This is a pretty big week for me. My psychiatrist okay-ed me to stop taking anxiety and depression medicine. After nearly three years of struggling with various medicines and the sometimes horrible side-effects that went along with it.
I’ve talked about my mental health a little here and there on this blog, but I’d sort of moved away from the subject as I didn’t feel like the day-to-day was as important to talk about. However, I think this is a good time for me to write about some mental health related stuff again because I know I can’t be the only person going through it. I know this blog is sometimes all outfit posts and wish lists, but growing up is a big aspect of this space for me, so I feel like this falls into the category.
A little background: I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression for several years, but didn’t go to see a doctor about anything until my sophomore year of college. I was put on this and that medicine and had a hard time finding one that worked for me, so I finally settled on one that worked well enough, but was definitely not right for me for a lot of reasons. The biggest challenge was the crazy-awful withdrawals from the drug, which would begin if I even took the pill a couple of hours late. I’d tried to get off of it a couple of times and became really sick and ended up taking the pills again just to feel better. This makes me sound like I had a drug problem, but I guess I sort of did. This is why it’s so important that you find the right medicine for you instead of settling on one that just does part of the job.
So at this point I knew I needed outside help. I hadn’t yet seen a psychiatrist because my insurance is really complicated. Seriously, though, don’t make an already anxious and depressed person make a ton of phone calls to strangers and assign their experiences to little check boxes on an e-form. Step it up, world. I’ll skip that part of my journey for your and my sanity both.
Anyway, the psychiatrist is great and didn’t talk down to me and make me feel like I knew what I was talking about because, you know, it is my body and my experience. But really, she’s great. She helped me get off the evil medicine of terror and onto something else in under a month with hardly any crazy-awful withdrawal side-effects.
Except that I didn’t much like the new pill I was on. I didn’t feel present. I couldn’t remember to take it. I had headaches and wasn’t sleeping. My anxiety and depression were showing up more sporadically, but I decided that had more to do with time than the medication.
I went back to my psychiatrist this week and asked what she thought about me stopping medication. When I first started seeing her, she mentioned that the goal was for me to only take meds for another year before stopping and using therapy to learn to cope with any remaining depression or anxiety I felt. After talking about how I’ve been feeling and my intentions for moving forward, she agreed and said it was okay to stop medication, unless something changes.
Sometimes I get a little ahead of myself, but I really feel ready for this step in my wellness. I’ve had some traumatic counseling experiences, but I feel more prepared for the process of finding the right person this time. Someone who gets where I’m coming from and where I want to be.
I’m really looking forward to not having to kick myself every day for forgetting to take a pill. I’m excited to start a new kind of healing where I feel more in control.