Adventures in Seroquel Tapering for the Groggy Blogger and more…

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T.G.I.M.? Thank God  it’s Monday?  I think not!  Mondays are usually the toughest day of the week for me, but maybe this one will be different.  At least I don’t have to rush the kids to school, and that’s a big plus for this groggy blogger.  More on my grogginess follows in this post; oh yes, it’s a primary theme, although get ready – other topics will be discussed and an exam given at the end. 😉

I’m thankful to have a more leisurely pace in our household this week.  There was a steady buzz of frenetic activity over the past five days.  Between having my two young girls out of school, hosting family from out-of-town, and adjusting to our super-energetic puppy’s needs, last week was challenging and at times even heartbreaking.  One day was plain-old-Nightmare On Elm Street Part VI, but blogging about that awful day really helped me.  After I received wonderful comments of support in this blog, I was able to move on with my day better than I would have done in the past.

Now, as I type this post, there is a beautiful sort of quiet in the room.  I hear the sounds of cars and motorcycles off in the distance, for we live directly above a scenic mountain highway, but at this point the traffic sounds akin to a rushing stream.  For the next hour it’s just me and Lucy puppy, who is nibbling contentedly on a puppy chew.  My husband took the girls to swim at the community pool, and I’m so, so grateful to have this solitude.

Most of us bloggers need to have quiet time away from other noisy humans – you don’t realize how vital this alone time is until it’s gone!  If I want to write anything except maybe a grocery list, I must have quiet.  I wish with all my heart that I could be like the author Madeleine L’Engle, who was able to write well with all kinds of distractions.  She wrote backstage on Broadway when she worked as a character actress, she scribbled on trains, journaled in hotel lobbies, etc. Unfortunately, I can’t write if my two kids are around unless I have headphones on, and that usually hasn’t worked out for me.

Along the lines of writing and solitude, a few minutes ago I watched an interesting, brief YouTube video of the writer John Irving.  I’ve never read his work, but I’ve heard about this famous writer for many years.  The video is called “How to Tell if You’re A Writer”, and Irving validated certain points for me regarding writing in general.  It was an inspiring minute & twenty seconds, and it’s definitely worth the time to watch if you’re a writer!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYvOSrgvCrk

Meanwhile, in exciting medication management news, last night I dropped down from 100mg/night to 50 mg of Seroquel (quetiapine).  Seroquel has been a godsend to me.  When I had a terrible, bizarre type of agitated insomnia last fall, my psychiatrist prescribed Seroquel.  I was completely skeptical that it would help me, but I was desperate to get some sleep.  Not to sound like a drama queen, but from past experience I knew if I didn’t sleep, I’d wind up back in the hospital.  So I started taking the Seroquel and I was profoundly relieved to find that it worked very well.  The only side effect that has bugged me is mild-to-moderate daytime grogginess until noon or so.

I’ve been meaning to drop from 100mg to 50 mg of Seroquel for literally months now.  My psychiatrist was totally on board with my decision.  However, I procrastinated tapering because I felt paranoid that changing my dose would throw off the wonderful, antidepressant effect of the lithium and Parnate (MAOI) I’ve been taking since last fall.  I voiced my concern with my psychiatrist and he told me that it was highly unlikely that my reducing Seroquel would bring on depression. I trust this man literally with my life, so I decided to go for it.

The 50% reduction has worked well so far; I slept well last night, but it has been less than twenty-four hours since I changed my dose! Only time will tell if this adjustment is effective for me in the long run.  My fingers and toes and eyeballs are crossed that it works just fine.

One good omen is that today I only had one cup of coffee instead of my usual three (sometimes even more – yes, I admit it!) hefty-sized mugs.  I’ve been drinking all this coffee because I love the taste, but also the large amount of caffeine has cut my grogginess down a bit. What amazes me is that I didn’t even realize that I drank 2/3 less of my usual amount of coffee until just now, 2:30 p.m., so that’s an encouraging sign!

The past week has been different for me in other ways in terms of my daily routine.  I’ve cut down my Facebook notifications & “following” option (which I still don’t totally understand, I’m embarrassed to tell you!) Lately I’ve only wished to keep track of the doings and likings etc. of people I’m actively involved with.  I’ve reduced my Twitter surfing too.   (Did you know that you can “mute” people on Twitter?  If you don’t, write me a comment and I’ll explain it! 😉  Or someone else can explain it…and I bet they’ll do a better job of it.)

Changing my social media habits frees up more time for me to be with my family, read other blogs, read books, write, and play with Lucy Puppy. And, ahem, to watch my trashy television shows.  I don’t want to stop being on social media – no way! I’ve written this before and I’ll write it again –  I’ve been using Facebook & Twitter too much.  It’s going to take me all summer to figure out a happier medium between online fun, mundane real-life responsibilities, and real-life fun!  At least I have hope I can work out a better balance of virtual and real-life activity.

Finally, I can’t thank you enough for reading this blog.  It’s a joy to know that I have loyal readers who I consider to be kindred spirits. The other day I hopped on another blogger’s post and I noticed there were 162 comments made within a day.  At first my heart sank, and I seethed in emerald green jealousy.  But then I realized that if I was that mega-blogger, there would be no way I could ever reply to all those comments.  Moreover, I probably wouldn’t read them all unless I was on speed or something, and the lovely give & take between blogger and followers would be non-existent.  At least for me.

At any rate my point is I’m glad for your comments, and I read every one.  Sometimes I take more time than I’d like to reply to you, but I promise I will.  I love having you, my followers, and I wish each of you a fulfilling blogging experience and a great day –  you deserve it!

All my best to you!

Dyane

 

 

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25 thoughts on “Adventures in Seroquel Tapering for the Groggy Blogger and more…

  1. John Irving easily makes my top-ten list of favorite authors. The protagonists and other characters in his novels are richly developed and honestly, quite bizarre, much like the stories he pens. The Hotel New Hampshire and The World According to Garp are definitely my favorites.

    I hope your Seroquel taper is successful. I absolutely get the hesitation surrounding dosage changes; the potential for creating a storm in the moments of calm is quite scary. Seroquel has always helped me tremendously with the irritability I experience during agitated mania so it’s always in my arsenal at differing dosages. I’m currently tapering down my dose, too. I always find it to have more sedative effect for me at lower doses; I think maybe I’m just an oddball. ;D

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, tragicmisanthrope. Yesterday I looked to see if you had a blog, but I couldn’t locate it, so please let me know if you do have one, for your writing is lovely and I’d like to read more.

      It was great to see that you were familiar with John Irving’s work. I wonder if you watched him speak on YouTube. It’s always interesting to see the person behind the books…he was so eloquent and intense in that brief clip. I wouldn’t mind watching him speak for longer than eighty-odd seconds!

      Alas, the Seroquel taper is no more – I’m not sure if you read my next post about “The Dreads”. I’m disappointed about it, but tapering it just doesn’t feel right in my gut. I’ll try again come September if I can. I have heard from someone else that when she took Seroquel at lower doses it had a more sedative effect!!! So you are not an oddball, at least when it comes to that. 😉

      I hope that you are doing well and I’m going to give it one last try to find your blog. When I attempted last night to find it, I was working out on my elliptical, using my Kindle and my carpal tunnel kicked in on my typing hand – it did not make for easy searching!

      take care & thanks again for stopping by,
      Dyane

  2. I know how amazing Seroquel is…I’ve been using it since my breakdown last year! I thought I would never be able to rid myself of my sleeping pill addiction and Seroquel literally saved my life! I think you started following me after I have written about how sleeping pills destroyed my life, so I cannot emphasize enough what a miracle Seroquel is!

    1. I am so, so pleased that Seroquel works for you so well. I think you are right about my following you *after* you wrote about the sleeping pill addiction, because I would definitely remember such a topic!! You deserve many miracles, my dear. I haven’t had a chance yet to read your blog post that mentions me, but I will tonight and I can’t wait!!!!! I am already super-flattered!!!!!

  3. Hey Dy, great that you are cutting back on the seroquel. Such a low dosage would not even tough the sides for me, being on 400mg twice a day. But seroquel for me is not just for sleep, It’s to curb the racing, paranoid, delusional and suicidal thoughts.
    John Irving is one of my favourite writers. I look across to the books on the shelf and see seven titles. His characters and situations are always very complex and, in some cases, screwed up. There have been some good movie adaptations too, like “The World According to Garp” and “The Hotel New Hampshire” being particular favourites of mine.
    Hope it all goes well with the lowering of the seroquel.
    cheers, Glenn

    1. Hello there Glenn! Well, by now you may know that I gave up on my 24-hour-long trial of Seroquel. I was using Seroquel for sleep initially. That’s what my psychiatrist gave it to me for – but then I felt it helped me in other ways in terms of its antidepressant effects. I am so happy that it helps you with the racing, paranoid, delusional and vicious suicidal thoughts, thank God!

      That is very cool that you are not only familiar with John Irving but that he is one of your favorite writers. I never saw the popular movies based on his books; that’s something I’d like to do at some point!

      Thanks for your comments as always, my dear. See ra ’round!

    1. Thank you for the good wishes, you cool-yet-fiery cat! Off to finnnallllyy read your post about the ECT that you had today. I only saw the first sentence of it, and then I got distracted – what else is new? I ***hope*** SO much that you are good.

      At least you wrote today – to me that’s positive in my booky wooky!
      xoxoxoxoxox DyDy

      1. I loved all my zaps. And you know I found all the surfer anesthesiologists I had were total hotties, which certainly didn’t hurt. I never thought that would be the case that I would enjoy ECT, but it was relaxing. It’s so nice that you understand that and that you agree with me that it truly helps!!! 🙂 xoxoxo

  4. I love reading your posts and I am sure I am one of many 🙂 Congrats on lowering the Seroquel it is always nice when we can get rid of some and still be healthy.

    I am horrible at responding to comments myself because it often overwhelms me, even if it is just one.

    1. I can say the same thing about your posts – I read and love them all. I really wish I could comment more on your blogs especially, but I know you understand that’s not always easy for me. I get overwhelmed too! I hope your trip is going smoothly today. Sending you virtual hugs from afar, and lots of love. xoxo

  5. Hi Dyane,
    Took some time (procrastinating from completing my deadline actually)…. and loved your blog as usual! Soooo glad you found a solution to your fog. I go up and down on Seroquel for season. Actually, I fluctuate between 100 mg and 50 myself. If I could stay at 50, I would. I’m happy for you! It helps with my mania and keeps me out of the hospital (in addition to one other med) so while I don’t like some side effects, it works like a charm for me.

    Cutting down social media is a great goal. We sit in front of the tv tweeting and facebooking to promote our book… it’s such a drag. Nora is much better at it than me. I find it annoying. I do like when I can find something actually useful to pass along but most of it is a waste of time. I like being connected but the true connection is when you are meeting face to face or reading and responding to a blog that has touched you in some way. I feel closer to you than 400 follwers on twitter! 🙂

    And about that writer video. All I could think is the joke in our family is I spent my childhood alone in my room. They will go back and say “but you had a lot of friends” and that is the truth, but the real truth is I preferred to be in my room to draw, listen to music, write and be alone. I wrote poems, mainly, in a diary eventually but guess I’m in the right profession.

    Keep on keeping on girl. 🙂 enjoy family and solitude…..AND the reduction of coffee. We ran out and have switched to tea for a few weeks. We were down to a half cup. It is possible. wendy

    1. Wendy, your comments & praise just totally made my day. 🙂

      Well, I went back up to 100 mg of Seroquel last night as you may know, so my attempt lasted all of 24 hours. I’m not whipping myself over it too much, so that’s a plus, and it helps me to know that you go between 50 to 100 mg. I take that as a good omen!

      You & Nora have done a ###fantastic### job of promoting your book via social media. I’m SO proud of you that it’s a bestseller!!! I pre-ordered mine on Kindle, of course! For those of you wondering what the heck I’m talking about, go to:

      http://www.amazon.com/Two-Bipolar-Chicks-Guide-Survival/dp/1618689754

      I’m still not sure what to make of Twitter. I enjoy it in moderation and (thank God) I’m able to use it in moderation. However, Facebook is a much tougher challenge for me to use wisely. As of now, I jump to Facebook when procrastinating on writing. Not good!

      I’m glad you switched to tea. I visited the Quail & Thistle Tea House over the weekend with my Mom & girls. I tried their Chocolate Rose tea. It was ***so*** good and it was more mellow than the intense dark roast coffee I usually drink. The server told us they use chocolate nibs. I need to find out where I can buy it.

      I will keep on keepin’ on, (Uh oh – that Brady Bunch song just came into my mind – remember that? About keeping on?) and I really look forward to keeping in touch with you – it’s a total delight!

      (((hugs)))
      Dy

  6. Hello, kindred spirit! Glad to hear that you are so far successfully tapering your Seroquel. May I suggest, as one coffee lover to another, that as you taper your Seroquel, you may want to start drinking decaf as it gets later in the day. Coffee has antidepressant properties, interferes with sleep, and can trigger manic symptoms when used in excess. Many doctors over the years (since I was an undergraduate at Berkeley in the mid 80’s drinking massive quantities of Peet’s) have advised that I limit myself to myself to no more than two cups of caffeinated coffee a day. As noon approaches, if I still crave coffee, I switch to decaf.

    Next topic: I, too, am trying to limit the blogs I actively follow and comment on and better manage the time I spend on social media. Saturday I read Lisa Henderson’s blog post about her Twitter activity (http://www.passionatereason.com/2014/06/the-intrinsic-value-of-twitter.html#comment-form). I congratulated her on growing such a large Twitter following, and she responded with this wonderful statement: “But comforting people who are suffering is much more valuable than Twitter followers.” Yes, what we do in our meaningful conversations is what truly matters. Would we ever choose in “real life” to have numerous shallow relationships over few loving relationships? NO!

    Thank you for being one of my friends, for engaging in a meaningful, mutually supportive, and loving relationship.

    1. Dear Kitt,

      Thanks so much for commenting. Your suggestion about decaf in the afternoons is an excellent one. My pdoc, who is a major Peet’s Coffee lover of all things, told me to shoot for one cup of decaf per morning. That just didn’t do it for me – I think I lasted all of a day trying that out. (I did relinquish caffeine for two entire pregnancies, though, so I know I have potential to change my wicked ways!)

      For the past year, I gave up alcohol cold-turkey along with quite a few of my favorite foods due to the MAOI food restrictions. Even though I’m not doing myself any favors by drinking too much coffee, I’m allowing myself to imbibe for the time being in hopes of future resolutions to improve.

      I love what Lisa Henderson responded to you regarding Twitter! It’s “quality, not quantity” that counts both with in-person and virtual friendships.

      I plan on being friends with you for a long time. Our friendship has been such a delightful gift over the past few months and you’ve given me much encouragement and valuable advice and feedback. Thank you for adding so much joy to my life!

      xoxoxoxo
      Dyane

  7. Hi Dyane! I can totally relate to that zombie feeling. Seroquil put me in a total, full out zombie state for months and months. It was not the right drug for me, but I am so thrilled that it works so well for you. I also know that worry/concern about medication change. You are not alone. So happy to hear the med change is going well. Yay! Here’s to you, Dyane! You inspire me! Thank you!!

    1. Dear Most Beautiful of Mental Health Warriors!

      That sucks that Seroquel zombified you – God, it’s so hit & miss, isn’t it?

      Along with countless others *YOU* inspire me daily via Twitter and I especially looooooveee the dog & cat inspiration pics you post. I’m glad you are up and running because you add more light to my life than you realize, and I feel like our connection has only just begun.

      Sending you lots and lots of love, hugs, and super-puppy energy from Lucy, who is growing SO fast she looks more like a dog now than a puppy, sniff sniff.

      I’ll post pictures of her soon and will DEFINITELY keep in touch with you
      mucho xoxoxoxoxooxoxoxo,
      Dyane 🙂

  8. Hi Dyane,
    So glad to hear you were able to cut back on the Seroquel. It does have quite a bit of the “zombie” effect. I truly enjoy reading your posts. Seems like you are doing well with life and that is a good thing! Have a great day!

    1. Dear, dear Amy, as I write this to you I am scratching viciously on my thigh – I got poison oak somehow, and it’s a pain in the…thigh! (I’m using calamine lotions, but still….it bugs me a lot anyway!)

      In between the painful itchy moments I’m able to appreciate your comment very, very much. I’m so happy that you like reading my missives. We are certainly members of the Mutual Admiration Society, for I’ve become such a big fan of your blog. I got addicted to it immediately! (That doesn’t sound so good, but you know what I mean, ha ha ha!)

      ***I’m SO glad you’re feeling better today***

      Take care, be extra-good to yourself, and know that I’m out here reading every one of your posts and I feel lucky to be able to do so! I’ll spread the word about your blog too and I’ll start following you on Twitter.

      (((hugs)))!

      1. Dyane,
        I hope you aren’t itching your poison oak today-that’s some irritating stuff. I like the Mutual Admiration Society and so glad we are members! Lol I truly am grateful to connect with you. Thanks for your encouragement about my posts-you just never know when you put something out there if it makes sense or sounds okay. There’s nothing like some feedback to fuel the fire. Hope your day is terrific. 🙂

      2. Oh Amy, my entire right thigh is covered in the creeping poison oak crud with a coating of Caladryl.. it looks like it’s out of a horror movie!!!!!

        I really want to take a picture of it for my blog and/or Facebook, but that’s just plain-old-cruel to make you gals see it.

        I know exactly what you mean about how great it is to get feedback & encouragement about our posts from other writers. We aren’t blogging just to cool our heels, but to make a real difference – to educate, inspire, and more. To make some sense of our suffering. So far everything I’ve read from you is extremely logical and very, very well-written. Keep it up! And if you need to take a break, take one so that you keep writing for the long-term. You rock, you awesome writer!

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