So once again, I am attempting to get off Quetiapine. Oh so many reasons (weight gain, think I might have developed diabetes, flatness, spending ALL my spare time sleeping, not being sure I have manic depression, not being sure I believe in manic depression actually existing), but the biggest one being I don’t think I need it. My psychiatrist agrees with this. (Although recommends keeping an, “In Case of Emergency” stash). It’s been six years on varying doses. I am doing it sensibly this time- i.e titrating. Everyone around me, including my manager, knows what I’m doing. I have gotten down to 100mg and so far:
I feel like I am permanently on the edge of flu
I am itchy as fuck
I am feeling overemotional and tearful and hypersensitive
My brain is racing again and I can’t concentrate
I keep getting electric shocks in my hands
I feel nauseous and my appetite is decreasing (the latter is good, I have gained 5st in a year on the higher dose).
My sleep is fecked- I am waiting up constantly but still feeling drugged when I wake up (I slept well yesterday though, but that was an ills exhaustion-medication combo)
I just don’t feel like myself.
I thought this would get better, as it’s been a few weeks, but some days are worse than at the beginning. I think this is also partly because my immune system is a bit fecked right now so I’m picking up the ills along the way.
I don’t know whether to credit Quetiapine and other medication with my stability these days, or to credit getting older. Was I ever ill in the first place? Or was I just young and someone who had gone through a lot of trauma? As I’ve grown older, I have begun to accept- painfully, often- the trauma I’ve experienced and realising it’s had an impact on me. I haven’t had a, “(hypo)manic” episode in about 2 years. I had a depressive one a year ago, and it was pretty bad, but in general, I am just an anxious, analytical person. I am always a little bit hyperactive or a little bit low, it’s what I’m like. I do realise my sustained, “episodes” deviate fairly markedly from my, “baseline”. I do know they come out of nowhere, and I know what that suggests. But either/or, I don’t think any of that is bad enough to warrant taking medication for the rest of my life. For a long time I have thought that, and have begun to think that the medication is keeping me unwell. Not in an anti-psychiatry way, but that the side effects are outweighing the benefits.
25mg is the dose I am dreading. That’s when total insomnia will come and I’ll have no choice but to power through. The last time I got there, then 0mg, I had rebound psychosis from insomnia and it was quite scary. The police had to be called because I thought our house was being robbed and barricaded myself in a room. I felt almost instantly okay again when I took 400mg and slept for 2 days and I hated that. I hate that my normal is being drugged up and exhausted. I hate that my normal is knowing, every day, I’ll probably die 20 years younger than most people I know because of my medication and its effects. I just don’t want to do it anymore.
I am slightly afraid, though. Afraid of all my emotions pouring back and of not being able to cope with it. I do think my medication has helped keep me sane over some of last year’s trauma, because they held me in numbness, suspended me in fatigue and flatness. Maybe all the years. The flood that might be coming terrifies me. But I’d rather be drowning than be alone, forever and forever, on my dry little island.
I’ve gotten off Lamictal and Prozac already- wish me luck.