Back in 2010 and 2011, I chronicled my bout with depression. Needless to say, it was a pretty dark and confusing time in my life; weirdly enough, it was far more traumatizing than any of my surgeries ever were. I just remember countless appointments with my psychiatrist, waiting in her office and feeling the waterfall of tears start to gush. I was so afraid, to put it mildly. I had zero idea where these feelings were coming from; all I knew was that they weren’t going away. No matter how much I tried, these feelings were like an immovable roadblock I just couldn’t get passed.
I was at my lowest during one of those appointments. Everything seemed so bleak and I remember feeling so frustrated about everything that was happening — or, well, not happening, I suppose. It seemed like I’d been on every medication combination known to man, and nothing was working. So my psychiatrist prescribed two meds in addition to my antidepressant (no shame, remember?!?!?).
A day passed. And then a few more and then a few more after that. Slowly but surely, I began to feel those dark clouds passing. For the first time in months, the fog was actually lifting. I enjoyed things again. I was singing with wild abandon again. I could concentrate long enough to write a coherent blog post. In short, I started to see — and feel — my life again. It was all coming back to me, that old life that I used to know and love. I couldn’t have been happier.
So when I developed some health issues over the summer (I won’t go into detail about these “lady issues” — is even that TMI…?), I didn’t think they could possibly be related to the medicine I’ve been taking. A chat with my psychiatrist, as well as a few frantic trips down the Google rabbit hole, revealed my anti-anxiety meds could be causing the symptoms I’d been experiencing. Plus, this wasn’t the type of medicine that should be taken long-term, and I’ve been on it for almost five years already.
As much as I hated to admit it to myself, the time had come.
I needed to get off this medicine.
I’ll be honest: Just looking at that sentence scares me. Going off a drug that helped me come back from one of the scariest times in my life. Yes, I know I also did the work in therapy, as my therapist is always telling me, and I am a different person now and more emotionally sure of myself, but part of me is so scared to take that chance. I’m afraid of going off the medicine and having a relapse, of sinking back to that depressed place. Those who have experienced depression know the feeling — that feeling of invisible hands pulling you down farther and farther and farther. It’s like you’re in the bottom of a well screaming at the top of your lungs and all the while, no one can hear you. It’s a very desperate, depleted and defeating feeling. I don’t ever, ever want to feel like that again. I feel as though I’ve come too far to risk it, you know?
Or maybe I’m just clinging to those pills as a sort of crutch. Is it easier to put your trust in a pill than in yourself? Maybe staying on the pills would be like taking the easy way out, aside from the health issues, of course.
But now that I think about it, and as I’m reflecting while I write this post tonight, I AM A STRONGER PERSON than I was five years ago. A lot has happened, and like I said, a lot of that change has been the result of me — nut just a magic little pill. It’s sort of ironic it took my having to go off the medicine for me to realize that.
I’m slowly realizing that, though, and I suppose that’s the most important thing. I’ve started going down on my dosage, so I’ll keep you posted on any new developments.
Have you ever experienced this, friends? I’d love to hear about it. Thanks so much for listening and always being there — don’t know what I’d do without this AWESOME community! xoxo
[Photos via We Heart It]