As of Monday, (4th June) it is has been a month since I touched my anti-depressants.
I never thought I would stop taking the Sertraline. As far as I was concerned, I’d be taking the medication for the rest of my life.
I’ve been taking the same tablets everyday, doses varying, for the last 7 years. They enabled me to live a steadier, comfortable and somewhat happier life. They helped me through the darkest of days and gave me the confidence to keep going when I felt life was to hard to handle. They aren’t a miracle cure. Life is still a challenge but the meds certainly made a huge difference in my life.
I was around 13 when I experienced my first panic attack. It was parents evening at school, the hall was overcrowded, people everywhere, lots of voices and the room was red hot. I was there with my parents and a few friends. I can’t recall what happened exactly I only remember the feeling of having too much air trying to escape my lungs, my legs turning to jelly and my heart going crazy in my chest. I had no idea what was going on and I was terrified. I ran. Little did I know what I was experiencing was the well known fight or flight.
I remember my Mum being a little shocked. My dad must have recognised the signs straight away because he almost got angry with me. I didn’t understand what was going on or why my dad was so upset. I didn’t know what anxiety or panic attacks were and I had no idea that my Dadda had suffered himself. It wasn’t anger that he was feeling, it was fear and concern.
I’m one of the very lucky ones, I’ve always been able to talk to my parents about everything and anything. They’ve always gave me their full support and for me that means I’ll never really have to ‘go it alone’.
My family and friends helped me find support, I tried counselling, I went to a few groups with friends, it all helped but not to the extent I was hoping. Then, after turning 18, my doctor and I decided it was time to try something else. In terms of finding medication that suits you, I was very lucky, I only tried the one and I found it worked for me.
I feel I should add that the cause of my depression (after many years of trying to figure it out) is anxiety.
My decision to stop taking the Sertraline wasn’t one I took lightly. My brother once said to me “You don’t need the meds PJ, you can do it yourself”. That stuck in my mind. Then, a few months ago, the guy I was seeing for a while helped give me enough courage to lower the dose I was taking. We talked about it a little and it got me thinking again.
What would happen if I stopped taking them? Did I really need them?
I thought it over and now that I’m in a new job, living with my bestmate, I’m happy and having the most fun I’ve ever had. Now is the time to give it a go! This for me is the next step. My next adventure.
I didn’t suddenly stop taking them over night. I’ve made that mistake before and IT WAS NOT PRETTY!
I was taking 2 tablets a day (100mg) after lowering a dose so I decided I would alternate, 1 a day then 2 a day for a week, then I increased the gap, 1, 1, 2 and so on and so forth for a month or so before dropping to 1 tablet a day. Admittedly I should have done this for a little longer or remained on the lower dose for a while BUT I ran out of the medication and for 4 days I forgot all about it. (LAZY GIRL ALERT!!!) I’d never forgotten about them totally and never for more than a day or 2. However, on day 5 I decided I felt okay. So, I told myself “let’s just go another day without and see how I feel.”
That’s how I’ve ended up here. Just by taking it one day at a time. (It’s truly become my life motto)!
I’ve suffered some physical withdrawal such as; my eczema flaring up, dizziness and I’ve been throwing up a little 🤢😣. Emotionally it’s not as tough as I thought, I have been a little tearful and moody (more so than usual 😂), it’s as if someone has flicked a switch and turned my hormones back on! (Pain, suffering and misery!) But I am happy, steady and I haven’t suffered a low or any manic episodes.
I am monitoring myself, I’ve figured out the signs and I’ve told close friends and family so they can keep an eye on me too.
So far so good! If that changes I’m sure I’ll let you know 😊😘
Lots of love,