‘No really, I feel fine!‘
God I hate that smug bitch I was two weeks ago. I’d just been asked about coming off anti-depressants. I was fine. It was actually really easy. Sunshine and rainbows and unicorns skipping through meadows and oh fuck no apparently I was wrong…
I never intended to stay on medication for long, it was a crutch to see me through what were, in hindsight, some of the toughest months I’ve ever faced. They worked, they worked well. But so did I, I worked on a lot of things that have effected me for years and, as I’ve proclaimed to anyone who’ll listen, ‘I’m the healthiest I’ve been in years!!!’.
I knew I was ready to come off them, it’s been about nine months and after a long conversation with my doctor we decided between us that I was ready to attempt to face the world alone again, without my shield of SSRIs cushioning the blow. It’s a terrifying thought of course, that voice at the back of my mind whispering about breakdowns and breakups and ‘look what happened last time’s. But I knew I had to. I wanted to.
So here we are. Last week I was smug as anything, everything felt fine, I felt great. I was, of course, being ridiculously naive, not only had I not given them a second to start leaving my system, but I was busy, surrounded by people I love and doing something exciting every day. The I came home…and in the way they do I felt that niggle of anxiety, those hushed voices and that deep sense of dread come sneaking back. Not in the same screaming way they were at the start of the year, but it’s the first time I’ve really felt their presence in months.
Their residence back in my mind only brings them all moving in faster as well. Anxiety symptoms rushing back simply lead to worse anxiety, that’s the beauty of these illnesses. I’m determined not to let them take over my life again and I’m certainly not going to let them ruin any part of my new life, which I love. But that can be easier said than done, I would never knock the NHS, I literally owe them my life at least five times over, but the lack of access to therapy or learning of techniques to manage symptoms in the early stages does make it difficult to feel confident in staying off medication.
Yesterday I felt on the verge of a panic attack all day, it never reached it’s full, devastating crescendo but it was there, waiting in the back of my head all day. I don’t know if it was something I did, some amount of sheer blunt refusal or just dumb luck that I managed to keep the panic at bay, but whatever it was it worked.
I know my body is rebalancing right now. I know that I’m more than my demons. I know that I can do this.
But right now, right this second, the entire situation seems terrifying and huge and impossible.