(Almost) off the Prozac

Image courtesy of Pixabay - sunshine helps everything seem better, doesn't it?

Image courtesy of Pixabay – sunshine helps everything seem better, doesn’t it?

I’m almost there, I’m down to just 1/2 of a tiny pill, and soon I will be down to no anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication! It’s been five years since I got through the day without them.  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit nervous to see how things go once my body adjusts to even the dosage that I am on right now. You see, Prozac has a very long half life, of about 5 weeks. What that means is that if I were to stop taking it altogether today, some semblance of it would be in my system for another five weeks. So, even though I have been only taking 10 mg this week, my body still thinks that it has at least 20 mg in it, or one full pill.

If anyone you know takes anti-depressants and decides they want to go off of them, please please please be sure to ask them to do it with a doctor’s supervision. (As we all know, if you tell someone to do something, they are more likely to not do it, especially if it’s something that can be difficult.) They can’t just go off of it cold turkey, or many times they will experience side effects and some can be severe. I’ve known friends who told me that going off of of Zoloft cold turkey made them feel suicidal.

It’s been an interesting transition for the past 5 or 6 months since I started the weaning off process. Some days, I feel (irrationally?) sad, and wonder if it’s the decrease in dosage causing those feelings. Or, is it the fact that I moved cross country to a place where I knew no one? Is it the change in seasons or the multiple grey days that we have had (in the desert…. wtf??) Is it the oncoming holidays, knowing I won’t be with family this year because it’s too far and I don’t have a lot of time off to take from work? Or is it the adjustment of getting used to having pretty much no money again? (I’ve been feeling at times like I did when I was trying to get out of credit card debt. You know, those feelings you get when you realize that you have a whopping $53 to hold you over to pay day and realize that pay day is over a week away, still…but then you realize thankfully that you have a lot of food in the pantry that can get you through and it’s a relief.)  Perhaps it’s one of those or all of those.

When I was on the medications, full dosage, I usually felt pretty confident about things. I didn’t feel blah like I did when the dosage was too high (seriously, I cared about nothing at that point), but just felt pretty good most of the time. I’m sure I had some self doubts at the time, but looking back I don’t feel like I did. However, I do remember wondering whether I would feel self confident again, without the aid of medications. I wondered if the self confidence was really in me, or was it just fabricated by the medicine. 

So, if everything was so good, why even bother trying to wean off of the medicines, you might be wondering. Well, part of it was financial. I knew that my income in my new way of life would be markedly decreased, and I was very right on that, lol!  I didn’t want to have to worry about getting so many prescriptions filled and how much it would cost to do so. I also hated taking so many pills every morning in addition to the vitamins I was already taking. (I’ve also cut down on those too and have tried to concentrate on getting my needed nutrients from actual food.)  And finally, I wanted to know that all of the work I’ve done on myself for the past few years has really improved me. And I think it has. 

I can do this. 🙂

As always, thank you for reading! And for those of you who have been there for me during this time, I can’t thank you enough.

30 thoughts on “(Almost) off the Prozac

    • Thank you, DAwn! My doc at home said she would still be happy to help me until I found a doc here. I’m trying to get off the meds and save myself that trouble. But I won’t be afraid to find one here if I need to, that’s for sure. Thank you for your support!

    • Thank you, Danielle! I do so appreciate it – the brain is a really interesting thing. I used to have so much negative self talk going on in my head and these days, at least I can recognize it for what it is, and “talk back” to it. It used to rule me.

  1. You’ve gotta control it or it will control you! I know you can handle it kid =) Plus look at where you are now, you did it! Living a simplifier life most can only dream of. You got this =)

  2. Good for you! I know nothing about the effects of this sort of medication other than what I have read. So happy for you that you will be yourself soon. The way the cost of medications are skyrocketing, this is probably a really good time for you to do this.

    A friend volunteers at an animal shelter in Tucson

    http://webcms.pima.gov/government/pima_animal_care_center/

    where they have just moved, and is “finding the love”. They were already dog lovers, but their hearts are really full now.

    Virtual hugs,

    Judie

    • Oh I’m so happy your friend is feeling happy now about the volunteering – it was one of the best things I could do for myself when I started volunteering in Boston. And god, I hope that generics like prozac would never get out of hand. But you’re right, the prices for so many of them are insane. I can’t believe how much they charge for my eye drops.

  3. Terri,

    You didn’t ask for my opinion, but here it is ….

    Get rid of your cell phone (or other expense) before you deny yourself needed mediation. SSRIs are one of the greatest gifts the pharmaceutical world ever created. (Sometimes I think the substance should be added to our drinking water.)

    Compared to the black pit of depression and struggling with it every day, they are cheap at the price. I understand why you are weaning yourself – and it’s worth trying but – don’t hesitate to resume if needed.

    • HI Kim,

      I won’t hesitate to resume if I need to – I now know that i was depressed when in high school but never diagnosed. And that once you have depression, it’s that much easier to have it again. So right now, I’m focusing on using the coping tools I was taught during all of my therapy over the past several years and know there are people I can talk to if need be. Depression is not something to mess with, I know that for sure. And I do remember those days before I was diagnosed and started taking the meds, and I will never let myself go back there again, that is for sure.

      Thank you so much, Kim. I appreciate it.

  4. Hang in there Terri. I’m proud of you. Remember the famous quote, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.” The decision you made to move across the country and start a new life is such a big dream that most people couldn’t even dream it, much less actually do it.

    • Thank you, Jerry. I was definitely feeling very scared and anxious about stuff today, so your thoughts come at a very good time. I’m going to start putting in bids this weekend for editing and proofreading, transcribing jobs I’ve seen listed. I’ve been afraid to quote prices and be wrong, but this morning, I finally just said to myself that I can’t be afraid to be wrong. I had to take a chance to move here, so now I need to remember to take chances. That’s how I will grow.

    • On second thought, I’ve looked at thumbtack again. You have to purchase credits you can then use to make bids on jobs. Credits are almost $2 each, and for the jobs I would want to bid on, it can be something like 5 credits, so that’s money out of my pocket with no guarantee of even getting a job. And some of the jobs it wouldn’t pay to bid on for the time it would take to complete them.

    • I go through phases where I buy a lot on Amazon and will use your link. I just bought a $20 tent for a child, but if you only make 4%, it’s not much, but will add up if more people do this. I would encourage you to mention the link a lot to remind folks, as the holidays are coming up. There are lots of people with links on their blogs, but I think yours is one of the most worthy, given the time you donate to helping animals. And I used to work for BF also. Feel free to email me if you have any Qs.

      • Thank you, I will definitely check out that link and today is a day I’ve set aside to really catch up on things, writing, getting my RV even more set up for winter, etc. Thank yo so much for the support and all the advice!

      • Thank you so much! Yep, I plan on putting it at the end of all of my posts. My first application was rejected (I can explain in an email to you) so I’ve reapplied, and want to make sure I have the new link up. One of my to-do projects for today! And yes, I think every little bit helps. You used to work for BF? I will definitely be emailing you! 🙂

  5. You’re so very wise in tapering slowly off Prozac. I’m also really glad that you understand that there are many pathways to healing & have utilized several of them. You’re also wise in understanding that if you feel you need to resume the medication, you will do so. I’ve come to understand that life can be (& is often) a series of ups & downs & having the tools & skills to cope with that will be very helpful long-term. You’ve challenged yourself a lot in the last year & are succeeding in accomplishing your goals. Well done, Terri!

    • Thank you, Dawn. I have a few friends who have been on Prozac in the past and have told me that they are off and on with it. I’ve even had some doubts lately as to whether or not it’s the best thing for me, to go completely off of it, but I will never know what I feel like without it until I try it. Thank you for the encouragement, I do appreciate it.

  6. Nearly forgot–one of my favorite bloggers (rvsue & crew) lists the Amazon purchases that people have made via her web site. I think that must increase purchases even more. It’s amazing how much that 4% adds up over time.

    • Yep, I love RV Sue’s blog! I have seen her do that – list the purchases at the end. Very smart, now that I think about it. Thanks for the reminder – if anyone ever uses my link, I’ll let people know!

  7. Hello. Best wishes on stopping Prozac. I tried to stop Citralopram, but with too much of my life being up in the air, I was experiencing constant anxiety attacks, that I had to start again. I hope to eventually stop for good, but now is not the time. Prayers for you.

    • Thank you for writing! Yes, I do take prozac for anxiety as well, so that’s the part I worry about the most and am trying to keep in check. I’m definitely worried about the change in seasons affecting my mood, with so little hours of daylight, but am hoping this move to the southwest makes a big difference for me, come January.

      Thank you, I really mean it.

      • You bet. As someone who struggles with depression and anxiety attacks, I sympathize. I admire what you have done with your life to try and simply it. My husband and I have taken early retirement and we will be on the road fulltime once our home sells. We will then begin to find our forever home, wherever God leads us. Take care.

      • Congratulations on the early retirement. My oldest brother and his wife have done the same, and have been traveling for about a year now in their Westfalia van. They are currently staying in one place for about 6 months but it was one of the best decisions that they could have made in their life, I’m pretty sure of it. And depression and anxiety really suck, but I’m finding more and more people out there who suffer from both. It helps to have a community of people who understand. If I can help you in any way, please let me know.

  8. Pingback: Observations and Thoughts While Hiking Zion National Park’s Observation Point Trail | Chasing Simple Dreams

  9. Congratulations! I too was put on anti-anxiety medication (lexapro) seven years ago. The first time I tried to go off I did it cold turkey and after six months of thinking every thing was good the anxiety came back worse than ever. This time I did it slowly cutting back in increments and, so far so good. I wish you luck.

    • That’s great to hear, I am very glad for you. Yes, by the time I am hopefully off of all of it, it will be about a 6-7 month process, at least. I’ve been going down, 10 mg at a time.

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