Sunday, 1 November 2015

Returning to Medication (after stupidly stopping it )

"Anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health problems in the UK and elsewhere, yet it is still under-reported, under-diagnosed and under-treated.

The experience of anxiety often involves interconnected symptoms and disorders. It is estimated that one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year, while one in six experience a neurotic disorder such as anxiety or depression. Anxiety disorders are also estimated to affect 3.3% of children and young adults in the UK. "  mentalhealth.org.uk
Worrying statistics, for anyone not suffering anxiety, let alone those who are.
Any long term reader(s) of this, sporadic blog will know that on numerous occasions since I began this, 8 or 9 years ago, there have been times when I have posted about not being able to write, or even think clearly due to my "mental state"  or me being "bad with my nerves" as my grandmother's condition was described back in those days.
My anxiety has peaks throughout the day. It would also be bad at night time if I didn't take Zopiclone - which I've been taking for 12 years now. Unfortunately, this is only keeping me asleep for a few hours now, whereas I used to get a full nights sleep with it.
I am currently experiencing extreme anxiety on waking but have been prescribed Diazepam 4 days ago. I am taking 2mg as soon as I wake up which helps a little and have the option of taking 3 more doses in a day. Diazepam is a bit of a last resort to me and my family, as we know only too well how addictive it is. But when the situation warrants it, it's a miracle drug. In the last 3 days I have only taken half of the dose - again, probably stupidly, but some people never learn. After a bad night last night, today I intend taking the full dose to see what the result is. 
I've been treated for depression and anxiety/panic attacks with medication since 2001, but I very stupidly stopped taking the prescribed 40mg of Fluoxetine a few months back. It was just as my eldest daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer, in March of this year. We were in such shock and confusion and began to try and eliminate all toxins from our lives completely - foods, medicines and household cleaners and toiletries. Added to this were other family stresses and situations that have left me distraught and at "crisis point".
I now realise that stopping the Fluoxetine was the most ridiculous thing to do - "insane" was my GP's description  - especially at a time when we as a family were undergoing such stress. My thinking was that I had felt reasonably ok for a number of months, with just the occasional bad anxiety symptoms, and I felt the need to be "in control" for my daughter and other family members during her treatment and beyond.
Unfortunately, stopping the medication has made me completely out of control of my own emotions and I feel such a waste of space and completely useless to my family when they need me most. I am blessed with the most understanding family and friends that anyone could wish for and with their help and support I will get better soon - they tell me this all the time, so it must be true.
To anyone who has prescribed medication - PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't ever stop taking your medication without your doctors advice. I tried to make myself believe that I was well and did not need the medication anymore. In fact I was only well BECAUSE OF the medication. This seems a simple enough concept to understand, but despite me thinking of myself as a reasonably intelligent person, I have managed to psychologically side track the issue and become ill again because of it.
Today, is the first day that I have felt able to put down in words quite how I feel - another thing to castigate myself for, seeing as I purport to be a writer. 
I intend to blog daily on this now (more targets for me to not hit and feel bad about perhaps, though) in the hope that this helps someone else who may be going through a similar experience and it helps me knowing that my capacity to compose a few coherent sentences has not left me completely.
If you have prescribed medication, take it. If you haven't, see your doctor as soon as you can.  You are not alone. You WILL be better soon. 

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