Coming off Mirtazapine, Part 1

In March we booked our first family holiday abroad, from the moment I booked it a cloud of dread came over me. I couldn’t stop worrying about all of the things that could go wrong, but it was more than just worrying about possibilities, I was convinced that these things would happen. I was convinced that I would lose my children at the airport, that our plane would crash, that my children would be the ones to catch some deadly bug over there, the list was endless. I remember when I was a child and I loved flying, and I missed that, I couldn’t help but think that our first family holiday abroad should be an exciting time, and instead I was only feeling sick about it. It was then that I realised just how much anxiety was ruining my life.

So I decided to speak to my Dr and they prescribed me Mirtazapine, 15mg daily, to help my anxiety. I was reluctant due to the fact they were an anti-depressant and I explained I did not feel depressed, but they insisted this was the treatment for anxiety too. I remember the first night as I swallowed that first tablet, instantly my heart started to race, I scrutinised the leaflet and became convinced that I would be the 1% to have a fatal reaction. I lay there frozen and over analysing every breath until I finally fell asleep. Just over a week later as the Mirtazapine started to work I felt in such a good place, my mind felt calm for the first time in so long. They made me put on weight and feel groggy in the mornings, but I didn’t mind because of how much they helped me in other ways.

Unfortunately just another week later I was involved in a car accident and my anxiety reared its ugly head again. My Dr increased my dose to 30mg daily. I felt as though my anxiety only got worse, but the Dr explained this was normal and it can take 6 weeks for them to work properly, so I gave them time. After the 6 weeks had passed I can’t say I felt in the good place that I had felt prior to my car accident. As you increase your Mirtazapine dosage the sedative effects decrease, I think possibly at 15mg they were just knocking me out so much that that was why my anxiety felt at bay, until the car accident that was. So as my weight continued to increase, the grogginess wore off but I felt almost numb inside, emotionless, and my anxiety was not improving. I felt unhappy and stuck in a rut, I just wanted to pack them in altogether. But then I read about the unpleasant withdrawal effects and I didn’t want them to ruin my holiday which was only a few weeks away now, and had been the main reason I had gone on them in the first place. So I decided I would wait until after the holiday, I consulted a different Dr this time and we came up with a plan to slowly withdraw from them once I was back.

I have just returned from my holiday and I started the withdrawal process last night, it will take a few weeks as I gradually lower my dosage, hence this is part 1 of I’m not sure how many more parts just yet. I feel nervous because I can remember clearly how much anxiety ruled my mind before Mirtazapine, it was gruelling at times, and it was that which drove me to medication in the first place. But the numbness I feel now is too much for me, I have a family and I feel like it’s affecting who I am and how I am with people. I feel that by stopping Mirtazapine I will get me back.

Before I went on medication I was exhausted of managing anxiety alone, I was drained and in need of a break. I struggled with the fact that no matter how many times I put into practice my own little anxiety management techniques, it never seemed to let up. I thought it would get easier, but it didn’t and instead that just wore me down. I think my expectations were maybe too high. Now I recognise this, and accept that I cannot cure my anxiety, I will try to focus on looking after myself and keeping my strength and positivity up so that I can control my relentless anxiety, day in day out, without medication.

I don’t regret going on Mirtazapine, some people are able to stick on Mirtazapine which is great, I’m by no means against medication, we are all different and I respect different things work for different people. If I hadn’t felt that the pros were outweighed by the cons for me then I’d probably still be on it. So I will try and look at my experience of Mirtazapine as positively as I can, in that it gave me the break I was looking for, and now hopefully I can come off them feeling rested and refuelled, ready to control my anxiety myself again.

To be continued…

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