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Re:how to function on a med vacation?

Posted by ST on July 27, 2004, at 22:54:55

In reply to Re:how to function on a med vacation?, posted by sageblue on July 27, 2004, at 21:32:28


Your migraines could be a reaction to the Depakote, yes! Weird thing is, some people use Depakote to *relieve* migraines.

Although these drugs can work wonders on our moods, they can create other problems. For me, my liver was just becoming too toxic and my thyroid started slowing. I do homeopathic medicine and acupuncture and my alternative docs kept telling me my liver function was very low and my thyroid was a bit low. Symptoms from this were weight gain, fatigue, lack of alertness. That's really what pushed me to get off Depakote, in particular. I felt it wasn't just its mood altering (ie: sedating) properties that were a problem, but the effect of taking such a drug on my organs. I also got off the birth control pill after being on it almost twenty years! So now it's just Wellbutrin.

As far as working goes: I am a very, very busy outcall massage therapist. Thankfully, I create my hours and can rearrange my schedule in case of emergencies. Since I started tapering the Serzone and dropped the Depakote altogether in May, I've missed about three or four days of work due to withdrawal symptoms. Some of my clients knew what was going on and were great about it, as they have gone on and off medications as well. Massage is my "day job", but I am an actress and writer. Fortunately I was not working on an acting project while tapering. When I have tapered while having an acting job
(before I knew how brutal the effects could be), it was a definite struggle to maintain any mental acuity, let alone feel creative.

This helped me: whenever I cut back the dose of the med I was tapering, I would do it preceding my two days off. For example, my last massage of my week would be on a Saturday at 4PM. I would take my meds as usual in the morning. However for my night time dose, I would cut back. Then I would suffer the initial withdrawal symptoms over Sunday and Monday, my days off. Then the rest of the week, I would stay at that dose until the following Saturday when I would cut back the dose once more.

I saw my acupuncturist weekly, which helped to detoxify my system at a quicker rate. I highly recommend this. Massage, which I get weekly, also flushes toxins through your body and boosts your immune system. I drank a ton of water and made sure I kept exercising. (I remember I stopped exercising when tapering off another AD and I think the symtoms were worse)It also helps me to eat healthfully during this time. Junk food made me feel worse on top of what I was going through with withdrawing!

Tapering in December and then taking the month of January off sounds like a good plan. However, I think if you taper very, very s l o w l y over a few months you may be OK as well. I have always been in such a hurry to get off of whatever I was taking. I was in a hurry with these meds most recently because I am going to Europe to tour a show in September and I want to be withdrawal-symtom free.

My boyfriend of 7 years has never known me without all the meds in my system. My friends who have known me for years notice a positive difference in me. They say my eyes seem clearer and that I have my "spark" back. For me, I think it's mainly the lack of Depakote. Depakote, even at the low dose I was on, really was sedating and slowing for me. I do have more energy now and don't tire as easily, which makes me feel like my liver is functioning at a higher level again.

My depressions were so severe and for that reason, I don't think I'm brave enough to get off the Wellbutrin. But I am certainly glad I'm off the Serzone, Depakote and the pill!

I hope this helps. Good luck!


> hey sarah --
> yeah, today my partner was saying that i have hardly been _off_ meds in 5 years, and wondering if much of what troubles me could be from meds.
> for example,i have regular migraines, and have vision problems that i thought were from migraines, yet they vanished when i started tapering from depakote.
> and i've been on medications that affect anxiety, yet the worst i remember being is the time described when i tapered off for 2-3 weeks a couple of years ago.
> since numerous factors have changed since i first went on meds (treated for a thyroid disorder, more stable life, therapist in place, etc.), it may be a good idea to try to taper off. yet finding 6 weeks for a good brain bounce is difficult. i might try to taper during say, late december and then take the month of january off -- using my vacation for the new year and some personal leave time for a month.
> how were you able to function when you came off meds? did you hold down a job at the same time?




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