Thursday, July 2, 2009

I Guess It's Been A While....

It seems a little funny to me that I started this blog as a form of therapy to help me deal with my journey down the winding road of MS, and yet, when it gets rough the last thing I feel like doing is writing about it.

I've made some decisions over the last few months that I feel were the best for me.
First of all, I decided to stop taking the antidepressant that I was put on the same day I was diagnosed.
I was taking Effexor XR 75 mgs, two a day, which adds up to 150 mgs.
Now, I'm not going to bash antidepressants because, honestly, I don't know how I would have made it through the first six months, hell even the first year, after my diagnosis without them. They made me numb and during those times, numbness was very welcome.
After I hit my year mark, even though I was feeling better physically at times, mentally I was in a very negative place. Pessimism has never really been my thing, you know?
But more than that, even though I wasn't "depressed", I also noticed that I wasn't anything else either. I was never happy or excited, I didn't look forward to things the way I used to. I was just here, a body on the floor, going through the motions but never truly experiencing any of it.
I couldn't make decisions for myself, even about simple things like what to make for dinner. I would stand in front of the freezer, door open, staring blankly at nothing and then I always ended up texting The Hubs to ask him what he wanted for dinner.
I decided that it was time for me to see how I was without the anti's.
I honestly felt like I was wandering into something unknown. I didn't know myself with MS without the numbness.
I wish I had taken a picture of The Hubs' and my MS specialist's faces when I told them at one of my appointments that I was going to quit taking the Effexor. My specialist said "Oh, it's not working? I'll write you a script for something better then."
Then I sprung it on them.."No they aren't working but, for now, my plan is to wean off of the Effexor and then see how I am without antidepressants."
{SILENCE}This picture is almost perfect because this is basically the expression on both of their faces.
They both tried to talk me out of it but, for the first time in over a year, I had made a decision and I was sticking with it. The ironic thing, atleast to me, is that they feel they should watch me like a ticking bomb now since I've stopped them. I didn't say it but I thought "You should have been watching before, when I was still on them." But I didn't think it was neccessary to draw unwanted attention to myself.
I started weaning myself off of them, hoping that if I did it slowly I wouldn't go through withdrawal from them. It didn't work and the withdrawal was awful!
For two and a half weeks I couldn't keep any food down, I was in the most intense pain that went throughout my entire body, and I didn't have the energy to do anything. I also lost 22 pounds in those two and a half weeks. That was rough.
But I stayed strong and kept myself focussed on the end goal: I wanted to have feelings again. I wanted to see if any of my old self still existed inside of my body.
And eight days in, I knew it was going to be worth it.
I was getting the girls ready for school one morning and the oldest monkey did something goofy and it made me laugh. Both of them stopped what they were doing and stared at me like I had grown horns. When I asked them what was wrong, the oldest monkey replied "You haven't laughed like that in a long time!" and the center monkey followed up with "That was a real laugh, not like when you're doing a fake laugh just to make us happy!"
I didn't know what to say but my mind went insane. I started thinking things like "I thought I was doing great at playing the role of a real person but they knew anyway. What have I been giving them all this time?"
And now, six weeks free of them, I feel better than I have in a long, long time.
That's not to say I haven't had my bad moments but, honestly, who doesn't have them? They're a part of life, whether we like it or not, right?
Honestly, I'll gladly welcome those bad moments if it means that they will be followed up by some really great ones too.
And, on the brighter side, I've found that some of the "Original Me" is still in here and she's been dying to get out.
Go figure....


Mike said...

Just so you know I really am smiling right now. A pick-me-up in a crazy world is always welcome.

I was diagnosed 7 months ago. My doctor did talk to me about taking something for the eventual emotional stresses I would experience. I chose not to take them at all.

I was on some stuff way back when my moms cancer spread to her brain and I did not like it. I always felt like I was in a dream and could hardly move.

Be that as it may I do still stand in front of the fridge staring blankly at the shelves wondering.... more often than not it has nothing to do with food. I sometimes burst into tears to the strangest songs that show up on the radio. Now, try to imagine a 6'3" man in a pickup truck pulling up next to you at a stop light bawling like a baby. Scary vision I can assure you.

I try to take it a day at a time and even then I try to break that day up into different parts. I have really good days and I have had a few really bad ones. In the end I still manage to drag my butt up and move forward. It's hard but I do it.

I wish the best for you and hope that your family (and especially your husband) make you laugh at least once a day. I try to make myself laugh (and I don't count looking at myself naked) every chance I get and I feel better for it.

Best wishes!

Denver Refashionista said...

I think you made a good choice for you. I try an antidepressant but it didn't agree with me and now I feel better med-free anyway.

Priscilla said...

It's great to hear that you were able to go off your meds!!

Webster said...

Reading of your kids' reaction to your laughing was priceless - and gave you exactly what you may have needed - a knowing that following your gut is always the right thing to do.

I'm happy for you.

Tracy Rambles On And On said...

Mike- I'm glad I could make you smile. I agree about the pick-me-up.
So, you're still kind of a newbie to this whole MS thing too?
I wish I had taken the time to think about the meds in the beginning but, honestly, I was terrified.
Having been a nurse before my sahm days, the only people I saw with MS were not "happy endings" if you will.
You know, someone told me that, with MS, we can't just take it a day at a time, we have to go minute by minute and sometimes by seconds. I couldn't agree more.
I'll be looking for you at the stop lights!

To Everyone: Please, don't be offended by any of this, if you're on the anti's and they're helping then I support that 100%.
I'm not trying to discredit the meds, Lord knows I've had two times now in my life where I firmly believed they helped me survive.
We all know, hopefully, by now that each of us needs to do what's best.

Denver- I will say that in the beginning of all of this, they helped but after a while, even I was sick of walking around in a coma. I needed some of me back, you know?

Priscilla-Thank you!

Webster- you have no idea how right you are! I was getting so sick from going off of them and I was considering thowing in the towel. But all it took was that little conversation from my kids and I was back in the fight.

Skye said...

Oh Hun, I'm so glad the monkey's made you laugh and stick to your guns! I knew quitting the anti's would help you. I'm still doing happy dances that you are more in control of you now, even if other parts aren't going so good!

Kelley said...

I'm happy you made this decision yourself, notified your doctor and stuck to it. I know how hard it is, since I've been there, done that, and got the T-shirt.

Enjoy feeling again, even the crappy stuff!


Chrystal said...

Thats funny Im on the same meds but they are supposed to be for anixety. I take 75mg 3x a day. But have you ever noticed that depression, anixety and stress are all related, I mean I have stress which causes me to have anixety, then leads me into me feeling bad for snapping at one of the boys for something so small, then I get depressed about being a bad mom. Its like an ongoing circle. I don't know how you do it. I have tried many of times to wean myself but I can't do it. When I am not on them is when I am not me. My doctor told me that some people can just handle stuff while others can't. I can't handle anything. Its like my brain never shuts off. So then I take a magic sleeping pill to put me to sleep. I also have to take blood pressure meds, because my children have made it go up (during pregnancies) and it just won't come down.

For you to do what you do makes you like a hero. I think thats what I love most about you, that even in the darkest hours you seem to find a little sense of humor.

Dabble and the Mad Sow said...

Hey, fellow one-yearer! Love the blog. Please feel free to wander over to mine:
I'm so interested in your experiences with Effexor. I recently asked to have my dosage increased as I was feeling too blue to go on, but it is not helping me anymore and I refuse to take continually increasing dosages just to go blunt. I miss laughing for real, and crying is quite beyond me most of the time. I weaned myself off (or to 37.5) once and it was awful, but I am thinking it may come time to do it again. The external numbness I have with MS is bad enough without the internal stuff!

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Anonymous said...

Glad to have found you. There are not many blogs in Catalan about MS and with yours I can practice my English. 47, 4 years after diagnosis. I also have a blog, but it's not in English.

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