Earlier, I wrote about how I began to struggle with panic attacks again — in a pretty severe way — about three years after withdrawing myself from Paxil, an SSRI medication that treats anxiety disorders.
Then, after some heavy-hearted contemplation and a few shed tears, I threw up my hands and swallowed my first Celexa pill. I felt terrible about doing it. Even with the first pill, I knew I was taking out a loan — a loan with interest. Celexa would give me a break from all the anxiety, I reasoned, but just like with Paxil, there will come a day during which I’ll have to pay it all back via the horrors of SSRI withdrawal.
I felt ashamed when I began taking the Celexa. It wasn’t the “I’m ashamed I’m on psych meds” shame that no one ought to have; it was more like “I’m ashamed because I’m doing something I’d promised myself I’d never do again” kind of shame. And now, I (and only I) would be responsible for whatever might happen. With Paxil, I was uninformed. With Celexa, I knew what I was getting into.
And I didn’t feel like I had a choice in the matter.
SO, WHY ADMIT ALL OF THIS NOW?
The reason I’ve now decided to, uh, “come out” about my current SSRI use is this: my husband and I want to make a baby soon.
And I don’t want Baby to swim in SSRI soup and have to suffer from withdrawal symptoms when he or she enters this bright world of ours.
So, I’ve just begun weaning myself off of Celexa.
This is going to be an interesting journey. There are so many unknowns: will Celexa withdrawal be as difficult as Paxil withdrawal? What kind of side effects will I experience? Will I be able to endure the agony of pregnancy without an SSRI to buffer the experience?
What if my body is constantly anxious — is that good for my baby? What if I have a panic attack while pregnant and Xanax isn’t a quick-fix option? How will I handle myself? How will I handle working? I want to breastfeed my baby, so, I’m looking at a non-med period of well over nine months, right?
Look at that. I’m already thinking about breastfeeding and I’m not even pregnant yet.
Sigh. That’s just like me, getting caught up in the what-ifs of a future that doesn’t yet exist.
Anyway. Back to the present.
IT’S TAPER TIME
I didn’t have a blog (well, not a public one, at least) when I withdrew from Paxil.
But I sure as hell have one now.
I’ll be using this blog to chronicle my journey, to seek out (and, hopefully, provide) support, and to introduce a little glasnost into the common-but-not-oft-discussed-publicly experience of SSRI withdrawal.
As I’ve said before: fool me twice, shame on me. I certainly can’t go back in time and un-take Celexa that first weepy time, so…here I am. I accept the shame and I accept the consequences of my decision. I want to get pregnant, but before I do, I want to be as med-free as possible.
I will now play the best cards I can lay down.
For more on motherhood, mental health, and meds, check out the lovely Anne-Marie over at Do Not Faint.
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From Psych Central's website:
You Asked: Was Celexa An Effective Treatment For Your Panic Attacks? | Panic About Anxiety -- A blog about panic attacks, panic disorder, and anxiety. (May 23, 2013)
Last reviewed: 4 May 2013