Narcolepsy Testing: Titrating Off My Antidepressants

My anxiety and nostalgic thoughts are up. Little clues are things like wanting to cry when my kid yells at me—like he did for the entire car ride to school today—or feeling sad and knotted up inside over watching children playing, people buying food at the grocery store, or even… people in line to buy various versions of coffee and then appearing relieved when they take their first sip. My reaction is unusual. This is to be expected. I am titrating off my antidepressants.

My illness is one where my own thoughts cannot be trusted when I am in the midst of it.

I’ve been on them for years, since my divorce in 2013 sent me into the deepest depressive episode I’d ever had…

It left me partially disabled. It hurts to say that, but it’s true. I could barely stay awake and had motivation to do little more than keep my kids alive and send them to school.

My excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) has lasted far longer than that one episode, however. I have been falling asleep during the day for at least the past 12 years. It has become more severe in the past few years, forcing me to pull off the road when I feel a “nap attack” coming on, lest I fall asleep driving. I regret to say that that’s happened more than a handful of times. I can fall asleep easily sitting upright, in dark places, and sometimes even in conversation. It is not a luxury that I take daily naps. It is something beyond my control.

Lab tests every year declare me the picture of perfect health, yet clearly this cannot be so. I underwent a sleep study in 2014 that confirmed I do not have sleep apnea, yet the neurologist failed to test for narcolepsy… And I was too tired to advocate for myself, or even realize his oversight.

Consequently, I have wanted to undergo a narcolepsy sleep study for years. I am excited to say that I am finally doing it at the end of February. In order to do it, I must be off all antidepressant meds for a week and off all stimulants for 3 days prior. It was the prospect of coming off meds that delayed me, but I now just want an answer. Thus, I am titrating down…

Reducing my Lexapro, I feel the reaction of my body searching for its chemical scaffolding. It is not even the end of January and my behavior is becoming more avoidant. I feel the steady rise of my old and distressingly familiar emotional pain. It is a quite tangible sensation, residing in my throat and chest, pulsing and straining, and sometimes gripping my breath too tightly.

This is not pleasant. My illness is one where my own thoughts cannot be trusted when I am in the midst of it. Titrating down is a process I’ve only endeavored with the approval of my psych nurse and the notification and support of my immediate friends and family. I need check ins. I need to be reminded that I will get through this. If you are moved to check in on me through private message over the next month or so, I will be grateful for your kindness. ▫️▫️▫️


END THE STIGMA. I am not alone in my mental illness. I’ve started speaking up in the past year because I want to normalize that this is a condition that a good many of us live with—and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Let us continue to speak up and support each other.

#EndTheStigma #Depression #Anxiety #MentalHealth #MentalIllness #MentalIllnessAwareness #Narcolepsy #SleepDisorder

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