TW: A Year Off Anti-Depressants

As January rolls around once again (ew to winter) there’s a couple of things on my mind. Not just the fact that I’m back at work, currently battling the worst stomach bug known to man – or debating how much I can feasibly afford to buy in the Topshop sales – but instead, how far I’ve come in the last year. As in December 2017, I started easing off my anti-depressants and officially gave them up in January 2018.

That’s a whole damn year that I’ve managed without them – and it’s weird in hindsight to imagine a time when I needed those little tablets to keep me stable, to keep my eating disorder under control, and to feel like I was a ”normal” functioning human.

I was prescribed them by my doctor during my worst battles with anxiety and bulimia at university, and they dulled a lot of my pain. But the thing was, they dulled a lot of everything.

As much as I needed those tablets, I felt numb with them. Everything felt just good or okay – and I missed the extremes of emotions, good or bad.

Those little tablets made me get drunker than I should have been (I know you aren’t supposed to drink with them, but I’m only human!) – they made me black-out nights out, they made me feel like I wasn’t myself. I would say and do things that just weren’t me, and I more than once felt the panic and anxiety of not knowing what had happened the night before.

I bounced between taking and giving up on them for a long time – and with numerous unsuccessful attempts, I wasn’t sure I’d ever reach the place that I’m at today where I can say that, I really feel like I no longer need them in my life.

So – what’s changed?

I think, in all honesty, I’ve never felt so mentally-well with myself. This is the first time in my life that I feel head-over-heels happy with my relationship and the amazing love and support that I get from my husband. This is the first time I’m managing my mental health with therapy, self-care, exercise and keeping myself in check and recognising my own self-destructive behaviours. This is the first time that I’ve felt ready to be on my own, with my own mind – and it’s felt AMAZING.

Now, disclaimer – I don’t think there’s any shame at all in needing those tablets. God help me, I needed them badly at some points in my life, and I’m not going to sit here and pretend that everything has been fantastic in the year that I’ve been off them.

There have been times when I’ve cried in the toilets at work, times when I’ve texted my husband with a million panicked thoughts that are rushing through my head, and times when I’ve wondered whether I made a bad choice or not – but ultimately, I’m glad that I’ve made it this far and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings.

Rach

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