“We need to talk.” I said. “There is no easy way to say this but I am breaking up with you. It’s not you, it’s me. I have changed and I don’t need you any more.”
“You can’t do this,” You replied. “You need me. You’ll always need me.”
“Not any more.” I explained. “I met you at difficult time and you made my life better. You helped me find my way back to the person I was before things got tough. But I no longer need you.”
“You’ll be back,” You muttered and I turned and walked away.
A few months ago I decided to end a long-term relationship. It was not an easy decision to make as despite a few ups and downs, we’d had a good few years together. But in my heart I knew that it was time to let go……
It has been a several months since I made the decision to ‘dump’ my anti-depressants. I started taking Sertraline when I found myself spiralling back into the darkness a few years ago.
At the time I was severely sleep-deprived, taking care of a baby and toddler and overwhelmed with financial and personal stress. So although I really did NOT want to take drugs, I figured I needed all the help I could get.
I didn’t want to slip back into the pit of depression I found myself when I had PND after the birth of my first child. I did not want to lose any more of motherhood to an illness. And thanks to a combination of cognitive behaviour therapy and Sertraline, I didn’t. I got better and stronger and felt like I didn’t need the medication any more.
So a few months ago I decided it was time. I would go drug-free. But things didn’t quite go to plan…I was advised to keep a diary of my moods- so I did, although, I am not sure this is what the doctor had in mind! I didn’t plan to publish this story but as I am always banging on about the importance of talking about mental illness, I figured I better practise what I preach. So here is that diary.
‘It is very important that you come off the anti-depressants gradually,” the doctor told me. Damn it! I was hoping to bins the pills NOW and deal with the consequences. Stupid doctors.
So I am taking a pill every other day and feel like crap. On the days I don’t take one I feel physically unwell. I can’t sleep or eat. I am getting migraines and dizzy spells. I also have the shakes that makes me feel like a heroine addict or something. I keep telling myself this too will pass. After all, it is only pain and discomfort. I can deal with that. At least I don’t appear to be falling into a pit of self-loathing and self-doubt. GO ME!
I have fallen into a pit of self-loathing and self-doubt. I feel like a failure. My mind has taken me back to dark places I’ve not been to for a very long time.
‘If I had just managed to get better on my own two years ago – this wouldn’t be happening now. I am rubbish and a weak person. I must do better, be better, be stronger. I am pathetic.’ (This is my mind talking by the way. My mind is a dick).
And instead of trying to climb out of the pit I am wallowing in it. Like a dog rolling in shit. I know it is bad for me but I just can’t seem to help myself.
Like right now, I am sitting staring at the No Signal sign on the television and crying. Not because having no signal is particularly upsetting but because I just feel so sad for no apparent reason.
It is two hours later and I am now crying about how pathetic I am for crying while watching the no signal sign.
On the bright side at least I am not crying for no reason any more.
Good news. I woke up this morning with actual REASONS to cry.
Here are a few:
-I did not give the children ANY fruit today.
-I am rubbish at everything.
-Sid got chosen instead of Rebecca on Let’s Play (again).
-I have not done any work for two weeks.
The insomnia is back. I feel the universe simply does NOT like me to sleep. I have also lost all motivation to do, well anything, I feel drained of energy and even day-to-day tasks seem like a major effort. I just want to lie in bed and cry but I can’t because…children means that breakfast, lunch and dinnertime, school run, tidying up, laundry, bath time, cleaning teeth, getting people dressed and bed time all need to be done every single day.
This is getting a bit annoying now. I am basically going to have to force myself to do things I really do not feel like doing. Like talk to people.
I know talking about these things is GOOD but I don’t want to burden other people with my shit. It is not even proper shitty, shit shit. On the scale of a bit shit to shit storm this is not even a skid mark. I have a loving family, a home, and a job – so what is my problem? (Dick head Mind again FYI)
Fortunately, I have had enough therapy to know how to tell my Mind to shut the fuck up. So for the past few days I have ignored it and made myself reach out to support groups, friends and family. I booked to go back to therapy, I met people for coffee, I went on long walks and (reluctantly) kept busy. And now I am bloody exhausted.
I have emerged from the shit pit!! I feel stronger and more confident than I did before. I have won my first battle and I had won it alone. So I have started on Phase 3 of Operation Dump The Drugs –a pill every three days.
The next day…
I feel like shit. Nausea, shaking, exhaustion and dizzy spells and I spent last night on what I can only describe as a weird trippy plane. I was lying in bed and could not work out whether I was awake or asleep. I was awake while dreaming. I was dreaming when awake. At one point I woke up in a cold sweat in the kitchen at with no idea how I got there. This too will pass, right?
IT PASSED. In fact, I feel so good that I have had a brilliant idea! I’m just going to come off the pills completely. The doctor said another month on this lower dose but sod that. I got this!!
“NO ONE IS GETTING A FUCKING BISCUIT EVER AGAIN. ALL THE BISCUITS CAN JUST FUCK OFF”
Yep. I swore at the kids today. Then I cried about it for three hours.
I may not have got this.
I had a panic attack at my daughter’s nativity. I had to leave the hall and hide in the toilet cubicle where I tried not to pass out when the walls started to close in on me. Hopefully, the other parents just thought I was drunk. Wait a minute – is that worse? Probably.
I perhaps haven’t got this.
I am back in the pit. I am drifting along like a ship with a broken sail. I am going through the motions of day-to-day life but I have no idea where I am heading. I have no direction or purpose. I feel detached from everyone. I don’t fit in with anyone. I feel numb and sad and like I don’t belong.
In conclusion, I definitely haven’t got this, have I?
I am going back to the doctor. Not only do I feel worse but I have gone right off wine. They can take my sanity but THEY WILL NEVER TAKE MY SAUVIGNON. It is ok though, because I am pretty sure she’ll just reassure that this is all part of the process and ‘it will pass’.
So..the doctor explained that the fact that my symptoms were rapidly getting worse and NOT better suggested that perhaps I had come off the drugs too quickly – which of course I had, because I am an idiot.
She told me to go back on the medication and try coming off in a few months. But this time REALLY SLOWLY.
So here I am. I’m on a lower dose than before but still not free. Sertraline and I are back together.
I am not very happy with this ending. I really wanted this to go like all good stories. It would have a beginning, my journey/struggle and then a triumphant ending where I am drug-free. But I guess life is not like that. There is no beginning, middle and end. Life is messy and unpredictable. Things don’t always go to plan. Shit happens and wonderful happens and often both at the same time. We may not win every battle but if we have patience we can win the war.
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