Monday, September 04, 2006


Good news - the withdrawal symptoms are easing up. It's been about a week and a half since I stopped the antidepressants altogether and although I'm still by no means settled, there is certainly light at the end of the tunnel. The hallucinations are reduced to occasional bits of simple coloured light in my peripheral vision (it's actually rather pretty) rather than complex hallucinations like seeing and hearing people. The paranoia is resolving itself into what I would define more as "stress and tension", I feel... edgy, but I'm not jumping out of my skin every time I hear a noise outside or thinking I can hear people upstairs in the house when there is no one there.

Nightlight candles with a slight (as opposed to choking) lavender scent are helping me to get to sleep and get better quality rest. However I find myself putting off sleeptime because I am having horrific nightmares.

My brain unfortunately is so much rice pudding, I can barely read or type and have been avoiding MSN because I really cannot think about more than one thing at once, even if it's just someone saying "good morning" it completely derails my train of thought.

My body is really really unhappy, dealing with the withdrawal AND the ME. The hot flushes, sweats, shivering, cramps and the extra muscle pain from the stress and tension is a lot to deal with. I am focusing on posture and breathing to try and minimise the problems but I hope it eases up soon. I'm taking my maximum pain relief but that scrambles my brain even more.

In other news, those of you who knew Steve's work contract was up for renewal - the contract agency (which shall remain nameless) were for some reason incapable of getting a full copy (electronic or paper) of the new contract to him so he could look at it and read through it before he signed it. You'd think that "I would like to read the contract before I agree to be bound by it for the next three months" was the most ridiculous request they had ever come across. They still haven't managed to give him full access to read the contract at his leisure. However by late afternoon/early evening, a day's lost work/pay, much stress and the accumulation of what is going to be a monster phone bill for Steve in trying to sort this mess out, he managed to get someone at the agency to find his contract, go through it, reassure him on the points he was concerned about (like on call not being a part of his duties at all in any way shape or form) and then to send him an email confirming all those points.

As a direct result of which Steve has accepted the contract for the next three months and is going to work in the morning.

We went out for dinner to "celebrate". I managed my starter, but despite a full load of maximum painkillers then by the time our main course arrived the pain in my head was so bad I had no appetite at all and I wasn't capable of any conversation either. I could just about sit there with my head in one hand and my orange juice in the other trying not to be an embarassment.


The Goldfish said...

I'm sorry you're struggling so much just now, Mary. I am not allowed anti-depressants or any mood-altering drugs because of hypersensitivity to them. Fortunately, there's been no need for them since they figured this out.

I meant to write this last week, but in future when withdrawing from any drug, but particularly those drugs which have a neurological effect (anti-depressants, pain-killers etc), it may be wise to take it as in as small steps as possible - even if that means cutting up the tablets.

Unfortunately the sections of our brains aren't neat compartments. Chemical activity targetted to effect one function (i.e to lift the mood) is going to effect other functions. When much of our brains are struggling in the first place, this stuff can very easily interfere with what equilibriums we have.

The drama of this withdrawal suggests that, having gotten over the worst of 'cold turkey', you were probably better off shot of the stuff as soon as possible. Which is good! Hope the rest passes quickly now.

And I'm glad that you felt like coming off the anti-ds - only hope it hasn't cost you too much. :-/

And congratulations to Stevie with the contract. :-)

Mary said...

Hi Goldfish!

I wrote a bit previously explaining that I didn't so much "feel like" coming off them as "had to due to circumstances", which I think is part of why it's been so crazy. I wasn't mentally prepared for this and I think that has had some bearing on the physical effects.

The coming-off wasn't supervised by my own GP either as she was on annual leave, I saw another doctor at the same surgery whose total guidance about withdrawal was that I was already on a half dose, the smallest tablet they made of that drug, and that therefore this should just be a minor step - two weeks of taking them every other day, and then cold turkey.

I think I would have liked them to give me more suggestions about things that might help, like commenters here suggested drinking caffienated drinks and so on.

I did consider cutting up the tablets, but the tablet, small as it is, is mostly flour and some cellulosey stuff to hold it together. Cutting it up in such a way as to divide the active ingredient would be impossible.

Still, I am off them now, it is one less tablet each morning which has to be a good thing, and like I said the problems are definitely easing.

Thanks for congratulations, I shall pass them on. :)

Anonymous said...

Sadly the thing about GPs is they aren't experts on anything, I even had one GP say to me recently that the thing about chronic conditions is that the patient knows more than the doctor.

It's good you're getting there though - I assume this has also got rid of the fits?

Mary said...

The fits are lesser, but I've still had the odd one or two little ones. Mostly when I've been tired and in bed though, so I've been safe.

So it could still be the anti-ds having one last hurrah before getting right out of my system, the weather, something random, nothing, anything, everything.

Anonymous said...

Re your comment on Reynolds' blog (I've lost my login for there, so sorry for posting it here) - there is a kind of shrine to Tiger Balm in Singapore - it's called Haw Par Villa now, but it used to be called Tiger Balm Gardens. Link at:

Afaik, it was Aw Boon Haw who invented Tiger Balm. I used to live a couple of miles away on the same road! Hurrah for Tiger Balm.

Btw I also read and enjoy your blog, and have sent the link to another ME person I know, who said she found it helpful.

Mary said...

Hi Jo, and hey, how about that... who'd've thunk it.

I'm glad your friend finds the blog useful. Sorry it doesn't get updated terribly often. I would recommend that she have a look at The Goldfish too, and the many diverse and interesting blogs linked from that.

G said...

I've just been reading about something that may interest you, I can't find a link on the beeb yet, but I imagine it will show up. A lady called Georgina Twomey who is 20 and has been taking part in trials for ME at Barts in London, I believe she's had some sort of treatment to help her from a bunch of specialists. You might be able to find out more by googling her name, but if this does work, there is hope that it might be rolled out to other sufferers.
Hope this helps

Mary said...

Hi G

My google search for "Georgina Twomey" didn't bring up anything either.

Now, please don't think I'm ungrateful, but there is very little point in chasing this research unless you are an actual ME/CFS researcher, or at least you have medical knowledge and understanding far better than mine in the background.

I am a member of a couple of ME/CFS support groups, one local, one national, and every month I must hear about twenty or more different bits of research or ideas for diagnosis or trials for cures.

A lot of them are conflicting, and if I had the cognitive energy to properly examine and understand and critically compare them all, that would pretty much be proof positive that I in no way have ME/CFS.

I'm registered with the local ME/CFS clinic, the staff of whom are paid and able to keep up with all these developments. If there is anything they think will be of benefit to me, they will tell me, get me onto a trial, whatever. In the meantime I can use my very limited energy for household tasks, maintaining friendships and relationships, that sort of thing.

Please, please don't take offence at this - it's just that I know my limits and one of them is "understanding reams of medico-scientific conjecture".

G said...

It seems the beeb didn't pick up on it, it was on ITN though, so maybe it was their scoop.
All the info I have is her name, where she was taking part in the trial and that she had been ill for a number of years and that she was encouraging people to find out more about the measures she was involved in.
I mentioned it because it's not often news picks up on stuff like this unless it's an exciting development.
One of your groups may have more information.
Please don't think I am lecturing you, I just thought about how I would feel in your position and I would want to know of something like this.

Mary said...

oh no, not at all, thank you for thinking of me, really.

Just please don't be offended that I don't jump about it until the people with the brains and expertise have had a look at it and determined whether it'd do me any good, kind of thing.

Dial-Up Princess said...

Im sorry to hear that you have soo much going on. *hugs*

I hae found that the slow approach is best when trying to wean off of any type of meds...

spark said...

Hi mary :)
how are you?
thanks for your comment too. hope youre still doing better anyway.
yes they did take photos. my bro loves the photography and uses them on his website. Im glad i didnt have to go up there myself! I wonder which group you noticed us through? Nice to see ur part of the M.E association too. hope you feel better n take care.
thanks for raising awareness for us!
Nikki xx