up.  i cannot blame this on the effexor withdrawal as such…i know this sleep pattern was an issue before the effexor. 

i still go through days where i am overwhelmed with nausea and vertigo, but it tends to come more in spells that last a few hours.  Some days i have terrible pervasive joint pain…that is the hardest to deal with…it can impact my mood if i am not aware of my body.

i still have bouts of heart palpitations. sweats, electrical jolts et al…but i am coming out the other side.  i see the light at the end of the tunnel.  i am decreasing at a faster rate and it is not increasing my symptoms.  i am in the home stretch.

This has not been and still is not easy.  i am grateful for the ocean of support i have received from family, friends, emails and comments.  i am getting comments from those who have known me for a long time that they are seeing the real me again for the first time in a long time…and for many in my life they are seeing ‘me’ for the first time.  This makes me happy.

The journey continues and i continue on. Life is a daring and bold responsbility and i am proud of myself and of my progress.  There were times i never thought id make it to this point.  I realize each day how blessed i am. 

Ignoring the Temptress – Day 14

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Most days i have not even entertained the thought of stepping backward or slowing down my reduction regimine.  Most Days im hanging in there pretty well.  Today was not that day.

In  nutshell, today sucked fried monkey ass. Physically, my entire body aches – like the flu, but deep in my joints.  My blood sugar is wacky.  i feel light headed and emotionally wounded for absolutely no reason. I want to cry. I want to scream at someone. I want to say FTS!  And for one brief moment, the temptress popped into my head, with  voice like a phone sex operator crooning…oh honey, it’s ok.  You can slow this down…hell you dont have to do it at all!

My response was to quickly get my camera and let it be my voice.  The act of creating…of stepping out of my own way to step deeper into myself is always healing – like salve to a wound, it sooths.

The voice of the temptress scared me.  It reminded me that it is the times that are the most challenging that i must be most vigilent.  Today was one more victory, though it doesnt feel like it.  I guess its ok if sometimes victory feels like hell.

The sun keeps rising and so do I – Day 12

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Every day i wake up and the sun pokes at my eyes through the gaps in the vertical blinds above my bed.  Every day i wake up, and like the sun, i rise.  Some days, i don’t want to.  Some days the nausea and the vertigo and the emotional incontinence make the thought of being curled up in my enormous blue fleece wolf blanket the most tempting thought occupying  my weary mind.  But the sun’s ever insistant jabbing prods at me to get my ass out of my bed and into my life.

I rise because, regardless of how i am feeling in that moment, i will acknowledge that i am one day closer to my goal of being free.  I rise because it is a celebration of my strength and courage to do so, and to invest entirely in my life, even when circumstance challenges me to the contrary.  I rise because i know there are others that are suffering and need a place to look to know that , yes, they too can rise.  I rise because it is necessary.  This is about more than surviving – it is about reclaiming life.

There are moments i forget.  I wont even attempt to feign that my ‘eyes on the prize’ attitude never wanes.  My process isn’t perfect, but my acceptance that there is a perfection in progress – a perfect imperfection, is unwavering.  There are times i am engulfed in self-pity.  There are times when the last thing on earth i want to do is take one more damn supplement or remedy. There are days that i go from zero to bitchy to whiny to wounded to peachy keen within the same hour. There are times i am convinced it is never going to end.  But it will. 

The only important thing at the end of the day is that i know, without fail, in the morning the sun will rise…and so will i.

Practice Radical Self-Care – Day 7

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Today’s video blog is on practicing radical self care.   It’s challenging, but I am dedicated to it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4jolAmHn4o

Art for Sanity – day 6

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No flowery prose today.  No stalworth wisdom.  Today was hard…very hard.  Today i am holding on to my self by a thread, and that thread is art.  Giving life to what i cannot express with words through the lens of my camera.  Tomorrow is a new day.

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