So hey, I basically dropped off the face of the earth for a little while, huh? If you’re friends with me IRL or on Facebook, you’ll probably have at least some inkling of why that is: chiefly, coming off antidepressants turned out to be a bitch. Here’s the story.
Sometimes, being crazy sucks. Like, I used to have these pills I took every day that made me not crazy. And that was blissful. So blissful that bliss became normal, and anxiety became little blips on my otherwise functional brain. Being “normal” for so long (what’s normal anyway, I just mean that I wasn’t displaying any mental illness symptoms), I forgot what it was like to live with an anxiety disorder. I kind of came to wonder if I’d made the whole thing up. It wasn’t that I’d forgotten my terrible experiences in 2013 through 2015, exactly, but I learned to remember around them for the most part. I acknowledged them peripherally, but I never looked directly at them. They became like stories someone else had told me.
But it all became very real again as I headed into the home stretch of weaning off sertraline. When I was down to 12.5mg, I started to really feel like shit. I don’t know whether to call it withdrawal, or my anxiety coming back, or what… but here’s something I wrote when I was in the middle of all this, which might give you a window into my mind at the time.
Here’s what I feel. My body feels tired, like I’m swimming through sludge. My brain feels heavy. My thoughts are poison. Every time I think about doing work or making a vlog or writing a post, my mind screams NO and it throws up this concrete wall. I am forcing myself to do this. Because I need to work out how to express what’s going on. To make you understand that this is real. I’m not just being a lazy pathetic coward. Which is what I am sure some people have thought of me (I know I have thought it about myself more times than I can count).
Things that are usually easy and enjoyable – working on my 489 essay, going to the gym, talking to my friends – have proved all but impossible. I have hardly wanted to see or speak to anyone lately, and I am someone who normally fears being alone for long. It’s only been a few days but they have been so long and crushing. I feel like I am in the ocean, and someone has tied weights to my ankles, and they are just too heavy for me to be able to swim against. Sometimes they are so heavy I can barely keep my head above the surface.
Things are better now, I think. Some days I’ve been having obsessive, catastrophic thought spirals where I think about my problems so much they become all-consuming and seem to spell the end of any chance I might have at good, fulfilling experiences/careers/relationships. Other days, I can think clearly and I’m pretty good at calming myself down before my thoughts spiral so deep I feel paralysed.
I saw my doctor today. She prescribed me lorazepam as a safety blanket, in case I have really bad episodes. I’ll try not to use it but it’s reassuring to know that’s an option. She’s also referred me to a CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) psychologist clinic, which she said I would be able to go to for free seeing as I’m under 25, which is great. In a fortnight I should know when my first session is going to be. And I’ll see my doctor again in a month, unless things take a turn for the worse, in which case she said to come in sooner. If I have to go on another type of antidepressant, then I will. But let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Let’s hope I can learn to live with being a little crazy if I can’t make it go away.