I’ve now been off of all my meds for about a week. As you know I stopped taking the anti anxiety medication and now I’ve also stopped my antidepressants.
The thought of being off them is daunting to say the least. When I was on them, all I wanted was to get off them. Now that I’m off them I worry about how and if I will continue to ‘function’.
Two years ago I could not have functioned without them. A few months after completing radio therapy I fell deep into a black hole. I had kept everything that was going on all bottled up inside and my brain could not handle it anymore. There were many days that passed when I could not get out of bed. Blinds were drawn and the only glimmer of light was either from my cell phone or my laptop that had one bullshit movie after another paying constantly on Netflix. I was literally in a black hole that was my bedroom. Living in darkness. Not knowing if it was day or night. Not knowing if I had eaten anything. Only getting up to use the toilet and go to the kitchen for some water or something alcoholic, and for the occasional cigarette when I could muster the energy.
It was a very difficult time. I was not even able to go to work! But for some reason, I managed to go to my weekly therapy session. That saved me. It was then I realized that I needed to do something about my current situation. My therapist, who will forever be the best one I ever had, would give me tasks. Step 1: draw the blinds only. No need to leave the room, but open the blinds even if for a moment. In addition to that, I made the conscience choice to take anti depressants. I realized that I needed help and there was no way that I was going to make it out of this on my own. I couldn’t stay in my room forever! I had a job. I had responsibilities. I had bills. But… I was depressed. Severely depressed.
It took some time before the meds kicked in. It’s not an immediate fix. Having a job also helped as it kept my mind busy. I desperately tried to do everything possible. I resurfaced on social media. I went out with friends. I traveled. I worked. But the depression was there like the annoying person who stands too close to you when you’re in a queue. Suffocating you and invading your personal space. Depression invaded mine. (This wasn’t the first time I suffered from depression and took medication, but it was the worst!)
It consumed my life. It consumed me literally. I was wasting away, kilo by kilo. Surviving on medication and alcohol to keep me from losing my mind. This feeling lasted for a very long time. Eventually I had to take medical leave from work because I just couldn’t handle it. My doctor also upped my dosages
The antidepressants were not a magical cure to my depression. I still had a lot of work to do on myself which included therapy. Therapy was key. But the meds definitely did help me just to get through the basics of everyday life. To handle things I had taken for granted. Like showering every day, for example. During my black hole phase, showering was not an option. Mentally it was just too exhausting! Just having to pee was bad enough! But that I had to do. I could not allow myself to pee in the bed. That wasn’t going to happen. So you see, in some way I still had my wits about me.
What was also hard was knowing that every 3 months I would have to see my oncologist. Not knowing what the outcome would be. I felt fine in that respect but it was still, and is still, very stressful. But I digress.
So in present day of A Hot Mess, I stress. I stress because I never want to go back to that black hole ever again. I’m not sure if I would be strong enough again to get out of it. Knowing that I don’t have the ‘back up’ of the meds is stressful. I worry and I sometimes feel myself in a potential spiral but I am able to catch myself. Not having a job doesn’t help either I have to say.
I tell myself that I am better off not taking them. I know I am stronger than that and that I can go on in life finding other ways to feel better and get out of situations. Ways that don’t involve mind numbing medication and other mind numbing substances. I am better than that. But I am not ashamed to have used them or sought them out. I couldn’t handle life. It was that simple. I couldn’t handle life and I needed some assistance. If there ever comes a time in the future, which I hope it does not, I will not be afraid to seek that kind of help because I know that I can function without it. It will not be easy. That I know and I prepare myself mentally every day. But I also know that I can do this. I can’t be A Hot Mess forever! Lol.
Life is hard. Life sucks. Life is also amazing. I need to be coherent to enjoy the only life I have. I cannot live in an unrealistic state of mind. What I mean by that is that I cannot live in such a way where I am not always entirely sure if my actions and reactions are caused by me or the chemicals that I have ingested.
When I started being weaned off the meds I did not feel any different. Mind you some catastrophic shit happened in my life yet again just recently and the meds did help me get through it. But for the first time in two years I was aware of what was happening to me and how it made me feel and what I was able to do to get out of it. I refused to let it bring me down. I refused to let it stop me from leaving the house or drawing the blinds. I made the effort to get up every day and do something! Anything. Relevant or irrelevant, menial, tedious, productive, whatever. Even if it was just going down to the corner store to get a bottle of water. I made sure that I left my house each day even if just for a few minutes.
I can do this. Renas you got this. The meds may be gone, and I am grateful for what I had, but I will not mourn the loss of them. RIP antidepressants for as long as you can.