My personal withdrawal from antidepressants.

Round and round it goes. A broken record inside a churning head. Self-doubt creeping and crawling it's way around my body like a familiar itch. The anger that can't be tamed, my children the receiver of my mischief mind.

Mummy guilt swirls in and never comes out!!!!

A dizziness to be more like her and less like ME. But how can I know what me really is? I have been hiding behind an antidepressant pill for so long. For over fifteen long years I have been on some form of antidepressant. If I have tried one, I have tried twenty. Some make you so sick you feel like literally falling into a heap and giving up on life and then the anxiety takes you by the balls and you can't be any more anxious than what you were before you started so who knows where your sitting right now - up or down. The answer never comes and this is part of the constant suffering. This is what anxiety represents, no answer, more questions.. less certainty.

A washing machine of emotions where 'brilliant bright whites'  are mixed in with 'vibrant popping colours'  but then the colours interject with the whites and they become muddled in together which is never the required result. So you try a new antidepressant pill and it doesn't make you happy. So there is starts again, back to the doctors you go.  Weaning off them is met with crippling anxiety until your body is ready to go to war and try the next little happy pill.  You read some reviews on google and if it's helped someone else it's got to be able to help you BUT for every good review you read 100 bad reviews and the anxiety intensifies.  The epic war solidifies within your mind. The worry takes hold yet again and your liver aches as you try to numb the pain with a big glass of shiraz.

Some of these pills give you side effects and you ride the tidal wave of this new wonder drug because anything is better than being you, just the way you are - the way god and your parents made you.  Sometimes it takes weeks or even months to feel the pit of your stomach untangle into manageable knots. The dry mouth becomes your norm and you have a throbbing headache from insomnia because you can't remember the last time you slept more than four hours a night. But again anything is better than being you so you keep taking them. Not sure if the benefits will ever outweigh the risk.

Weeks pass and you notice your jeans are tight.. could you be pregnant or could it be that evil pill? If your happy you eat. You then the anxiety is triggered by the weight gain that caused you to have an eating disorder and anxiety in the first place. The dizziness intensifies but this time your serotonin can handle it. Things are looking up. The weight gain doesn't make you binge and starve or maybe your too doped up to care because for the first time in a long time you are happy not giving a shit about much at all. 

The years pass and the antidepressent stops taking effect. You feel angry, short fused and ready to pounce on your prey. Shit it's no longer working. It has come back full circle. 

You resemble a bloated angry bear locked in a small cage instead of the loving mummy of three that you have worked so hard to become and then your in and out of the doctors seeking advice on suicidal ideation and asking for urgent referrals to the next mental hospital before you 'over google' your computer into a forced shutdown due to watching depressing true stories on utube! And don't get me started on the natural remedies you have dabbled and tried.

People withdraw off antidepressents for an array of reasons and this is only a brief description of my battle as my own. I started to feel extremely angry, would burst into 'rage and regret' with clenched up fists and felt seriously so down not even a ride on a pretty little rainbow would help. 

Lexapro did save my life for many years but then it didn't. I weaned too quickly because the doctors that treat you give you a weening schedule that they have actually never used themselves nor have they taken the drug before and have no idea about the mental and physical side effects.

Being taken off lexapro and put onto prozac some months ago was my version of hell on earth. I didn't stop crying for weeks and I was like an emotional baby who hadn't been fed. I was also battling major neurological and physical side effects whilst combating deep rooted mental health issues with three babies under the age of four and there you have a tsunami on your scared trembling hands. A recipe for pure human disaster.

Everything I do I have the love of my babies swirling around my heard and weighing heavily on my heart.

I am depressed on them and I am depressed off them. 

I decided to get off them, I wanted to be clean and stay sober for once in my addictive life. I slowly started to taper off my antidepressants in the mental hospital and I felt fine at first, almost energetic actually. I did yoga and training sessions for the first time in a long time and I meditated morning and night. Life seemed good. I was hopeful for the future.  I was away from my family and all the triggers of the daily grind and the mental hospital actually made me feel more at home and understood than ever before. I no longer felt like a monkey with two heads. 

Tapering off was easy, my doctor didn't seem worried and his taper schedule lasts less than a week before I am cold turkey. I am good. Breathe. 

Six weeks have passed and I am so very BAD. WITHDRAWAL creeps up on you and is next level. Brain zaps, neurological issues, pins and needles, insomnia, rashes, itching skin, feeling like acid has been poured all over my weak exhausted body. Hell on earth.  

Two hospital admissions later I am diagnosed with serotonin withdrawal syndrome. Fuck. Battling again. Life is a constant battle. But I never give up. My medication is reinstated whilst I take months to taper this time and the withdrawal will hopefully slowly go.  

I tried. I am exhausted but I am proud of myself for never giving up. I feel helpless but my children will always make me fight. 

I have spent my whole life trying to please others and make people like me, it never worked. I decided the only way to live is to heal myself. Withdrawal has set me back and I still really need to work on my inner child for my own children’s happiness but I am going to break the cycle.

I am authentically me, even if that feels shameful at times, I was put on this earth to share the good, bad and downright ugly. I am still struggling each and every day. I have so much heavy emotional bags to unpack but I am ready to do the work. 

Darkness and light are both a beautifully crafted duality. I will stumble and I will fall but the main realisation is that I belong to me. Pills or no pills. I belong to me.

 

Corrine Tan