Okay, I’m recovered from the horrible dental cleaning I wrote about in my last post. Now what is she going to complain about, you wonder. Ah, but there’s always something, isn’t there?
I do feel like I am complaining too much. And expecting too much. And not doing enough. That is, I’m feeling like crap about myself. My energy is low, and my focus is terrible. I’m impatient and grumpy. And why is that? Is it the endless rain we’ve been having in the Pacific Northwest? (no, though I do long for sunshine) Is it my son and his pregnant girlfriend? (no, they are doing okay in the new condo) Is it too much work stress? (nope, not working much these days). You wrinkle your brow and look at me curiously, “So what’s the problem?”
It’s withdrawal. Psych meds withdrawal again. I’ve written about that many times in the past, since it took me literally three and a half miserable years to come off Effexor. This time I’m simply reducing my dose of Cymbalta, and okay, it’s not as terrible as Effexor withdrawal. But it’s no walk in the park either.
I waiver back and forth between, “Oh, I’m lucky that I’m doing so much better than I was a few years ago,” and “Oh shit, can’t believe I am dealing with these awful withdrawal symptoms again.” The part that feels lucky reminds me that I sleep so much better than I used to, and even though I might wake up two or three times a night, I tend to go back to sleep most nights within ten or fifteen minutes. I used to be up for hours. That part says, thank goodness that this time I know things change. Difficulties pass. I can handle this.
The grumpy part says: This SUCKS! Once again, we’re dealing with muscle spasms and some tingling. Okay, the tingling is not as bad as with Effexor, but it’s still maddening! And we can’t concentrate on work. How are we supposed to keep taking professional contracts, when we don’t even know from week to week whether we can focus enough to get things done? And how about the trauma memories that pop up more when the body is disturbed? Why do we have to keep dealing with those? And the thoughts of self-harming?
And underneath that is yet another part, quieter but persistent: We are so alone with this! No one understands. We try to tell husband, and he is sympathetic, but he sees us trying to power through and so figures we are okay. We don’t have E anymore. Charo is on vacation and anyway doesn’t know our history of withdrawal experiences. And Tabitha, alas, Tabitha…
That’s another story, perhaps for another post, about how I lost my psych meds prescriber from the past five years. I will need someone to replace her. I have put requests in at two mental health clinics, but so far no sign of getting an appointment.
WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE AGAIN? (in case you forgot) E: my long-term therapist, from 2003-2005 and again 2009-2021; I ended my sessions with her last August Charo: a therapist I started seeing online in 2021, as a support while I get used to coping without E--maybe a bridge to independence? Tabitha: a psychiatrist nurse practitioner I started working with in 2017, and she gave me a lot of support as I battled my way off Effexor
I find it surprising that I have so many of my old thoughts and feelings coming up again. I would have thought that I’d be past a lot of that, but maybe my body and mind have connected nervous system dysregulation, on the one hand, and old unhealthy thought patterns. I don’t know, is that even how it works?
It doesn’t matter how it works or why I’m feeling and thinking the way I do, I guess. The question that matters is what do I do now? I feel like I need to take on the sensation of being alone with it all. There is some truth to it–I no longer have the team of professionals I used to have supporting me. Some of my friendships are weaker than they were six months (all for different and probably legitimate reasons, but still kind of sad). I’m tired and feel crappy, but (the positive part says again) at least I am not lying in bed, so depressed I can’t do anything. Maybe with the bit of energy and motivation I do still have, I can conjure myself up some support, and that support can help me figure out what step to take next.
It’s a plan, right?
My friend used to want to be off her anti-depressants. Guess it feels like having to accept one’s issues. Surely I feel that way about my own medication. But for some it is a life-time need. May I inquire why you are reducing?
You NEVER sound like a whiner to me. What use is writing if one can’t let it all flow out? You never know who is listening and relates, needing to feel less alone because in everyday chatting one is not supposed to talk about that stuff.
Good way to sort it out. I relate to the feelings and thoughts that are so many it is hard to sort out. But you will on some, and let go of others.
I also noticed you said ‘we’ several times. Have I missed that before? You and the little one? I think I have a child inside, and an adolescent that just stopped growing when trauma hit. Ones I’m very mean to, but I am learning to be more gentle and patient with these ages whose growth was arrested by being so alone with so much.
Hope you feel more grounded, like right this second! : )
LikeLiked by 2 people
Why go off my meds? I’ve had three people ask me that in the past couple of days. I think I will write a post about it, actually. It’s complicated, and it would do me good to write through it.
About “we” – I don’t usually use that. But I do conceptualize myself as made up of a wide range of parts. Some of them I think of as more lasting, like a particular hypersexualized teen self, or a toddler seeing reassurance. Others are maybe just my vision of conflicting emotions that arise up in response to a particular situation. I don’t tend to worry (anymore, I used to) about conceptualizing it in a very clear way.
I do imagine, though that I somehow have an inner house where all these parts reside together. And some of those parts interact more than others. I guess when I wrote “we” in this post, I imagined speaking from the point of view of a part that is very aware of all the other parts and speaks on the behalf of many of them. Something like that.
It’s a bit sloppy but thinking about it this way has been helpful for me. At some point, I just realized that our emotional world is EMOTIONAL, not rational, and it’s okay if it doesn’t make perfect sense.
I sometimes forget to be nice to all my parts too, but I have learned that it is important to try. Imagine your lovely little granddaughter, a few years from now. Imagine that she is upset and confused, maybe a little rude now and then, as a young teen. Wouldn’t you still love her? Wouldn’t you be concerned that any “bad” attitude or behavior might be a mask to hide insecurity, unhappiness or pain? I bet you would still feel quite tender toward her. Maybe a tiny bit of that tenderness could be shared with your own teen part. Just an idea! 🙂
Thanks for your sweet comment and support!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Just curious, not suggesting you shouldn’t just that it seems to cause so much trouble I wondered. Hope things improve and your visit with E helps.
LikeLiked by 1 person
You have every right to air your issues! Especially on a therapy blog. Reminds of my last therapy session where I commented ‘I’m being so negative!’ and my T replied ‘well if you can’t complain here, where can you complain? 🙂
Withdrawal is hell, I have heard from others as well. I experienced a bit of it going off Effexor cold turkey, after only taking it a few weeks however. It was awful, and I had no warning that you need to taper or that going off it causes symptoms.
I guess you just have to power through as you are doing.
And I like your plan! Take care
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hi Ellen! Thanks for the permission to be “negative,” if I need to. It is a relief sometimes to air things out.
My body feels really out of sorts today, effing withdrawal. But I do know I will make it through… just no idea how long it might take.
LikeLiked by 3 people