Getting off Zoloft

Day 4

This has been a wild ride. I finally decided I had to take my own advice. We have a baby on the way, and I needed to be whole by the time she gets here. I was taking two different medicines (Zoloft and Lamictal) so we halved and eliminated the Lamictal first.

I honestly didn’t think the 12.5 mg of Zoloft was playing any role in my life. Man, I was wrong. It’s not completely out of my system yet, but I’m sleeping better, seeing better, and easily living in the moment. My senses are heightened. I feel more athletic. I know it was the right thing.

Always remember that there was a reason you started taking pills in the first place. Obviously, if you don’t address the fears that were plaguing you before you started your meds, you’re not going to be whole when you stop.

Weaning off is not fun or easy. I was legitimately having anxiety attacks the past couple days, but I’ve learned other ways to cope.

Zoloft effected how I felt emotion. I don’t know exactly how, but I felt a surge of emotions the past couple days. Fear, shame, guilt, and love. It masked all these for me and masked my moral compass.

I was my own god on Zoloft. There was never any ever true getting lost in the moment. I was filtering every word I said and everything I did through my own set of standards. It was exhausting, and caused a delay in my brain’s processing.

I haven’t felt as happy as I do now since I was a teenager. It’s just great. Like for the first time in years, I’m doing streaks of the right things. And for the right reasons

I’m sure there’s more to go through, but now I have the tools to cope.

Depending on the psychiatrist that saw me, I think you realistically could’ve diagnosed me with any of these conditions over different times in the past decade: bipolarism, depression, schizophrenia, ADD, ADHD, OCD, and probably others. My psychiatrist didn’t even want me to get off everything, but I knew it was what I had to do. I had to be purely me-no brain altering drugs-and be happy when the baby gets here. I knew I didn’t need another variable thrown in the mix before I started the weaning process.

So if you’re starting to think about weaning off, here’s what you need to know:

  • You’ll know when and if you’re ready. My process involved eliminating caffeine from my diet and improving my vision.
  • It’s going to be unpleasant.
  • Have coping mechanisms prepared. Prayer, meditation, whatever, you’re going to need it.
  • Lean on your friends and family. You cannot do this alone.
  • Be honest about the way you feel but make no big decisions.
  • You’re going to feel an irrational surge of emotion. Be ready.

It’s all worth it. There’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Alzheimer’s is curable

Let’s start somewhere else. With a disease that we’ve made some progress on: schizophrenia.

Here are your symptoms:

Behavioral: social isolation, disorganized behavior, aggression, agitation, compulsive behavior, excitability, hostility, repetitive movements, self-harm, or lack of restraint

Cognitive: thought disorder, delusion, amnesia, belief that an ordinary event has special and personal meaning, belief that thoughts aren’t one’s own, disorientation, memory loss, mental confusion, slowness in activity, or false belief of superiority

Mood: anger, anxiety, apathy, feeling detached from self, general discontent, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, elevated mood, or inappropriate emotional response

Psychological: hallucination, paranoia, hearing voices, depression, fear, persecutory delusion, or religious delusion

Speech: circumstantial speech, incoherent speech, rapid and frenzied speaking, or speech disorder

Also common: fatigue, impaired motor coordination, or lack of emotional response

Onset Age: 12-40 [source]

Treatment: Antipsychotics. They seem to help alleviate symptoms, both positive and negative.

Wow. I thought I was reading an article about Alzheimer’s. You are. Bear with me.

Alzheimer’s symptoms:

Behavioral: aggression, agitation, difficulty with self care, irritability, meaningless repetition of own words, personality changes, restlessness, lack of restraint, or wandering and getting lost

Cognitive: mental decline, difficulty thinking and understanding, confusion in the evening hours, delusion, disorientation, forgetfulness, making things up, mental confusion, difficulty concentrating, inability to create new memories, inability to do simple math, or inability to recognize common things

Mood: anger, apathy, general discontent, loneliness, or mood swings
Psychological: depression, hallucination, or paranoia
Also common: inability to combine muscle movements, jumbled speech, or loss of
appetite

Onset Age: 41+

Treatment: Cholinesterase inhibitors and. Memantine. The inhibitors slow the process that breaks down a key neurotransmitter. Memantine regulates the neurotransmitter responsible for learning and memory.

The main difference in this article is memory loss. That’s the main symptom difference that we can’t explain between schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s. You know what else changes in those onset ages? The subjects ages. And while I have my own theories for why, I think it’s save to say that people start losing their memory as they get older. These diseases effect the same areas of the brain.

Here are some results from an exhaustive study comparing symptoms of Elderly Schizophrenics [ED] to those with Alzheimer’s in the annesiac mild cognitive impairment stage [AD-aMCI]. Take a look at the data here, and read the entire study if you dare. The point is these numbers are practically indistinguishable.

Test/subtest ES group AD-aMCI group p value
WMS-R
GM index 80.0 ± 16.2 77.8 ± 10.5 0.58
AC index 91.0 ± 14.7 98.6 ± 11.7 0.046
DR index 76.3 ± 17.2 58.8 ± 8.6 <0.001
GM-DR 3.6 ± 10.7 19.9 ± 8.6 <0.001

WAIS-R
Information 10.1 ± 3.7 11.2 ± 2.8 0.37
Digit symbol substitution 8.0 ± 2.7 11.6 ± 2.3 <0.001
Similarity 9.9 ± 3.2 12.5 ± 2.2 0.024
Picture completion 8.5 ± 4.0 11.2 ± 1.8 0.037
Block design 8.4 ± 2.7 11.5 ± 1.9 0.0018

We don’t know much about the brain. And the nature of science is to broaden fields. To specify. This is about simplification. 

We’ve even used the same treatment and gotten similar results. 

Here’s the theory: these are the same disease. We call schizophrenia Alzheimer’s after you turn forty. Assume for a moment that I’m right. That these are the same disease.

We’ve made progress on schizophrenia. Some people with schizophrenia have made full recoveries. So if Alzheimer’s is schizophrenia, then Alzheimer’s is curable.

There is hope after all.

So how do we cure schizophrenia? We don’t treat symptoms. Some people say that theirs is in “remission” but they only say that because of how we convey the nature of the disease.

So, if for whatever reason, you’re still with me. Alzheimer’s and Schizophrenia are the same disease. How can I say that they are curable? It’s the nature of the human mind. It has all the same hardware it had when you were born. It’s perfectly designed and capable of a full recovery. 

Here is the brain model that lead me to these solutions.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Trust Your Psychiatrist

Disclaimer: Changing psychiatric mediation comes with obvious risks and should not be done unless supervised and supported by a professional. If you have no intentions of changing your behaviors, your life, or your brain, there is no reason to believe that anything will be different this time around. The purpose of this is to establish the fact that there is a version of you that is OK without medicine.

No offense.

But we just are in the beginning stages of learning about the human brain. Psychiatry is like the bloodletting of the 21st century. Sure, we’re testing these drugs before we hand them out, but I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t let someone who know’s nothing about cars rebuild your engine. It just makes no sense.

Everybody’s wired differently. We just have to find the right mix of chemicals. This is all bullshit. All they know is that they can write you scrips that sometimes help people feel better for some amount of time. It’s all about trial and error.

They don’t know the actual nature of change. Not numbing you into some third party in your own life. Actual change.

Read about all your meds before you take them. Most of what they prescribe have some crazy side effects. There are multiple studies out there about whatever you’re thinking about taking.

Grill your shrink about your diagnosis. Ask as many questions as it takes until you are on board with everything.

Be honest with them. They can only diagnose what you tell them. It doesn’t help anyone to lie or to just not take your medicine. Tell them you’re not taking that pill. Tell them you’re not on board with an increase. The decision every day whether or not to take the pill is yours. 

Stand your ground. Your sanity is a stake here. You’re talking about medicine that will deeply impact your life.

Ask about alternative routes. Think critically about the other variables in your life right now. You’re about to double down. What if you’re completely happy on these meds? Is that the real you?

Your goal should be to eventually ween off. But DO NOT take my word for it. Do your own research. Form your own opinion. You only get one go at this.

Remember: you were designed to be happy. And you’ve been happy before without meds. 

 

 

My doctor looks old

Here’s something to consider: if doctors have mastered their form and know everything there is to know about the human body, why do they look like crap? Respectfully, I’d rather Lebron James tell me not to eat meat than a 5’7″ overweight white guy who looks 20 years older than he is. How many years did you go to school to learn about how the human body works? Did you learn a lot? If so, why are you aging so quickly?

Just because your mom or your doctor think that’s what you need to do, doesn’t mean that’s what you have to do. Think critically and listen to your body. You only get one go at this, and medicine is completely reactive. We truly have no idea what’s going on.