A couple of months ago I made the decision to start coming off my antidepressants. I personally felt that I had reached a time where I was ready to start the process.
It wasn’t a decision I made lightly!
I took the time to think about the situation and talk it through with both my family and GP. I needed to know that others felt I was also ready and not rushing into something I wasn’t prepared for.
Always on my mind
After my dad passed away I wouldn’t have been able to cope without the medication. My mind and body couldn’t handle the grief. I felt like my world was over and I needed something to help numb the pain.
When my tablets were first prescribed, I started on Citalopram 10mg and over the course of 6 months, this gradually increased to 30mg. I was still emotional but the tablets helped me feel less. Of course, my heartbreak was still there but I could at least face people.
As 2018 rolled around I found it easier to talk about my dad without bursting into tears. I started to think of things that he would say to me. I wanted to make him proud and not let all the sage advice he had offered me go to waste.
I started to find it a comfort talking about him more.
After he passed I was only able to talk to immediate family about him without breaking down. And then one day I found I was able to mention him and not cry… It felt good.
I never wanted to stop mentioning my dad, but I had wanted to stop the pitying looks I got when I got teary talking about him.
Although the medication helped with the pain. My Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has helped me the most, along with my loved ones. The ability to talk things through with someone outside of the situation is at times a blessing.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy. That helps you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave.
Thanks to my counsellor I have been able to look at my thoughts and come at them from different angles. It’s taken time and although I’m not a positive Polly I am no longer lost in a constant stream of negativity.
If I am honest, the thought of my CBT ending terrifies me but this is something I will need to work on.
Slowly does it
After speaking to my GP she agreed that I could slowly decrease my meds using a plan set out for me.
At first, I was to drop them down to 20mg, then several weeks later to 10mg and then over the course of a few weeks take them down to every other day and so on.
Having also discussed the process with my counsellor it was decided that my CBT would continue during this time.
With an evaluation taking place a couple of months later. This is something I am relieved by as I honestly don’t feel like I could stop them both at the same time.
As I’ve started weaning off my tablets I’ve experienced nausea, lightheadedness and headaches. However, I have also had some really positive days, in fact, these days kind of lured me into a false sense of security.
Feeling like I was doing amazingly, I stupidly believed it was easy, that the contraindications gave the worse case scenario and I was one of the lucky ones.
Oh, how wrong was I!
At the weekend I spent the night alone, something I’ve done before and enjoyed. I’ve always been good in my own company and relished the chance to watch trashy tv, lounge in my PJs and eat copious amounts of popcorn.
But, this night was completely different.
With two puppies who were barking incessantly due to noises outside, I found myself feeling extremely jittery. Then our outdoor bin went missing (don’t ask) and the street seemed to be a hive of activity. Before I knew it I was a sobbing mess who bad decided to sleep in the living room watching Hollyoaks reruns all night.
The fear was very real at the time, however, the next day I was angry with myself and disappointed that I had allowed my emotions to get like that. In the heat of the moment, the panic took hold and all thought processes went out the window.
Despite that night, I am still carrying on, I’ve come this far and I’m not prepared to turn back.
I knew that at times my emotions would overcome me and I would have to handle them myself. I just hadn’t realised that at times it would be that hard.
Stopping my antidepressants doesn’t mean that my depression has gone, it just means that I want to try a different way to manage it. I want my emotions back. I want to know how to live with them in a way that offers more positivity than negativity.
“It was realising that I shouldn’t be ashamed of feeling these things, that I wasn’t alone…. Learning that everyone goes through similar things… That being vulnerable is actually a strength not a weakness, and showing your emotion and being honest about it [is good.]’