Last week, after saying goodbye to my nerd lobster – more, much more, about her later – I scored a major OCD victory by cutting my daily Seroquel dosage in half. Almost immediately the perpetual sense of sleepiness (if not outright exhaustion) that’s enveloped me for almost two years began to evaporate. I cannot overstate how happy this makes me.
Last January, when I made my mental health goals for 2013, finding the right balance of medication (which included reducing my Seroquel intake) was #4 on the list. And for good reason: while it does help with anxiety, Seroquel’s other main impact is that aforementioned sense of sleepiness. It’s an inescapable side effect: as I wrote last March, “I take a relatively modest dose every night; typically I’ll be fighting to keep my eyes open twenty minutes later, and ten minutes after that I’ll be sound asleep and not so much as stirring till my alarm goes off the following morning.” I experimented with Seroquel XR, or long-release formula, hoping it’d lessen the side effects; if anything it amplified them. In a sense it’s pointless complaining about Seroquel making me tired: it’s a sleeping aid. Some of the worse side effects can be blunted by diet, notably foods rich in protein and magnesium. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t anxious to cut back.
Post-op (and post-lobster) seemed like the ideal time, especially when my surgery didn’t result in an OCD meltdown like the last time I had an operation. I knew I’d have at least a week to deal with any anxiety-related side effects. And so last Monday night I took half my usual dosage, and…nothing happened. Alright, that isn’t quite true. My anxiety spiked ever so slightly; it also goes without saying that I haven’t been sleeping as soundly, which means I’m sleeping more like I slept pre-Seroquel. Otherwise, nothing’s happened. I’m still tired, but I’m guessing that’s at least partly because I’m into week three of de facto house arrest. I think, once I get back into a routine, I’ll see just how positive an effect cutting back on Seroquel’s really had. That’s pretty exciting – and it’s only the first step. Next week I’m seeing about slashing my daily Cipralex dose by a third. Ciraplex, which is an anti-depressant (or SSRI), brings about the same feelings of tiredness as Seroquel. If cutting back on one has me feeling this good, cutting back on the other should have me feeling even better.
I’m looking forward to the day when I can stop taking this crap altogether. It’s not time yet, but that day’s closer than it was a week ago. My brain’s getting better. Now about my knee…