Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Reclaiming the Morning

After so many years of taking Ativan as a sleeping pill to counteract Adderall for depression, I'm not on any medication at all. And what I love best about it is that I've become a morning person once again.

What's kind of unbelievable to me is that about 12 years ago, my psychiatrist at the time told me that it was critical for me to get eight hours of sleep a night. And, if the antidepressant I was taking--which, at that time was Zoloft--was keeping me up, I should take Ativan to sleep.

He said that becoming addicted to Ativan was a real possibility, but I shouldn't worry about it because getting regular sleep was so important. What he didn't say was that Ativan--at least for me--had a residual effect in the morning. So, when I take Ativan, no matter what time at night--I can't awaken early.

This psychiatrist also didn't see a problem in my needing more and more Ativan as time progressed. So, if my records are correct, at one time I was taking almost 7 mg. of Ativan at night to sleep. What's amazing to me is that I was able to get up at all. What's very distressing is that I now know that the Ativan was helping cause the depressions.

The good news is that for the first time in years I've become a morning person again. It is an unbelievable feeling for me to awaken at 6:00 in the morning and feel great! It adds hours to my day. Jack (my dog) and I can take walks when the grass is dewy and the morning fog cools the air.

It is truly an extraordinary blessing, and I thank God each and every day for my recovery!

P.S. The photograph isn't of my neighborhood, but it's still an L.A. sunrise, and I got it from Sydney Maria's site.

8 comments:

Princ3ssZelda said...

Rather than being on a sleep medicine, I'm on 300 mg Seroquel every night for the last year and a half to treat bipolar. One of the side effects is, as you probably know, basically affecting one as a sleep medicine. I'm unconscious for at least ten hours (usually about fourteen). Prior to being put on this medication, I was an insomniac. Needless to say, I've a dependency on the medicine to make me sleep.

I'll soon be taken off this and all other medications, most likely permanently. While I will end up being exhausted from being unable to sleep, I do so look forward to, like you said, waking up at six in the morning, adding so much time to my day.

Mariposa said...

Nice to hear this...this is good news...and I call this little miracles! I am so happy for you!

I also dislike sleeping pills...despite my difficulty to sleep, I managed to stay away from them as they only make me wake up tired...good as I have not slept at all.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Princ3ss Zelda,
Welcome to my blog. The interesting thing about me was that prior to taking medication, I had no problem sleeping whatsoever. And now that I'm off Adderall, and have stopped taking Ativan, I have no problem sleeping.

If I were in your shoes, what would concern me about going off medication is the insomnia. But, I'm assuming you have a plan for dealing with it! Right?

Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Mariposa,
It is a miracle to me as well. And it's amazing to me how many problems the medication caused, and how well I feel now that I'm off it.

I just pray that I won't need to take it again when the weather changes in October. But, that's why I'm in therapy again...and we're working hard to prevent a depression in the fall.

Susan

marja said...

Unbelievable that a doctor would prescribe ativan the way yours did, knowing that you'd become addicted. Welcome to the morning times, Susan, the most wonderful time of the day.

I woke up at 3:30 this morning, couldn't sleep again until after I had relaxed with a decaf coffee. Then I sort of slept till 4:30. But I feel great. My usual time to wake up now-a-days is 5:30 and that seems to be fine for me, esp if I take a nap half way through the day. (I go to bed ca 10:30)

My antipsychotic is flupenthixol, a stimulant that badly affects my sleep. So I take loxapine at bedtime which also act as an antipsychotic but helps me sleep. The combination works well for me. I have some problem with tremors but that's the price I accept paying to be well.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Marja,
Years ago, I used to awaken as early as you do...go running on the park above the ocean (I lived in an apartment four blocks away from the beach), and then go to the Farmer's Market (a famous outdoor market), and have coffee and a pastry and read the paper before work.

By the time I started work at 9:00, I felt I'd already had a wonderful day!

Thanks for sharing your info about about your medication and sleep.

Susan

theadventuresofayoungbohemian said...

Gorgeous photograph. I haven't seen a morning like that in years. I rather doubt I'd be a morning person even if I did sleep better but you make it sound heavenly :)

Wellness Writer said...

Welcome to my blog. Well...I often don't see such pretty photos either. And it's doesn't exactly look like this in my neighborhood. Still, I do love the morning!

Susan