Withdrawal is no fun—but vacation should be

I’ve reentered withdrawal hell. The half milligram of Risperdal gave me relief briefly, but withdrawal effects can creep up on you over time and not enough time had elapsed since going off the last milligram to get the full withdrawal effect. I’m suffering again. I have not been writing because I do not know how to speak of my pain with grace and beauty like my friend at against medical advice does. And so I’ve been in general saying nothing.

I will speak now, briefly however, and then I’m leaving in two days for vacation for a week where I will have no internet access. I’m looking forward to this as sometimes I think my obsession with the world of mental health on the net saps my energy and leaves me feeling helpless in the face of all the ignorance and anger.

I’ve decided to wait several months before titrating anymore. One of my readers who completed a very successful withdrawal who is someone I correspond with and has also left comments occasionally says she took 6 – 9 month breaks at times and now I’m seeing the wisdom in that. The thing is taking a break like that makes me feel hopeless because when I got off the Risperdal completely, before the physical withdrawals settled in, I felt better than I had since I was in my twenties, pre-drug. I was in tune with nuanced delicate feelings of love and my sexuality came back in full force. I thought that was gone forever. After getting off the anti-depressants which are generally blamed for sexual dysfunction I just figured I was dried out. But once I got off the neuroleptics, alas, I found out neuroleptics are equally to blame in the sexual dysfunction party. Why don’t they tell you that I wonder? I guess schizophrenics and psychotics don’t deserve sex, but your average depressive does so we just hear about the poor depressives suffering sexual dysfuntion. Us hard-core mentally ill—well shit, why should we want good sex? I imagine we are just to pathetic to think about in bed at all so no one talks about it. I know every psychiatrist I ever had was completely unimpressed with my complaints.

Anyway—I felt better—immeasurably better for the few days I was off Risperdal before my body got racked by the physical withdrawal symptoms. And though I became extremely physically ill, my nasty ass irritability did not return until I resumed the Risperdal. I’m extremely suspicious that it is the Risperdal, indeed, that causes my irritability and the horrible nasty joke about that is that my favorite doctors favorite “treatment” for my irritability was upping that dose of Risperdal to a high of 11 mg. The irony of it is acutely painful. And now I must ride this irritability out for another 6 months to maybe even a year. I need to be free of all my physical withdrawal symptoms and then I intend to wait another couple of months before I start the titration again. And this has been such a nightmare that once I begin the titration again it will be done the conservative way—10% of each current dose. I imagine it might take 4 – 6 months to titrate off.

And then the benzos which I’ve spoken to people who experience a spectrum of it taking anything from a couple of weeks to a couple of years. Somewhere solidly in between must be the norm from what I can tell. Many months in any case.

And then the final bit of Lamictal.

It does indeed feel like a never ending journey.

I’d like to get back to writing things other than strictly journal like entries on this blog but right now I’m lucky to get anything out at all. It’s a shame as it was a wondrous glorious thing for me when I was pumping out posts on almost a daily basis. The creativity involved made me feel productive and worthwhile again. I’m lacking that joy now.

Now I’m too confused. I have so many things I’m thinking about and need to get my priorities straight. Hopefully I’ll be clearing out my head during the next week on vacation with no internet and I’ll come back refreshed.

I’ll be on the coast of South Carolina which is incredibly beautiful and a well-kept secret. We’ve gone there before and it was a wonderful relaxing beautiful vacation. I was withdrawing from Zoloft at the time and was sick then too, but I enjoyed myself nonetheless—it was impossible not to let the beauty make me smile. I have to say this Risperdal withdrawal is much harder than the Zoloft withdrawal was but I still think the beauty will have me smiling.

Below is the house we’re staying in and some pictures of the surrounding coast and marshes. Yes, it’s utterly luxurious. Two caveats. It doesn’t cost a fraction of what you would expect it to for how palatial it is AND my husband just got a kick-ass job and we’re celebrating after years of living at poverty level.


12 thoughts on “Withdrawal is no fun—but vacation should be

  1. withdrawal takes as long as your body needs…the key is moving very slowly…

    go to my About page at the top of the site for info on where to get additional info…

    best of luck to you.


  2. I was interested in reading these comments about the risperdone withdrawl. Do any of you have support sites or information about how long the withdrawl took for you. Right now the vivid night mares are literally killing me. I wake up crying every morning.


  3. I hope that you are able to have a wonderful vacation despite your withdrawl. So. Carolina sounds great because I’m fairly certain that it will be warm. I’m not sure where you live, but getting out into the sun would probably feel really healing.

    I was interested when I read your post, Gianna, about not having control over the internet, and deciding to leave your computer at home. I left my computer behind for my last vacation and it was a good decision.

    I posted a comment about the internet and BiPolar depression, but it posted in a topic that had nothing to do with my message. I wasn’t sure if I could start my own topic, but I think, at least for me, if I’m not careful, the internet can be a trigger into manic behavior. I’m posting the same message below because I think it is important. Sorry that it is a repeat message.
    * * *
    Concerning your comment about you having no control on the internet…

    I have found that the internet can become my bipolar buddy, and 7 hours can pass without me even realizing it. One interesting site will lead to another…and before I know it, I have 6 windows open and never manage to get back to my original window or idea of why I got on the internet in the first place.

    For me, the internet can be a replacement for living life that involves being with people and going to real places. I can look at wonderful art sites and read about all sorts of esoteric information. I have asked my husband to get me off of the internet when he sees that I’ve been on it for more than an hour or so. Well, most of the time I will fight with him, and can become really nasty if I want to stay on. If I am really obsessive, I can stay on the computer all night long and still be on when my husband gets ready for work the next day. Not great for my marriage.

    I was mis-dx’d as having unipolar depression and was on SSRI’s for the past 18 yrs. I was finally dx’d with bipolar depression last year. Looking back, I know that I was bipolar sometimes and depressed a lot of the time. I have tried 4 atyical antipsychotics for bipolar depression in just the past 8 months. Each messed up my body badly, landing me in the hospital twice. I’ve gone down from 600 mg’s of Seroquel to 75mg. I’m going down really fast, but some of my automatic body functions stopped and I was in real danger. I look forward to being nearly med free (except for 2.0 mg’s of Klonopin per day, which I’m actually afraid to give up.

    I hope to break my internet addiction someday. I wonder if many bipolar people have similiar internet addictions. I once read about a program to cure one of internet addictions. I had to laugh, as “Getting off the Internet” was an online course!!!

    I wish each of you the very best,


  4. Hey. Yea Im on Risperdal at the moment to and it does create some problems thats definitely right. But dont worry maybe after leaving risperdal everything will finally work out. The house looks great and your husband has got a new job. Everything a bipolar person needs. 🙂


  5. Having gone off all my medications cold turkey I can understand your pain. The one thing I believe you need to hold onto is that feeling you experienced “I felt better than I had since I was in my twenties, pre-drug.” Everytime I experienced that feeling made me want to wait around to feel that way again. It was a very long and very slow process. There were many times I tried to convience myself to go back on medications, but, that feeling convienced me I was doing the right thing. It took almost 2 years to get the drugs out of my system but it was the best decision I ever made. Other benefits have been feeling sexual again. Wow, wonderful. I also dropped 30 pounds without even trying. Give yourself all the time you need and just be gentle with yourself for as long as it takes. Try not to expect things to be different or better for a while. That time will come. Trust me, it’s worth getting there. Good luck to you!


  6. you can still live while withdrawing, you know? and maybe try not idealize life after withdrawal too much, too?

    ah…yes…absolute words of wisdom. I am scared shitless of life after withdrawal. If I seem to idealize it it is only in my hopes. I fear that I will fail. That I won’t be better. And that I won’t recover.
    I don’t fear that I will be worse.

    I don’t fear relapse.

    But I do fear that I will remain disabled.

    But as far as living NOW…yes! I must. I’m working on acceptance of my situation and making the best of what I have now, but I’m not so good at that. The constant irritability doesn’t help…it’s like a buzz of pessimism that makes me nasty and unpleasant and believe in nothing good.

    You are one of my great inspirations ama because you live a life greatly limited, like mine, both of us with chronic fatigue even if the etiology is different. You have found acceptance and it’s good to see it modeled.


  7. this is a beautiful post, gianna. so much in it. so much pain and insight. i like this passage:

    I guess schizophrenics and psychotics don’t deserve sex, but your average depressive does so we just hear about the poor depressives suffering sexual dysfuntion. Us hard-core mentally ill—well shit, why should we want good sex? I imagine we are just to pathetic to think about in bed at all so no one talks about it. I know every psychiatrist I ever had was completely unimpressed with my complaints.

    and i don’t like but feel strongly the pain that resonates in that litany of withdrawal years that are still ahead of you.

    you can still live while withdrawing, you know? and maybe try not idealize life after withdrawal too much, too? and who knows, maybe the capacity for enjoying sex will come back, and the irritability abate, sooner than when the risperdal is a thing of the past. these are very complicated processes. be optimistic. trust in the music of chance.

    have a lovely holiday. the house looks fabulous. congratulations to your husband for his job and to you for everything.

    (oh, and thanks for the shout out!)


  8. “Everyone’s looking for good sex, good food, and a good laugh. “They’re little islands of relief in what’s often a painful existence.” ~ Jerry Seinfeld

    Have FUN!!


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