Blogs, mental health

Coming off Quetiapine

Way, way back in 2017, not long after I went off on long term sick leave due to my depression and anxiety, I had a meeting with the Wiltshire and Avon Mental Health Partnership. This was in part because of a prior meeting that I had had with the DWP regarding my ability to work. Following that particular meeting they contacted my GP because they were concerned about my tendency to self-harm and my intentions to take the next logical step and attempt suicide.

Anyway, during the meeting with the Mental Health Partnership they made the decision to change my meds up a bit and ended up prescribing me – amongst other things – Quetiapine – as a way of controlling my frequent urge to self-harm. Whether it has been effective or not is certainly up for debate. Yes I did eventually stop self-harming, but I personally put that down to a change in outlook and circumstances rather than a result of taking a tablet twice a day. That’s by-the-by though. The fact is that I’ve been stuck on Quetiapine ever since, and now I want to come off of it.

There are many reasons why I feel now would be a good time to try and kick the Quetiapine habit. Firstly, I feel like I’m in a much more stable state of mind these days. The urges to cut myself or attempt to end my life are no longer there and the maximum dosage of Citalopram that I down each and every morning appears to be doing a great job of keeping me level, bar the odd blip here and there.

More importantly though I believe the Quetiapine is causing the excessive tiredness and associated sleep problems that I’ve been experiencing over the past couple of years, and my latest meeting with my sleep consultant pretty much confirms it. My actual sleep Apnoea is fairly mild. But my daily cocktail of meds is amplifying it to an unacceptable level. Before I took Quetiapine regularly I didn’t suffer with the extreme levels of sleepiness and the lack of ability to function properly that I now do.

To make matters worse, the consultant has told me that unless my condition improves soon they’re going to have to notify the DVLA who may very well decide that I’m no longer fit to drive.

Now don’t get me wrong. When I feel really, really tired I won’t drive. But generally I’m okay. I’m sensible and I know my own limitations.

Also, I’m starting college in around 6 weeks time and Im going to need my car to take myself to Bath several times a week.

Then there’s the whole inconvenient necessity of having to sleep with a CPAP machine strapped to my face every night. At the moment it helps me to sleep properly while minimizing any snoring. But we’ve established that it is the Quetiapine that causes me to snore like a bear with a sore throat. So coming off of the medication from Hell would hopefully end the need for the CPAP altogether.

Here’s the thing though. I’m absolutely terrified of coming off of Quetiapine. I tried to last year and it didn’t go well. The effects of coming off of such a mind altering medicine were disturbing to say the least and I basically spent a week feeling like absolute shit. In the end I had to start taking them again because I just couldn’t handle it.

But now I feel like I have to try and come off of them no matter what because they’re causing me more issues than they’re solving.

Obviously I’m not going to just stop them completely. I know I’ll need to taper them for weeks on end and I need to do all of this with the support of my GP. But I’m frightened. I’m so bloody frightened that me coming off of them is going to trigger another breakdown or another episode of self destruction and it’ll ruin the new start that I’ve been working so hard to build up to over the past 18 months.

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