Friday, August 15, 2008

The road back to normal...

I am off the Zoloft. It is day five and it is getting better.

Yesterday was a bad day. I had the withdrawal headache all day, tremors, brain "zaps" and more. Nausea and a little vertigo too.

I thought for a long time that Zoloft was a wonder drug - and it sort of WAS a wonder for me. I had been experiencing severe, debilitating migraine headaches when my doctor decided to put me on Zoloft. By severe, I mean winding up in the emergency room, with doctors thinking brain tumor or aneurysm. An eye that literally ran tears and couldn't open or close because the pain was so bad. Sleeping in a closet because it was the darkest room in the house. Cat scans, MRIs, Demerol, morphine - you name it, I went through it. If you've had a migraine that bad, you know where I'm coming from.

So, after taking Zoloft for almost three years, I really decided that I wanted to FEEL things again.

When I was on Zoloft, life was pretty even-keeled. I wasn't worried about too many things. But things were always in neutral. I mean I couldn't cry at funerals or at my own failures or disappointments. I couldn't really celebrate my victories and triumphs either though. I couldn't get in gear, and I couldn't stay parked (a funny car analogy - you are welcome, Carl). I was just stuck.

My doctor, bless his handsome little heart, never told me about the withdrawal symptoms - probably because he had never been on the drug himself. I honestly think that if I had known about them, I never would have gotten on it in the first place.

Here's what you CAN experience when withdrawing from Zoloft. Please note, this list is in no way complete:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Vertigo
  • Excessive thirst
  • REM disorder
  • Brain "zaps"
  • Irritability
  • Joint pain
  • Tingling in extremities
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Fatigue

  • Wow - I've been experiencing ALL of these things in the past few days. Today, Friday, is the first day I have wakened without a headache - and I feel almost back to normal.

    By brain is having wonderful, new creative thoughts - something that has actually been difficult in the past. I'm keeping a notebook close by for when these flashes of genius (ha!) happen. They usually occur after a brain zap, which is then followed by a weird sensation of my lungs opening up - like an involuntary deep, deep breath that cleanses out the head. In pops an idea!

    Zoloft has a 50% daily half life. I'm no math whiz, but there after taking 100 mg a day for almost three years, I'm thinking that I will be totally clean in about two weeks, give or take... four to six weeks. LOL.

    What HAS been good about this? I've been able to mourn my friend Jamie's death. I've finally cried about being RIFed from Pier 1. I am feeling sorta romantic toward my husband again (he'll be pretty happy to hear that). Of course, I am also feeling anger, irritability and hopelessness occasionally too - but that's ALL RIGHT. I think that's NORMAL. At least I am FEELING again. And that's the best part.


    Anonymous said...

    My name is Thomas Kane and i would like to show you my personal experience with Zoloft.

    I am 57 years old. Have been on Zocor for 3 months now. My experience is that there is a minimal dose required to be effective, and that there is a maximum dose above which the effectiveness wears off. At the proper dose, the effect is darned near magic. Whoever said that the generic is not as good as the real Zoloft is exactly right. There is a profound difference, and it's not made up by increasing the dose. The drug acts very quickly, and the loss of sexual desire is almost immediate. I haven't gained weight yet, but I can see how it would be possible. I have a yearning for donuts and recommend an aggressive program. Also, the combination with alcohol is out.

    I have experienced some of these side effects -
    difficulty maintaining a quality diet; difficulty getting up in the morning

    I hope this information will be useful to others,
    Thomas Kane

    Zoloft Side Effects