I never knew going Cold Turkey could be so... horrid.
I never meant to do it. It happened quite by accident, initially.
See, I've been doing pretty well lately, on the "mental health and wellbeing" front.
The Black Dog had been beaten into submission with the help of my lovely counsellor and lot a hard work. Medication had been slowly reduced until just one last pill remained.
It had been discussed that perhaps in the New Year I might try coming off them altogether. For the first time in many years that was no longer a scary thought but something that seemed possible.
So when in the middle of all the camping excitement I forgot to take my meds a couple of days in a row - and I felt OK - you can maybe understand why I did what I did.
Of course I wasn't thinking straight. Camping by the beach will do that to ya. Sea breezes and all that lazing around.
So I decided to just... not take any more. See what happens.
Silly me. Silly silly me.
Effexor is a nasty drug to withdraw from. I knew that. I'd heard it before, read it online, knew of friends who suffered through it. All of this flew from my head along with the seratonin.
Blissfully unaware of the hell that would soon be unleashed in my body, we packed up our tent and came home. Home to the piles of washing. Home to science experiments in our vegie bin. Home to stacks of junk mail and not a sea breeze in sight to stir the muggy sticky air.
By afternoon I was feeling pretty rotten, but hadn't put two-and-two together yet.
The nausea started, the vomiting.
By morning I was tearful and paranoid, thinking all kinds of crazy thoughts.
I curled up on my messy bed with the fan on full blast and let the family go off to church without me.
The itching started. I wanted to claw my skin off.
Any noise, any minor request or dropped spoon would send me off the deep end, sobbing and muttering bad words under my breath.
By this stage I'd figured out it was the drugs doing this to me.
But in my befuddled state I didn't know if this was drug withdrawal or simply what I'm like without them.
(A basket case.)
Finally somebody with half a brain had the great idea that I should call my counsellor and get some advice.
"Go to your doctor. URGENTLY," she told me.
Off I went, with all three kids in tow, hoping I wouldn't crash into somebody, crying all the way.
My doctor shook her head at my silliness.
"It's a very strong drug," she said. "You can't just go cold turkey. It needs to be done over a long period of time... properly..."
Yeah. I kind of learnt that one the hard way.
Things are looking up, you'll be glad to know. I'm not 100% yet but at least I've stopped crying all the time and trying to scratch my skin off. And it's now been a few hours since I screamed at anyone too (much to my kids' relief).
I have a prescription for half-strength Effexor that I'll be on for the next month. And when it's time to drop that down, I'll be doing it under the guidance of my Doctor.
No more Cold Turkey for me ever again, trust me.
Never do I want a repeat of the last few days.
It was a glimpse into the pit of despair that I used to fall into far too often.
But, man, I will glad to see the back of this drug. I want it out of my system, out of my life.
This year I want to get healthier, fitter, lose weight, be happier.
This was just a bump in the road.