I’ve Started My Final Medication Taper – Lexapro!

Lexapro Antidepressant Taper
Scary and exciting!

After mentally preparing to reduce this medication (the fear is intense! This is an SRI, and I’ve been on them for 12 years!) I woke up April 4, 2018 and just KNEW that that was the day.  And since I already came off one med, I know I can face whatever temporary challenges arise!

So I got out ma knife, cut my 20 mg pill into 17.5 mg and swigged it back. I had great energy, so just before noon I went to the gym for a workout.

Discontinuation Symptoms

On the bike ride to the gym, and when seeing bright TV screens, I could tell that my eyes were sensitive and I had blurry vision.

Antidepressant Discontinuation Symptoms
Headache, blurry eyes, tunnel vision, irritable, brain frustration.

In the evening, my eyes felt set back in my head, I had mild tunnel vision, a headache and heaviness behind my eyes, I as crazy irritable and my brain felt an inner frustration.  Likely because I was not giving it the same level of chemical mood-regulating hormones its been used to.  My brain actually felt pissed off!  ha ha!

Then Improvement

On this day 1, I ate all fruit that day, plus a mostly raw salad for dinner.  And I slept great that night.

The next day (day 2) I ate well again all day until dinner when I craved a cooked meal of rice, fried tofu and cooked veg.  Day 3, after a 10 hour sleep, I woke with inflammation, swollen eyes, sinus pressure and body soreness.  But I could tell that this was a build up response to the cooked foods and my body just craved more detox.  Only my eyes were still slightly blurry but they were coming back into focus!

So really, only one half day of any real discomfort, then minor effects over the next 2 days.  It went better than I expected!

Now I’m going to stay taking this 17.5 mg level until I feel my body has come back to great and I’m ready to do another taper.

How My Personal Depression Links to Collective Global Depression

Pre-detox, I had to be very careful about my exposure to global news, big world problems, and watching documentaries about our planets’ sad environmental state.  Such truths would cause me to go into a deep darkness that was hard to get out of.  It was a feeling of hopelessness that all this destruction was happening around me, but as one person, how much could I do to have a positive effect?

Diving in the amazing Komodo National Park, Indonesia.  October 2017

While diving earlier this trip in Indonesia, a friend recommended that I watch Chasing Coral on Netflix.  But I couldn’t do it.  I was scared of learning the truth about what I was seeing underwater.  And truths are scary!  Fear and emotional upheaval are a result of learning most truths!

Then after 45 odd days of detoxing and eating mostly living plants and fruit, I wanted to watch Chasing Coral!  And I was so happy I did.  While it showed coral devastation, it confirms how its happening.  And it contains hope that as long as we are aware of what’s happening, each one of us can get on board and do something about it.

It was unexpected!  But by increasing my consciousness with living foods, I had reduced my sensitivity to globally depressing information.  In my new strong mind state I can be a warrior for change, rather than just a diver with my head in the water.

Cleaning up beaches with our kids feels amazing!

I’m Off Seroquel! One Med Down, One to Go…

It’s April 1 here in Vietnam, but no joke!  Last night was the first time in over a year that I didn’t take any evening dose of Seroquel!! (Quitiopene fumarate). Now, I didn’t fall asleep until past 2 am (this med put me in a sleep coma every night for 12 hours), but I fully accept any withdrawal effects of this last dose.  And I’m hoping they are not too bad as I did spread out this dose to two weeks from my last reduction.  I had been taking 13.5 mg since March 17).

All the pills I WON’T be putting into my body over the next few months and the fruity goodness medicine I’ll be eating instead!

I just love how free I feel, as though it’s one less chemical my body is chained to.

“Freeeeedommmmm!!!” (Quote from Braveheart. Didn’t William Wallace slam a quick piece of fruit into his mouth before charging into battle??)

 

I Can & Can’t Always Get What I Want

I know I get answers to the questions I ask the universe.  I’ve also learned that I can get in a dark space when I can’t get what I want.  Like a toddler, only I’m having the ongoing tantrum in my head.

A few months ago I had a lot of questions around my body, and building muscle on a plant based diet.  I began to question in myself my value systems – do I value a healthy, disease free body or a lean, muscle body?  Do I have to choose one or the other?

Plant Based Muscle
A great book that taught me how to put on plant-based muscle.

Then voila I meet Aryana, then the Vegan body builder, then Aryana lends me a copy of the book Thrive Fitness: The Program for Peak Mental & Physical Strength Fuled by Clean, Plant-Based, Whole Food Recipes by Brendan Brazier (fellow Canadian!)

The book was awesome and really taught me how a plant-based diet could support my healing, workouts and desired body type.  I got to the recipe section and was so excited to see that he had recipes for pre and post workout fuel.

But then… BAM!  My heart dropped.  I’m in Vietnam!  I don’t have access to Maca, protein powders, and the other power foods that he lists in his recipes.  Suddenly I felt powerless.  And this sensation gnawed at me all morning until

My mood that day matched the sky.

I realized in the afternoon that I was feeling quite down.  And my root thought was “no control”.

After sitting with this for a while, I remembered something that Shawn-the-body-builder told me at the Vegan restaurant.  He detoxed and cleansed his body for quite a while and lost a lot of weight before he regained strength and was able to get stronger than ever before.  Plus put muscle back on.  He had to break down before he could build up.  This really resonated with me that now is my time to heal.  And later I can explore muscle.

Plus there are always two sides to that want coin.  Here I am in Vietnam at a time where I truly need to be.  I have access to constant sunshine, the meditative ocean, and maybe most importantly – the cheap, healing local fresh fruit and vegetables available only 5 minutes away at an outside market.

In Canada, I will not be by the ocean or market, but I will have access to these recipe ingredients.

This has been another lesson for me to be present and grateful for what I do have today.  It’s what I’m meant to have.   And when I get back to Canada, I will have access to what I’m meant to have there.

I need to flow.  I can always get what I want.  If I ask for help with the right questions, listen to the answers, and then be patient.  Oh man… that patience thing… gimme gimme!!

“You Don’t Have Depression” According to Vietnamese TCM Dr.

So, I loved working with Mr. Sau but the pricing of his herbs were really high!  About $25 cdn per 2 days of herbs or so.  In Canada, I’d pay about $70 for a month’s supply!  (To give you an idea of interesting costs here, a full dental cleaning in a modern office is $6, to get our cat spayed $2, a meal $2-$4).

The Vietnamese people as so kind, and Mr. Vu told me about a local herbs shop where I could get what I needed a lot cheaper.  So off I went on my e-bike to find the shop!

When I got there, I realized we had a translation problem.  So when the shop owner asked me “what your problem” I pulled out my cell phone and trusty Google Translate, and typed in “I have depression.  My head is sad”.  He looked at me so funny!  Then typed back “you can do more”.  Then he said “exercise”…

When we both realized that this form of translation wasn’t going to get us very far, I called Mr. Vu to come meet me at the shop.  When he arrived, he asked me what I told the shop owner that my problem was.  I showed him my phone.

He got so frustrated at me!  He said “this is not what you have!  You have blocked energy!  If you really feel that you have this depression then you go to the hospital and the doctor will give you pills”.  (It’s true, that’s all they do).

While it was not fun to call in a favor, then waste Mr. Vu’s time with

Friendly TCM herb shop owner.

my lack of listening skills, I’m really glad he spoke up with emotion.  It drilled it home to me that in Vietnam, depression isn’t a thing.  It’s a western term.  I immediately apologized, then payed attention to the facts and sensations in my body.  I re-framed why I was there in terms of my symptoms:

“I have a headache, my eyes feel sunk in my head, I’m weak and I have no energy for myself or anyone else in my family”.

I was then whisked to the back area where my pulses were taken by the shop owner, more questions asked (yep!  Libido still at zero!) then I was given a weeks worth of herbal formulas for $12 cdn plus some fresh ginger.  Ah, that’s better!

Herbal powder, herb balls and fresh ginger. $12 cdn.

Ok, lesson learned.  I don’t have depression.  I have a mixture of symptoms that I need to heal.  Thanks Mr. Sau, Mr Vu and the really nice man at the herbal shop!