Last night, I couldn’t sleep because I thought I was going to die. I said goodbye to my dogs and my husband because some part of me was positive I would not wake up in the morning. Well. I did wake up. Some days, I wish I wouldn’t.
This is antidepressant withdrawal.
I’ve suffered from depression all my adult life. It moves as the tide; it ebbs and flows, just like my use of medication, most often, SSRIs like Celexa, Paxil or Wellbutrin. I’ve been on some variety of SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) for the past year. Two weeks ago, I decided to switch medication again, but first, I wanted a clean slate. I wanted to cleanse my system of all drugs, just for a little while, and see how I felt.
I’ve been told antidepressant withdrawal is a lot like giving up heroin. Mental symptoms include paranoia, anxiety, fear and despair. Physical symptoms include extreme nausea, dizziness, headaches, brain zaps (you feel like your brain is being electrocuted), fatigue and night terrors.
In the past week, I’ve dreamt that I murdered one of my dogs; that my grandparents (both dead) were still walking around as rotting corpses in their old house; and that my college friend refused a date with Bill Skarsgard. The last one wasn’t too traumatic, but you get the idea.
The weeping worries me. I cried over a commercial yesterday. I cried over bad sentence structure. I cried because I couldn’t bring myself to wash a plate, brush my hair, pick a sock up off the floor …
I think I’m going crazy. And that is the scariest part of withdrawal: I’ve lost any semblance of the sanity I once had.