I tried a little experiment this week. It wasn't actually a plan, but circumstances presented me an opportunity, if you call it that, to see if I needed to take my antidepressants any longer. I've been on them for over a year and although I felt they were a welcome and necessary part of my daily life I have received quite a bit of negativity from friends who encouraged me to try other, more organic, methods of navigating through menopause. Right now, I'd be happy to slap the crap out of any one of them.
About a week ago I called my gyn for an appointment to discuss permanently removing the source of a monthly ordeal that's causing all kinds of problems for me. Depression, anxiety, debilitating cramps, fatigue, night sweats, short temper, weight gain, you name it. I'm a textbook case of menopause-gone-batshit. This appointment would not have been the first; he and I have discussed at length my options. I've hesitated to follow through for several reasons. One was the down-time. A complete removal of my womanly parts would require six weeks of recuperation. At the time (this was pre-broken ankle) I didn't think I could be out of work that long. My second reason was the cost. In my recent years I've not had medical issues severe enough to put even a small dent in my $2000.00 deductible, so all that cost would be out-of-pocket. The third reason might be a little harder to explain. I just wanted this to be done with. Naturally. No surgery, no setting fire to my insides. Each month I'd buy the least amount of feminine protection in anticipation of it being the LAST MONTH I'd ever need them. Which, of course, necessitated a mad dash to the drug store when the disappointing reality showed its bright pink self. So, at any rate, after my slip and fall the first two reasons for putting off a hysterectomy or ablation were removed. (My deductible was satisfied in 2.3 seconds with all the medical bills and I have been chained to a wheelchair for eight weeks due to my inability to put any weight on the busted ankle.)
I rang up the doctor with the intent of putting in motion the solutions we discussed previously. He called me back and after a brief conversation asked me to come in to see him (again) and passed me off to the scheduler. The scheduler then informed me that they had dropped my insurance carrier. I was taken aback. "Really? So, like, I can't see the doctor I've had for 25 years?" I was mad. She was indifferent. I hung up and immediately scheduled the first available appointment I could with the womens clinic around the corner from my house (after first confirming they took my insurance.) Problem was, my former GYN was my antidepressant pusher. And I needed a new script. Crap. I ran out on Saturday and it would be almost a full week before my appointment with my new doc. Crap.
I swallowed my last pink pill on Saturday night. By this morning (Tuesday) I was experiencing a tidal wave of mood swings and body aches that I vaguely recall being my normal MO pre-Effexor. Hobbling out to the kitchen I checked my Facebook page for any overnight updates and immediately began crying over the happy adoption of an abandoned pit bull. Sheesh. I then read that our son's girlfriend, who is living with us at the moment, is planning to return to my family's machine shop for part time employment. This news set off skyrockets of anger and frustration in my head (my family, which I often refer to as Jerry Springerland, is another blog post. Maybe a book even.) Her dismal employment experience with them wasn't enough punishment for her, apparently. I worked up the entire conversation I was planning on having with my parents about never wanting to see or hear from them again if they couldn't control the way their employees were being treated at the hands of my siblings. Particularly employees who were living in MY HOUSE. And I did this all in the time it took for me to fix and eat a bowl of raisin bran. This was going to get ugly, I could tell.
By mid morning I started getting an unusual sensation in my head every time I refocused my eyes on something. Sort of a swishing feeling, accompanied by an internal sound in my ears that recalled the way the ocean sucks at sand. I headed for the internet and Google rewarded me with a long list of hits when I queried "Effexor Withdrawl." Sure enough, what I was feeling was pretty common, although the official drug sites didn't mention it at all. I had to dig deeper into forums and sites with names like "crazy drugs". The shifting sand sound/feeling was normal, albiet disconcerting.
I called the pharmacy to see if I could get another month on my script. Surprisingly, they didn't even question the refill, just said it would be ready this afternoon. Huh. Perhaps I calculated the dates wrong and had another month left. With luck, my new bottle of baby pink pills will arrive soon and all will be right with my world. My science experiment will be over, just give me the drugs and I will never question their necessity in my life again. Amen.