I took my last antidepressant on 20.8.2020. Even though brands have changed during this time, this brings three years of being on antidepressants to an end.
I always feel a bit iffy when people ask about other people’s experiences of different meds online, because everyone’s unique. Still, I feel like it’s useful to write about my experiences of coming off of my antidepressants because it can give someone at least one account since no medical professional has ever warned me of anything. They’ve just left me to it. Still, be mindful that these are only my experiences, your experiences might be completely different, and I’m coming off of my meds gradually under medical supervision. Pls don’t flush your meds down the toilet.
Ok, lets continue.
This is by no means the last entry to withdrawal diaries. I’m very much experiencing withdrawals still, hence why this entry is short. I won’t think of it as a failure if I need to get back on the meds at some point, neither I want anyone still on meds to think that I’m ever going to suggest being without them is somehow preferable. If you need them, you need them.
Nevertheless, I wanted to share this moment because it’s been such a long and tough road and I finally made it.
I didn’t tell anyone until the next day, after my lovely nurse and I had officially agreed that this is it. Whenever something good happens, I want to keep it to myself for a bit, before it becomes public knowledge. This was the case when I got accepted to my journalism training or when I got a job. Once I share my joy, it won’t be just mine anymore.
I have done the hard work, so I want to take a few minutes to just hold the knowledge that I made it.
That was also the case when I curled up in bed for the first time without taking my evening pills.
I made it.
In three years my body weight has more than doubled. I’ve been constantly physically uncomfortable, having hot and cold flushes and sweating like someone has chucked a bucket of water on my head. I’ve felt disgust and devastation for not recognising myself in the mirror.
However, the meds also got out of the suicidal depression, got me out of bed, got me to attend my every single counselling appointment, got me to get a part-time job and to be writing for living again, something I thought would never happen again.
Has it been devastating? Yes.
Has it been worth it? Also yes.
I know this isn’t the end though, not by any stretch. I still wanted to take a moment to celebrate this massive milestone
because fuck has it been hard!
I have headaches. I’m spacey and forgetful. I’m so emotional. I cry constantly. I’ve become obsessed with watching Extreme Cake Makers and when customers get emotional over how beautiful their cake is, my eyes well up too. They’re so happy!
Yesterday I threw up no less than seven times, even though I didn’t even try to eat or drink anything in between. I haven’t had proper nausea in weeks. Usually it ends after I’ve been sick once or twice.
However, my body decided to make up for the lost time. Once my stomach was empty, I moved on to extracting bits of my stomach lining, because why would you like to keep that in anyway? Even though I started the morning out fine, I have to let work know I must finish early. I hate that I have to do it, I hate it.
I’m so weak that I’d crawl to the bathroom and lie on the floor at times, completely powerless.
I’d cuddle the toilet, my constant companion as I’ve been vomiting and shitting my way through this process.
I’ve been listening to an audio book with stories from cancer patients, and how their family members would hold their hair back or stroke their backs while being sick from chemo.
I didn’t have anyone to do that for me.
I was so exhausted. I genuinely thought at one point that I was going to die. Leaning over the toilet bowl was the loneliest place in the world at that moment.
I’d cry, completely defeated and begging my body to stop extracting things when there clearly isn’t anything more to remove.
That’s when it came again, the thought that has made appearances throughout this process.
I can’t do this. I can’t.
I felt a shiver down my back and I have decided it was my guardian angel stroking my back.
Since this is my guardian angel, I don’t expect them to be soft-spoken. I imagine that at that moment they leaned over and whispered in my ear:
“Bitch, you will always get up.”
If you’d like to celebrate this milestone with me, please consider sharing my fundraising page for the Birchall Trust, a rape and sexual abuse charity that helped me, on your social media.
Thank you, and thank you to everyone who has been so kind and supportive, both on- and offline. I couldn’t have reached this point in my recovery without you x