Coming Off My Medication: Tegretol

1200px-VariousPillsSo I decided last week to come off my medication.

And I don’t mean – screw it, I’ll stop taking it – I mean coming off it slowly, bit by bit because I don’t need it any more.

At least I don’t think I need it any more.

First I’m stopping the Tegretol – going down from 800mg to 600mg for a month.

I’ve been taking Tegretol for at least eight years.¬† I can’t quite remember when, and I don’t have any documentation for that point. And by documentation I mean a blog post or something on my livejournal stating when I started. And the electronic records my doctor had access to during my appointment didn’t go back that far. But it’s at least eight years. 2007 is the first mention of it.

Anyway.

I started Tegretol because I couldn’t deal with my anger. I didn’t necessarily have mood swings but I couldn’t control nor deal with my anger. It was a big part of the reason why I self harmed. I got angry, I didn’t know how to deal with it, I cut myself. And therapy wasn’t coming but medication was easy so, I got more meds on top of my Seroxat and well, it just became part of the the routine.

I don’t know if it worked.

I really couldn’t say for sure. It didn’t make a big enough difference to stop me self harming, but then, by time I’d been self harming for that long it was as much about the depression and self-loathing as it was about the anger. So maybe it helped the anger, I can’t really remember. But that didn’t really make a difference overall because I still tried to kill myself a couple of times after starting it, and in the end therapy was what really made the difference, changing my life entirely.

But I’ve never stopped taking my medication. It took so long to accept the fact that I had to take it, and longer to accept that I might have to take it for the rest of my life. And now I’m at this point where several things have occurred.

One. I am not the person I was when I started taking my medication. I’ve completely changed my life and my way of thinking, as well as my way of dealing with my depression and anxiety. That has been pretty clear over the past few years, but the last month really showed me that – it’s been tough, with my wife being off work and still ill after the accident, and money being tight and a few other stresses my depression and anxiety has been pretty bad this month. I even thought about self harming.

I didn’t though and I went to work and managed and the month has passed and things will hopefully be better next month. I am able to deal with the crap that comes my way now.

Two. In the future, if I want to have a baby myself (carry it myself) then I can’t be taking this much medication. In terms of Tegretol my dose is pretty normal as a mood stabilisers but I’m maxed out on my Seroxat and it would not be good to be pregnant and on that much medication.

Three. Working for a pharmacy has been a bit of an eye-opener. Especially when it comes to to sheer amount of medication wasted and the amount of money that is being wasted by people getting free prescriptions for things like paracetamol that costs 25p for 16 tablets, but took up ten to fifteen minutes of a doctors time that they didn’t need, as well as the money it cost to pay for the paracetamol and all the delivery costs and so on. So taking medication I do not necessarily need because I’ve been taking it so long and because I know the withdrawals suck (at least from the Seroxat), just seems like a waste of money month after month. I’m costing the NHS almost thirty quid a month in those tablets alone – not counting the money spent on the receptionist sorting the prescription out, the doctor signing, the delivery costs to the pharmacy…

So, I decided, I made my appointment to see my GP.

He actually said to cut it in half but I’m scared. It’s been a long time and I don’t want things to wrong. And it’s winter and what if I actually need the Tegretol?? So I have a box of 200mg, to go with a fresh box of 400mg and I’m cutting down.

Starting tonight.

Wish me luck.

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